Washable Workwear Wednesday: Petaled Ruffled Tie Neck Mixed Media Shell

I am always on the lookout for tops like this one, which become staples of my work wardrobe. The pattern is unobtrusive and somewhat forgettable (which is a good thing); it’s a neutral color that can be worn with a navy, gray, or black suit; and it has an interesting neck detail. I know I’m not going to win any fashion awards wearing it, but I don’t have to put in much thought when picking it out in the morning. Also, I like this style because it has a floaty cut to it that plays well against a more structured suit, not to mention hides my midsection. It’s $44.50 at Ann Taylor Loft. Petaled Ruffled Tie Neck Mixed Media Shell

Nordstrom has a plus-size option.

Looking for other washable workwear? See all of our recent recommendations for washable clothes for work, or check out our roundup of the best brands for washable workwear.

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  1. couples counseling says:

    How do you find a good one?

    When I was nursing (2 kids in 20 months) my job was less busy and has always been the more flexible one, so I did a lot more than what I consider to be my fair share of work now [and the kids are in grade school –> y’all don’t let this be you]. But my husband has settled into a routine where he does family/household/kid tasks only when asked, then begrudingly (or drags his feet), while I still do all of the work (packing lunches / snacks / swimming lesson bag). I need to start traveling a bit more for work (like quarterly, not annually) and I need to get him to man up. He gets angry/defensive whenever you say anything to him and this is really what I want a therapist to work on conflict styles / de-escalating things / dealing with normal stresses and day-to-day life where two parents work.

    • No advice on couple’s counselling but have you read Drop the Ball? I think her master list of tasks is genius.

      • FTMinFL says:

        To Anonymous’s point below, Drop the Ball describes two concepts that were real gut checks for me: “HCD” or home control disease where everything has to be done my way, and truly dropping the ball where you delegate and then DO NOT PICK THAT BALL BACK UP. The author describes agreeing with her husband that he would be in charge of the mail and then watching the mail pile up for three months. She didn’t pick up that ball and, when her husband eventually did, he never let that happen again. The book does a great job of pointing out how we got here and how to change things without being passive aggressive (“delegating with joy”). I highly recommend.

      • Wow, I just read part of the Introduction to Drop the Ball and the following lines really resonated with me because of their truth in my own life: “Clearly he and I were on the same highway, but somehow he had managed to detour around the crash scene. I was his solution to having it all.” I can’t wait to read this book!

        To the OP, you can also try How Not to Hate Your Husband After Kids. If any of its suggestions works for you, I recommend that you go back and re-read your favorite passages/recommendations every few months to make sure you and your husband aren’t slipping back into old habits.

    • Anonymous says:

      For the work travel, can you just… go? Assuming your husband is a minimally responsible adult, your children aren’t going to starve if you go out of town without packing lunches or leaving freezer meals. And it might be good to just throw him in the deep end so he can see how tough running a household with young children is.

      • Anonymous says:

        My one thing I’m doing is not picking up the phone. He calls whenever he has a question and just needs to take a minute to figure things out. I can’t fathom calling him for anything (the one time I did my car wouldn’t start, I was near where he worked, it was during a thunderstorm, and my car decided to die when the windows were rolled down AND I had the kids with me; AAA was already on the way, but I thought it a situation where if he could have come to help out, it would have been good for everyone to have him there (he was at his desk and came and followed me and the tow truck to the garage and picked up dinner).

        Be a man. Do not be a bad assistant to a mom.

      • +1 In the past, I would insanely overprepare for work travel. On my most recent trip, though, I just…left. And everyone did great and I came back to a clean house. Highly recommend.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I think my first step to finding a counselor would be to ask for recommendations in a local parenting group. Maybe you have a local FB group and can ask the administrator to post your question anonymously.

  2. I’m looking to get a white noise machine because my youngest seems to be a really sensitive sleeper and the oldest has also started waking up at night when youngest cries. I may need to get two machines eventually (although they’ll be sharing a room so maybe not) but right now trying to decide between the Lectrofan and Lectrofan Kinder. Does anyone have either and can share their thoughts? The kinder is a plug in version that you can control through an app and in addition to white noise has music, nightlight and various sounds like rain, etc. But I’m wondering if we really need all the bells and whistles?

    • Anonymous says:

      We don’t have either of those. We have the Marpac Dohm (which I recommend, but it sounds like you’re already past considering it, which is cool). Anyway, it does not have bells and whistles. But we do have a separate crib aquarium that plays music for 30 minutes. We start it when she goes to sleep, and she likes it. We also have a nightlight that gives off very minimal light (was a gift for kiddo’s first Christmas and has definitely faded). That has been kiddo’s routine for over 2 years. The music and nightlight might be nice. The app control seems a little ridiculous, but it sounds like it is a package deal. I’d personally go for the basic one and then add other solutions for music or a nightlight if necessary down the road.

      • I agree on the app control – if there was a version that didn’t require an app I would probably have already bought it. I am very anti-controlling things with my phone & syncing things that don’t need to be complicated. I guess it really boils down to do we need nature sounds? I don’t like the white noise myself and am not a light sleeper so for me the whole allure of these machines is fake crickets and frog sounds but I wonder if for our purposes (keeping everyone asleep) that’s not necessary or helpful.
        Oh and we wanted the lectrofan over then dohm only because it seems smaller and a little nicer aesthetically, but I am happy to be persuaded.

        • Anonymous says:

          Regarding the Dohm – my sister started my entire family on them when my almost 11 year old nephew was born. They have them in all the bedrooms of their house. My parents use one. We used one pre-child. Child has one. We don’t use ours because child’s comes through on our monitor. I just know none of us have ever had to replace one, and they’re simple. That said, I will tell you that we never researched them, and I am sure there are many quality products on the market.

          • Anon in NYC says:

            I love the Dohm. It’s been going strong for 3 years. It only makes one sound, but you can change the pitch. I have been listening to it over a baby monitor for so long that I actually think I’d struggle to sleep without it!

          • We have 3 Dohms. The oldest one is 5 years old and we rarely turn it OFF and it has never stopped working. They are pretty much indestructible. I’m amazed at how long they have listed. They are very simple, inexpensive and work.

          • anne-on says:

            We also have 3 Dohms, one in my son’s room, and one in our guest room and au pair’s room. They are total workhorses. We travel with them as well and they’ve held up amazingly well for 5+ years.

    • I don’t have either one, but I will say you likely don’t need the bells and whistles. We have the Munchkin Projector and don’t even use the projector, or any other sound but the ocean. The blue glow is nice I guess, but the Ok to Wake Clock is our nightlight so we don’t even need the glow function.

      For my kids at least, routine has been key. Different sounds or different projections just winds them up and is the opposite of relaxing. Simple is king for bedtime stuff.

    • We use the regular Lectrofan and are really pleased with it. Easy to travel with too.

    • AwayEmily says:

      I don’t think you need the bells and whistles. We have both Lectrofans and Dohms and while both are good we prefer the Lectrofan because (1) it is smaller and easier to travel with and (2) it has a volume control and can be turned up to block out more noises, especially dishes/car horns/sibling screaming (we live in a small house so this is important). The Dohm doesn’t have a volume control.

      • There may be different versions, but my Dohm does have volume control– you can rotate the top so more holes are open, which makes it louder. The sides do this, too. It also has two options on the switch, so you can turn it on low or high.

      • Anonattorney says:

        I just got the Lectrofan based on recommendations on thissite. It’s awesome. Highly recommend.

    • I’m using a fisher price elephant. Would recommend because it’s reasonably priced ($25) and has a range of sounds and a little night light that you can turn on or off. It’s simple and plugs in. Our last white noise machine ran on batteries and that drove me crazy.

    • I just use a fan…for both my child and myself.

      • AwayEmily says:

        Our box fan is definitely even more effective at masking noise than any of our white noise machines. Sadly, we can’t travel with it (though I love the idea of trying to stick a box fan in the overhead bin) and I’m also terrified my kid is going to climb out of her crib and immediately stick her finger in it, so white noise it is.

    • Anonymous says:

      We have the skip hop owl. There are volume controls, 8 sounds (4 are musical and 4 are white-noise), and a nighlight with adjustable brightness. Easy to travel with as well.

  3. Advice on getting a toddler to give her a pacifier?

    My 17mo still uses a pacifier at home and it’s driving me crazy. She completely went off the pacifier at daycare at 12mos but we still have them around the house and she will gladly put them in her mouth. Is it as simple as throwing them all away? At this point she knows she doesn’t need it but it’s a nice security blanket for her.

    • Anonymous says:

      FWIW, Kid 1 never used a passy but was a finger-sucker. It was easy — yay — you aren’t going to lose your hand (although it is generally filthy). She didn’t do it except for sleeping after she turned 2 or so (maybe younger). Kid 2 was paci obsessed and agreed to forgo for her third birthday. I know we could have taken them but she didn’t use them at daycare anymore and it was just an at-night thing.

      Kid 1 is about to turn 10 and still sucks her fingers in her sleep — it is an involuntary thing. Her teeth aren’t awful (but we are getting braces in the fall; whether we ever take them off or she is a permanent invisalign at night wearer remains to be seen).

      So: pull now if you want; agree to them going away later if you want. BUT be on the lookout for substitution esp at 17 months.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes. You throw them away.

    • So we first switched to bedtime only by saying that the pacifier “lives” in the crib and that was very easy. She literally just went, “Oh? Ok.” I did this one morning when I went in to get her & just told her it had to stay in bed. Giving them up completely at bedtime was harder. She cried for about a week – inconsolably for the first night and a bit less so as the week progressed. But you definitely have to get rid of all of them if you go this route. For giving them up completely, I think we just made up a story about the pacifier fairy taking it to a new baby because pacifiers are for babies and she’s not a baby anymore. I don’t know if that helped. She just told everyone who would listen that “mama took it away.”

      • “Mama took it away” made me LOL. Sorry :(

        Our kiddo is 2.5. Her dentist wants them gone by 3. We will comply. She doesn’t use them at daycare, but she also sleeps like crap there, and it wouldn’t surprise me if she’d sleep better there with a paci. My parents convinced me to give mine to some birds living in our yard “who were going to have babies soon”. I guess it worked incredibly well. I’m thinking about trying a similar approach with kiddo. I think she’ll be okay once she adapts. But right now she is such a good sleeper. Makes me a little nervous to wonder if she’ll regress at all.

        • We’re actually going through this right now (pacifier weaning with an older kid). Kid just turned 3; he gave up daytime and daycare pacifiers before 2, but has been heavily reliant for bedtime. We ‘lost’ the pacifier on a plane over the weekend and it’s been 3 days of bedtime hell so far (last night he didn’t fall soundly asleep till, like, 10.) He’s verbal enough to understand ‘we’re really proud that you’re such a big boy who can sleep without the binky’, but also verbal enough to plead heartbreakingly ‘but the binky makes me feel better!’. I think it’ll be ok once he adapts. It feels similar to weaning off bfeeding at 20 months, with a week or two of terrible sleep and then smooth sailing thereafter.

    • mascot says:

      Maybe around that age or a little later, we started by limiting the pacifier use to the crib/bed and the car. If he tried to carry somewhere else, we’d remind him of the rules and put it back in the bed. For the first few months, we’d keep an emergency one stashed in a bag if we were out and about. We didn’t really rush it and all the pacifiers quietly disappeared by age 2.

    • lawsuited says:

      Jo Frost has a “paci fairy” method that is very sweet, although it tends to be for older children who are still using pacifiers. If your LO is only putting them in her mouth because she finds them, gathering them all together and putting them in a high cupboard seems like a good next step.

    • We start limiting to the crib by that age, and it has never been a rough transition (just ask them to throw it in the crib when they wake up).

      My 2yo still has his (we shoot for age 3 to give it up for sleeping), but with my eldest, we switched him to the zoli stick right before he turned 3 (at the recommendation of this board) this served his need for something oral (he could chew on it) but helped eliminate the need to suck on something to fall asleep. Eventually he just stopped using it, so the problem fixed itself. Here’s to hoping we have a similar transition with our youngest.

    • I think my daughter was around that age when she started getting a red rash around her mouth from hers. So we just took it away and told her it went bye-bye. She cried that day and asked for it for a few days afterwards but we just reminded her that it went bye-bye and it wasn’t as big of a deal as I expected it to be. I did keep one or two hidden in case there was a crisis, but we never needed them.

    • Anonymous says:

      We waited too long with mine and once we broke thenpaci at bapnhabit, she just stopped napping. 2.5 was a little early but she couldn’t nap w/out it at that point and could power through with nonnap.

    • No advice, but we would not have been able to take away DS’s paci before age 2.5 without a HUGE fight and tears on both sides. He understood it was only for naps and bedtime, but he was just not ready to fall asleep without it before then.

    • KateMiddletown says:

      Start snipping the tips off along with all the tips mentioned above. There’s nothing to suck and the interest fades (you can just cut tips off completely or make little x’s in the tips.) I also started just pulling them out after my daughter fell asleep so she wouldn’t need it to get back to sleep after waking.

      FWIW, she got a paci at age 3mos (from grandma) and I think we completely lost them around age 2.5? The last one was uncovered in a toybox around age 4 and I snipped the tip in front of her and she was SOOOO upset. Mean mom.

  4. First settling in visit to nursery (just a short play session) and I am surprisingly emotional, particularly given I’ve been back to work for nearly 6 months. My kiddo, however, was not. He happily grabbed his key worker’s fingers and toddled off with a ‘later mom, off to play with the big kids’ glance!

    • lawsuited says:

      That is so wonderful! That my kid loves his daycare is one of the biggest blessings in my life. I’d also been back and work for 6 months when my kid started daycare, and I was surprised that I felt so emotional, but I think it was pent up anxiety that the transition wouldn’t go well, he’d hate it and wail all day, etc.

      • I think it was definitely some anxiety – he’s a sociable little guy so I figured he’d be alright but it does make it real. Such a long settling in process though – 1 visit this week, 1 next, 1 + home visit the following. They kept telling me they don’t want to rush the process but we’re going to have to get creative with childcare if he can’t start in early July.

        • avocado says:

          That is frustrating–when they give you a start date, it should be the date when you can actually leave your child there full time! I have never heard of a required “settling-in” process at day care here in the States. You can drop your baby off for short periods of time at first if you want to, but I just left mine all day the first day and no one batted an eye.

        • lawsuited says:

          Wow, that’s a looooong process! We had one “settling in” week where he went for an hour with dad on Monday, an hour on his own on Tuesday, half days on his own on Wednesday and Thursday, and a full day with early-ish pickup on Friday.

          Can you suggest trying a quicker transition while indicating that you’re definitely happy to slow down again if there are ill effects?

    • Anonymous says:

      Going back to work for me was no big deal because the baby was home with her dad and then my mom. Frankly, it was a relief to get out of the house and interact with other adults after 3 months at home with a newborn (although I feel like I can’t admit that anywhere but here). But I’m really, really dreading the transition to daycare (which will happen at the end of the summer because grandma’s a teacher and has to go back to work). I just think it’s so scary leaving your child with a non-family member for the first time. I also haven’t found a daycare I feel great about and our options are pretty limited in our small town.

  5. Tomorrow is my scheduled csection for my twins – Baby A was fully breech at my 36 week ultrasound and my 37 week appointment. Yesterday I went to the hospital with contractions thinking it was time, and Baby A somehow managed to get himself flipped head down in the last 6 days. Baby B is also head down, and it looks like they’re competing as to who will really make it out first. So they sent me Hoke and now we’ll just have to see if Baby A actually stays head down. Wish me vertex babies tomorrow!

  6. Get well soon gift says:

    Not child related, but would love your thoughts. We are getting our kitchen redone and one of the workers has been out sick for the last week or so, and we just found out he was admitted to the hospital yesterday. I feel really bad for him, he’s the nicest guy, and want to get him a card and maybe a gift? But what? He is on a liquid diet so food is pretty much out. I was thinking maybe just putting a gift certificate to Target in the card. Thoughts? Is that weird?

    • AwayEmily says:

      Same as with daycare providers, I think cash is always best. Put $20 (or whatever amount you think is appropriate) in there, write something heartfelt, and if you want you can say something like “for a nice dinner once you get out of the hospital!”

  7. Boston Legal Eagle says:

    Anyone have any tips on getting a 2 year old to actually eat at the table? We’ve fallen into a habit of feeding our son on the couch in front of the TV because he’s been refusing to eat at the table, unless it’s cookies or candy or similar. We don’t really want to associate food with TV but what can we do other than just let him not eat? Will he eventually start eating there if he knows he won’t get it elsewhere? We’ve tried giving him puzzles and other things to play with at the table, and it works sometimes but not lately.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      We started bribing my daughter with books. We’ll read her books while she eats. It has its pluses and minuses. Pluses are spending time with her, reading books, having a conversation, etc. The huge minus is that she incessantly demands to be read to at every meal where she is sitting at a table and there is no tv to distract her – restaurants, friends houses, etc. – until we do it. Also, I prefer to get home and immediately get stuff done (like cleaning up school containers and making lunch for the next day), and sitting down to read means that I have to postpone chores. I think the demands have gotten a little easier now that she’s a bit older (just turned 3) – she has a little more patience than she had even a few months ago.

    • Anonymous says:

      Do you eat as a family? Are you all eating on the couch? Or would he be at the table alone? Gently, I’m not understanding why he needs entertainment at the table while he eats. Eating should be enough of a task on its own. I would make the switch that eating happens at the table and make him deal with it. We sometimes let our 2.5 year old get down from the table before hubby and I are done eating if she is done. She goes and plays on her own but often comes back for a bite of Mommy’s. I guess if he won’t sit still, I’d let him down but make him come back to the table for more food. Also limit snacks before meals so he is hungry enough to want to eat.

      • Anonymous says:

        “Eating should be enough of a task on its own. ”

        This. We eat with the kids but even on the days that DH and I have a late dinner date, we’ll still sit at the table with a cup of tea or light snack while the kids eat. No books, toys etc allowed at the table. We take turns going around the table and saying our best thing in our day and our hardest thing in our day (child appropriate of course) at age 2 it was generally a one word answer ‘trunks’, ‘swings’.

        • Spirograph says:

          Agreed. Sometimes my kids have a book, toy or watch something on the tablet during breakfast, but alternate entertainment is not allowed at any other meals. We do family dinner every night, and the kids do not question that eating only happens at the table, or that they are required to sit nicely and be pleasant company until they are excused. They’re not models of perfect behavior every night, but they know the rules. Once they’re excused and leave the table, no more food until breakfast.

          I think it helps to have a consistent routine. Ours is 1. wash hands, 2. help set table (my 21 month old gives everyone a fork, the older kids help with napkins, plates and cups), 3. sit down and WAIT for everyone else to sit. 4. Say grace 5. When you’re finished, ask to be excused and take dishes to the sink.

          I like the suggestions from Anonymous foster parent below. You don’t owe your 2 year old an explanation, but it wouldn’t hurt to say “I’ve decided that, from now on, we are only going to eat dinner at the table, not on the couch. You’re a big kid, so I know you will do a good job sitting in your chair and using nice manners” or whatever. And then coach through the rest.

      • octagon says:

        This. Eating as a family was so much more transformative than I expected. It helps set the expectations early on that mealtime is an event, not just something that happens while you are doing something else.

        It’s also been surprising how quickly kiddo took to eating things on his plate just because he saw DH or me eat them. I never thought I would have a kid who wanted all of us to eat a spinach leaf together!

      • This. But also, my life as a parent became 100% easier when I decided that it was my job to put the food in front of them, and their job to eat (ala Satter Method) and that feeling hunger is not a bad thing for them. Once I took the pressure off that they HAD to eat, least they STARVE forever, I started enjoying meals with them again.

        We eat together as a family, everyone gets the same thing. They can eat it, look at it, or pick at it. But that’s all they get until the next meal. We’ve had days where they are nightmares because they didn’t eat any lunch, etc. but eventually they get the message. I’ve also noticed that they truly are able to listen to their bodies with this method. Some days they eat barely anything and are fine. Others they eat 3 servings.

        For reference, my kids are 2 and 4.

        • Anonymous says:

          Mostly agreed. If kiddo seems to genuinely not like dinner, we will always offer yogurt and/or toast as an alternative. But I try pretty hard to have at least one component that I know she’ll usually eat. I don’t really believe in trying to convince kiddo to eat. Hubby tries harder, which is is nice because he does a good job of getting her to try new things.

    • AwayEmily says:

      Mine is 2 also and we’ve dealt with this on and off. I think this is an area where all kids are SO different so I’m a little hesitant to give advice but I will tell you what we do in hopes that it at least gives you some ideas. Basically we (1) make sure that we are all sitting down together (we rarely have it together to have family dinner so usually she’s the only one eating but we at least all sit together), (2) try to have it be relatively enjoyable — we include her in conversations, talk about fun things coming up, etc and (3) enforce a strict rule that once she leaves the table, dinner is over. No more food for the rest of the night. So basically…yes, just let him not eat.

      #3 is the hard one, obviously, but in my experience they do not starve. We also do a cup of whole milk during story time (before tooth brushing) so I figure she can make up some calories there if necessary if she’s really hungry.

      I do think that if you very consistently enforce this (including when he whines for food later in the evening), then eventually he will realize that the table is his only chance to eat.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m a foster parent and have actually had a number of kids come through who have to learn how to eat at a table so I’ve actually the ‘extreme’ version of this quite a bit.

      First, we make it ‘special’. My kids love if we put a flower on the table or maybe light a candle (I actually do this next to the table so nobody can knock it off). We talk up what color plate everyone is going to have – it’s a big draw – and that works well. I’ve found that toys at the table just distract more, so they have to take a ‘break’ while we eat.

      I like booster seats because it gives their bums an assigned place to sit. Then they have to sit and eat. If they get up or stop eating, I tell them that they need to sit down and eat their dinner. Repeat ad nauseum. If they keep getting up, I tell them, ‘You are telling me with your body that you are done with dinner. Is your belly full/Are you all done (insert sign with younger kids)?’

      We also have a policy that once you are done eating, you need to sit for a moment and ‘digest’ – you can’t just run off and play. I usually try to sit at the table with them and eat a little something too – just so they can see me using manners and eating properly – even if it’s just a little salad because it’s 5:30 and I’m not ready for dinner yet.

      I also don’t let anyone go to bed hungry, but to avoid ‘shopping’ for a better option, the policy is that if you don’t like dinner or if your belly is hungry you get plain toast with butter (but no jelly or jam or peanut butter because those are all too exciting).

      Yes, I feel like I’m talking to myself a lot, but in my experience it takes them about 2 weeks to learn to eat at the table. Peer pressure helps too, so if you can borrow some friend’s kids, it helps.

      • Anonymous says:

        We do the toast with butter as the only alternative if they don’t want dinner too!

    • Anonymous says:

      Does kid go to day care? At day care, mine ate at a table. We bought the same table and little chairs and they used that until they could sit at a counter stool and not spint 100% of the time or fall off.

    • Boston Legal Eagle says:

      Thanks all. Yes, my husband and I have been sitting down with him and eating our meals at the same time – he just seems more interested in playing and doing everything besides eating. I know we need to enforce the food is only at the table rule more strictly, we’ve just been a little worried that he won’t eat anything then. But, I guess he has to learn that! He does eat at a table with the other kids at daycare (sometimes not much there too).

      • Anonymous says:

        Hugs. I’m one on the above Anon posters who took a hard stance. We have some good friends with a child who doesn’t sit still, and they definitely have this issue too. Their kiddo was walking at 9 months and hasn’t really sat down since. It’s definitely harder for some kids than others. You seem like an amazing parent, and I can totally get wanting to make sure your child doesn’t go hungry. Do what works best for your family, but if this is a goal for you, it seems like there is some good advice here.

      • I know this is late but we use Feeding Littles as a guide (instagram and website). They have a toddler course that basically says you provide, child decides. So, you put dinner on the table that’s the rule, they can decide to eat or not. They have some great content for a reasonable price (and so much on insta)

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      He will not starve if you restrict eating to the table. Good luck.

  8. Housing Advice says:

    Sorry for the long post. This is J. So, we’re at a bit of a crossroads in our housing situation. I’m hoping to hear what others might do and gain some perspective I am missing. I know there probably isn’t a right answer here, but hubby and I are really having a hard time coming to a decision, both together and individually.

    I’ve posted a bit about our situation on here before, but don’t expect anyone to remember. Family is 2.5 year old daughter, hubby, and myself. Daughter will likely be an only child. Almost two years ago we moved from a small metro area (about 650,000 total population) to a small town of about 23,000 for hubby’s job. Overall, we don’t mind the smaller town lifestyle. We both grew up in a town of 11,000, and we are about 40 minutes from a college town with very nice amenities, which is where I went to law school. So, we are pleased generally with the area.

    Our issue is our house. Our price range when we bought was $250,000-$300,000. There was virtually nothing in our price range when we bought. We ended up with a ranch style house that is about 12 years old but has an open floor plan with 2 bedrooms on the main floor and two bedrooms in the basement. Cosmetically it was (is) in need of some work, and we knew that coming in, and planned to do some work soon after moving in. However, immediately after we moved in, we began having issues with the house (which was inspected, but I’m not going to go there in this post). We’ve done significant work to the plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems, along with some more minor repairs here and there. We’re also unhappy in a ranch style home. We had been in a two story, and have learned that we definitely prefer it. About six months after we moved in, we decided we wanted to leave.

    That was about 15 months ago. We’ve been moving annoyingly slow, but have purchased a lot we love in our current development and designed a house. We’re now getting bids on the house. We went into the process thinking we’d spend $350,000 tops. However, including the cost of the lot, we’re looking at $450,000 to build the house we love. It feels like we’ve been over the numbers a gazillion times, and technically we could afford the house, including a 20 percent down payment and increase of around $700 in our mortgage by the time we factor in increased taxes. But it would be tight. Frankly, we’d be house poor and give up much more of our savings for a down payment than we feel comfortable with.

    I could handle staying in our house for 3-5 years if we go ahead and do some work on it – new floors and some work in the bathrooms at a minimum. This work is truly needed – the carpet is coming up, tiles are cracked, etc. Admittedly, we would likely upgrade the flooring out of personal preference as long as we were replacing it anyway. Some other work would be nice, but I could live without it if I had to. The biggest issue is that we’d probably only get 50% or so back on our investment. So by the time we did the work, we could easily spend $10,000-$15,000 that we’d never see again. I’m guessing the total cost of the work would be closer to $30,000.

    So, what would you do? Be house poor or spend $10,000-$15,000 that you’d never see again to make living your house tolerable for the next 3-5 years? Has anyone done either and been happy or disappointed with their decision? We’re not opposed to moving to a different house, but we’re yet to see anything on the market that would make us want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars. I’m eyeing 3-4 years because kiddo will be out of daycare in fall 2021 and into kindergarten. So, that will change our cash flow. I’m also worried that if we spend the money on the current house, we’ll still feel poor now because we spent so much of our liquid cash.

    • Is there a middle ground here? I feel like pouring a bunch of money and work into your current home may not be worth it. Can you scale down the home you’re building? I realize $100k is a lot to cut out of a building budget (and I have built a home, so trust me, I get it), but does it HAVE to be your dream-everything? Can you reduce the square footage? Look at a different range of finishes, knowing that you can update cosmetic things later on when you don’t have a daycare payment? Keep an unfinished area (like a basement) that could be finished later on?

      I would not voluntarily choose to be house-poor. Especially because new homes, even those just built, almost always require furniture purchases and other things, like fences and landscaping and so on. Some close friends of ours really stretched to buy a brand-new home, and I get the impression that while they love the home, they don’t love what it’s done to their finances.

      • This would be my advice, too. Identify the places in your design home that are splurges– the obvious things like fancy appliances and countertops, but also the less obvious things like windows. OMG windows are so expensive. Seriously, count your windows. Ask your builders how they would cut $50-100k- they know better than you what everything costs. Building a house you love does not have to mean building a dream house. Even people I know who designed and built their “dream house” end up wishing things were different a few years in.

        And a word of caution: a lot of people I know who have built homes have ended up going 10-15k over the agreed-upon budget. Prices fluctuate (especially with this fun era of unpredictable tariffs), so you may need to build in a bit of a cushion above the builder estimate.

    • Anonymous says:

      FWIW, I moved into a cosmetic fixer while pregnant. We would up fixing only minor cosmetic things (new carpet for 2 rooms, paint) and spent a ton (to me: $40K for things like new driveway, landscaping, dishwasher/plumbing/electrical, some new windows and doors (that didn’t seem to close or lock after becoming warped / outright breaking (crappy 80s construction/materials)).

      The in-utero baby is now 10. 10!!!

      I think it gave us breathing room. I had that kiddo and weathered the recession with her and was happy we hadn’t spent a time more on housing.

      I live where fancy houses are very popular and I just think that cash is king.

      WSJ had the top female financial advisors in it on Monday and one said that she wanted her (super rich, no doubt) clients to have 2 years of cash in order to weather a recession (perhaps these are retirees also) without having to drawn down on assets in a down market. I am not there, but I am sure that my neighbors in fancy houses will never be there.

      So: do what comforts you more: house you love vs money in the bank.

      • Thanks. The unknowns are what scare me most about staying here, since we’ve had so many issues. At least with a new house, we could be a little more confident that things should work for the next 5 years or so.

    • Anonymous says:

      FWIW, I saved a lot of $ once my kids left day care and went to school.

      But overall, I find that I am spending daycare/2 per kid for after school care/school break care / summer camps, so don’t overestimate your savings for when the kid goes to school.

      It is a savings, but not as big as I thought it would be (maybe in middle school / high school where I guess they age out of camps).

    • I would spend the $10-15k. I know a lot of people who are house poor and it seems to be really miserable. DH and I bought way less house than we can afford and it’s been very freeing. Especially with your daughter getting into preschool, you’ll want cash on hand to do fun stuff with her. Everyone talks a lot about how expensive diapers, wipes and bottles are for infants, but I’ve found that we’re actually spending way more money now that our daughter is 3, because it’s starting to get more manageable and fun to travel with her, we want to regularly take her to the zoo/aquarium/children’s museum, we want to send her to fun weekend programs at the local university etc. It all adds up to a lot more than diapers and wipes.

      Also I think I’m definitely in the minority on this, but if you have a great contractor renovations can actually be super fun. Because we spent a lot less on our house than we anticipated, we renovated the kitchen shortly after move-in. The process was really smooth (under time and under budget despite the horror stories you hear) and I love living in a house with a kitchen that I sort of designed.

      • Thanks. The travel piece and her being able to do more is a really good point. Since we are in a small town and she is able to do so much more now, we are definitely more interested in lots more weekend trips – which is what it would take for us to do the things you mentioned.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d build the house but do the basic version and upgrade when you can afford. You’ll get the layout you want and can upgrade finishes as you go. Backsplash, kitchen countertop, kitchen appliances, washer/dryer, light fixtures, closet built ins, painting unused rooms, and sink fixtures are all high cost items that can be upgraded easily in a few years.

      • Yes, is this an option to keep you within a budget you feel more comfortable with? Even if you think you’re in your dream home, trends change, tastes change, things happen, and you’ll always have projects.

        If this isn’t an option – I’d stay and update the one thing that gives me the most heartburn. And I’d keep my eyes peeled for something that I like better in a budget I can afford. I’ve lived without disposable income and it’s no fun at all so I personally would not willingly go back to that.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      I personally would not sell my house just to buy a different house, if what I really wanted was my dream house on the lot. So I would sit tight for 3-5 years and make necessary home improvements.

      I don’t think you ever get 100% back on home improvements. But in terms of cosmetic repairs, I think another factor to consider is the length of time your house spends on the market. Some of the repairs that you’re describing – replacing the carpet, repairing cracked tiles – seems to me like items that a future home buyer would care about and your house might sell more quickly than it otherwise would if you don’t do those repairs. All that said, I’m not sure that I would invest a lot of money into a place that I knew I was going to sell – i.e., don’t do top of the line stuff.

      My husband and I bought a tiny apartment last year that we know is not our forever place. We wound up with an unexpected renovation of our bathroom, and are planning a much-needed kitchen renovation this summer. It’s been a huge expense. I hate our floors for primarily cosmetic reasons, and some floor joists need repair, but I expect it would cost somewhere in the realm of 15k-30k to rip up the floors and replace them with something we like better. Instead, I’m going to get quotes on patch repairs to the areas that need to be fixed to make the apartment more appealing to future buyers, because this place does not merit another 30k in my book.

      Did you have a real estate agent when you bought this house? I would probably reach out to him or her and talk to them about what they think are “necessary” upgrades to your house to position it best to sell. I’ve reached out to my agent to ask her questions about our planned kitchen reno.

      • We did work with a real estate agent. We’re now working with a different one. It’s the part of the story I didn’t get into. Long story short – we really feel like we got screwed over by the inspection of the house (arranged by the realtor). We’ve gotten the advice above from the new realtor. We also know that even if we improve this house, it is unlikely we could sell it for more than $290,000. The old realtor also built this house – was general contractor and did much of the work himself. He built it for himself and family and lived here for about 5 years and then sold it to the owners we bought from. There’s nothing shady there I can identify – we found the house online and asked to see it and didn’t find out until after that he had built it. But we have learned that it was very poorly built which is why we’ve had all the issues. And we are just out of mental energy for the house.

        • Anon in NYC says:

          Man, I’d be pretty angry too. That sounds shady, even if there wasn’t anything technically “wrong” about the process.

          I wouldn’t sign up to be house poor, but if you can do what others are suggesting in terms of reducing the cost of your dream house, that might be your best option.

          • Thanks. If we do decide to stay, we’ve agreed to get a new inspection, or maybe some system-specific inspections by respective professionals. If nothing else, maybe for some peace of mind. We’ve had electrical and plumbing work done with some well-respected and trusted folks since we moved in so have a minimum confidence level there. I’d like to have someone check out how well the home is sealed. It seems drafty. We’ve had a few issues with mice and ants, but our entire neighborhood has those issues, so I think it is unfair to say that wouldn’t happen in a better built house. I would have loved to do something about the inspector and maybe even the previous owners, who we really feel had to have encountered the same shady problems we are, but at the end of the day, we’ll need to sell this house someday in a place with small town gossip.

    • Honestly, in your situation, I’d be house poor and build the house I want. You’ve given this house a chance, and you’re unhappy. You’ve looked for other houses and haven’t found what you want. You can afford the house.

      You didn’t give many details on the house you’re building. Are there any ways to cut or defer costs for now? As in, don’t finish a basement or wait to build a deck or fence in the yard? Or choose less expensive finishes in some rooms?

      Let the next owners of your current house make upgrades to their tastes. Don’t throw $15K at a house you don’t even like.

    • Coach Laura says:

      I’d not advise being house poor but what about designing your dream house on your purchased lot in stages. Can you design something like building Module A now and Module B later to keep the initial costs low? Or finish the lower floor, live in it and over time finish the second floor? Or build a garage with apartment above it and build the main house in 3-5 years?

    • Sorry that you’re in this situation! We have been house poor for the past four years and recently decided we were over it — so we took advantage of a hot market in our area and sold, buying a house that was 24% less expensive than the place we’re in now. I am a huge fan of having more cash, especially as your kid/s get older — the commenter upthread who said that you spend more money on older kids is right! Do you guys want to travel, does your child want to learn music or play sports? We found that we were so strapped we couldn’t afford any of these “extracurriculars” so something had to give.

      My two cents: I’d improve where you are now for max resale value and a fast sale. Not a bad idea to have someone inspect the place so you know what you’re dealing with, but there’s no sense in staying somewhere you don’t love. Then I’d build a version of your dream home that knocks $50K, at least, off the price with the goal of adding on or upgrading down the road. I realize this is easier said than done…

      One thought: can you rent out your current place? Would that help your situation at all?

    • Thanks, everyone! This is great advice. My biggest issue with giving up so much on the build is feeling at the end of the day that I spent $350,000 (or whatever we could get it down to) on a house I didn’t want. That seems even worse than having $268,000-$300,000 in a house that I don’t want. Admittedly, and not proudly, I’m jealous of the great, modern houses our friends are upgrading to in our old city. But since they don’t have to custom build and can work with giant builders with volume discounts, they’re able to spend less for what I want. Also, just to answer some other questions, we don’t plan to finish the basement in the new house right away.

      • Would renting be an option for the next 1-2 years, which would allow you to build up more cash to build your dream home? I understand that spending $350k on something that’s a “compromise” doesn’t exactly feel good, but something has to give. Either a) learning to live with a house you don’t like for now, knowing there will be a new home at the end; b) scaling back your expectations for what you can build or c; forge ahead, knowing that you’ll be house poor.

        I say this gently, but I think your expectations are not in line with reality. DH and I consider ourselves house people: we really love having a beautiful home, and are willing to spend the time/financial resources to do so. That said, we also know that it’s one piece of the financial puzzle and would not willingly become house poor because it would make our lives much more stressful in other ways. You can have a beautiful home even if it’s not your dream home!

        • You’re totally right, and I appreciate your gentle tone :) Maybe the problem is that I’m leaning more towards sticking it out here for 3-5 years and then re-evaluating so I’m resistant to the building something less option. At least here I know my enemy. I know I need to compromise, and I appreciate the input from all the above posters not to be house poor. It is helpful. Especially because I’ve had a little bit of a mindset that our jobs our stable and we’ll continually get raises, etc. So we shouldn’t really make less unless we choose to at the new house (famous last words, right?). And that seems like a bad approach based on other commenters.

          • BabyBoom says:

            We are in a similar, but not exactly the same position. With our newish circumstances becoming permanent, we are likely to need to either greatly expand our current house, or sell in 5 or so years. Our house needs about 30K-40K worth of changes (admittedly some cosmetic). We could afford to move now and buy a significantly more expensive home, but only if our household income stays the same or increases. For us, we decided to spend an amount on our current home that we would feel comfortable spending regardless of whether we ultimately recover it in a sale. I see this as an amount of money I am willing to spend for 5 years of comfort and happiness in my home.

            I’m beginning to realize that perhaps there is no perfect home, and I might spend time fantasizing about what to renovate in any home I live in. However, the only thing I can imagine more frustrating that being in home I am just not satisfied with is building a home that I am not satisfied with. Personally I would wait to build a home until I had the funds to build the exact home I wanted.

          • I think this is where I am, so it is now a matter of having a discussion with hubby about what that number is. FWIW, I did the same thing with my current car. I drove the used car my parents bought me in college for 10 years. The last three of those ten years I was in law school, and most people would have replaced it during that time. It needed repairs and was leaning towards unreliable. But I shopped around, knew what I wanted, and couldn’t afford it until I was working. Finally a few months after I started my job, my husband had a bunch of travel coming up and my car was literally to the point where I wasn’t sure if it would start on a day to day basis. He more or less forced me to buy a new car ;)

          • BabyBoom says:

            I know this logic has flaws, but how we decided our budget was partly based on the real estate commission we would not be spending now if we don’t sell now. We started at 6% and ultimately decided that we would feel comfortable spending up to 10% of the current value of our home.

          • That’s interesting. I hadn’t thought of it as a percent of the value before. I am learning toward $30,000, which is is closer to 11.5%, but similar. That’s mostly based on feeling like I could come to terms with losing half that to be happier.

  9. The news of Bode Miller’s kid is hitting me hard. I am a stickler for water safety, but we spend a lot of time near pools/lakes and my 3-year-old has no fear of the water. She loves it. She’s in swim lessons, but definitely isn’t proficient yet. She also hates wearing any sort of lifesaving device and recently has been trying to take it off. :( In fact, we left the pool early last week because kiddo kept running away from me, it was crowded, and I was genuinely worried about her safety. Today I’m thinking about that poor little girl and praying that we can keep our daughter safe this summer. :(

    • Legally Brunette says:

      It’s really devastating. Feeling so sad for the family. Unfortunately these pool accidents happen all too often.

    • Anonymous says:

      As much as I hate him as a person, this is awful and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

      In my SEUS city, whole families die in lakes / rivers / oceans where one person goes under and a bunch of non-swimmers (usually; oceans are another matter) go in to help and they all drown. It’s like a weekly thing.

      I hate pools the way some people hate guns in the house.

    • For your kiddo– have you tried the Puddle Jumper? My independent kiddo loves hers and can do all the things she wants to do while wearing it– jump, play, throw, “swim” etc.– and I have the peace of mind of knowing shes in a coast guard approved life jacket.

      • And also she can’t take it off because it clips in the back!

      • Anonymous says:

        Is it approved as a life jacket? I thought it was just a swim assist device to be used within arms reach of an adult to help with learning to swim?

        • Anonymous says:

          If this is what I’m thinking of, they are coast guard approved floatation devices. Check the label. I LOVE them for our kids. They are not good for learning to swim because you don’t have to work for buouyancy at all, and range of motion in the arms is somewhat restricted, but to just keep a kid safe around a beach or pool while they’re primarily splashing around or playing in the sand, they’re perfect

        • Yes, US Coast Guard Approved Life Jacket, Type III. There is a good breakdown of the types here:
          Basically a TypeIII– adult or child– is not meant to save a life in rough waters or for use in boating in remote locations or where rescue might not be immediate.

      • shortperson says:

        i’ve said this before on this board, but i do not put my children in puddle jumpers because it gives them a false sense of security. it would never prevent this kind of accident — a child jumping into the water thinking she can swim when there are no adults around noticing she got in. my 3.5 year old has had two years of swim lessons and is very competent for her age (can swim across a pool without hands-on assistance, with breaks), but she is aware of her limits and knows not to get in the water without an adult watching. but we still watch her carefully when near the pool because she’s 3.

        this is not to blame miller’s family at all, i have no idea what their situation is and their toddler was very young. but in response to the puddle jumper rec.

        • Anonymous says:

          To be clear, I wasn’t trying to say that puddle jumpers are a replacement for general water safety and swimming lessons, or that you should throw one on your kid and then dive into your beach read and not look up for an hour. It’s more like, if my kids are building a sand castle and running back and forth to the water to fill their buckets, or if they’re playing in the pool and I would rather sit on the side, and might look away to talk to other parents for a minute, they’re a good extra bit of safety.

          My 3 year old is only just now catching onto the idea that water is dangerous if you can’t swim. My 1.5 year old has no idea. It’s not that they think they can swim, it’s that they don’t know they need to be able to. My 5 year old is wonderfully cautious, but not a good enough swimmer yet to be truly water-safe, especially in an open water situation.

    • mascot says:

      If she weights enough for a puddle jumper, she’s probably big enough for a kid’s zip up life vest. That may be more comfortable for her and harder to remove unless she’s really good at buckles and zippers. Adopting a zero tolerance policy for removing the flotation device may stop that behavior pretty quickly. She takes it off, the water fun ends immediately. Yes it’s a PITA, although hopefully a temporary one.
      I also like teaching kids to ask before they can enter the water and they have to wait for the adult to say yes/get in themselves first. Same zero tolerance- you get in the water without asking, the water fun ends.

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally get it. My parents have a winter home in FL with a pool in the lanai that they won’t put a gate around. They don’t understand why we never visit them there with our toddler. It won’t happen until there is a gate or she is a proficient swimmer. End of story.

      • Anonymous says:

        I grew up in Florida and our pool deck had a cage around it so was fairly safe. However, one time my younger brother’s friend slept over and my mother found the friend SLEEPWALKING AROUND THE POOL DECK in the middle of the night!

      • Anonymous says:

        I went to a party recently for a toddler’s birthday and was surprised to see the family had a beautiful pool with no fencing to separate it from the house or rest of the yard. It made for an incredibly stressful time for me with 2 non-swimmers. So sad for the Millers and every family that goes through this. My husband nearly drowned in a similar incident when he was around that age, but luckily his older sister alerted their babysitter in time. Backyard pools and young kids just don’t mix, IMHO.

  10. Knife Storage with Toddlers says:

    We live in a small apartment in NYC. Our knives are overflowing their drawer, and we need to figure out a new storage solution for them that makes them accessible to us but doesn’t pose a threat to our kids (who are generally well-behaved and pretty scared of knives, but you never know). I would love to hear what storage methods have been successful for you — how high up / inaccessible you need them to be. I did some g0ogling but found very varied answers (which seemed to be advertising in a lot of cases). Thanks!

    • Anonymous says:

      Knife block for the counter?

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 a knife block on the counter pushed back against the wall. Our counters aren’t super high but they’re deep and there’s no way a little kid could reach up and all the way back.

    • Clementine says:

      What about getting a chef’s knife roll? That would allow you to very easily and safely store them wherever you want without the worry that the kids would get into them.

    • We have a magnetic strip from IKEA that I love for knife storage. It’s located near the stove, so far away from little fingers.

      • Anonymous says:

        We used a wall-mounted magnetic strip in our tiny NYC apartment too – everything we could was on the wall since we only had a few drawers and minimal countertop. It was above the counter, although probably not completely out of reach for a determined kid with a step stool. But my son never tried to grab them. I think if your kids haven’t shown any interest in them you can trust that to continue – some kids are just not into everything. YMMV of course – we were not the most child-proofy people, partly because in a tiny apartment you are never that far from the kid.

        • Anonymous says:

          PS – I’m now remembering that I used to put the more dangerous knives towards the back–farthest from the counter–and kept the serrated bread knife and spatulas on the side closest to the counter.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      We use the Bodum Bistro Knife Block (can find it on Amazon) for our chef’s knives. It’s thin, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space like a normal wooden block.

    • Knife Storage with Toddlers says:

      Thanks all — I guess I partly wanted to make sure that people are comfortable leaving them on the counter (where my kids can’t reach independently, but could climb up if they put their minds to it, although it would be very out of character). Glad to hear that wouldn’t be a really unusual approach. We tried wall-mounting, but the only wall space is toward the front of the counter (long story but our only backsplash area has a plastic facade and we live in a rental), and my older daughter could reach the knives with just a little stretching if she wanted to.

    • Jeffiner says:

      We mounted the magnetic strip on the inside of an upper cabinet door. Everything fit fine, the knives were easily accessible to us, but still high and out of sight for little ones.

    • FWIW, online (a m a z o n), you can get plastic kid knives that cut most produce, but aren’t sharp. My 3 year old loves hers and I keep them in an easy to reach place and she helps me chop things. It might help them to continue to ignore theirs if they have their own.

    • Anonymous says:

      We keep them in a drawer but started early with “knives are a tool, not a toy,” and that we do not play with tools. By 3 our kid can easily reach drawers and counters and anywhere in the kitchen if he really wanted to, and I’m not going to keep them under lock and key.

  11. Yeah, we have the puddle jumper. And kiddo is clearly way too smart because she’s trying to unhook it, and when that fails, she takes her arms out. It’s still around her waist, but not doing its job.

  12. PregLawyer says:

    Being Serena docuseries on HBO is amazing!!!! Did any of you watch this? It was a fantastic little series about Serena Williams becoming a mom and trying to get back to competition. Some great stuff in there about b-feeding, pumping, pressures of being a working mom, self-doubt, etc. I loved it.

    • This sounds great! Thanks for the rec!

    • Pretty Primadonna says:

      I have watched the first couple episodes and am mesmerized by it. Looking forward to seeing more. I cheered when she was pumping before a big match!

    • KateMiddletown says:

      Ooh thanks!

      On a completely different note, we finished Evil Genius last weekend (SO GOOD) and just started Wild Wild Country last night. Same producers but I fell asleep mid episode 1. Maybe because it’s still in the early cult leader bio part, but it’s very soothing and set in rural Oregon. Highly reco Evil Genius for those that like true crime.

  13. Paging EB0220 says:

    This is KateMiddletown re your eye doctor question from yesterday.

    My 8 y/o was tested regularly at the pediatrician ever year since she was 4 and at age 7 in 1st grade, she failed the school’s eye exam administered by the nurse. (Too many UGHs at our old ped.) I took her to Target Optometry first (where I go also) because they have cute frames, are in Target, and we didn’t have her on the vision plan. The optometrist there gave her a complete checkup, not traumatic at all, and she got some cute frames she loves.

    Because of her specific eye issue (refractive amblyopia), she now sees the expensive pediatric opthamologist in our town, which doesn’t accept vision and only two health insurance companies. It’s a few hundred $ every time she needs refraction (once a year.) She doesn’t have to patch anymore, and only has to go 1x a year. We still get prescriptions filled at Target for the lenses/frames.

    TLDR Highly recommend Target, but based on the dr at your local practice ymmv.

    • Ooh, I didn’t even think of Target! Thank you!

    • NewMomAnon says:

      FWIW, when I used to get glasses, I went to JC Penney’s – I was able to get glasses all-in (frames, plastic lenses, even rush prep) for $70. I felt more confident seeing an eye doctor for the vision test because I was having issues other than just vision problems.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep – Sears and Target are all run by Luxottica now (which also owns my vision insurance company, EyeMed. Not sure how that’s not a conflict of interest.) Happy with both places!

  14. ifiknew says:

    posting for above. I have a 13 month old that I feed most nights. she’ll do finger foods but things like rice are easier if I feed since she cannot eat that by herself. after half the meal, we need TV to get her to finish the meal. How would you suggest having family meals what she can we start?

    • We did family meals at that age. High chair up against the table. One parents sits next to child and feeds her while feeding themselves. Other parent sits across the table from them and eats in relative peace. Alternate nights who does what. We found having music on in the background helpful.

    • Anonymous says:

      We started around that time and tried as much as we could to just give kiddo bite sized pieces of what we were eating on her tray. I will admit that family meals got much easier after 2 or so when raw veggies and more raw fruits became more of an option. We would usually let her have the first 10 minutes or so to feed herself – finger foods or work on her utensil skills and then took turns helping her.

    • Anonymous says:

      You do not need tv.

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally get that foods like rice are easier (and cleaner!) If you feed them to a 13 month old, but I do think you’re creating a false choice. Your child will not go hungry without TV-assisted eating. If she’s not hungry enough to eat, distracting her (or yourself) with TV isn’t the answer, just put the food away and she’ll eat at the next meal.

      Fwiw, I mostly cut up everything and let my kids treat it as finger food, or as much as they could do with utensils, at that age. We vacuumed a lot. Once kiddos graduated from spoon feeding, I didn’t go back.

    • anne-on says:

      We started books at that age. I let my son ‘eat’ finger foods while I prepped dinner and then had him finish (or helped him eat) while reading to him. We read a page or so while he chewed and then turned the page, he also learned really quickly a page wasn’t going to be turned until he took a bite.
      Only problem is, like the poster above, he STRONGLY prefers eating first when one of us or the au pair will read to him instead of ‘boring’ dinners where he just has to talk to us. Oh well, reading isn’t the worst habit to get into, right?

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