Love plants but don’t have a green thumb? Try these fun Lego succulents!
This Lego set features nine different plants you can build and then use to decorate. The pieces all have shapes, textures, and colors that reflect real plants. Put them together with your family on a rainy weekend afternoon (or at your desk on a slow day).
This Lego set is $49.99 at Target.
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Rant ahead. Looking for commiseration/advice. How do parents of middle schoolers manage? Kid is going to middle school next year and there is no more aftercare. It will hard to get work done if they come home at 3 pm with interruptions, and the activities/driving are a lot. What do other parents of middle schoolers do? I feel like parenting only becomes more intense as they get older. I can only imagine what is ahead as they become teenagers.
You hire someone to drive, do carpools, or tell your kid to figure their own stuff out. Mine is in 4th and I’ve already hit that point since she didn’t get into aftercare.
Also, by middle school kids should be fairly self sufficient. My 6th grade neighbor babysits for us.
In middle school I frequently came home to an empty house. I wasn’t what I’d consider a latch-key kid, but I would often come home ~3:30 and my mom came home from her part time job between 4 and 4:30.
I had a snack and started my homework (maybe) and (definately) watched TV.
Why can’t you just let your kids chill for an hour as your wrap up work?
I 1000% came home to an empty house and had a snack and watched TV. I walked on my own to piano lessons a few houses away. I rode my bike to Girl Scouts across the neighborhood. For clubs at school, I took the “late bus” home. I think I stopped sports for a time in middle school (aged out of softball basically, where I wasn’t willing to put in all the extra effort for travel teams) prior to starting up in high school on the crew team.
The biggest thing I remember was on half days the kids that lived close to school or had SAHMs could all go shopping or to a coffee place and hang out, but I had to take the bus home because I lived too far away and didn’t have a mom to chauffeur me. I was super annoyed and mean to my mom about that at the time which was very uncool of me, but I was a tween girl.
Yeah when I was in 5th/6th grade I stayed home alone after school with my young-elementary-school aged sister. We had a snack, watched way too much Hannah Montana Gilmore girls, and did start homework.
More Sleep Would Be Nice says
Caveat – I have little kids (2 and 5), and I know things are different now.
I remember my parents being unhappy about this when I matriculated to middle school and it was a whole conversation they had with me about coming home alone, locking/unlocking the door, and being responsible to have my snack and finish homework before having free time. I didn’t really have afterschool activities until HS, and my only other activity was scouts, which was 1x/week.
Could kid be okay in this type of arrangement – like basically they’re “home alone” since y’all are working?
Can’t your kid come home on the bus (either school bus or city bus if you don’t live far enough away)? That’s what I did and what the middle schoolers in our neighborhood do. For activities not at school, carpools are the best bet.
Mary Moo Cow says
The parents of middle schoolers I know have some combination of after school sports and clubs, latch key days, and neighborhood teenager supervising at home each week. Stories I’ve heard from middle school parents makes me think it’s actually easier to be a full-time working parent in the elementary school years. I’m already dreaming of going part-time when my kids reach middle school.
It may not be as bad as you think: I also have a 4th grader and while he still goes to after care most days, we occasionally let him walk straight home after school. I haven’t found him disruptive. He gets his own snack, then tells me he’s going to a friend’s house or finds something to do at home. If I let him play video games, I won’t hear a peep from him until dinner, but ymmv based on screen time rules in your house.
The activities are another story, though. Are you saying there are activities you need to drive him to before 5? We just… don’t do that. I was in several clubs and track & field in middle school, and they met at school, immediately after school. The things that were not school-affiliated and required parental driving were scheduled later in the evening.
It seems hard to think about it now and it is an adjustment, but even accounting for differences in kids’ maturity levels and personalities, this is a great time to foster independence and be happy when it goes well.
My now-7th grader started walking home in 6th grade. I have a hybrid schedule so sometimes I’m home when he gets home, sometimes I’m not. If I’m not he calls me as soon as he gets home to check in. Whether he calls or I’m there, if I give him about 15 minutes of focused attention he’s good to go about his afternoon and I go back to work. I warn him if I’m going to be on a meeting and he respects those “do not disturb” times.
By now he can either walk to many places himself, I can take a quick work break and drive him and drop him off, or carpools with friends work. It is a more emotionally intense time but the logistics are easier, or get easier faster than you think if your kid rises to the occasion. I promise.
At that age, I’d try to have as many of the activities be at school. At least for us, things like sports, choir/band, and theater are all held at school after the school day has ended. Choir and band aren’t every day but sports are and theater is dependent on role. Otherwise, look for activities that happen later (our town’s baseball league has practices and games at 6pm, for example).
If they’re dead set on an activity that happens between 3 and 5, can you put them in charge of figuring out transportantion (even if it’s just identifying potential car pool solutions and then you can reach out to the parents to discuss the car pool)?
If they’re coming home right after school, I don’t know why they’d be disruptive? 6th graders are more than capable of coming home, getting a snack, and either playing or doing HW without needing to interrupt you.
If my kid weren’t in a carpool, we’d have a very hard time with our middle schooler. As it is, we leave early 1-2 times a week to pick up our kid from after-school activities. School dismisses at 3, most after-school activities go only until 4:00 or 4:30 at the latest. On the carpool days, he stays home alone until we’re home from work. Sometimes he zones out in front of the TV, sometimes he does schoolwork. It’s worked better than I expected. But again, the carpool is key for getting him to and from school about 80% of the time.
There’s no bus service to our neighborhood because while it’s close, as the crow flies, it’s not actually walkable at all from a safety standpoint. (Fast moving traffic, major intersections, street markings aren’t great. As an adult, I won’t bike or walk that route.)
I have a full time nanny who basically is a gloried chauffeur, so I haven’t solved this issue. If she doesn’t come, my kids are perfectly capable of coming home and doing their stuff and not bothering me, but they can’t drive.
Are there private camps/extracurriculars that pick kids up at the school and bus them to wherever and supervise them until 5-6:00? If not, paying a high school student to come babysit your kid for a few hours a day may be the alternative.
But as others have said, per most official guidance, 11-12 is considered a developmentally appropriate age for a child to be home alone for a couple hours. Have them call you to check in when they get there, settle on an agenda for how they’ll use the time and what rules they need to follow, and enjoy your child growing up! Sounds like you’re WFH, so just let them know that they should act as if they’re home alone and not interrupt you for any reason. If they need to contact you, they should call your cell phone just as they would if you were at an office.
This reminds me of Abbott Elementary!
We had our first case of forgetting about a school theme day today. It was bound to happen sooner or later, but that didn’t make it any more fun to see my kid crying. Feeling the mom guilt big time today :(
Oof. My sympathies, that stinks.
I think tonight sounds like the perfect night to have a ‘fun dinner’ night.
It also reminded me of Abbott!
Also, that does suck and I am sorry! Those moments helped foster independence in my Ker. He is much better about remembering now.
She didn’t know until we got to school this morning. The only heads up we had was in the daily report yesterday. If she knew, I’d definitely feel less guilty – she’s 5 and old enough to remind us about stuff like this if she wants to participate.
That’s outrageous – so if you didn’t happen to read the report between 5 p.m. yesterday and the beginning of the school day today, you were SOL? I can’t imagine your child was the only one who missed the memo, if that’s the case.
Yeah, I mean I did read it and think “we need to do this” and then I forgot, but it was short notice. I also hate how many theme days our preschool has. It seems like it’s every couple of weeks.
I’m sorry for the tough time. This is a perfect opportunity to help kiddo come up with a system to remember things that are important to them themselves, which I think is a great deal of the value in special days. I don’t think it should be on parents to manage these things.
I sympathize. Daughter’s outfit for sports day was at the bottom of the dirty laundry pile because I just plain forgot and the evening prior had been insanely busy. She was tearful the entire morning getting ready, and I felt terrible about it.
FWIW, we have forgotten stuff like this much earlier than it sounds like you did. We forgot to bring in snack to preschool on my DS’s day. (It’s pretty flexible- they have backups snacks etc.) Despite the teacher assuring him he could bring his in the next day and snack was covered today, he was so upset. I felt bad too, you’re certainly not alone!
When did you know to purge your baby things/clothes? We had baby2 and not planning on thinking about baby3 for at least 3 years. Not sure if I should keep these things “just in case” or start donating/selling the things as baby2 grows out of them because what’s the point of holding onto clothes/toys for the hypothetical third child?
FWIW kids are 2 years apart and we knew we wanted the second fairly quickly (and lucky enough that it happened) so I held onto everything.
I looked at anything that I hadn’t used more than 1x or 2x with both kids and figured it was def not worth keeping around. I also purged anything not in perfect condition.
Anything we had a million of – like those little loveys with animals attached, we have like 7. Tossed em.
Kind of depends on how much a premium there is on space in your house – if you can shove everything in the corner of the attic or basement and not be bothered, I’d go ahead and do that. But since you’re asking the question, I imagine that’s not an option. So overall I’d say get rid of the things and if/when you get pregnant with #3, start sourcing only the absolute must-haves secondhand. I planned on having more than 2 but for various reasons stopped at 2, so given the timeline and uncertainty, I’d say give away the things now. It will also save you the emotional weight of getting rid of the things in 4-5-6 years when you may have realized #3 isn’t happening (by choice or not).
Mine are 4 years apart. I would donate everything that isn’t sentimental. In 3 years, even if you do decide to have another, clothing trends will be different, toys will be different, car seats and strollers may even be different. Plus, your third may be a totally different body type than your first two.
I like the 24 hour/$20 rule. Is it something that you could replace in less than 24 hours for less than $20? Get rid of it.
FWIW, I wasn’t sure I’d ever be sure if it was my ‘last baby’. When I used to get rid of stuff, I’d feel this sadness like I was letting go of this sweet period in my life. With current baby, it’s like a flip has switched. I literally have giveaway bags next to the dryer and as soon as I pull something out that is too small, it gets given away. I feel actual GLEE in giving stuff away.
Speaking of which, anybody want some baby stuff? I’ve given several carloads to a momma/baby rehab house, dropped things off to families who have lost stuff in fires, given big boxes of blankets to a group that helps young moms learn parenting skills and it’s been FANTASTIC.
*switch has flipped.
Yeah, probably ready to get more than 3 hours of sleep in a row, which adds to the ‘this is the last baby’ vibe.
I feel exactly the same way. After my second, even thought we *thought* were were done having kids I was kind of like “awww maybe I should just hold on to this” just in case and now after my third I am giving everything away with abandon. I AM SO DONE (which is good since my husband just got a vasectomy!). Switch. Flipped.
LOL, I rather like “flip has switched” though!
Stroller Help says
We need to buy another stroller and I’d love some recommendations. We currently have a Nuna TRVL which we like, but she uses the bar in the front to pull herself and the seat forward and I don’t like that. Any recs for a stroller mostly used for walks, something sturdy and hopefully cheaper than the Nuna. Thanks!
How old is your kiddo and are they average/big/small for their age? Does it need to accommodate a second kid or do double duty as a travel stroller or deal with bumpy terrain?
She’s 14 months and average sized. Would like to use this long term and no siblings to worry about. We would use it for walks and in parks so grass, etc. Since our other stroller is a travel stroller this one doesn’t have to be. Thanks for asking!
We have an Uppababy Cruz and it does the job (including being pushed in a field) but is still small enough to fold and fit easily in an average car trunk. But I’m not entirely sure its worth the price. I think if I were doing it again I’d get a Baby Jogger City Mini (not a jogging stroller despite the name) which is about half the price and friends that have it really like it.
Cosign a CityMini or CityMini GT.
We have a GT which has been in consistent use for 7+ years. One handed fold, still in great shape (some stretched elastic but that’s it. We’ve traveled with it to Europe, it’s gone to Disney, it’s done the full test. Super durable and what you need.
We have the Britax B-Agile (which I think is now called the B-Lively) which as far as I can tell is mostly the same as the City Mini and has been fantastic through three kids.
Get a used BOB jogging stroller! You can find used ones for $100 on Facebook and even the OLD ones are usually in great conditions. Glides across grass and dirt. You can fit it into a car trunk, but it’s heavy so I wouldn’t be using it for the grocery store.
Do you use it in the snow?
My suggestion is a used BOB off fb marketplace if you at all experience winter and don’t live in a tiny New York apartment.
My first grader now has a chromebook from school and he is obsessed with playing various games on it. Mostly prodigy. He is not allowed to watch youtube but his teacher will suggest he search certain things on the internet like live views of animals which can lead him to youtube. He’s pretty good about telling me right away and asking if it’s ok to watch. This morning he had a new request. Roblox. I know it’s semi-educational but I’m not sure if I want to allow him to play. I can try to put guardrails on time spent but I know that can be hard to implement. What are people’s thoughts on Roblox? Can outsiders communicate with him? I’m clueless.
I have a 6yo and am not ready for Roblox. He has a Nintendo Switch and we don’t allow online play, which is how we meet the video game interest.
Way too young IMO. Six-year-olds don’t have the maturity to navigate online communities and all their risks.
We allow roblox at age 9. I would allow YouTube for subscribed channels only like National Geographic Kids or PBS kids. Disney Plus also has a ton of great national geographic programming for kids.
I’ll be the voice of dissent – Roblox is pretty standard in first grade here. My pre-Ker has actually been asking about it because she has friends with older siblings who play. There’s definitely a way to limit it to friends only so outsiders can’t communicate with the kids.
I’m not familiar with Roblox specifically, but my kids play Fortnite and Minecraft. There are settings you can configure to prevent chat with strangers.
Does anyone have tried and true methods for teaching someone how to tie a shoe?
My six year old’s hiking boots only come with the laces option and I’d love for him to try to learn this basic life skill before I get the non-tying laces.
But on that note- do non-tying laces really get the shoes snug?
i haven’t successfully taught my kids yet but i learned from Mr. Rogers! Might be worth looking at it on youtube?
I don’t, because it was on the curriculum for my kid’s Kindergarten class! I am quite happy that the school taught this instead of me, lol!
I’m so jealous!! My kiddo was part of the zoom kindergarten generation and his first grade teacher said the entire class was behind on shoe tying. But she didn’t have time to work it in because guess what they were also behind in everything else.
What?!?! That’s amazing! I wish my kids’ schools did this!
The two bunny ears method was easier for my kid to learn although I personally find it harder. There’s a great trick on social media right now that’s even easier- I can’t get a link but you put the tip of the shoelace into one of the eyelets which makes the loop for you and you don’t have to hold it. Then what really worked for us was saying “this is what we are doing for the afternoon” and practicing 500 times, with one Mike & Ike candy for each successful bow. The first time we did a bigger prize after 15 successful bows. However, even a year later (just turned 8) mine struggles to get the shoes tied as tight as he wants them (which is very tight- he broke two pairs of Velcro shoes trying to get them tight enough). You might still need to help adjust heavy shoes like hiking shoes or roller skates etc.
Mary Moo Cow says
The only thing that worked for us was having a non-parent teach. Sigh. DH and I both tried, using different methods, but DD didn’t want to hear it from either of us. She learned from a friend at school. She’s 7.5 now and uses the two bunny ears method.
My oldest taught herself when she was five by watching people at a contra dance, so I totally get that!
Has anyone used the Snoo? Thoughts? It’s a loan from a family member so cost isn’t a factor.
If I had had free access to one I definitely would have tried it. I really don’t see any downside, but I’m an old mom and I value my sleep a lot.
You may as well try it. I have three and we rented it for my third. It didn’t really help in getting her to sleep for longer stretches, but it did help get her down initially for nights/naps/etc with less rocking required, which was nice. It stopped making a difference at around 10 weeks, which is when we sleep trained anyway (went cold turkey to crib).
If it’s free, it’s worth trying! We bought it for my second and while I don’t think it had magical powers, it definitely did help with the putting to sleep process and I did hear it occasionally soothe my baby back to sleep at night, resulting in a bit more sleep for both of us.
We borrowed one for free for first baby and loved it. We had no issues weaning out of it or sleep training. I cannot think of a single downside to you trying it out if it’s free – you can always just turn off the features and use it like a regular bassinet if you don’t like the fancy stuff.
Daytime meds says
Has anyone ever had a kiddo in daycare need medicine during the day? Our daycare says it cannot give them to kids even with a prescription and doctors note. I guess my only option is to find time to go over lunch and give them myself? What do people do in this situation?
I have never heard of a daycare saying it cannot give prescription medication even with a doctor’s note. Is your daycare licensed? Do your state’s regulations cover the administration of medication?
Is this a medication your child needs long-term, or just for a week or so? If a child needs medication long-term/permanently, and the daycare refused to administer it, I’d assume that would violate the ADA.
Yeah, that is bananas and I can’t see how it’s legal – is it an injection, or something difficult to administer? Our school has provided antibiotics, creams, eye drops, bandage changes over stitches …
You’re right, and I’ll admit I’m surprised! https://www.ada.gov/resources/child-care-centers/
Q14. Our center has a policy that we will not give medication to any child. Can I refuse to give medication to a child with a disability?
A: No. In some circumstances, it may be necessary to give medication to a child with a disability in order to make a program accessible to that child. While some state laws may differ, generally speaking, as long as reasonable care is used in following the doctors’ and parents’ or guardians written instructions about administering medication, centers should not be held liable for any resulting problems. Providers, parents, and guardians are urged to consult professionals in their state whenever liability questions arise.
I recall this issue when my son was little and needed eye drops for pink eye. There was some issue with them doing it (maybe because it was short term? Because it was eye drops? I cannot recall). I went over and did them during lunch (fortunately, it was nearby). Our childcare was licensed.
I haven’t run into this but completely understand the policy. Imagine the potential liability if they miss a dose, overdose, the kid has an adverse reaction, etc. I also feel like medications that must be given at lunchtime (versus in the morning or at night) would be pretty rare, so it’s not a disservice for parents that they won’t do it. If it’s your only option, going over there at lunch (or having your partner or another trusted adult do it) seems like the way to go. You might also ask your doctor/pharmacist if there’s any flexibility on the dosing timing, given the difficulty of administering it while the child is at daycare.
Yeah, I don’t see how they could refuse to give medication with a doctor’s note. Our center does require a doctor’s note, even for OTC meds like Tylenol, which is not surprising to me. I’m pretty sure it’s a state licensing requirement.