Washable Workwear Wednesday: Ponte Sheath Dress

This Lands’ End ponte dress — a style that’s always been popular — is machine washable and available in regular, petite, tall, and plus sizes in five colors/patterns. If you’re a fan of Lands’ End dresses in general, keep in mind that they’ve got a ton of great deals on dresses right now — many under $35! Regular-priced items are 30% off right now, as well. Ponte Sheath Dress

P.S. Lands’ End On the Counter is back!

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. Anonymous says:

    Hive mind – what are your best baby proofing hacks? Any tips or tricks?? Obviously it’s very kid-dependent, but I’d love to hear about your experiences, things that worked well for you, things that didn’t, etc. Thanks in advance!!

    • mascot says:

      We liked the magnetic cabinet locks that you open with the key. Fewer smashed fingers that way. We just kept keys on the fridge and the microwave for easy access. We also used hardware mounted (opposed to tension mounted) walk-through baby gates on stairs and other dangerous areas. Vertical slats and no cross bar seemed to cut down on climbing. In the nursery, all the furniture was strapped to the wall. Our tv was out of reach above the fireplace. We used wire molding when possible to mount cords to the wall and make them less accessible.

      • This is what we’ve done too, but I’ll also note that we didn’t do it all at once. Ours was more a wait-and-see approach and we babyproofed as necessary. (We wall-mounted the tv when toddler started pulling on the tv stand, for example.) We don’t have a gate on the second-floor stairs since toddler is never upstairs unsupervised. (We do have a gate on the stairs down to the basement.) I guess this approach could have allowed an accident to happen, but it’s worked out for us.

      • +1 to magnetic cabinet locks. I like that you can switch them off and on, so if Kiddo is in bed and we’re cooking up a storm, we can just flip the switches to “off” and not deal with the magnets.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      Honestly, we’ve really only done the bare minimum, and it’s worked for us. We have the old-school plastic latches on the inside of the cabinet under the sink, bathroom cabinets, and the silverware drawer. All others are open. We have stoppers on our outlets. We anchored the furniture in the nursery and playroom to the wall. And, well, that’s it. Our main TV is mounted with hidden cords, so there’s no issue there. And most fragile stuff is up high already as we have had a big dog for years. I personally think there’s such thing as overkill.

      • Anonymous says:

        +1 – I focused on things that could really kill or badly injure, not cause bumps and bruises. So no corner protectors or anything like that. My son is also cautious by nature and never spent a lot of time poking around our cabinets and such. We gated off the entryway to our apartment and a room full of tools/projects/etc. We used IKEA cabinet locks for 2 cabinets with cleaning supplies in the kitchen and 1 in the bathroom, and old school outlet plugs. I did not lock the oven since my son was afraid of hot things and we were usually standing there when it was on anyway. I can’t remember if we briefly had a toilet lock? My son wasn’t interested in it.

        We did do a few things that were more for preserving our sanity – for bookshelves we used the “stuff the books in so tight the kid can’t unload them” method. I think I put I clear bookend under the DVD player with the part that sticks up blocking the buttons/opening too.

      • +1. Good friend is an ER doc and he sees a horrifying number of fallen furniture accidents. Our stuff is strapped.

        We replaced all outlets in the house with tamper resistant ones because I hate the plastic coverings.

        We put all sharp knives/peelers in the same kitchen drawer and put a lock on it. The rest are open.

        We mounted a gate at the top and bottom of our staircase, as well as the top of our 2nd story deck. That’s pretty much it. We have a 4 y/o (lived in a different house when she was tiny) and wanted to maintain some freedom for her.

    • Running Numbers says:

      We have success with the magnetic locks that mascot mentioned. We need them with our adventurous and curious son who otherwise does not stay out of cabinets. The old-school latches all broke off quickly for us. The only other real proofing we’ve done at this point is to put some foam pipe-insulator type stuff around the edge of the stone fireplace that looked like a magnet for fall and serious injury potential.

    • Butter says:

      Ugh, I’m struggling with this so much! I also believe in overkill but also am shocked at the number of things in our house that look much more dangerous now that LO is mobile. I’m struggling to balance babyproofing with just moving all movable objects to the basement for the next three years. We have two sets of stairs and each one is a special snowflake (moldings, weird banisters/no banisters at bottom to anchor gates). This is terrible but I’m tempted to call in a professional – has anyone done that?

      In the short term, any recs for the bottom drawer of a wall-mounted oven? Would the magnetic cabinet locks work on this?

      • Walnut says:

        We have two sets of stairs (one carpet, one hardwood) and we let kiddo learn to climb them. At first we alternated who was standing behind him, but after his proficiency improved, we just let him go. We’ve had a couple falls, but it wasn’t too bad.

      • Anonymous says:

        We called in a professional and I felt it was worth it. They did all the annoying stuff for us and pointed out some things I’d missed (my earrings weren’t safely stored away – loose change in cushions – just some “be smart” type stuff that we were too tired to notice).

    • Anonymous says:

      DH hired someone from Task Rabbit to do it. It saved a ton of time because the guy had done all the work before and could do it much faster than DH could. He installed baby gates, anchored furniture, and did all the cabinet locks (we also use the magnetic ones). We don’t have stairs, but did a gate into the kitchen and to the sliding glass doors in DS’ closet, which he loved to pull vertically from the bottom.

      • EBMom says:

        We also hired someone. So worth it. I could let child run free in the living area without having to say NO all the time or worry so much about her.

    • My son is also adventurous and curious and destructive and hurls himself from one near-death experience to another. We installed baby gates using tension. We used the magnetic cabinet locks in the kitchen and regular latches on cabinets in the bathroom and living room. We used outlet covers that slide in outlets we like to use frequently, and just ones that you push into the outlet for the ones that are less accessible. We mounted our tv and hid all the wires before our son was born, but I think that was more something my husband wanted than baby proofing. We have a toilet lock. We put plastic covers on the stove knobs. The only thing we didn’t do is anchor stuff to the wall, but we don’t really have anything that seems likely to topple.

      Honestly, with my kid, it was actually incremental and doesn’t seem like too much. He climbs everything. He loves playing in the drawers and cabinets that we haven’t locked and tests out the cabinets that are locked frequently–he’s even figured out how to circumvent the magnetic lock on one of the cabinets. He also tries to play with the stove knobs, both the covered ones at our house and uncovered ones at grandparents’ houses. We installed the toilet lock after he started playing in the toilet, and he’s played with it again when a grandparent forgot to put the seat down. We went to the aquarium about a month ago, and Kiddo wanted to play with the uncovered electrical outlets more than anything else there. Kiddo tries to pick up roach traps at one grandparents’ house and tries to bang and throw a paperweight at another grandparents’ house. Kiddo actually pulled a heavy iron fireplace grate/cover thing on top of himself at a grandparent’s house last week. (Grandparents don’t believe in baby proofing, and it’s apparently been “fine” with every other grandchild, but we don’t visit grandparents all that often for a reason.)

    • I don’t know if this counts as a hack, but DD1 learned to go up and down the stairs safely before she was even walking very well. We still have a gate, but I felt much better knowing that if she did end up on a staircase, even if it weren’t ours, she’d know to turn around and crawl down, not end up going head first. (This wasn’t a plan, MIL did it to help save her back from all of the carrying up and down. The safety part was a bonus)

      • In House Lobbyist says:

        Nana didn’t like carrying my kids up and down the stairs once they got bigger and heavier. She taught them to crawl up and sit and scoot down. It worked out well and we never had a baby gate and no problems.

      • Closet Redux says:

        +1 to this strategy!

      • Anonymous says:

        Yep! If you kid can crawl they can climb! As soon as LO was sitting up well I started teaching her “turn around and slide down” off the couch. She’s had a couple falls off the couch, but they’re usually that she has gotten ahead of herself and slips. We don’t have stairs in our apartment, but she could handle (and preferred to do it by herself) stairs in other places.

    • PregLawyer says:

      In addition to some of the things mentioned here, we stuck foam strips and corners to some of the hard edges in our house. They saved our little guy from a number of head-cracking falls, so I’m happy for that.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      It’s funny the things that have stuck. We have a sort of projecting brick hearth that is like, toddler-head-level-sharp-hard-edges kind of accident waiting to happen, and we’ve just draped a pretty blanket/rug over it and that has worked well. The kitchen is gated with tension gates.

      One thing I haven’t seen here is that we have those doorknob covers on the inside of Kiddo’s bedroom door. It’s not great that she can’t let herself out, but it IS great that she can’t lock us out.

    • shortperson says:

      our hack was hiring a professional. he did a great job! and did not charge that much on top of materials.

    • Anonymous says:

      We did cabinet locks, hid wires behind around the TV, wall mounted TV and have one baby gate (it keeps her from shoes/ her stroller/ our one bookshelf / the front door) She can now open our doors (lever handles) so I’m pretty sure the hall closet is going to be my next big project (seriously considering another baby gate inside the closet door.)

      I’m trying to do the least amount of babyproofing possible and teach her to be careful because Grandma’s house is not babyproofed (neither is Grammy’s house, but they live across the country).

    • Edna Mazur says:

      Hair ties around kitchen cupboards and yard sticks through drawer handles. This works well at places like grandparent’s houses who don’t want to be baby proofed all the time, but you can quickly do so if you visit often.

  2. Ugh, especially on International’s Women’s Day (and especially such as it is this year), I am really disinterested in buying anything from Land’s End after their whole ERA/Gloria Steinem debacle.

    • Anonymous says:

      Right? Like I was thinking that there might be something red featured today but at least avoid LE and similar.

      I still haven’t bought anything from LE since the whole Gloria Steinem fiasco. Not sure how much longer I’ll avoid but seeing it on International Women’s Day is not making me more likely to buy.

      • Or if you want to avoid the politics of it, just something that supports women’s causes or from a female-owned business… I mean there are lots of ways to go with it without picking this retailer.

    • Anonymous says:

      The model also looks like she has a gun in her back.

  3. Girl Clothes says:

    In honor of International Women’s Day, what are your favorite shops for awesome girl clothes? I love Princess Awesome and I’m interested in but haven’t ordered from the more reasonably priced Svanha.

    • EB0220 says:

      Love this! My kiddo has a shirt from Girls Will Be that she loves. We also buy a lot of things from Primary, which is free of hearts/glitter/characters/etc.

      • avocado says:

        I have never heard of Girls Will Be before–those shirts are awesome! I might have to get the “no limits” and “chemistry of me” styles for my STEM girl who already has way too many t-shirts.

        Along the same lines, the gift shops at NASA tourist spots sell a t-shirt with the mathematical formula for “be greater than average.”

    • avocado says:

      I have gotten cute tees from Nordstrom’s Peek brand celebrating women scientists, artists, authors, and explorers.

      • shortperson says:

        peek kids is actually a separate brand owned by charlotte russe. which is where i shopped for minidresses in the 90s, so it kinda blows my mind. anyways nordstrom carries some of their stuff but they have a lot more in their own stores and on their website.

    • Didn’t Target do a more gender neutral kids clothing line recently? Or am I thinking of their kids’ homegoods?

      • EB0220 says:

        Not really gender neutral, exactly, but we’ve gotten some things we love at Target, including: purple ninja turtle pajamas, star wars shirts and a girl power female superhero shirt (all in the girls’ section). If only they would make girls’ big hero 6 underwear we’d be happy. We do have girl ninja turtle underwear though.

      • Girl Clothes says:

        I wish more places would do neutral stuff. I bought my daughter firefighter pyjamas and dinosaur pyjamas from the Old Navy boys section. But why are they ‘boys’? Why isn’t there just a ‘kids’ section? Especially for the under 5 set.

        • Rainbow Hair says:

          I *blew* a cashier’s mind at Kohl’s by buying green dinosaur jammies for my little girl. Like… everyone cool loves dinosaurs, sorry, boys don’t get to monopolize that.

      • The toddler girl section has a couple of t-shirts with dinosaurs and solar system stuff.

    • POSITA says:

      I’ve had good luck getting science shirts for my preschooler at Carters. They go in and out depending in the season, but we have a shirt with a sparkly solar system with fluorescent planets that glow in the dark, a purple robot shirt, a pink dinosaur shirt, and awesome girl astronaut pjs. They are sciency and girly at the same time.

      I really hate girl shirts with inspirational sayings like “Be Amazing!” Boy shirts never have these types of sayings and they seem so…I can’t think of the word. It like girls can only dream of achieving while boys actually do achieve things. They drive me bonkers.

      • I hate all the “pretty like mommy” or “Princess in Training” tees. And now some have princess crossed out and president written in, but it feels condescending somehow. I think maybe I am just anti message shirts for babies.

        • lucy stone says:

          I generally hate this junk too, but recently bought a “Don’t Call me Princess, call me President” from Carter’s…

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, girl v. boy shirts. Bought my toddler the little boy “genius” sweatshirt from Target the same day they were selling “future lady nerd” shirts in the girls’ section. (Also picked up a “brains of the operation” shirt in the boys’ section of Children’s Place.)

      • avocado says:

        I don’t mind the “Be Amazing” shirts so much. I have often wondered why they don’t make them for boys too.

        Other places I have gotten cool science-themed tees: Gap (one about lightning and another with a solar system), J Crew (space and the environment), Garnet Hill (they sold the exact same graphic on a purple “girl” shirt and a “boy”-colored shirt). I think grandpa bought my kid the exact same glow-in-the dark solar system shirt from Carters, and we’ve found rocket ship pajamas and nightgowns at Garnet Hill. For socks, I love Sock It To Me. She’s got some knee-highs with an astronaut who is supposed to be Valentina Tereshkova, and some superhero ones with lightning bolts.

        • avocado says:

          I am apparently full of thoughts on this topic too–just remembered Out of Print for t-shirts featuring designs from classic book covers.

          • Anon in NYC says:

            Yes! Love these. My daughter has the Corduroy shirt and loves it.

          • EB0220 says:

            Oh. Out of Print is new to me and I LOVE it.

          • Girl Clothes says:

            I hadn’t heard of Out of Print and it is amazing! Kinda regret asking this question because I’m going to be broke!

      • shortperson says:

        this is a topic near and dear to my heart. we have girls’ space clothes from boden (including dresses and underwear), lands end and carters. we have girls dinosaur clothes from carters, jcrew and boden. my absolute favorite is a girl in a chemistry lab (making glitter! with her dog!) from crewcuts.

        i just picked up some girl’s transportation shirts (a helicopter and a boat doing rescues with animals, both called “save the day”) from boden. basically i am constantly scanning these brands and i buy whatever i find, sales be damned. most of my daughter’s clothes come from tea collection which has great animal graphics and absolutely no stupid shopping/jewelry/”i’m pretty” bs, but i find i need to branch out for the dinos, trucks etc. she also has a few boy tshirts (i.e. a red tea airplane shirt she wears every time we fly, i could not find a girl airplane shirt)

        • We had that crewcuts shirt too! I loved it! Alas, my 3 year old decided to try her own experiment with scissors and cut a big hole in it. :(

    • EB0220 says:

      I am apparently full of thoughts on this topic. We like REI for real kids’ outdoor clothes. We’ve bought both girls and boys items there, and they’re all very high quality. The girls’ quick dry cargo pants are our absolute favorite and we have a pair in every size from 12 mo to 6-7. We also do a lot of umbro soccer shorts + t-shirts in the summer. My 5 year old’s favorite is a dark green camping t-shirt from our favorite national park.

      • Girl Clothes says:

        Love the umbro soccer shorts idea! I can’t believe I didn’t think of that! So hard to find shorts for girls that are lightweight but not too short, these will be great.

        • EB0220 says:

          It was my husband’s brilliant idea! Lightweight, quick drying, not too short, inexpensive. She’s ripped just one pair, so they hold up pretty well too.

      • LOVE the Umbro shorts idea! I hate the bike leggings for girls and also hate the booty shorts (she’s 3!!! I do not want to see her upper thigh when she climbs the jungle gym!!!) But boys shorts are so baggy and loose, even on boys. I can’t believe i haven’t thought of this before.

        Seriously. Can they just make PLAY clothes for kids? My daughter can’t swing in a poofy dress, my son can’t climb in baggy cargo shorts. I’ve always thought there’s a connection between the overly-gendered clothes for young kids and the epidemic of inactivity.

        • avocado says:

          We also like the running shorts with the built-in liner–especially good for kids who spend half their lives upside down. Bonus: when my tween wears these with a baggy t-shirt and Chacos, it looks exactly like the outfit all the college girls are wearing all summer.

        • One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing families at the park where the little boys are dressed in play clothes and athletic shoes, and the little girls are wearing impractical dresses and tiny sandals that keep falling off their feet. Let them wear play clothes when they’re trying to play, for crying out loud. Save the strappy sandals for church, or a family dinner.

          • NewMomAnon says:

            Ugh, try convincing my three year old that she shouldn’t wear her fancy shoes to the park. I’ve caused so many tears and tantrums by unreasonably insisting that she wear play shoes to the park. You are right, of course – she really can’t climb or play with her fancy shoes on, so it’s super important that she wear sneakers. But sometimes….it doesn’t feel like it’s worth the fight.

      • Love this! Crossing the clothing aisle the other way, I got my skinny toddler some girls’ skinny jeans from Children’s Place. They’re actually jeans, not just leggings, so they stand up to all the climbing and jumping. And they have hearts on the back pockets. I love seeing him run around in them. Next best thing to naked baby bum.

    • Legally Brunette says:

      I recently bought a onesie that said “Relax. My mom is a doctor.” It’s a gift for my best friend’s 1 year old son. Obviously it would work for either gender but I liked the fact that her son will wearing it.

      Also, I’m an attorney and my 4 year old son asked my husband the other day, “Can boys be lawyers too??” :) :)

  4. Anonymous says:

    Ugh — my 4.5 year old is going through what I guess I’ll call the “poor me” phase. For the last two weeks, he has been constantly, CONSTANTLY telling me that “it’s not fair” if he doesn’t get something he wants, that I’m mean if I don’t do what he is requesting (go out to eat, buy him a toy, take him to Disneyland right now, etc.), and generally throws a fit if he doesn’t get to do exactly what he wants to do (e.g., this morning, he cried all the way into school because his two year old brother shut his door for him, and HE WANTED TO SHUT IT).

    If he sounds like a total brat, it’s because, frankly, he’s been acting like one. Here’s the odd part – it’s totally atypical behavior for him. He’s a lot of things, but has typically been an unusually grateful kid. We talk a lot about what we are thankful for (every day items, like “wow – you guys got so muddy today, I’m so glad we have this awesome washing machine!”). He has never been the kid to ask for toys at the grocery store or Target, or accepts adding something to a wishlist in lieu of walking out with it. I’m used to hearing things like “I’m thankful for my whole family today!” Or whatever. Until like two weeks ago.

    I can’t find a silver bullet though. I’ve tried a lot of acknowledging what he’s feeling, I’ve tried asking him if there is something a kid at school has that he specifically wants (but I don’t think this is it b/c it is impacting EVERYTHING), I’ve tried upping my own gratitude in front of him, and last night, I lost it and yelled at him (he threw a fit because I didn’t take him to buy a new toy after school — which is something I’ve never ever done). He perked up (also unusual for him, me losing my temper usually makes him worse) and went back to his usual self the rest of the evening. We had to grocery shop, and he was doing great at the store, so I did let him pick out branded items at the grocery story (stuff we would have bought anyway, but I let him pick the Disney branded soup and toothpaste), and he seemed excited about those things. Before bed, we talked a little about how there will always be things you can’t have, but it’s best to be thankful for what you have and work to get what you want (and talked about ways he can save for a new toy). This morning, as mentioned, though — breakfast wasn’t a special treat so he threw a fit, and the car door thing.

    Is this a phase?? I’m particularly sensitive to not wanting to raise an entitled kid, and this behavior is just — argh, so awful to me. It’s also so unusual, and I just can’t seem to figure out how to get him through this phase? Or am I missing something here?? Do I just keep standing firm and not giving in to the requests, while acknowledging it’s hard when you don’t get what you want? Or what?? AHHHH – mostly, I REALLY HATE THIS BEHAVIOR, GIVE ME BACK MY SWEET KID!

    • avocado says:

      I am re-reading “How to Talk So Kids Will Listen” and it suggests granting the child’s wish in fantasy–“Yes, I wish we had your favorite cereal so you could have it for breakfast today!”

      For what it’s worth, this is a totally normal developmental phase.

      • Anonymous says:

        Oh that’s a good one. That will resonate well with him.

        It’s the total, toddler-esq meltdowns that I just don’t get. I am hopeful it’s developmentally appropriate because I can feel my internal anxiety rise when he melts down in a screaming puddle of tears when his requests aren’t granted.

      • EB0220 says:

        Yes. I go totally overboard with this, e.g. “I wish we had pantsloads of cereal! Mountains of cereal! I wish we could have it for every meal. etc.” This usually makes them laugh and then we move on.

    • Anonymous says:

      1- sounds normal, and that sucks, so commiseration!! FWIW, my little one just turned 3, so the rest of this is just spit-balling.

      2- try keeping a wish list for him? get a small notepad, carry it EVERYWHERE, and every time he wants something, write it down.

      3- try giving it to him in a (ridiculous) fantasy. E.g., breakfast wasn’t a special treat today — “OH YES I WISH we had a personal chef who would make a special breakfast of everyone’s favorite breakfast foods, maybe I would even have COFFEE CAKE with my coffee!” (or some other treat that you don’t typically have for breakfast)

      This could be just learning how imagination interacts with real life (that is, he imagines having something, and then is upset that he can’t HAVE it when that thing ACTUALLY EXISTS); this could be that he is starting to see how hard you’re working and wants one-on-one time with you instead of watching you take care of things for him all the time; this could be that he wants more praise for the things he IS doing right (perhaps the 2-yr-old is getting praised for normal things and the older one thinks, well I need to start acting out in order to get attention). If anything works, report back!

      • Anonymous says:

        Really interesting, thank you. I am definitely going to incorporate the indulging in wishful thinking (and man, now I really do want coffee cake!!). I need to think some more on the interactions between the kids, and my one on one time with him. We haven’t had a ton of that lately, and my husband has been traveling a little more lately. The 2 year old has also been an usually bright ball of sunshine lately, so maybe there is more there than I realized.

    • Legally Brunette says:

      I posted below the situation with my 4 year old, but any chance he dropped a nap recently or is not sleeping as well? My child is a totally different person (aka brat) when he isn’t sleeping enough.

      Otherwise, this could very well be behavior that he picked up from classmates at school too.

      • Anonymous says:

        ha! I was just about to reply to you. I had the opposite experience – I had to fight my son’s Montessori teachers to keep him OUT of the nap room because he couldn’t fall asleep at night anymore. He was still consistently falling asleep at nap time, and the teachers felt like he wasn’t ready to stay in the large classroom. As you mentioned, the Primary classroom’s afternoon work period was a little more intense (because it was only the older kids in the class at that time), and his teachers didn’t think he was ready for it. However, we saw a lot of that same tired, cranky behavior because he was still awake at 10PM every night.

        Ultimately, they capitulated, and his behavior evened out over a few weeks of really early bedtimes (he was often asleep by 6:45 or 7PM while he transitioned). I would push to put him back in the nap room, OR if that doesn’t work, can you truncate your night? Feed him dinner in the car (heat something at the office then hand to him to eat in the car), straight to bed when you get home, etc. It’s not ideal, but it should be short-term while you get him over through the transition. Also, the Okay to Wake clock is awesome for this age because they really do get it.

        My son’s schedule has now totally evened out (wish that were the silver bullet for this odd behavior, alas). He still does roly-poly rest time at school, but hardly ever sleeps during the day, and he consistently sleeps from about 7:30 to 7:15AM now. We set the okay to wake clock for 7, and it seems to help get him one more short sleep cycle after he usually has an initial wake-up at 6:15 or so.

    • Anonymous says:

      I also find that coming up with a wild fantasy sometimes helps in these situations. My kid gets into the game and (sometimes) forgets about his woes. He’s also gotten in the habit of saying things like, “if I can’t have a cookie after breakfast, I’m NOT going to eat a cookie after dinner!”, as if that will convince me. To which, umm, fine? Funny little kid logic :)

    • Here’s a probably unhelpful perspective from someone a few years away from having a 4.5 year old: he’s trying to figure out what fairness means! That’s pretty cool! Even if he is not really there yet, it sounds like it’s a concept that is important to him. obviously not really helpful, but this will buy you a few minutes more patience during your next episode :)

    • Anonymous says:

      Your kiddo going back to himself after you yell at him is the clue here. He is looking for you to set boundaries. He’s moving out of toddler “big feelings” into little kid “something resembling logic.” So everytime he says something isn’t fair you need to ask him to describe what would be fair. He’s testing out a concept that he thinks should magically get him what he wants, he’s beginning to see that boundaries are things that exist OUTSIDE of his parents (fairness, rules, laws, etc.) Learning that your parents are bound by rules (or situations, or economics) can be both empowering and terrifying.

      • Anonymous says:

        Great, resonating point. What do I do when he logically answers that it would be fair to drive to Target and buy him a new toy? Follow it to its logical conclusion (every day we’d get a toy, and we wouldn’t have money left to buy food?). I’ve tried going down that route, and he just tells me that I’m mean and cries. Adding empathy and explaining that there are things I want but can’t have doesn’t help. Again, I’m mean and he cries. Should I assume that, like most things with parenting and life, the only way out is through?

        • I think the fantasy thing could help here. So instead of explaining, “Every day we’d get a toy, and then we wouldn’t have money for food,” you’d say, “I wish we could go to the toy store every day and buy whatever we wanted. I’d buy a giant green toy dinosaur. What would you buy…. Yeah, that would be really cool. Time to wash your hands for dinner.” It’s a relatively simple way of showing that there are those outside limits for you too and of expressing empathy.

        • Anonymous says:

          You can also teach the money lesson on other, less fraught issues, or inadvertently, as I apparently did: my son told his teacher at preschool, “Don’t buy expensive bacon. Buy cheap bacon and you will have more money for donuts.” We do spend a lot of time looking for “bacon ends” at the grocery store, but I swear we only buy donuts when traveling. (I admit this is probably more related to the paucity of great fresh yeast donuts in our area more than dietary discipline).

        • Anonymous says:

          I think you have to point out that ‘fairness’ isn’t about him. Fairness is about comparing two situations. So ask him who is getting a toy? If he says it’s not fair, you say it is fair because I am not getting a toy, daddy is not getting a toy, brother is not getting a toy. No one in our family is getting a toy. That’s fair. If you got a toy that would be unfair to brother and mommy and daddy. You would be the mean one.

          Also I’d double down on ‘mean.’ Yep, mommy makes you sleep outside in the snow. Yep, mommy is really an ogre with blue skin who eats children. Yep mommy never gives hugs. Give him a little perspective in a silly way.

          When he’s not in the middle of tantruming, tell him that calling you mean hurts your feelings. Bring it up a few times to establish that it’s a rule. Then the next time he says it while upset, you can ask him about how his words make you feel. (Or how his words make brother or dad feel when he says things about them.)

          I don’t think any of this will solve the problem instantly, but basically teaching him to think about other people’s feelings in relation to his own will make him a better adult.

    • Spirograph says:

      My son is almost 4, other than that I thought I might have sleep-wrote this post earlier in the day… No advice, but major commiseration. Fwiw, I’m 95% sure insufficient sleep, younger siblings getting more attention (baby and potty-training toddler), and lack of QT with parents because there are only so many hours in the day are contributing causes, in my case. I keep trying different tactics to address them, but it’s hard.

  5. Anonymous says:

    My son is 4.5 and while not doing exactly this is more annoying than he has ever been (in my foggy memory), so I feel your pain. Have you tried talking to him about similar feelings you have, like, I really want to go to Disneyland right now too, ugh, it is frustrating that I can’t? Its similar to acknowledging but I wonder if something about showing that you too are somewhat powerless to have what you want all the time would make him feel better – its not just because you are a kid, it’s because no one gets that.

    My son also responds well to goofy imaginary games, like, wait, didn’t you realize this dirty car is the bus to Disneyland! This would only work if he was in the right mood but sometimes a silliness reset helps, and he loooves pretending right now. This may be why my mother used to claim she changed her name every day at 5 pm when we got whiny – she’s say, oh no, I’m not Mommy, I’m xxx (silly name). So when we were saying Mommy mommy mommy my door is closed, etc etc etc she’d tell us she wasn’t Mommy and make us laugh with her new name.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh those are good ones too!! I know this behavior is triggering concerns I have about how I want him to turn out, so I know I have to try to not make every meltdown a Very Important Thing where we talk about Life Lessons. I feel like a stage mom, but rather than focusing on his “star power,” I’m extremely worried about his emotional health…

      Also, ironically, we are taking the kids to Disney in the next few weeks, but they don’t know about it yet. We keep waiting for a window to tell them so that it’s not so far away it’s totally abstract OR in response to a demand! Dang. I’m also really, really afraid that this behavior will come out at Disney (ignoring the rides and treats he did get in lieu of the ones he didn’t).

      • Anonymous says:

        I totally understand! I recently said to my son’s teacher, “so he’s not a sociopath, that’s good!” We’re having a different problem in which my son is sort of violently affectionate with me – he’ll punch me, poke me, squeeze me, run into me, etc. He doesn’t do it maliciously or really hard, and I think generally he’s doing it to express affection or get my attention, but it (a)drives me nuts and (b)makes me think I must get him to stop and learn he has to respect physical boundaries, particularly with women, so he isn’t a rapist or something. It’s very hard not to project what will happen if what is probably normal 4 year old behavior doesn’t change.

        • Don’t project just yet- this is all normal, albeit frustrating. Have you tried working on the personal space concept? There are some books out there like Personal Space Camp that talk about staying in your own space. We also have to talk about part of getting bigger and stronger means that you have to be aware of how you touch people so you don’t hurt them. There’s some research out there that talks about how roughhousing, particularly with an adult, helps kids learn how to moderate their strength. If you need pro help or it’s a sensory issue, a play therapist can work on this with him.

          • Anonymous says:

            He doesn’t seem to do it to others – or I’ve never heard about it anyway – so I think I am just extra sensitive to it, and/or he likes to do it to me more than other adults. I really do think it is mostly driven by a desire to connect and in better moments I counter with, do you need a hug? I remind him to stay in his own body space a lot, although more in the context of stop leaning on that random person on the subway. But I will check out Personal Space Camp. (It would be great if it featured the cast of Space Camp, but I am sure that is too much to hope for).

  6. Legally Brunette says:

    My 4 year old recently dropped his nap at school (not because he was no longer tired, but children at his Montessori are pulled from the nap room at that age). He still takes a nap on weekends, often for 3 hours.

    He’s EXHAUSTED and so cranky when he comes home from school (he doesn’t get home until 5 pm, so it’s a long day for him). He doesn’t want to eat his dinner, is pinching/kicking his little brother, and is just generally really acting up. This is very atypical behavior. He also always comments that he’s “so tired”, even after he wakes up in the morning.

    He currently goes to bed by 8 pm and wakes up around 6:45 am. I know this would be enough sleep for many 4 year olds but it seems clear that this isn’t enough for him. But I realistically can’t put him to bed any earlier because of when I get back home (I sometimes can manage with 7:45 pm).

    Any suggestions? Should I ask the teacher to put him back in the nap room a few days a week? My son loves being with the non-nappers because they do a lot of interesting work in the afternoons, but he seems genuinely so so exhausted by the end of the day.

    • Anonymous says:

      If getting him a nap at preschool is still an option, I would do it. Kindergarten may be more of a challenge. My 4 year old dropped his nap a while ago — I’m a bit jealous of that 3 hours on weekends you are getting — but another parent was telling me her kindergartner still needed a nap. Both her kids need a lot of sleep. Anyway, her solution is to have her daughter nap when she gets home from school, which apparently doesn’t interfere with bedtime. This wouldn’t work in an afterschool/aftercare program, but if you have a babysitter picking him up and caring for him before you get home it might be an option.

    • mascot says:

      Dropping the nap is rough (my son dropped his around 4.5) and it seems like they drop it before they are 100% ready. You can ask if he can go back to the other room to sleep, but he may be over it now that he’s seen the nap free future. I’d do whatever you can at home to promote his sleep- temporarily earlier bedtimes as practical, room darkening shades, keeping the weekend naps. Also, a snack on the way home could help with the evening grumps. If he’s waking up earlier in the morning because he is hungry from not eating dinner, it may help that too.
      like most sleep related things, it will be an adjustment period so be patient.

    • CPA Lady says:

      He can’t go to bed til 8 or *you* cant put him to bed til 8? Because this may be a crappy short term situation where someone other than you needs to put him to bed earlier if you can’t. Alternately, you could attempt to white knuckle through and see if he adjusts in a few weeks.

      If this is a situation where you could put him to bed earlier but your evening just takes forever, I would really see if there was anywhere you could possibly cut corners so you could get him in bed by 7. If dinner is long or complicated, buy a bunch of pre-made food, get takeout a few times a week, get friendly with your crock pot, or make some scrambled eggs and toast.

      If whoever is home with him (you, a sitter, your husband?) at 5 pm is waiting on the other to eat dinner, don’t wait, just eat as soon as food is ready. If the bedtime routine takes 2 hours, cut it dramatically. Bath 2x per week in the winter. PJs, tooth brush, 2 books, lights out.

      If this is about you or your husband working so late that you don’t get to see your kid as much as you want, that’s unfortunate, but this too shall pass. It sounds like his sleep needs to be the priority at the moment. He’ll need less sleep really soon, and this is only a temporary situation. I’m probably a hardened monster, but a babysitter put my kid to bed for weeks in a row during tax season when I was working in public accounting and my husband was working nights. It sucked not to get to see her at night, but she genuinely needed to go to bed before I got home. We got through it. Good luck.

      • Kindergarten boy says:

        100% agree with this if you can make it work. Both my kids were super high sleep needs (ha ha for me not as babies!) and napped at school until the day they started kindergarten. They had mostly given up weekend naps by that point but at school they needed that rest. When kinder started and they had no nap bedtime moved up from 8:30 to 7 and even then they were exhausted for a while – even though kinder was much less time than pre k. So I agree to do whatever it takes to get kid to sleep earlier OR put him back in the nap room.

  7. shortperson says:

    i struck out yesterday so i’ll try again today — any thoughts/experience with the new ($999!!) naya breast pump? it looks amazing on their website.

    • Kindergarten boy says:

      Never heard of it but 1k for a pump? Not unless you know you are going to have problems pumping and this pump would solve them.

      The $250 Medela PISA was great for me and the Symphony (? The hospital grade model) that can be rented monthly was even better (I had access at a work site). Not sure what could make a pump worth $1k and this is from someone who HATED pumping so I would have spent the $ on whatever would have made it better. But I’d rather have the extra $700 for some ME funds!

      • shortperson says:

        thanks. i used a PISA with my first and did not love it. that’s why i’m looking specifically for someone with experience with the Naya, not just to criticize the price without further information. if it’s as good as it looks it’s worth the money to me for various reasons which is why i’m asking for experience. but to each their own. looks like no one on here has taken the plunge yet, it is a brand new product.

        • Anonymous says:

          I almost posted without any info either, just because I want to be helpful and felt bad that no one was giving you any helpful advice. So while I did not, I could have written K Boys’ post, and hope you could see that this might be an attempt to be helpful rather than backhanded criticism of you for considering this pump.

          • Kindergarten boy says:

            Hey thanks for this….that’s exactly why I wrote it, sorry if it wasn’t helpful OP…I felt bad that you hadn’t had any responses.

          • shortperson says:

            i get it, and i do appreciate it for what it’s worth. here is the video if you’re curious. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3_kL5_7qcQ. the main difference is that it is a water-based pump and is supposed to be a lot more of a natural sucking action. i think i will take the plunge probably, so by next year should be able to update others on it.

  8. Point and Shoot says:

    Discussion on the main page got me all excited but I feel like conversations get lost there… Any recommendations here for a specific point and shoot camera? Budget is $500 or less. I print a lot of pictures and have them made into gifts for various occasions. iPhone photos can’t hang. Every picture from my trusty old Canon is now blurry, but it’s probably 8+ years old. I need something that can quickly capture very fast kiddo. Bonus points if I don’t have to think to use it… at all.

  9. Anon. says:

    Late post so hopefully people see it – does anyone here use the Glossier Supers set? I have some of their makeup and find it really easy to use. My routine is literally less than two minutes, so I like the idea of the set as a kind of all in skincare routine. Thoughts? Thanks.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have it! I like the hydrator one, but the others didn’t really do anything for me. I also can’t really figure out why I would need the hydrator one if I already have moisturizer? I have a different, fancier vitamin c serum (from skinceuticals) that really does seem to do something (although it could just be me trying to justify the price).

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