Family Friday: “Rescue Ready” Fire Engine Twirly Play Dress

This dress is from Princess Awesome, which my cousin has said is probably the only place she’d ever buy a dress for her daughter from. I like the idea behind it, that it’s combining inspiring prints along with very simple, non-fussy clothes. I also like that there are scarves and headbands for moms, and things for babies, like headbands and dresses, in the same prints. They’ve got a pi dress, a rockets dress, a dinosaurs dress, etc. — it’s very cute but also on message (that girls should be encouraged to like anything they want, whether or not it’s something stereotypically “for boys”). This dress is 100% cotton and comes in sizes 2T-12. It’s $42.95 at Princess Aweome. “Rescue Ready” Fire Engine Twirly Play Dress with Long Sleeves



  1. Anonysaurus says:

    This is so cute! I think the Princess Awesome stuff is great, wish I had a little girl to dress in it!

    PS I’m wearing a land’s end shift dress I read about here and I’d like to sing its praises. I usually can’t wear shift dresses (I’m a skinny pear shape and am larger on bottom than on top) but this one fits pretty well, and has stretch to accommodate my shape without being tight. Also, it’s machine washable. I was pleasantly surprised with this purchase.

    • Meg Murry says:

      I also wish I had a little girl to dress like this – I plan to get my niece some for her next birthday.

      Along the same lines, Svaha has STEM based dresses for adults and kids, and they also have kids t-shirts that aren’t gendered but rather available as “fitted” or regular, in designs like constellations, dinosaurs, construction vehicles, etc. The adult dresses are bordering on the Mrs. Frizzle territory, so I’m debating if I can pull them off, but the super dork in me really wants one. Has anyone ordered from there and can you report back on the quality? They were running a promo that donated to the March for Science a few weeks ago, which I considered buying for, but I was on a shopping ban at the time.

      • these are so fun! I don’t think I would actually wear them unironically though… Probably to a SWE conference, women in STEM panel, or similar type event.

      • suburbs prof says:

        I have 3 of their dresses (engineer/gear one that isn’t available anymore, the chromosomes, and the circuit board one). I’ve worn all but the chromosome out and about on weekends and I love it. I’m going to order the glow in the dark jellyfish one.

        They seem to be very good quality and seem to run small. I ordered one size bigger than normal and it fits me well and actually looks really flattering!

        I wish some of the prints were smaller so that I could wear them to work without calling too much attention to myself but I am practicing working on NGAF and these are good for that.

  2. That is adorable! Has anyone seen the posters designed by the author of Rosie Revere Engineer? I’ve printed the citizens one off and put it on my office door – big kids need inspiration too!

  3. I’m curious about how everyone gets alone time on weekends. I’m not talking about going out on dates or meeting up with friends. I mean, how do you get PEACE AND QUIET in your own home? And how much is reasonable to expect? The last few weekends have been kind of awful. By the end of Saturday, I feel like I am so close to losing my s**t on my husband and kids if I have to listen to one more request or fulfill one more demand. And I feel absolutely terrible saying that. I miss them like crazy during the week. However, I am an introvert who really needs some quiet to recharge and I’m not getting it. When I wake up early to read and grab a cup of coffee before everyone wakes up — it’s like they sense it, and pretty soon the whole house is awake and I’m resentful that I didn’t get any time to myself (and sacrificed sleep to do so.). I’ve tried using my toddler’s naptime as my quiet time, but that’s when my 7-year-old is either running in and out of the house, or wants alone time with me.

    I love my family, I really do, but not getting any space to myself on the weekends (other than when I’m doing chores) is getting to me.

    • mascot says:

      I have to either leave the house or have my husband/kid leave the house. Sometimes my alone time takes the form of an extended grocery store trip or a workout and I’ve learned to make peace with that.

      • avocado says:

        +1. If I’m lucky, I can carve out time for one exercise class over the weekend. I feel slightly guilty for actively discouraging any interest my kid has in yoga so I can preserve that time for myself. Every few months I can convince daddy to take the kid to the movies, but when they get home I am always expected to have accomplished a bunch of chores in their absence so I’m not sure how helpful that is.

        • Blueberry says:

          +1 if possible, I go for a run or a swim alone. Often the running ends up being with the kids in the stroller, but it is still nice to get out, and at least the kids are constrained in a stroller and there’s a limit to how much we can interact when I’m huffing and puffing! I also enjoy the alone time of listening to a podcast while doing chores or cooking while husband plays with the kids. Easier to really be alone now that the weather is good and they can more easily spend time in the back yard. Man, my life is super lame…

        • In your opinion, is the parenting work/ housework equitably distributed between you and your husband? I noticed that he’s grouped in with your kids when you mentioned requests and demands in your original post, and just now when you mentioned that you’re expected to have accomplished chores while the rest of the family is at the movies. If there isn’t an equal distribution of work, would fixing that help matters for you?

      • Spirograph says:

        I swim. Exercise, alone time, and quiet all in one. Then I take a long shower and sit in the sauna. There’s babysitting at the gym for up to 90 minutes, which means I sometimes cut the workout short so I can have a longer shower/sauna time, but whatever. The quiet is the main draw.

      • mascot says:

        After reading all these comments, I decided I needed more than solo errands. So I got up early this morning and am enjoying my coffee and my book while sitting outside on my deck. The only noise is the birds. It’s awesome.

    • Can you put your husband in charge for a set amount of time Saturday morning? Say, he’s on duty until 11:00 am? You could do the same for him Sunday morning. That’s a tentative plan for us once my husband’s schedule is a little more regular.

      • +1 This is our life. It doesn’t always involve everyone out of the house, but it might mean that Dad takes the kids in the backyard while I read a book and sip coffee. Or I build an obstacle course in the basement while Dad putts around on the Internet. We try to give each other a good 3 hour “break” at least once a week. We’re both pretty strong extraverts, but even we just need time to do something uninterrupted and relaxed.

      • +1. Most weekends we alternate who gets to “sleep in,” which is usually until about 8:30 or 9. DH actually sleeps on his day, but I typically am awake but use the extra hour or 2 to lay in bed and read. It’s nice not to have to pop out of bed and immediately respond to 100 demands.

    • AnonMom says:

      Can the 7 year old nap at the same time with the toddler? Or maybe you two can sit on the couch and read books?Try to do all your chores while they are awake and use the time after they fall asleep all for yourself. Weekends are a never ending running around for me as well. But I try to make a conscious effort to do something for myself while the baby naps and after I put him to bed at night.

      • +1. Most weekends, when Kiddo naps, we rest. We try to do chores and errands when Kiddo is awake. We also involve Kiddo in many chores. He’s only 2, so his “help” actually slows things down right now, but I enjoy having him involved and feel like it’s teaching him something about being a helpful member of the household. Kiddo loves the grocery store and especially loves Costco (samples, but also he’s fascinated by the giant fans on the ceiling). At home he likes putting utensils in the dishwasher, throwing trash away, loading the washing machine and pressing buttons, pulling wet stuff out of the washing machine, and using the small brush to sweep into the dust pan. He hates the vacuum, and we don’t clean with strong products near him, so those chores are harder to find time for and often get put off longer than I’d like to admit.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I typically get about an hour and a half of alone time every Saturday morning while my husband takes our daughter to do the weekly grocery shopping/run errands. That’s it. It is treasured and fiercely guarded time.

      Now that my husband’s traveling a lot more for work, I’m thinking about being more aggressive about taking time to do stuff out of the house by myself when he’s in town. Plus then they can really have more focused time together. I typically rush to get stuff done during my daughter’s nap time on the weekend, but now I’m thinking I’ll take my sweet time and if he ends up solo parenting after nap because I’m not home yet, that’s fine.

      I also am the person who has been known to take a whole or half vacation day and leave my kid in daycare so I can have a whole day to myself. I do this with zero guilt. I’m doing it next week, actually.

      • A few weeks ago I did it for two days in a row. It was glorious. I haven’t had two workdays off in a row for myself since a vacation I took on my own in 2012. Highly recommend.

        • Onlyworkingmomintulsa says:

          I also sometimes take a day or two off of work while the kids are in daycare to get errands done/hair appointments/etc and it is really great!

    • Sarabeth says:

      We try to have each parent take both kids out of the house for a few hours one weekend morning. It doesn’t happen every weekend, but when it does, it’s bliss. On Saturdays, the baby tags along to his big sister’s music class (she’s old enough that it’s not a parent-participation class anymore, so we sit in the hall with the baby) and on Sundays it’s usually pastries in the park.

    • AnonMN says:

      I’m pretty certain this is why “man caves” are/were so popular. Is there a spot in your house (office, bedroom, basement room) where you can put an awesome chair for relaxing/reading? The let your husband/kids know you are off limits for an hour or two. It helps if the spot is a place where you can’t see messes/laundry/etc.

      Or, send them all on an errand/to the park/on a walk every Saturday morning. It can be their fun dad tradition, and it would allow you to get your alone time.

      Needing alone time is something I struggled with when I first had kids (how could I possibly want to spend time away from them other than work!?!?!) but I quickly realized that was unhealthy thinking (and driven by the societal sterotype that working moms don’t spend enough time with their kids). Just like working makes me a better mom because I am happy and challenged, having some alone time makes me a better mom because I am happy and sane.

      I’m fortunate that I WFH now and the kids are in daycare, so I get a lot of time to fill my introvert bucket. But when I wasn’t, I always tried to carve out an hour or two of time for myself on the weekend. Out sourcing chores is another thing that helped, as then I wasn’t spending the weekends cleaning.

      • I do have an awesome chair in our bedroom. But really, I’m realizing that I absolutely can’t get peace and quiet unless DH either takes them out of the house or insists that they play in the basement. If they’re upstairs, where I’m at, the closed door is like a challenge to them.

        Thanks for addressing the guilt issue. I’ve gotten way better in this regard, but it still sneaks up on me sometimes. I know I need alone time to be a sane/not grumpy mom, so why is it so hard for me to set that boundary?

    • How about when your younger one goes down for a nap, ask DH and your 7 year old to go out of the house and do something fun together? Or, how about you step out during that time and go take a walk, exercise, bookstore?

      If you have any freedom to work from home, I highly recommend doing so one day a week. I love working from home on Fridays because I like the feeling of having an empty house all to myself.

    • I love that early morning time too. I’ve started giving myself a little bit of time (10-15 minutes) to have a cup of coffee in peace, and then I get out of the house and take my dog out for a long walk in the woods before everyone starts to stir. Everyone seems to manage just fine if I’m actually out of the house, and just that hour of peace and quiet does wonders for my mood for the rest of the day.

    • PatsyStone says:

      +1 I call it playing hooky. I’ll have some errand to do and I’ll take my time, going to Starbucks, make phone calls from a parking lot, go wander around the Ross or CVS in my nearby strip center (inexpensive retail therapy). My husband isn’t going to offer it/think of it, but he 100% doesn’t mind.

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        Ha, yes, this is about what I do! “I have to go to Target to get [thing]…” plus a stop at Starbucks, plus extended texting from my car, plus wandering the aisles of Michaels.

        Though I could count on one hand (only using one finger) the number of times I have been in my house without the kid there. I take her out for solo dates all the time — I should really get my husband to do the same.

    • Meg Murry says:

      Sometimes I declare myself to be “running errands” and drive to the drugstore or similar, then drive to an out of the way park and sit in the car with my book or kindle and read. When my kids were younger and only consistently napped when in the car, I’d go out for a drive, I would drive around until they crashed out, and then park somewhere with my book or audiobook and headphones.

      Luckily, my oldest is also an introvert, and I started enforcing rest/quiet/book/alone time when I was pregnant with my youngest and my oldest was 4. Seven is old enough to understand the concept of “Mom needs some quiet alone time, so you can go play in the basement, or read quietly in your room. If you need something, go ask Dad, but you can NOT come in Mom’s room unless it’s an emergency. And emergency means someone is hurt bad enough to go to the doctor or the house is on fire – not being able to find your favorite Lego is not an emergency.”

      The other thing I can sometimes get away with is to lock myself away with a monster pile of laundry and an audiobook or podcasts – the kids and husband know laundry makes me grumpy but it has to be done, and they need to leave me alone then. Sitting in a chair and reading is my #1 choice, but offering to take on a dreaded chore in exchange for the husband keeping them out of my hair is sometimes worth the peace and quiet.

      I have to be extremely explicit with my kids and husband and remind them every so often, because my 5 year old will otherwise walk right past his father *standing in the kitchen* to come upstairs and ask me to get him some lunch or tie his shoes. Seriously kid?

      • The laundry + podcast is another favorite trick of mine. When the drier buzzes, I’ll get up to fold clothes, shut the door to the bedroom, and listen to a podcast while I fold.

      • I will echo what others have said above in that I generally need to leave the house or have the kids leave the house. Now that my oldest is 6 and an introvert, my youngest’s nap time is “quiet time” in the house. I don’t care what my oldest does, but he has to do it by himself. He is also beginning to be able to tell time, so I tell him that he can come ask me a question at 2:30 but not before unless it is an emergency. He will generally be at my feet at 2:30, but I know that I get at least an hour to myself. It helps that he is old enough to get himself something to drink and wipe himself.

        And yes — not being able to find your favorite your favorite lego/crayon/stuffie/treasured acorn you found yesterday in the yard is NOT an emergency.

        Oh and now that my kids are both getting a bit older (3 and 6), I have found that they will happily play together on Saturday mornings for a while on their own. They will disappear into the playroom with their breakfasts for a few hours, and I can actually get things done. They know that if they bug me, they get enlisted into service, i.e. go find all of the socks in your room/the play room/kitchen/wherever else you were when you found your socks to be “itchy” this week.

    • Anonymous says:

      We trade off mornings and nap time. I’m on Saturday mornings and DH is ‘off’ until 11am. I’m off Saturday afternoons when the younger kids nap (about 1-3pm). DH does something in the house with oldest. Vice Versa on Sundays. I usually nap or go to yoga, DH usually goes for a run. Whoever is ‘off’ has domain over the master bedroom/bathroom and other adults/kids have to leave them alone. Kids might complain but DH and I each need the break.

      We prioritize family lunch and family time after nap time but before supper so it’s not all single parenting.

    • Momata says:

      I find this so, so, so hard – both to find the time and to take it without guilt. Husband and I take turns waking up early with the kids – one gets Saturday and one gets Sunday. I do the shopping and take my time; browsing the clearance sections at Target is my me-time. I have a 45-60 min commute each way so I also try to appreciate that as me-time, to catch up on phone calls and zone out in a good podcast. And once or twice a week after the kids go down, I abandon my husband and take a bath. But I haven’t found a way to be alone in the house during the day (other than taking a PTO day) that doesn’t wrack me with guilt from missing a fun activity with the kids. And I so need that time.

      • Anon for this because I sound like a monster says:

        When does doing stuff with kids start being fun? How old are these kids?

        So far, almost every time I try to do something “fun”, it ends in me gritting my teeth to get through it and my 2 year old having a tantrum. Or whining incessantly. Or trying to grab stuff she shouldn’t. Or getting mad because I’m trying to move her off of a piece of playground equipment because she’s about to break her face. Or getting a rock stuck in her shoe. Five times in a row. And then screaming and kicking wildly when I try to get it out. Or demanding to use the potty and then once we get in there, trying to pry an in-use stall door open, and then having a tantrum and throwing herself on the disgusting bathroom floor when I redirect her to an empty stall.

        I do that “fun” stuff so we aren’t cooped up in the house, but for the most part it’s not actually fun. I would much rather be alone in my house than trying to have fake fun with my whiny toddler on an extremely precious vacation day. 2 years old is better than 1, but I’ve heard 3 is awful. Please tell me that doing activities is actually fun at some point and that someday I will have a vacation that I will reemerge from rested rather than exhausted and crabby and questioning my fitness as a mother more than I already do.

        • Anon for this because I sound like a monster says:

          That was so negative. I really do love my daughter and when we have fun, it’s lots of fun. The toddler thing is just so incredibly exhausting.

        • Toddlers are really hard and I totally relate to what you’re saying. Fun stuff becomes more fun when they’re 3.5 or 4 and not trying to kill themselves at every turn.

        • Haha. I understand how you feel. What has helped me have fun–actual fun, not just forced fun–on outings with Kiddo (who’s just turning 2) is lowering my expectations dramatically. If we’re doing a big outing, I try to do it in the mornings because that’s when Kiddo is happiest. We keep outings short, usually just an hour to 90 minutes. We have snacks and milk to hand Kiddo, and we try to end on a good note instead of pushing ourselves to do one more thing. We also bring his comfort item for when he’s just done. He’s definitely had meltdowns, but usually it’s because we’ve pushed him past his limits–that, or he doesn’t want to wait his turn or give another kid a turn on the swings.

          • Momata says:

            I totally hear you, anon-so-not-a-monster. My kids are 3 and 1. Like SC, we have the most success when outings are:
            – short (2 hours or less)
            – in the morning, usually from 9-11
            – less than a 20 minute car ride away
            – accompanied by ample snacks
            – involves zero standing in line
            – is free or cheap (on a membership i’ve already paid for, for example) so that I feel free to abort mission and leave at any time
            – allows running around

            I am pretty much a wuss (I’m the one who posted about a free weeklong vacation that required a cross country flight and 2 hour drive to get there – even though many of you encouraged me to go for it, I said no) so if the activity doesn’t meet these criteria, we just don’t do it and we play in the back yard or on the sidewalk. Our radius and roster of activities is pretty small, but we have fun when we do them. And if we aren’t having fun, we go home. I hope this helps.

          • Oh Momata, we could be best friends with our kids because I LOVE your rules. I also refused a free flight to avoid traveling with a 15 month old.

          • Momata says:

            Glad I’m not the only wuss / manager of expectations! Sometimes I feel like my kids are missing out on things (for example, meeting Santa does not meet these rules because it requires standing in line and does not permit running around; any sort of Disney theme park does not meet these rules). But we have fun when we do what we do do.

          • Spirograph says:

            I think your rules are great. On the odd occasion I’ve tried to do something that breaks them, I’ve regretted it, so now I’m getting better at not engaging to begin with. I am ok with longer drives around nap time, though, because my kids sleep best in the car, anyway! And if we’re out as a family and kids fall asleep, DH and I stop for coffee and drink it and chat in the car.

          • Anon in NYC says:

            I have an almost 2 year old, and I agree with a lot of these: mornings are best, I have very low expectations, and I have snacks. And I do things that are very easy to leave (coffee shop, diner – where I pay the check before we’re done!, zoo w/membership, library, playground, the occasional restaurant).

            But, I also push the boundaries more than my husband. It is highly unlikely that my husband would take our kid to a restaurant by himself.

        • Rainbow Hair says:

          I feel you on this. (The bathroom thing terrifies me and is a reason I’m totally ok with Kiddo not being potty trained.) My kid is 26 months.

          If you don’t want advice, please ignore the following.

          Are you trying too hard? Like… I am often all “let’s do a science experiment!” or “let’s do an art project!” but if if involves more than ONE step, it’s a disaster. So like, works: squirt vinegar onto (pre-prepared) ice cubes containing baking soda and food coloring. Doesn’t work: mix A with B, then pour on C. Too many steps. Works: “feel free to play with paint on this surface.” Doesn’t work: “let’s put stickers on this and then paint over them and then peel off the stickers.” Nope, too complicated. Works: “let’s go to the park!” (I prefer a park that is less fun but less dangerous — do you have one like that near you?) Doesn’t work: “let’s go to the park and do the particular activity I hope to do at the park!” Basically, I have to accept that her version of “fun” involves no one telling her what to do, so if I’m going to do “a fun activity” it has to be within parameters where she won’t get ragey at me for telling her what to do.

          I would say this works ~50% of the time. She also goes through phases, lasting about 5 days or so, where she’s pretty much just inconsolably miserable. I’m often like “sh*t maybe she really is just a miserable person?!” and then she snaps out of it for a few days in a row. I think it’s just the age?
          Toddlers are *hard.*

        • What helped me was redefining “fun.” For a 2 year old, bring a ball to a field. Spread out a blanket. Roll the ball around. If there is a swing, put her in it and push her. Walk around and talk about tree bark and look for bugs under rocks.

          Go home.

          Best day ever.

          • Meg Murry says:

            In addition to all the other good advice, I would also add: don’t blow an entire precious vacation day on trying to have a “fun” day with a 2 year old – it’s just too exhausting for both of you. Instead, take a vacation day where you do things you want or need to get done in the morning (dentist appointment, oil change, shop at Target and Costco when it’s quiet and has short lines, stay home and get caught up on laundry, etc), have a relaxing lunch by yourself, and then pick up the kiddo from daycare after naptime and do something fun for a 2 year old like the park or the library.

            Or trade off with your partner – take the kid for an outing in the morning so that they can have some alone time, with the understanding that you will bring the kid home at X:00 and then it is partner’s turn and you are *leaving* to go to the gym, to nap in your car, to sit at a coffeeshop by yourself, whatever.

            Until my kids were school aged, our “fun” consisted mostly of a going to some combination of the farmer’s market, library, playground and possibly ice cream shop on Saturday mornings – all of which were within one block of each other. In winter we added a toddler gymnastics class to that instead, and other daycare parents and I took turns being the parent that stayed there so the other parents could go have an hour of peace.

          • Yes to the tree bark and looking for bugs! For example, we take Kiddo to the zoo, where we have a membership, but he has no way to know that a rhinoceros standing 50 feet away and doing nothing is supposed to be more interesting than tree bark. So, he plays with tree bark and sticks flower petals through the holes in the bench and throws leaves in the fountain.

        • You are not a monster! I have a three year old and I feel the same way. For us, three has been easier than two, still not easy but easier. Playing with toddlers usually isn’t fun. Why should it be? We’re adults, we’re not interested in the things they’re interested in. And they have awful tantrums that bring us to the brink of insanity. It’s going to get better. Don’t feel bad for not loving every minute.

        • layered bob says:

          I find “activities” extremely stressful. Here are two Janet Lansbury articles that helped me reset my expectations for activities with toddlers:

        • Eh, you don’t have to feel obligated to do All The Activities Every Weekend! Sometimes a stroller ride to the park is fun, with a pit stop for ice cream. And do you have fellow parent friends to hang out with?
          This is why playdates were invented.

          I have a 2-year-old, too; his attention span is roughly ten minutes of painting/ playing with trains (“no mommy no” when I try to pick up a train)/ having me read the same Curious George book 1097587209 times.

          • Rainbow Hair says:

            Whyyyyy can they focus on the same damn book for one million minutes, and cannot focus on anything else at all? (We have hidden some books for a while because ugh I just can’t read Pete the Cat one more time!)

          • NewMomAnon says:

            “Did Pete cry? Goodness no! He just kept walking along and singing his song….”

            Our Pete the Cat book has so much tape holding it together, it no longer qualifies as a paperback.

          • I love my red shoes! I love my red shoes!

    • I find it interesting that so many ways to get “alone time” involve shopping or running errands. Don’t get me wrong — I can kill time at Target with the best of them, but it absolutely does not renew me the way reading a book, or going for a walk, or just zoning out does.

      • avocado says:

        I think it’s out of desparation. I can’t sit down and read a book without being asked, “did you do the taxes yet? when is dinner? can I please do a messy science experiment right now?” If I am at Target or the grocery store, I am supposedly doing something useful so I get bugged less, at least for the first hour.

        • Yep. Last night after Kiddo went to bed, I asked DH if he could finish dinner so I could sit down and read a book for a few minutes. He agreed but wanted the TV on. Less than 10 minutes into my reading, DH wanted me to help him finish what was easily a one-person job. (I know because I’ve made that dish by myself a dozen times, and because I ended up pretty much doing it by myself last night).

        • Momata says:

          Yes, this. I can’t drive to the mall for some me-time indulgent shopping. But I can tack on some less indulgent shopping for me when I have to go to Target anyway.

      • I’m the same way – I found the responses interesting, but I’m just exhausted after errands.

      • I feel too guilty to ask for time alone that is not “productive” – even exercise feels more acceptable than just time sitting and reading – but I’m not sure that my husband would object to it if I laid it out for him. I do know that I probably cannot get what I need inside the house if my son is awake – my husband is fine with being “in charge,” but not great about making sure my son doesn’t come find me. And my son is much more likely to bug me than him if we are both at home.

        • CPA Lady says:

          You know, this is all so interesting. My husband has worked weird schedules for the past several years. One of the most recent iterations involved him working Sun-Wed, and having all day Thursday, Friday, and Saturday off. Not only did he not do anything “useful” during Thursday and Friday, unless I requested something, he also never got our kid from daycare early so they could spend more time together.

          I watched this with fascination. Why are we so guilty? Why don’t men have the slightest amount of guilt? I even asked him about it at one point and his response was, more or less, that since our daughter isn’t bringing much to the table yet, he doesn’t have any interest in spending extra time with her. They adore each other and he’s a great, present dad when they’re together, but there is no guilt on his part or any feeling like he could or SHOULD be doing anything more.

          I was just baffled, slightly mad, and slightly jealous. What would it be like not to feel like you’re constantly falling short? Not to have a constant running list of things you SHOULD be doing with your kid running through your head.

          • avocado says:

            I wonder if it’s their upbringing? It’s not just that they have no guilt about taking time for themselves. They also don’t understand that cleaning the bathroom while being constantly hounded by one’s spouse and children is not “me time.” My husband was raised in the Don Draper era and so to him it’s totally normal that a man would come home from a hard day at work and sit on the couch and rest. It’s also totally abnormal for him to see a woman relaxing, because in his day the moms did any relaxing while their kids were at school and were “on” during evenings and weekends. On the exceedingly rare occasions when I sit down to read or whatever, he will “remind” me about tasks from my to-do list (like helping the kid study) or ask why we can’t all do something fun together.

          • avocado says:

            Also–my husband has the idea that any chores he does are chores, but any chores I do (such as cooking and cleaning the house) are hobbies.

          • avocado, how do you not straight up murder him?

          • avocado says:

            I avoid murdering him by venting here, and reading this it I guess I do make him sound worse than he is. He actually does contribute quite a bit around the house and lately has been (adorably) thanking me for all the things I do whenever he thinks I seem stressed out. He has also taken on some feminist views since having a daughter. He also likes some aspects of gender equality more than others. Wife who earns money? Of course! Laundry? He will do it because he knows it’s the right thing, but begrudgingly. On top of that, our priorities are very different. He thinks cleaning is a waste of time and should be performed in a cursory fashion no more than once every six weeks, so if I am cleaning then it must be recreational.

      • Meg Murry says:

        Note that I put “errands” in quotes above. I’ll use the errand as a way to get out of the house and feel like I got something done, but then I’ll sit in my car somewhere other than home in order to get some quiet time after I’ve picked up my prescription or whatever it was. And honestly, it probably takes me about as much time to run the errand on my own and then have an hour downtime in my car or at the park or in the library as it would to take the kids with me on the errand once you factor in what it takes to get the kids out of the house- ok, everyone go potty, where are the socks/shoes/coats, walk at kid pace through the store, stop 1000 times while they look at something and then discuss why we aren’t buying that today, put kid in the cart, get out of the cart, back in the card, let them “help” put items on the checkout, get everyone back into the car and strapped in, drive home, etc).

        But the quote from someecards: “Motherhood, where going on vacation feels like work and going to the grocery store by yourself feels like vacation” is completely true to me.

    • Husband takes the kids (3.5 & 9 months) out on Saturday mornings. Sometimes they have a real errand, sometimes they go for a walk or to the playground by the grocery store. Sometimes they go to Home Depot and Dunkin’ Donuts and putter (this can get $$$!).

      They get back around 10, baby goes down for a nap. DH and older kid do an activity (play outside, art, fort/monster, whatever). Baby wakes up and we all have lunch. Then I take the kiddos, usually to the playground or grocery shopping. We come home and baby naps while older kid relaxes/watches TV/does a quiet activity with me (baking, a puzzle).

      We do family dinner, kids go to bed and are asleep by 7:30. DH and I relax.

      Sunday may be the same or may be more of a full family outing day. Sometimes we flip and do the family day Saturday. The caveat here is that sometimes part of my alone time is chores. Sometimes (often) DH’s is a house project (but he likes these).

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      Oh therapy! Therapy is great ‘me time’ (even if it is often very difficult). And because I’m working hard in therapy, afterward I have “quiet alone time” where I buy a tea or a treat and write in my journal or read a book or text my friends for 40 minutes to decompress. It’s kind of cheating because Kiddo is usually in bed by then, but it’s better than nothing.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Ok, I know this is a taboo subject but – what do people DO in therapy? I have been in therapy for 4+ years now, and I’ve made a lot of progress, but I still don’t really understand how to be proactive about therapy. Like, I sit down in my therapist’s big arm chair with nothing in my head, start talking about random sh*t, and 20-40 minutes later something important comes up and we work hard on that for 10-20 minutes….and then I go back to the office. About once every 6 months we hit a really difficult topic and it leaves me a little shaken the rest of the day, but it feels like a long process with very intangible, unquantifiable results.

        • Rainbow Hair says:

          Oh but also we’re a bit formulaic — we do EMDR on the trauma, so there’s a whole prescribed multi-step process. And then we do CBT for the more general stuff, which involves stuff I love like *homework*!

      • Rainbow Hair says:

        Hmm so I have issues (arguably with a capital I) so maybe that’s why the question of “what to do in therapy” has been relatively straightforward, at least in terms of my goals. (The how-to-get-there is still sometimes confusing!) It’s been like, “I am still traumatized by A!” and then as we get into that “hey maybe A was so traumatic because of my history with B and C?!” and then we process B and C…

        And then into that we sprinkle lots of things I want to deal with on a day-to-day basis. Like, there are plenty of things about myself that I want to improve/strengthen. I lack self esteem, to put it generally, so I want to get better in that respect. And I am depressed. And I feel a lot of guilt disproportionate to the things I feel guilty about, etc. I’m a perfectionist. So we work on restructuring my thoughts on those things, breaking bad mental habits. And dealing with the big trauma stuff certainly helps with that too.

    • For this reason I started getting a babysitter for like 3 hours on Sunday afternoons. For the first hour I usually go to a coffee shop and read, or sometimes I’ll work a little, but after that I’ll get my nails done or go for a walk or my husband and I will have a drink. When we don’t do that, I’ll have my husband take the kids to swimming or Target (which I hate to do but he doesn’t mind). An hour and a half for me is the right amount to make me feel human again but not guilty. Also, this is the primary reason I try to work from home on Fridays. Just being away from humans!!

    • EB0220 says:

      We enforce quiet time in the afternoon, but our kids are younger (2 and 5). My husband and I also do a lot of “me time” together. He’ll play a video game while I read a book. It works well for us! He’s also an avid reader which helps.

  4. I absolutely love Princess Awesome!

  5. AnonMom says:

    Happy Friday! Can anyone recommend a diet/food diary app? I am basically trying to keep track of what I eat on a given day. Something I can look at before eating the 4.00 sugary treat..Thanks!

    • mascot says:

      MyFitnessPal is pretty good for a free services and has an app and web interface.

    • I love Lose It. It interfaces well with my FitBit, and it lets you scan the bar code of foods to add things. I only occasionally find one that isn’t there. It’s also already got a lot of recipes and restaurant food input by other people. I’m sure MyFitnessPal is similar, but I haven’t ever tried it.

    • SparkPeople

  6. AnonMN says:

    Does anyone have one of these dresses? Do they hold up well?

    I’m considering buying one for my niece who loves robots.

    • rakma says:

      Yes, DD1 wore one of these dresses once a week for a year and a half, and it held up beautifully. We had the sleeveless version, so she wore it over a long sleeve shirt and leggings in the winter.

  7. Recommendations for easy to pack gifts for a 6 YO girl and 4 YO boy? Running to Target before a flight today – thinking stickers, fun pens or colored pencils, coloring books, etc. Any specifics your kids love? Thanks.

    • I just bought my 2-year-old one of those Melissa and Doug ‘on the go’ coloring books and it’s equally popular with my first grader. The books have cute scenes that they ‘paint’ with water.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      My friend’s daughter (now 5.5) loves Doc McStuffins. So maybe themed coloring books/crayons/stickers would be a good idea.

    • I picked up some pages that are all black & rainbow colors underneath that you scrape at with a little stick to make designs, big hit with a 5-yo. (not sure if I am describing it well, but pretty sure I saw it at Target recently in the stationary/crafts area)

      Spot It is a good game for that age, you can get the jr version, or they also have different character versions. Also went over well with a 5-yo–I got her the Frozen version, and she actually knew the game but was excited to have the special character one.

  8. Momata says:

    I bought the dinosaur dress for my Arlo-obsessed daughter. I’d seen this company in my social media feed but finally took the plunge. 15% off for signing up for their email list.

  9. Anonymom says:

    I love the Princess Awesome dresses and the idea of encouraging girls to like whatever they want to like… but kind of bothered by the cousin’s comment that she would only buy dresses from there. Isn’t that insinuating that there is something wrong with traditional femininity? Just some food for thought. In spite of my efforts to stay away from all traditionally “girly” things for my daughter, she loves sparkles and glitter and pink (and dinosaurs and trucks too!). I let her wear what she wants even if it isn’t breaking any gender norms :)

    • CPA Lady says:

      ^ yeah. I’m pretty traditionally feminine — I love dresses and skirts, bows, blah blah blah, and I am also a feminist, smart, hard working, career woman. The two are not mutually exclusive and it really bothers me when I hear other women describing traditionally feminine things as something to be avoided because they are inherently lesser than masculine things.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      My philosophy for kiddo’s clothes is “everything in moderation.” She wants sparkly, twirly pink tutus? Ok, let’s also get an awesome T-Rex glow-in-the-dark t-shirt to go with it! Glitter-encrusted shirt with faux French saying on it? Let’s wear it with some cargo pants with reinforced knees.

      I find myself wondering if a parent of a boy would have a similar inclination – where would they go? Hot Topic? (Is that a thing anymore?)

      • Parent of a boy here, and it is a LOT easier. I let my son wear pretty much whatever he wants, and it’s all pretty tame – dinosaurs, robots, animals, fire engines, etc. Occasionally I’ll come across something that I think represents toxic masculinity (like a onesie that my MIL sent that said “Lady Killer.” What the…), but it’s easy to avoid. Girl clothes definitely have more problematic ones (“Daddy’s Little Princess,” “Born to Shop,” “Too Cute for Math,” etc.).

        • Too Cute for Math…have not seen that one yet. Just threw up in my mouth a little.

        • Rainbow Hair says:

          I haaaate the “daddy” stuff that’s quasi romantic. Barf barf barf.

          On the other hand, when I was pregnant I was in the clearance aisle of Target with my husband and he was like “LOOK!” and held up this (clearly ‘boys’) onesie that said “Daddy’s Sidekick” and it was one of my favorite things to put on kiddo when she was tiny.

      • Parent of a boy. I purposely ordered the pink and orange sippy cups and then had an internal struggle on whether to send them to daycare or just use them at home (then felt guilt for even thinking it). I hate clothes with words on them so most of my sons clothes are pretty neutral solid/striped colors, and can get away with that for now because my kid is too young to know the difference. Not sure what I will do when/if he starts asking for characters or sayings.

        • Anonymous says:

          Just as ancedata – our middle kid wears his older sister’s pink snow boots to daycare. Unintended as I had them in the closet to pass on to a cousin with a girl, he found them and wanted to wear them. We also use orange/pink soothers with him because he finds them much better in his crib at night compared to the blue/green ones. Also regularly use pink/orange sippys because I can’t be bothered to buy more sippy cups in ‘boy’ colors. No one has said anything yet.

      • AnonMN says:

        As the mom of two boys, I almost think this is harder with boys. It’s pretty common now for girls to pair their tutu with a pirate shirt, wear cargo pants, etc. But I handed my son the Tea Collection catalog and told him to show me the t-shirts that he likes (kid is picky!) and he found a bird dress that he loves. He said he wanted it for dancing (he has a dress up tutu that he dances in). And it totally gave me pause. Not because I don’t want him to have the dress, but more about how others would react. The grandparents lost their S*** when we gave him a pink doll with accessories for his second birthday, so I know it would be A THING.

        I feel like it would be easier to shop for a girl in the boy section, than a boy in the girl section. But maybe it’s a “grass is greener” situation.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          I think that’s absolutely true. I shop for my daughter almost equally between girls and boys’ clothes. I don’t know if I would do that for a boy. In part because someone is bound to comment on a boy wearing a skirt.

          But also; a lot of the girls clothes are so….dumb? Especially the cheaper ones from Carters/ Gymboree/ Childs Place/ major department stores. Like, why does a hippo need to be pink and sparkly and wear a tutu and look cartoonish? The boys’ shirts are more likely to show a real hippo doing things a real hippo would do (or a real bike, or a real baseball, etc). I don’t want a boy wearing a shirt that says “Cute and Sassy” anymore than I want my daughter wearing that. Girls leggings are not meant for active kids; we went through the knees on two pairs the first warm weekend this spring. I probably won’t buy more of those for my girl, so I wouldn’t buy them for a boy either.

          • I struggle with this too. Boys clothes are “better” to me, because girls clothes are dumb. The animals/objects always have some kind of tutu or sparkles or hearts, but also they ALL say dumb things. I actually got a local seamstress friend to make my son a Doc McStuffins shirt, because I could NOT find a single shirt that didn’t say something like “Cuddles are Cute!” or was covered in (fake) hearts.

            And yes to inactive leggings. I want my kids to be unrestricted in their movement and have clothes that won’t rip or fall apart if they fall on the sidewalk. Girls clothes are SO CHEAP and SO THIN that it’s almost offensive that I’ve spent money on them.

    • I have struggled with this idea too on my own. For me, there is nothing wrong with being feminine or “girly.” Rather, the danger comes when there is only a single way to be feminine or a girl, and with that idea tends to be the “girls wear pink dresses with bows in their hair while being seen but not expressing their opinion.” I have found that that sentiment is expressed towards my daughter more when she does wear the traditionally feminine attire. For example, my daughter will get comments that she is “so pretty” when she wears the frilly dress with stockings and mary janes, but people will comment that she has a personality or is fierce when she wears a sweater dress, knit cap and mud boots. (Both outfits worn to church in the last month.) My desire is that she grow up being comfortable in her skin, being a woman and valued for more than her clothes. Its a tough line to walk.

      And, I have a son too. There is the equivalent issue with boys’ clothes — all the clothes that say “tough like daddy,” “boys will be boys” or anything expressing traditional masculine values. We stay away from those, just as we would stay away from any clothing that outwardly praises a girl for being pretty.

      • +1. The issue is the gender essentialism. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being feminine or girly by choice, the problem is forcing children into those pigeonholes of looks/ behaviour.

        I just have the one son, but we try to stay away from the gender-essentialist boys’ clothes, too, and it’s just as much of a problem as the ‘Born to Shop’ shirts marketed for girls. (I would totally put a girl in a shirt that says ‘tough like daddy’, but any girls I have in future will be wearing their older brother’s clothes anyway…)

        PS on colours: son has a pink Thermos sippy. Part of the message we are trying to send him is that pink is just another colour. And it was on sale for a dollar less than the other colours (hot tip: the pink sippys, tupperware, bike helmets, etc. are frequently on sale).

    • EB0220 says:

      Yeah, I had a negative reaction to this too. It seems wrong to limit girls in this way. “Everything in moderation” sounds better to me.

    • Anonymous says:

      I always say it’s like a rainbow. Pink/frilly is great but it’s part of a spectrum. Would also not want to buy only from Princess Awesome as traditional femininity is great as well. The problem is that the pink/frilly/traditional can easily overwhelm modern girlhood because it is so ubiquitous.

    • Maddie Ross says:

      And here’s the thing, too – at some point, your child is going to have an opinion on what they wear, and so long as it’s age appropriate, I think it’s actually more harmful to squelch that. My LO will only wear dresses right now. Any color, any style, but the idea to her of not wearing a skirt of some sort is appalling. She wears skorts for soccer and recently ran in a fun run in a dress with running shoes. I make her wear playground shorts underneath, but if I told her that she had to wear jeans or cargo pants – or even shorts by themselves – she would flip. Sometimes you just gotta let a kid be a kid. I don’t think this means she will grow up to be girly necessarily. Just that, at the moment, she likes things that twirl. Case closed.

      • This was me as a small child. I only wore skirts and Converse hi-tops… it was definitely A Look.

        My mom did nothing to discourage the ridiculous getup, because I loved it and it was a phase. I was then quite a tomboy from ages 7-14. My early skirt obsession was in no way a predictor of how I’d end up dressing/acting as an older child.

        • Ha! That was my go-to look as well. I had the neon pink hi-tops, which I saw a kid wearing the other day. Brought back memories of wearing those, with a jean skirt and climbing trees.

    • I really agree. I had the same reaction.

    • I agree. Give your child of either gender a range of options, and see what they like. I usually would just shop for my son without his input, and I was a little surprised when my vehicle-loving almost 5 year old selected the neon pink “girl” shorts when I actually took him to the store with me. (They are so short, it’s insane – my husband calls them Larry Birds). And he is THRILLED with his new heart-sequin shirt. I do think it is great that companies like this exist so kids that like dresses have more options.

      • PS – frankly the fact that Princess Awesome is marketing their clothes for girls only also bugs me. I mean, I don’t want to be over the top PC, but some boys like skirts, and if your whole point as a company is to break down gender stereotypes why are you reinforcing them?

      • EB0220 says:

        So I started researching this topic as a potential blog post for my yet-to-be launched parenting blog. It really struck a nerve with me when we had a similar discussion here last fall. There are actually many sites (Girls Will Be, A Mighty Girl, Princess Awesome) that fill this pink/dresses+STEM niche. Far fewer are specifically marketed toward BOYS who want to wear something in girl colors, dresses, etc. It was kind of disappointing and, try though I did, the draft post ended up being much more weighted toward girls than boys.

        • Meg Murry says:

          To be fair, they do address this in their FAQ, and pretty much say “well, we had to start somewhere”.

          Basically, they found a niche and they sell to that niche, and I can’t blame them for that. They also are part of Clothes Without Limits, which has other niches like the brand “Handsome in Pink”.

          Unfortunately, companies have realized that they can sell a lot more product by making things super gendered, because so many people buy or are given all PINK!! for their daughters and then they wind up re-purchasing a second item for boys. Heck, even for my friend with 2 girls – her younger daughter only wants to wear clothes from the boys department, and I think a big part of it is just because she wants to pick out her own things, not her big sister’s hand-me-downs.

    • My kid’s best preschool friend wears a batsman mask, superhero cape and sparkly tutu to play dates. Sometimes there is a shirt, sometimes not. He is an only child and wante the tutu for Christmas.

  10. avocado says:

    I love the idea of Princess Awesome and Svaha and the stuff is pretty cute, but it all looks rather homemade to me. Like the kind of thing you would make in an hour by taking a purchased t-shirt, cutting off the bottom, and adding a skirt made of printed fabric from the quilting store. I’d love to see some STEM prints on more sophisiticated designs like those by Tea and Garnet Hill. My daughter has one adorable math-themed dress from Garnet Hill, but she is getting too old to wear it and now prefers to confine her STEM prints to t-shirts.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Boden had some cute space-themed t-shirts (astronaut dogs, rocket ships) on more sophisticated shirts and maybe dresses last fall. You might check them out. Also, ThinkGeek (although their adult dresses are way better than their kids clothes).

    • Maddie Ross says:

      My daughter’s two favorite dresses are both from Mini Boden – one has dinosaurs, the other whales. Both are muted primary colors and I love them both. They’ve held up pretty well to weekly wearings and washings.

    • Target has a cute rocket ship shirt right now (Cat and Jack), and Osh Kosh has some dinosaur shirts and a few others, all in the girls section. Yes, there are hearts next to the dinosaurs, but they’re small. My daughter is obsessed with her rocket ship shirt and would wear it every day if she could.

    • shortperson says:

      i absolutely agree, this is my reaction to their line too. jcrew also sometimes has STEM stuff that’s fabulous, as does peek kids. i just check them all out every month or two to see what’s in. tea is my fave and the bulk of my daughter’s clothes but they really dont do STEM related stuff. other than detailed animal and plant graphics that are gorgeous.

  11. Just came to vent. So annoyed that my new company as blended PTO days. My old company, mind you this was in Canada so that might have something to do with it, had separate vacation and sick days. This blended PTO system just incentivized staff to come into work when sick. OK Rant over.

    • I’m an employment lawyer and so many of my clients want to shift to blended PTO, and I always want to jump up and down and say NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Once you make it a zero sum game between vacation days and sick days, taking a sick day is equivalent to burning a vacation day, which means more people will come to work sick to preserve their vacation time. I also think it perpetuates the very toxic workplace attitude that people taking sick days aren’t really sick.

      • Anonymous says:

        + 1

        I’m in govt in Canada and combined PTO only makes sense once you hit a level when you have enough that you don’t feel like you need to come into work sick or that you can’t take too much vacation because what if you get sick?

    • I thought at first you meant more like floating holidays vs vacation vs PTO etc… in which case we also have that and I find it annoying. But sick time is SICK time. It’s not personal time off. It’s time to not infect other humans and to heal.

      My state requires paid sick time but the statue allows unfortunately that employers count it as part of PTO.

      I’m really lucky that my employer’s sick leave policy is at your manager’s discretion and my manager doesn’t care.

    • Yes, it absolutely will. My company does this and also has a ridiculously low number of “blended days.” The only reason I don’t come to work sick is because I have the ability to work from home.

    • My LO’s daycare does this so what does that mean? Teachers come in sick. Boo.

      Before I became a parent, I loved having blended PTO since I rarely got sick. Different story now…

  12. Anyone have any experience with De Quervain’s tendinosis (pain/limited range of motion in the area between the base of your thumb and wrist) particularly after having a baby? It started showing up about 2 weeks ago, and I’m 6 weeks postpartum. It’s not incredibly painful for me but it’s really affecting my grip, which makes it harder to lift and care for the baby. I’m icing it but it’s not helping. Thoughts?

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Yes. Make an appointment with a physical therapist. There are exercises that you can do that will strengthen the area. They also taped my hand/wrist to keep the area slightly immobile which helped relieved some of the pain. I believe, if it is really bad, they can give you a cortisone shot or even surgery.

      • Blueberry says:

        +1 – and try to see a hand specialist. I started off with a non-hand specialist PT who really did nothing for the issue. I’d try to avoid cortisone if possible, and if unavoidable, limit it to one, because overuse of cortisone can have some long-term bad effects, which I’m sure your doc or PT will discuss with you if you need it.

    • I had this pretty badly in my left hand because that hand was getting the brunt of lifting the baby and BF-ing. I bought a support brace off Amazon that helped a ton and it eventually resolved itself. Going to a doctor is probably a much better option, though.

      • Anonymous says:

        I had it in both hands after having a baby. The doctor was helpful, as was the PT, but mine ultimately did not resolve until cortisone shots (which my ped cleared as okay while I was breastfeeding). Get a brace that immobilizes your thumb and wear as much as possible, but especially when you are sleeping.

    • October says:

      Yes! I self-diagnosed/treated, and luckily all turned out okay. I used a hand brace with a thumb component to mostly stabilize the thumb, and wore it basically all day/night for a while…. I think I wore it constantly for about a month, then started weaning off it. It healed up on its own that way. Also: stop scrolling your phone/texting with that hand. I think that continual motion really exacerbates the problem.

      • Haha I’m glad I’m not the only one who self-treated. It worked out fine for me with the exact treatment plan you used, but after reading the other comments I was thinking maybe I should have gone to a doctor. I had so many other doctor appointments for complications at that time there was no way I was going for this, though.

        • October says:

          Seriously… I don’t think I had the capacity to even research and find a new doctor (and after spending all that $$ on doctors for me and baby over the previous year, the last thing I wanted was more copays). If the brace hadn’t worked I probably would have seen someone, but I could tell it was getting better so decided to put my trust in time and rest :)

        • Anon in NYC says:

          I tried that at first – bought a brace at the pharmacy – but it made my pain worse. I asked the physical therapist about it and he said it’s because the brace doesn’t necessarily position your hand in the “best” position (whatever that position is), but that they have more flexibility with sports tape. Makes sense. But, certainly the brace is worth a try.

    • Wehaf says:

      I’ve had tendinosis in other places and found that taking fish oil supplements (or flax oil if you are vegetarian – the idea is lots of omega 3s) helped a lot. I take 4000 mg a day.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you get a wrist brace wear it only for sleeping. That’s very helpful for wrist tendenitis (in about the same place)

  13. I need some advice from parents who have either enrolled their kid(s) in a public Montessori elementary or a public dual language immersion program. For people from Houston, we are trying to decide whether to buy a house zoned to Wilson Montessori, Wharton K-8 (a Spanish/English dual language school) or Poe Elementary (a small elementary that focuses on fine arts). My older child will be entering kindergarten in the 2018-2019 school year, so we have plenty of time to plan for the move and make sure we have everything square with enrollment. He has been at a traditional non-Montessori daycare and does not currently speak any Spanish. He is a very sweet kid who easily makes friends, but he is very (VERY) energetic and sometimes disobedient (his current teachers say he has a hard time listening to instructions and they often have to repeat rules or redirect him).

    I have no experience with Montessori, so I have no idea if it is a good type of program for a mischievous child like my oldest. I always imagined Montessori schools to be full of children sitting quietly and coloring or drawing or reading, and neither of my kids is like that. I have no idea if my perception is accurate though.

    I am also concerned that enrolling a child who does not speak Spanish into a program where 80% of his instruction will be in Spanish will be very intimidating and make my son dislike school. I love the idea of a dual language program though, and the school has great test grades. Any input on dual language programs when the child has no experience with one of the languages would be very welcomed.

    The third fine-arts school seems wonderful, but the boundary is small and the housing market is more competitive. We are leaning towards this school, but I’m wondering if we are discounting the other two schools when we shouldn’t. All three schools are very highly rated, but we’d like to choose the one that is best suited to our child’s personality.

    Sorry for the novel!

    • Anonymous says:

      How does the dual language program work? Our oldest is in French Immersion in Canada but the program is designed for kids whose first language is English and who are learning French. She knew zero French when she started and I have been super impressed with how much and how quickly she has picked up the language. Is there an information session at the schools you can attend to learn more about their programs and how they work?

      Dora The Explorer is a great way to start introducing Spanish. My 2 year old is obsessed and knows his colors in both Spanish and English because of Dora.

      • In kindergarten, 80% of the instruction is in Spanish. Each year, an additional 10% of the instruction is in English. So, 1st grade is 70% Spanish, 2nd grade is 60% Spanish, 3rd grade is 50% Spanish. Based on that, it seems like the program is more to teach Spanish-speaking kids to speak English than the other way around.

        • Semi-nonymous says:

          I don’t know much about Montessori, but I just saw that both Wharton and Poe are IB schools. My kids go to an IB school and we *love* the IB program, at least at the elementary level (we haven’t experienced it yet at Middle or High school). It provides a great framework to encourage thinking about the big picture and tying together everything they are learning.

          I also worked in dual language schools in New Mexico, and saw a lot of great things with the dual language program – especially in ones like what you are mentioning, that do both English and Spanish, as opposed to programs really meant only for kids who come in only speaking Spanish. If you plan to stay in Texas/the Southwest for the long term, learning Spanish while the kids are young will really serve them well in the future. It’s probably worth asking how many families enroll in the school where the parents don’t speak Spanish at home, and what kind of resources are available for you – after all, if your kid gets sent home with a worksheet that is entirely in Spanish you aren’t really going to be able to help out with homework very easily. But I wouldn’t let that scare you off – I didn’t know Spanish when I moved to New Mexico, and I actually learned the majority of my basic Spanish through 1st and 2nd grade Spanish spelling words – plus Google Translate works quite well in a pinch. Heck, my kid’s homework is in English and I still have to Google it sometimes because they have changed the terminology (for instance, you don’t do “borrowing” and “carrying” and more in math, now it’s all called “regrouping”).

          Honestly, it doesn’t look like any of those schools would be a bad choice, so you should probably go with whichever house/neighborhood you like best in the end.

        • Anon 12:11 says:

          I wouldn’t necessarily assume that it’s just for Spanish speaking kids learning English. Our kid’s French Immersion is a bit the opposite, they start at 50% and increase but they also don’t add English reading until grade 3 so technically reading/writing is 100% French from the beginning. I would contact the school to find out more about the program.

      • Also, thanks for the recommendations!

    • My friend put her son in a dual-immersion program in Austin and I don’t think he knew any Spanish (they definitely don’t speak it at home, and was in an English-only daycare previously). He LOVES it. I think it’s half the day in Spanish, half the day in English though.

    • Rainbow Hair says:

      I wish I had gone to a language immersion class. My parents considered moving to Canada and putting us in French immersion and I remember crying and crying about it. In retrospect, I would’ve picked up an invaluable skill.

      As far as arts go, both of my brothers went to an arts magnet school. They learned a lot, and both went to arts colleges (MICA in Baltimore and Art Center Pasadena) and are now in arts-adjacent professions. It was pretty cool that everyone they went to school with was an arty weirdo — probably somewhat lessened some of the awful high school dynamics that show up everywhere.

    • Hey fellow Houstonian! So I have heard great things about Wilson and Poe – I’m less familiar with the dual language one. That’s kind of all I’ve got. I wouldn’t let the language thing hold me back, but I think I’d go for which one will be best overall rather than a particular skill if that makes sense?

      My kids are younger though so take that FWIW.

      • Thanks! I have heard great things about Wilson as well, but I don’t know anyone who sends their kids to Poe.

        • That’s a VERY involved neighborhood so you’ll have a strong parent support network at Poe for sure.

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      Montessori might be great for your kid. My kid was similar–energetic, not wanting to follow directions, etc. He thrived at his Montessori preschool. It was amazing how much he learned, and he also got to show younger kids how to do stuff. But then he had a very hard transition to kindergarten at a public language-immersion school. Half his day is in English and half in French. He’s doing much better second semester, but first semester was not pretty-lots of behavior issues. In part because he learned so much at Montessori, that he’s bored in a class filled with kids who don’t know how to read/write (I don’t mean to sound snotty about it).
      I don’t know if this is helpful, but good luck!

    • EB0220 says:

      My younger child (2) is in Montessori preschool. My older daughter goes to traditional daycare and starts K this year. We considered a Montessori school for her (K-8) and in the end decided against it. I would suggest looking into Montessori and how the school applies it. We looked at a Montessori and traditional elementary (both public) and really could not see much of a difference. The public school’s application of Montessori is fairly limited because of state regulations. So we didn’t see much benefit to it. We have been very happy so far with Montessori preschool for our younger child, who really likes to try new things, push boundaries and learn. She’s super independent and can do many things on her own. It’s great. In terms of focusing on life and social skills, it’s really great for preschool. We didn’t know if the phiosophy would be such a great fit for our older daughter, who is VERY focused (if it’s something she’s interested in) and zero focused if it’s something she doesn’t care about. We thought she needed a bit more structure in school. So – I would definitely suggest researching the Montessori philosophy and looking into how it’s applied at your prospective school. Definitely try to find some parents to talk to as well.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      My very active, very curious, very enthusiastic 3 year old is about to start Montessori. I will tell you how it goes…right now she is probably in the middle of the pack at daycare as far as behavior issues, but often nearly out of control at home. I’m hoping she learns some self-reliance and self-regulation at Montessori.

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