Washable Workwear Wednesday: Sleeveless Ponte Portrait Collar Dress

Lands’ End has so many cute dresses right now that are washable, and we’re featuring this portrait collar dress today. It comes in navy and hot pink, and it just looks very ladylike, very Jackie O — an old-school, classic style. I like that it’s washable, of course, and that it’s available in regular, petite, tall, and plus sizes for $79-$89. Sleeveless Ponte Portrait Collar Dress

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. Trust Fund Baby? says:

    So my husband’s step father (mom remarried when husband was adult, so they don’t have a real “parental” relationship) has just let us know that he will be leaving about 500k to our daughter in his will. It’s in a trust and I’m not sure about the details. We’re, of course, happy and grateful and completely shocked. What I’m really curious about is how to discuss this with our daughter as she gets older.

    I’m sort of middle-middle class, but my mom came from a working class family and my dad from a Lifetime movie horror show poor background. They were always very open and honest about money, talked to me about savings and what I had for college and what they were doing for retirement etc. My husband grew up upper middle class, but his family never seems to talk about money. This bequeath seems so large that I think we have to talk about it, but I’m not sure what we would say.

    Thoughts? Book recommendations? Advice?

    • avocado says:

      I would not say anything until it actually comes to pass. She needs to make her own life decisions unencumbered by expectations of a windfall that may or may not actually happen, at an uncertain time. If/when it does happen, great.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agree with not actually saying anything until it comes to pass. I’m not sure how old your child is, but any number of things could come to pass that will prevent that money from becoming hers (unexpected expenses for stepfather, market crash and it’s invested in high risk vehicles, legal judgment seizing stepfather’s assets).

      It sounds like it will be enough money to pay for her college education, wedding and a large house downpayment. The only change I would make would be to not keep her college fund in a education specific financial vehicle. That way if she does receive the inheritance, she can use the inheritance to pay for college etc and you can put the funds you have saved towards your retirement. And if she does not receive the inheritance, you can use the funds for her education.

    • I wouldn’t say anything either. You don’t know when or whether it’ll happen. He might live another 30 years and change his mind, or have a health issue and eat through his assets, or whatever, and leave her nothing.

      When she turns 14-15, give her a checkbook/savings and teach her about money management. Around 16, if she’s doing well, then have hypothetical discussions about what to do with inheritances and college and other big incomes/expenses. By the time she’s 18, you’ll know more about how likely this is, and how much, and also know that she’s money-literate enough to handle it responsibly in case it’s really left directly to her.

    • EB0220 says:

      Depending on the structure of the trust, it may actually be a sure thing. My understanding is that once you put it in the trust, there are certain rules about whether you can take it back out (depending on what kind of trust). That being said, I do agree that I wouldn’t say anything until it’s actually hers. That being said, I would definitely get the details now. So you can incorporate it (if necessary) into your financial planning. For example, my parents are giving my kiddos a good chunk of money (not 500k) in a 529 plan so we are going to adjust our own college saving a bit.

    • CPA Lady says:

      I say this as someone who does a lot of tax returns for people with trusts. And a lot of trust returns.

      Do not raise her with the expectation that she will be getting this money. Make sure she has an excellent financial education, though, and talk to her about money/being smart about financial decisions in an age appropriate way as she grows up. From what I’ve seen, the way the money is approached, the way the families talk about it, and the terms of the trust are all important to how these situations turn out.

      One particular family that I’ve dealt with has strict terms for their trusts– something like the beneficiary only starts to gets money at a certain age, something like 30 or 35?, and only can take out as much in distributions as they are making in their salary. So if you want to be a slacker, you don’t get a lot of money. Most of the trust fund babies in this family are functional, employed members of society. Their trust funds are just the icing on the cake.

      Other families let the kids do whatever, whenever, from an early age, and shockingly (not) most of them are deeply dysfunctional, completely underemployed, miserable, in and out of rehab, etc. When I talk to these “kids” (I use that word, but these are people in their 30s), they don’t seem to have even the most basic understanding of their finances. For them, their trust funds are how they fund their entire lifestyle. 500k is easy enough to blow through, and if you don’t have a job, its even easier.

      The trustee of the trust is also important. A lot of trusts have provisions that the funds can be used to pay for “health, support, maintenance, and education”. Health and education are pretty clear cut. But what does “support” or “maintenance” mean? A new BMW? A new house? $2,000 of new clothes every month? If the trust is going to let her take distributions at a young age, a thoughtful trustee is important, especially if she ends up being a spender.

      I could write a novel on this topic. It just blows my mind how financially illiterate people with all this money are. Financial education, people!

      • Trust Fund Baby? says:

        Thank you. I went to college with kids who suddenly got a lot of money at 21 or whatever and seemed to blow it all very quickly, which is my big fear. I’d actually be less worried if it was less money (like, well that’s ALL going to college tuition level of money.)

        And I’d ABSOLUTELY read a book you wrote about this.

        • avocado says:

          If she goes to a private college, then it pretty much is “that’s ALL going to college tuition level of money.” Especially if she has a few years left before she starts college.

          • ElisaR says:

            yeah that’s what I was thinking – that $500k won’t go as far in 15 years. My undergrad school costs $250k for 4 years today.

        • Edna Mazur says:

          I went to college with someone that received a decent inheritance at 18 or so. Tuition was under $15,000 a year, and she always had nice clothes, car, and bags. She told me privately she had about $15,000 credit card debt upon graduation because she blew through the whole thing.

      • Anonymous says:

        Re: Your last paragraph – my estates & trusts professor in law school wrote a book called “Mommy, are we rich?” that was intended to start teaching kids about money. There’s definitely a market out there for this type of book!

    • Momata says:

      I work in this field. Do not tell her about the money until it comes to pass and she is about to receive it. Make sure she has a good training in money management and how much “real world” / adult expenditures (education, cars, houses) costs and the pros and cons of different ways of paying for those expenditures (renting/buying/leasing, loans/grants/scholarships, working, the value of a dollar). I see the most success when the child receives the money at around age 25 or 30. Then, if they have student loans, they can just pay them off. They can buy a house. They can pay for a wedding. And they’re old enough and mature enough not to blow it.

    • So I was lucky enough to receive money from a great grandparent and I always knew it was there. I don’t think this messed up any decisions for me because my parents always told me it was about the size of a downpayment on a house. And that’s how I thought of it and I never thought of spending it on something else and sure enough, age 30-something I used it towards our downpayment on our first house!

      • I had an educational trust that I knew about, but since it could only be used for education, I wasn’t about to blow it on anything else. It was divided between grandchildren and this caused some issues as I was accused of “taking more than my share” by going to Fancy Top Tier Private School. But as the language of the trust was written to allow this there wasn’t much slacker cousins could do about it – that said, I would think about if step-dad is planning to have separate trusts for separate kiddos and how that might play out down the line.

        Otherwise, I’ve gotten small inheritances from relatives who’ve passed away starting when I was in my mid-20s and agreed by then I was money savvy enough that it was invested without much thought. We don’t need it for daily expenses so investing made the most sense.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bogleheads dot org is an incredible resource. The forums have a lot of questions and answers about this exact scenario.

      Congratulations and good luck!

  2. I want to like this dress, but I think that curved waist seam is going to take the tiniest hint of belly and make it look like a maternity dress. I really like the bright green color of the regular sleeveless sheath (linked under “cute”).

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I have this dress, and I get tons of compliments on it. I had the same reservation about the waist curve, but it’s actually flattering on me (and I get “congrats on your pregnancy!” comments in other dresses so….). I think because the dress doesn’t poof out below the seaming?

      • That’s helpful, thanks. I really do like it.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          I’m short waisted (is that the one that means the distance between b**bs and waist is short?). That might make a difference. A lot of shirts/dresses bunch up around my middle because there’s too much fabric. I think the waist seaming on this dress helps it lay flat.

      • Anonymous says:

        Can you wear this dress with a cardigan? Or do the shoulders look lumpy? Can you slide the cardigan under the collar?

        I’ve considered it many times, but as someone who is perpetually cold, I do need it to work with a cardigan.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          I didn’t notice lumpy shoulders; I always wear mine with a cardigan or a blazer. I guess if the cardigan is skin-tight, it wouldn’t work, but I buy cardigans with enough room to wear with short sleeve tops, so it’s no problem. The collar is rounded and a bit oversized, so I wouldn’t slip a cardigan under the collar.

  3. Thoughts on Nutrisystem? Has anyone tried it? A friend of mine just signed up and sent me a referral link. I used to be so against these types of programs, but the idea of minimal work on our food (since we still have to cook for the kids) that is already pre-portioned and pre-calorie-counted is really tempting.

    I’m hoping that it would help us reset our portion sizes, and lose those pesky last 10-15 pounds, so then I could work on maintenance. Is that a ridiculous expectation?

    • EB0220 says:

      I really did not like it. The food tasted like cardboard and was really high in sodium. I would recommend working with a nutritionist instead. I had much better luck with a nutritionist who helped me identify healthier prepared/frozen meals.

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t see how you don’t regain as soon as you stop with their meals. In order to lose and then focus on maintenance, you would have to be able to recreate same portion/caloried meals on your own. I also don’t like eating a different meal than my kids so maybe that’s part of my dislike?

      I’m doing Weight Watchers and I like it because I can eat exactly the same foods as my kids. I just adjust the portion sizes for the right amount of points. I never mention points/weighing/counting in front of them. I just say mommy is trying to make sure she eats enough healthy foods and not too many treats. It’s also resulted in us switching our default dessert to fruit (zero points) which has been a great change for our whole family.

      But, I do reduce the decision fatigue with WW by eating very similar things. I eat the same thing for breakfast every day, and I eat one of three different lunches. I’m super focused on simplifying my life right now so it fits well with that. I eat a varied supper – DH and I have a three week meal rotation of things the kids will actually eat with assigned nights to cook/order in.

      • AnonMom says:

        Anonymous 9:26 am-can you please tell me what your meals consist of? I would love to simplify the way I eat. How do you measure your portions? I realized I eat way too much without even noticing. Thanks!

        • Anonymous says:

          longer response disappeared but basically breakfast = single serving yoghurt (2 of activia 0% right now but varies) and apple/banana and black coffee. Lunch is a spinach salad with grilled chicken from work salad bar – vary veggies and dressing, or small greek pasta salad from cafeteria or if stuck in office – 1/2 cup (uncooked amount) of oatmeal + apple/carrots (keep these in office kitchen). Occasionally I’m organized enough to bring leftovers from home.

          I use measuring cups to serve up the food at supper time with the kids so I can measure my portions without it being a big deal. Used to eat 2 cups pasta with a cup of sauce and eat half that now. WW says it’s better to weigh your food but can’t really be subtle about that with kids. Varying yoghurt at breakfast and veggies/dressing at lunch helps it be less boring. On weekends at breakfast I’ll also have some of whatever the kids are eating – 1 pancake or muffin or a couple hardboiled eggs.

          • AnonMom says:

            Thanks! I might have to start using measuring cups because I clearly eat too much and always feel bloated. Sounds like you have a very good system.

          • Meg Murry says:

            One of the “resets” I like to do that I picked up from Weight Watchers was to only give myself one serving at a time of any meal components or snacks, and once I’ve finished those I can determine if I am still hungry.

            WW used to sell a set of portion control serving spoons, but I don’t see them anymore. One thing I did was measure things a few times and then I was able to use my regular bowls and utensils instead. Like I measured 1 cup of cheerios a few times into a small bowl, until I learned how much was one cup in that bowl (it’s less than you think, in a smaller bowl than you would think). Or I learned that my large ladle was 1 cup, and my small ladle was about 1/2 a cup, etc.

    • mascot says:

      I ate a couple of the nutrisystem shelf stable meals years ago and thought they were pretty gross. Maybe they have improved? I’m not a huge fan of frozen/processed entrees and their ilk anyways though so that may be why.
      I do think that automating your food choices and controlling your portions works so I can see the appeal of having a convenient way to do that. For the short term, it’s probably a viable solution.

      • mascot says:

        Oh, and given (despite?) some of the recent discussion on the main s!te, I think we are going to try intermittent fasting for a while and part of the appeal is reducing decision fatigue on portion control. I don’t seem to get as hungry so I’m not stressing over figuring out where snack calories fit.

        • Thanks. While I’m intrigued by the fasting discussions, I think part of the problem is that we eat too much at lunch and dinner. We skip breakfast half the time anyway (or eat a tiny one) so I don’t think that will work for us until we’ve gotten to better portion sizes.

          Yes I’m worried it’ll taste awful. But I think we need a reset on appropriate portion sizes, so my hope is to do this for a month or two until we get used to eating much much less than we normally do. And cutting out those ridiculous cookie/ wine snacks at 10pm when we’re working at home after the kids are in bed.

          Thanks everyone for your thoughts. (And anon below, while I’d love to cook large quantities at once, that has literally never happened in our house. Neither of us have the energy on Sun evening to cook for a couple hours. I wish we could be that family, though.)

          • It is probably easier for me since I am only cooking for 2 adults and 1 preschooler who rarely eats what we eat. But I only make 2-3 main dishes per week – we eat the same thing every day – and pick 30 minute recipes, so it is doable for me. I would love to outsource more!

          • Legally Brunette says:

            If you’re worried about portion size what about other companies that give pre-portioned meals? Like Jenny Craig and I know there are also some local ones in DC where I live. I’ve heard terrible things about Nutrisystem and how they taste. The more you can focus on real, whole food the better off you will be.

          • mascot says:

            I had a co-worker who used to order these pre-made fresh meals. I think she got them through some company that delivered to her gym. That market has grown a lot so you may find more options. She liked that they were fresh, whole food based and had to be eaten within so many days instead of some freezer meal that you could abandon when the taco Tuesday temptation struck.

          • (former) 3L mama says:

            mascot, if your friend was in Chicago it was probably KitchFix. We love it and get a delivery at our gym almost every week. Pre-made, pre-portioned paleo-ish meals that are so delicious.

      • My way of automating and dealing with portion control is cooking large quantities of food 1-2x week, dividing the leftovers into single serving containers, and eating leftovers all week. When I am feeling organized I also portion out snacks in advance (yogurt mostly but could be done with nuts, crackers, hummus, etc).

  4. Ferber believer says:

    We successfully sleep trained my 4 month old w Ferber (last night, the third night, there was no crying–she chatted to herself for 20 mins, rubbed her eyes, and fell asleep). Naps are a different story. She’s cried for up to 25 mins, slept for 40, and then is done–she used to take 1.5-2hr naps. Do naps just take longer for them to figure out? Any ideas for how to make putting her down for a nap less of an ordeal and to have her connect the sleep cycles during the day? Would it mess up the nighttime sleep training to have the nanny put her down asleep or plug her w pacifier if she wakes up too soon?

    I still have guilt about letting her cry even though I can see that it’s made such a huge difference at night.

    • My son stopped napping for more than 45 minutes around 8-10 weeks old, and it took a while to get him to consolidate his naps more. I think in hindsight he needed to be awake longer between naps, and I didn’t adapt. Also, we eventually learned that he would rouse around 45 minutes – natural end of sleep cycle – but would often fall back asleep only if left completely alone for 10 minutes or so. If I tried to go in to soothe him, nurse him back down, etc it just woke him up completely.

      But in general, if your baby can put herself to sleep at night, my hunch is that naps are a struggle because she isn’t really tired for them. Try spacing them out more, or eliminating the third nap if she still has one.

      • Actually, I’m thinking about this more and want to revise my advice – I think it is also fairly normal for a 4 month old to cat nap. She may naturally consolidate her naps as she gets older – around 6 months? – even if you change nothing. She may be taking shorter naps because she doesn’t need as much sleep as she did as a newborn, and because she is sleeping better at night, thanks in part to your sleep training efforts!

    • Anon in NYC says:

      How many naps is she currently taking? Somewhere around that age my daughter went from 4 to 3 naps. I feel like I link to this site so often, but it really helped me figure out naps. It turns out I was keeping my daughter awake for too long. Once I started putting her down earlier (before waiting for of tiredness), she started to sleep better during the day. I’d usually give her about 15 minutes or so before going back in.


    • CPA Lady says:

      We sleep trained our daughter at 5 months, but I never sleep trained her for naps. I actually held her for naps on the weekend until she was one. I just really liked doing it and wanted to because I was working so much. It didn’t ever seem to have any impact on her good night sleeping habits.

      • +1. Ferber at night, totally pushovers who held her while she slept during the day. It’s worked great.

      • Maddie Ross says:

        +2 (except we needed to re-sleep train again around 18 months because of some regressions). But yes, we held our LO until about one for naps on the weekends. Especially when she was our only, it was just so chill to take turns napping/watching tv and holding her on the weekends. Current LO naps in her carseat way more than she should on the weekend as we are pretty go-go-go with errands and first kid stuff. Our oldest though had good night sleeping habits (still does) and was fine with a nap in her crib once she dropped down to one long consistent nap mid-day a little after age 1.

      • Ferber believer says:

        Interesting. Did she nap okay not being held during the week?

        • CPA Lady says:

          She napped horribly at daycare until she was in the 12 month room and they all took one afternoon nap at the same time with the lights off. Then she napped really well, and still does. Before that, she took maybe one or two 30-45 minute naps per day and was an exhausted wreck by the time I picked her up. Her bedtime was stupid early (between 6 and 6:30) in those days.

          • CPA Lady says:

            I don’t chalk her terrible napping up to me holding her on the weekends though– more to the commotion and lack of any kind of consistent schedule in the infant room– each baby was allowed to keep his or her own schedule.

        • Yes. So far daycare seems to be magic at getting her to nap in a crib.

    • AwayEmily says:

      Naps took longer than night sleep. We night sleep trained (full CIO) at around nine weeks and it took 2 nights. But we didn’t also do CIO for naps — we’d let her try to get to sleep on her own but if her crying escalated we would go in and help her. It took awhile, but eventually the skills she learned at night transferred to naptime. By 14 weeks she was going to sleep totally on her own for naps (so, it took over a month for night skills to trickle down to naps).

      In terms of nap length — before she was four months, her naps were ALWAYS 45 minutes long. She almost never strung naps together. Then at four months she went to daycare and they did some sort of amazing dark magic and suddenly she was taking two-hour afternoon naps, and she still does to this day (13 months). Wish I could be more helpful as to exactly WHAT they did — maybe it’s just the peer pressure? daycare exhaustion? no idea.

    • Ferber believer says:

      Update: work-from-home husband just texted me that, from what he can overhear from his office next to her room (she’s w the nanny), she’s gone down for her naps with 1-2 mins crying each. Either the nanny is the nap whisperer, my daughter can smell my fear, or she’s really just figuring this whole thing out :)

      • Ferber believer says:

        And thank you all so much. I’m really relieved to hear that nap practices and nighttime practices don’t need to be totally consistent for nighttime sleep training to stick.

  5. Cares Plane Seatbelt for Toddler says:

    Has anyone used the Cares plane restraint successfully on a toddler?

    My 2-year-old isn’t a big fan of his car seat, and I can’t see him sitting nicely in it for 3 hours. I think this would work better, but the reviews of small children wriggling out have me questioning whether this product would work.

    Link to follow. Thanks!

    • Cares Plane Seatbelt for Toddler says:
    • Pigpen's Mama says:

      I’ve used it several times for my toddler, starting around 2. It’s hit or miss. She really doesn’t like being constrained, and she’s usually out of it mid-flight at some point, BUT, she fights it less than the car seat and it’s so much easier for me. So when she’s out, I keep the seat belt on – sometimes she wants to put her head in my lap or otherwise wiggle around. And then I’ll usually bribe her to get her back in it for landing (she’s 2.5 now). Not my finest parenting, but we’re flying, so my low standards are even lower!

      One problem I have with it, and maybe someone has found a solution, is that the strap that holds the shoulder harnesses prevents her from reclining against the seat, since the seat curves in and the strap sticks out (like a chord on a circle, for you geometry nerds out there, I have no other way of describing it!).

      • Could a folded towel or blanket wedged in between the strap and the seat work? Maybe a thin or inflatable travel pillow? She still wouldn’t be able to recline against the seat, but there would be something for her to lean on at least.

    • I didn’t love it but I think I will when my 2.3 YO is taller. He just kept sliding down. However, for a 2-hour flight to see grandma, who has a carseat there, I think I’d keep using it anyway… and letting him out or using the regular seat belt for periods.

      Agree with Pigpen’s Mama about the weird back positioning too. And bribery, for that matter!

    • Famouscait says:

      Tried to use this for my son (at 2yo) on an ultra-long-haul flight. He hated it, and we abandoned the idea pretty quickly. We were able to borrow one from our pediatrician’s office, so no money lost.

    • Have one … Little TK hates it because of the reclining issue mentioned above. I had not considered the blanket / towel idea, that might make a difference.

    • SoCalAtty says:

      We have used it for my 19 month old – we love it. So much better than hauling a car seat onboard. He tolerated it fine on a 3 hour flight to Idaho.

    • We’ve used it on short flights (1-2hrs) with our 2.5 yo. The good news is that he can’t squirm out; the bad news is this leads to him yelling “I WANT UP” throughout the flight. I agree it’s way easier than wrangling a car seat.

  6. paging Lorelai Gilmore says:

    RE; your question about piano lessons yesterday. I don’t have experience with this as a parent (yet), but I was your daughter. And I still take piano lessons and I still struggle with practicing, but for totally different reasons, so a couple thoughts.
    1. As a couple people mentioned, consistency is key. Short practice sessions are better than nothing. Aim for more days with practice in them than not.
    2. Call it “playing,” not “practicing.” As in, “go play the piano for a few minutes before dinner.” Even if she’s not practicing her lesson, the repetition of just playing will help.
    3. Yes to other commenters’ suggestions of going to live performances, listening to recordings of piano music, etc.
    4.. I actually somewhat disagree about picking her own music and/or playing popular songs. I have vivid memories of getting a book of Lion King piano music and arguing with my teacher when she tried to make me play what was actually written on the page rather than what the music sounded like in the music. The rhythms were a little different. Playing that stuff for fun is great, but I wouldn’t make it part of the lessons, and I’m guessing she doesn’t read music well enough yet to sight-read it.

    What kind of curriculum is she studying? Suzuki or traditional? I started with Suzuki, the premise of which is that you learn music by immersion, so you get recordings of all the songs you’re going to learn and you listen to them a lot (my mom just played them every time we were in the car). You also learn technical skills through the repertoire, not by exercises, so it feels less like work and you have your completed song to show for the fact that you learned to do some scales. I think it helps to hear the music in its completed state , both for motivation and to develop a sense of musicality. If she’s playing music you can find recordings of, this might be a good tactic. If not, maybe you could make a recording on your phone, or ask the teacher to do it?

    Does she like her teacher? Do you feel like the teacher is moving at an appropriate pace and putting an appropriate amount of pressure on her? When I first started piano lessons (around 5), I made really fast progress for a year or two and then totally burned out. From how my mom describes it, it was partly that i was an intense, type-a little kid who liked to be good at everything and partly that my teacher was feeding that rather than recognizing that I was stressing myself out. My mom let me “take a break” from piano for a few months over the summer, and then restart with a new teacher, who was much more laid back. (I took a break every summer, actually, but that one was longer). I’m not saying the power struggle over practicing went away, but the meltdowns about inadequacy stopped. You have to find the right fit. I’ve had 9 different piano teachers over the last 30 years, including two that I only worked with for a few months before it became apparent that they just weren’t good for me. It’s worth checking out a different teacher and seeing if the experience changes.

    All that said, piano (like everything!) is not for everyone. But in my opinion you shouldn’t let her quit before she achieves enough proficiency to know whether she likes it or not for its own sake, rather than just because it’s frustrating to learn a new skill. I fully intend to make all of my kids take at least a few years of piano lessons. It’s like a subject in school — you might not like social studies, but you can’t opt out. :)

    • paging Lorelai Gilmore says:

      *in the movie. of course

    • Anonymous says:

      “It’s like a subject in school — you might not like social studies, but you can’t opt out. :)”

      Can you talk a little more about why you feel this way? I think of swimming lessons as mandatory because I view it as a safety thing but I always thought of piano as like violin/soccer/ballet/gymnastics/karate/guitar – an activity that kids try to see what hobbies interest them and not something mandatory like a school subject.

      • I took piano lessons as a kid (starting with group music classes at age 3 until probably until I was 12 or so, when I got pretty serious about a string instrument) and am really, really glad my parents made me do it. Piano provides a great musical foundation for pretty much any other instrument – you learn to read both treble and bass clefs, how to use both hands simultaneously but doing different things, and provides more music theory naturally (chords, how the bass line and melody work together). It is just a useful skill to have, more so than violin or some other instrument. I am not nearly good enough to play reliably with someone singing, but I could practice to the point where I could, and I can sight read Christmas carols and the like. I will be having my child start piano lessons when he’s about 3-4 (likely Yamaha or Suzuki or something like that) because I think it’s a great foundational instrument and basic musical literacy is important to me and my husband.

        • +1 Having a basic understanding of music, being able to sight read, etc as quail says are all reasons I would say a few years of piano is a good idea for any kiddo.

          My elementary and middle school also had required music classes (where we played the recorder, UGH). I think this helped in terms of giving me more exposure to music theory and music history, but I got zero joy out of the recorder. Plus you had to play in front of the whole class, so there was the stage fright aspect. I wouldn’t want that to be my only music exposure, I would definitely hate music if that were the case.

          I’m also going to make my kids do a few years of choir (either school or church). If after this they still say they really don’t have any fun immersing themselves in a piece or singing with a group, they can quit. Although on choir peer pressure worked in the positive way – all my friends did it, so I wanted to. I only quit choir and piano when I got to high school and sports took up all. the. friggin. time.

        • Spirograph says:

          The long original post is me, and I agree with everything here. Musical literacy is important to me, there is a long tradition of it in my family, and it’s something that I want my kids to be a part of. Some families are football families, some are dance families, some are whatever else. I’m not going to make my kids do piano to the exclusion of other things — one of my sons is definitely a natural athlete, and I’ll encourage that, too — but they need to learn a little piano. My siblings and I all took piano lessons; I’m the only one who stuck with piano, but the others learned other instruments, we all sang in choirs, and piano is foundational to all of that.

          There’s also a lot of science supporting that learning to play music is great for brain development. And manual dexterity, and math sense, rhythm (if you want to get into dance) and on and on and on. That’s not why I’m going to do it, but it’s a nice perk.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks for the responses. Love the peeks into the lives of different families. Neither DH nor I are musical so piano definitely falls in the ‘if you want’ category but time outdoors for free play is a ‘must’ on par with how other posters seem to view piano.

    • EP-er says:

      I missed the conversation yesterday. When our oldest started piano at 7, in first grade, we said he had to stick with it for at least two years. That is long enough to get good enough to know if you like it or not. We’re 2.5 years in and he is still interested, so that is good! One thing we did for practicing was to say “You have to practice for 20 minutes each day. When do you want to do that?” Giving him a choice between before school/after school/after dinner gave him some ownership over the decision, which helps a lot, I think. He knows that as soon as dinner is over, he has to wash up & set the timer. This has made practice a non-issue in our house — for the most part! Some times braking it up into smaller chunks helps, too. Last year, I think, he was practicing 10 minutes before school/10 minutes after dinner.

    • Meg Murry says:

      Rather than suggesting she take a break for the summer, I was actually going to suggest the opposite, depending on what your summer schedule is like. Since right now she isn’t home until 6 pm, there isn’t a lot of time in the evenings left for her to practice. Could you talk to her teacher about the option of pausing until summer, and then find a way to work practice/playing into her normal summer routine and go from there? Perhaps next year you can find a way to get her home from school earlier to allow practice, or even a way for her to get some practice at an after-school program? Perhaps a high school student would be willing to pick her up and do piano and homework with her?

      If you are stressing out about her not being able to do the recital in June, could you talk to the teacher about picking an easier recital piece (or even not performing at the recital at all) and then allow her to focus more on just having fun with the music.

      My son is in 4th grade now and started piano the summer after 2nd grade, and one thing that makes a big difference is when we go to rewards charts just for playing. He can earn additional screen time for every so much time of playing the piano – and I’ve been pretty lax about not caring whether he’s practicing for his lesson or playing his favorite song from lessons 2 years ago or playing some other piece he had me print off the internet or something he’s making up himself, as long as he’s there and playing. It may not be the best form, but he’s a pretty active kid, so I also don’t fight it if he wants to play standing up instead of sitting – I figure he does enough sitting when he’s at school all day.

      But I’ve taken the pretty laid back position that any piano is better than no piano, and I want it to be something he gets some enjoyment out of, not one more thing to fight about (like the dreaded drawn out homework battles).

  7. Has anyone done laser hair removal and/or electrolysis prior to being done having kids? I’ve never had major hair growth while pregnant and would love to just do it, but we may still have one more…

    • Yes, I did electrolysis before I had my first and also the intervening time between my first and second. During the intervening time though I was doing mostly touch up (to upper lip and chin area). It worked fantastic and I have saved so much money/hassle not having to worry about that area anymore.

  8. I really like this dress, but I already have a navy dress that I also really like. The pink is too Elle Woods for the office, right?

    • NewMomAnon says:

      There is a version that comes in two patterns that are definitely office appropriate:
      [Ed. note: Link was deleted because it was broken, sorry!]

      • Thanks! I like the darker “aqua shell geo” print. With the promo code, it’s down to $75, and there’s free shipping and 4% cashback on Ebates. I think that’s cheap enough for me to pull the trigger.

  9. Blueberry says:

    OK, difficult request. Anybody who had gestational diabetes (or other low-carb-ers) have good snack recs for someone with morning sickness who really only wants to eat a plain bagel? If I so much as see another hardboiled egg today, I’m going to puke.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      I didn’t have GD, but I struggled with blood sugar while pregnant and needed protein to stabilize everything, but craved carbs. I ended up eating a lot of Diamond nut thins and flakes of parmesan cheese (don’t ask…I have no answers).

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Oh, and I forgot! I would cook bacon in the oven and then bring bacon strips to work. I did the uncured, nitrite free stuff…but I’m sure a nutritionist would cringe at it anyway. I craved crunchy/salty/carb stuff, fwiw.

      • Blueberry says:

        Wow, I like the way you think. I’ve been having a lot of salty nuts. Bacon and parmesan flakes sound awesome. I’m not really worried about too much fat, because I exercise and am on the low side of a healthy BMI and didn’t gain too much weight with either previous pregnancy. Plus, I figure something’s gotta give, right?

        • NewMomAnon says:

          I don’t know if you’ve tried Graze (it’s a weekly box of snacks), but they have some really good high-protein, salty snacks. The popkerns (partially popped popcorn kernels in various flavors) are on special right now. They also have a variety of nuts and seeds in various flavors, including some variety mixes.

          • Blueberry says:

            Ooh, Graze does seem to have a lot of high-protein, low-carb options that don’t make me want to vom. I think I will get some of these! Thanks!

        • Peanut butter on celery (or whatever) might work. I also eat it straight out of the jar tbh.
          Cheese sticks
          Drinking whole milk (caloric ally, it’s like a snack)

          Caveat being these items did not become appealing to me until later in my pregnancy. Early on I craved juice when my stomach was upset, but that won’t work with GD.

          • I also love Harvest Snaps Snapea Crisps – they are surprisingly high protein/high fiber. One bag is only like 2 servings for me though so not very economical.

          • If milk appeals to you, you might check out Fairlife, which is supposed to be higher protein & lower sugar (they have a chocolate milk that uses Stevia as well). I went through a period where I was drinking warm milk to help with heartburn issues, although that much liquid was not particularly appealing earlier in the pregnancy.

          • Spirograph says:

            Pogo, you can get gigantic bags of the snapea crisps for about $6 at Costco, if that’s an option.

          • Blueberry says:

            Thanks! Thank goodness for peanut butter — peanut butter on everything! Bleg, the snap pea crisps are not doing it for me right now, but they were formerly a favorite snack. Maybe I’ll try again in the second trimester. I’ll see if they have Fairlife at my local grocery store. I remember hearing about it and thinking it was a total crock, but now I have changed my ways :). I am enjoying getting my dairy from Greek yogurt (in addition to salty, tart is sooo what I want right now for some reason) and cheese.

    • Tortilla chips microwaved w grated cheese to make “nachos” and dipped in guac (this was a favorite).
      Peanut butter on a spoon.
      Cabot cheese snacks (I liked the extra sharp ones once morning sickness subsided a bit) or string cheese with Triscuits or Kashi crackers.
      Low sugar granola w plain yogurt and berries (smash up frozen berries or let defrost in yogurt if the plainness is too tart).
      Mixed nuts.
      A California roll w brown rice.

      (caveat: I did not have GD but tried to limit sugar)

    • I drank a lot of Kefir while pregnant and it was good for my tummy (both nausea and later heartburn)

    • Other low carb snack ideas – Greek yogurt or cottage cheese with salt, turkey pepperoni

    • mascot says:

      Cello Whisps are these magical chips that are made out of 100% cheese. They have Parmesan and Cheddar. Salty, crispy, low carb/high protein. I suppose you could just grate piles of cheese and bake them in the oven too but these are so easy.

    • Edna Mazur says:

      I had GD last go round. My go to snacks were apples with babybell cheese and carrots with hummus. For lunches I ate a lot of prepackaged salad mixes that I put protein in.

      I thought these tasted terrible, but Snapea Crisps are peas disguised as chips. My sister liked them so maybe they just weren’t my thing.

      • Ha, I mentioned those above. I love them!

        • Edna Mazur says:

          I tried them when they were on sale at my grocery store. No one in my family could stand them and then my sister came to visit and her family just devoured them. I kind of wish we liked them as they’d be a good replacement for chips, etc. that my kids like…

    • Anonymous says:

      I had GD, so I feel ya, girl. It was terrible, mostly because I’m on the thinner side, barely gained any weight during pregnancy and had almost no appetite, so the diagnosis came out of left field. I cried a lot. So hugs as you go through it, and it’s all much much better once baby is born!

      I ate a lot of peanut butter alone and on celery, sugar free jello, and I baked some little “mini quiches” using mini muffin tins that were great. I just added cheese, meat, etc., then refrigerated them. I threw a couple in the microwave on the way out the door. Varying the ingredients in them helped me a lot. I think you can also do some fun stuff with chia pudding – it has some carbs but lots of protein, so it should balance out. Make it in advance and there are lots of recipes online. There are a ton of GD forums online with suggestions, and you can also just google “diabetes breakfast recipes” for tips as well.

      • Blueberry says:

        Thanks. Yeah, I’ve definitely had a fair amount of “why me?” feelings about this. I’m not technically diagnosed with GD yet, but I had it towards the end of my last pregnancy (as I found out when the doc was like, hmm, looks like that baby is going to be 10-pounder, let’s get you tested again!), so trying to be proactive. My way of dealing with nausea in the other pregnancies was to eat plain saltines and the like, which is obviously not the way to go anymore. Maybe I’ll try those mini-quiches. Quiche sounds fine — I just can’t anymore with the hard boiled eggs!

    • Blueberry says:

      Thanks so much, guys! With all the ideas here + lemon sparkling water, I just might survive!

    • Anonymous says:

      soy milk

  10. ElisaR says:

    Looking for advice on biting. My 1 year old son has started biting me. Not in an angry or upset way, but as we cuddle before I put him down at night. It’s weird – almost like as he’s relaxing he just does it.

    It’s been going on for 2 wks. I have been reacting loudly and letting him know it hurts with an “OW!” and “NO!” and he looks confused. Sometimes he laughs at that even. Last night’s bite left marks….

    • NewMomAnon says:

      My automatic response to kiddo when she bit me at that age was to say “OW!,” then set her down and walk away. It was effective, but she was also glued to me at that age, so it was a big repercussion in her eyes.

    • LegalMomma says:

      My daughter did similar biting as well. If you were holding her front to front, she would bite down on your shoulder. I finally figured out it corresponded with some serious teething — one year molars + some others. We did the OW! in the moment, and also worked on “no biting people/mommy/daddy” constantly. I would recommend giving him something he can bite down on (our favorite was the zoli stick) but also know he WILL grow out of if. If he is like my daughter it might take a few months though . . .

    • Spirograph says:

      Do you have the book “Teeth Are Not For Biting”? It could be correlation that she was just outgrowing the phase, but we read that book to my daughter every night at bedtime for a few weeks and I swear it helped. She now walks around saying “teeth are not for biting! Ouch! biting hurts!,” which is kind of adorable. Also there is a cute line about getting a hug when you need to calm down, instead of biting. And my kids always snuggle in for a hug at that. Probably part of the reason my husband and I keep reading the book even though the biting has mostly stopped…

      The back of the book also has a page for parents with some more tips for quelling biting.

      • Fair warning though, that book always seemed to encourage biting for my son – like it would remind him that he could use his teeth for biting! Also went through that with “Hands are not for hitting”. Could be just us though since I see them both recommended all the time…

    • AnonMN says:

      We’ve been through a couple of biting phases, with my 1yo and 3yo, and I found that anything major I did just made it worse. For a while, my 3yo would exclusively bite me (he was 1yo at the time), and as he got older, we finally realized it was because I reacted (with the typicaly exagerated “OW”) and he is very clearly a kid who is out to find the reactions. So i started just ignoring it and moving out of his immediate vicintity and it went away.

      With my 1yo it was always associated with teething. So we just said ow and tried to give him something to chew on (so at bedtime a pacifier or blanket). It always went away on its own

    • shortperson says:

      putting my daughter down worked for me. nothing worked on my niece until my sister bit her back. and she is a very crunchy person, no spanking or corporal punishment other than that one time. one time worked. but her kid was 2.5 by then.

  11. PrettyPrimadonna says:

    This dress is adorable. Love it!

  12. The thread about birth control on the main page got me thinking…what have you done for birth control once you have a kid if you struggled to get/stay pregnant? I think our issues are largely in that ginormous “unexplained IF” category. Looking back at the years I spent on BCP, it just seems so silly to get serious about preventing again (obviously I know that age could factor in, so it’s possible I could have very easily found myself in the accidentally pregnant category during those years). Also open to more kiddos down the line, and this journey has more or less stripped me of any notions that this is something you can “plan.”

    • My IF issues were PCOS, and progesterone-only birth control helped control many of the symptoms for me. So despite the fact that my chance of getting pregnant is probably close to zero, I’m going to go back on the minipill for managing all my crazy hormones.

      Curious to see other responses though. I do wish I could go back to 22 year old Pogo who missed one pill and was crying in a chemistry exam about it and be like, dude, its fine. You basically can’t get knocked up.

    • ElisaR says:

      I was taking the “mini” BC which has like an 80% success rate or something crazy like that. But I would recommend taking something because my best friend did IVF and after her twins were born thought she didn’t have to be careful…. she basically has triplets now as her third pregnancy happened naturally and quickly after her very difficult first.

      • One caution about the mini pill. I wanted to use that until we tried again (did not have infertility, but did take 7 cycles of active trying to get pregnant so I was concerned). It was fine while breastfeeding, but as I tapered down feedings around 10 months (so probably around when my cycle would have come back), I started having constant light bleeding. My midwife said this is common on the mini pill. I ended up going back on the regular pill, low dose.

        • It is common as your midwife said, but I never had a single period or spotting on the mini pill. Could be that my hormones are super wonky to begin with.

          You do have to take it more accurately (exact same time every day) than a combo pill to get the same efficacy rate.

          I like to champion the mini pill because no one told me about it until I was almost 30 and it really did wonders for me as far as regulating hormones.

      • Yeah, that exact same thing happened to my boss. Her twins were right around 2 when her son was born. She and her husband had hoped to someday have another kid, but not so quickly.

    • Anon for This says:

      I had unexplained IF with my first (took 3+ years and finally succeeded with hormone injections). My first and second children are 15 months apart because our method of BC after our first was relying on previous infertility.

      We were kind of in your boat, surprised, but we wanted more than one and were glad this one wouldn’t cost five figures just to get in my belly. I’m currently expecting number three and we just started having a conversation about maybe having to try to actually prevent a pregnancy in the near future.

      • Anonymous says:

        This happened to my cousin. Tried for 3 years for their first. Relied on IF for BC. Baby #2 was born 11 months after his brother.

        • Anonymous says:

          I have cousins with this age difference. My aunt and uncle struggled with IF for a long time to the point that they were looking into adoption before older cousin was conceived. They were thrilled to have a second, but the timing was less than ideal for a lot of reasons.

        • When I hear these stories all I can think is… people were having enough s3x two months after a baby was born to get pregnant with another??? I mean, more power to them, and I sincerely hope that two months after my baby is born I’ll be feeling up to it/be sleeping enough that I’d chose s3x over sleep!

          • Anon 1:32 says:

            My sister and I had that exact reaction when we heard about our cousin. He works away for long stretches and had been home for two months after the birth of the baby so he was due to be away for two months so I guess it was their last chance for a while so they went ahead? Still, 2 under 1 was not a risk in my PP world.

          • Anon for This says:

            We jumped back in the saddle after the six week post-partum visit. I’m actually happy they aren’t closer than 15 months as they absolutely could have been. My period came back, even with exclusive breast feeding at about three months.

      • I could have written your reply! My kids are 14 months apart.

      • IVFer says:

        Yeah, I would certainly not mind avoiding the $$, shots, tears, meds, etc. to have a kid.

    • Never diagnosed with any issues and pregnancy happened “naturally,” but it took us a LONG time (over a year). It made me realize that it’s much harder to get pregnant than I previously thought (I really took to heart every warning from HS health class!). Not TTC now and not sure if we’ll ever want no. 2, but I basically am just a little more careless now because 1) I figure I’m safe most of the month and 2) if it happens, we’re okay with it. On days that are “high probability” we either abstain or use cond*ms. I was on the pill throughout my 20s but don’t want to go back on now that I am 35.

    • IVFer says:

      Thanks for all these perspectives. I’m not quite there yet, but feel like I’m finally to that spot where this is something on my mind, so really appreciate these thoughts.

    • PinkKeyboard says:

      We did nothing between IVF baby 1 and IVF baby 2, but after this one I’m getting fixed. I know that it’s incredibly unlikely I would get pregnant but I’m too lazy to do anything (regular) to prevent and can just imagine surprise triplets in 10 years….

      • PinkKeyboard says:

        To clarify, we were actually hoping for an oops type baby soon after #1 but my uterus continues to be much more like a cactus than a sofa.

    • Anonysaurus says:

      Backwards from some of the other posters on this thread, I got pregnant with number 1 no problem, while on the pill, in my early twenties. Woops. After that I tried the arm implant but I spotted constantly on it and switched to the copper IUD, which I loved. I got it out about 8 months ago to TTC, thinking since the first one happened so easily it would happen right away. Still no luck (different partner, so may be male factor infertility, who knows).

      FWIW i loved the copper IUD because it’s completely hormone free and therefor didn’t interfere with my periods. However, I realized after starting it that I actually have irregular periods and long cycles, which wasn’t a problem on the pill, so who knows.

      • IVFer says:

        Your comment really seems like a non sequitur. If you know people who have gone through IF in real life, there is not a group of pregnancy issues that include both IF & accidental pregnancies, they are pretty distinct, so be careful what you say. Sorry, it’s just a difficult topic and I actually have been told “see, just like you have problems getting pregnant, I have problems not getting pregnant” and that really hurts. And I wish you the best with TTC now (very sincerely).

        • Anonymous says:

          I took her comment as completely on point about this part of life being an unplannable journey and picking up on your statement that ” this journey has more or less stripped me of any notions that this is something you can “plan.”” She had a previous unintended pregnancy and didn’t expect to have to deal with not being about to conceive right away at present. That’s a comment that is not irrelevant and also specifically addressed your question by talking about her preferred method of contraception.

          Almost everyone’s journey to parenthood or a decision not to be parents is more complicated than many of us imagined when we were young. She wasn’t being glib about IF.

        • anon for this says:

          Actually Anonysaurus points out a case in which accidental pregnancies and IF overlap – male factor with different partners.

          It does sting to hear about someone’s accidental pregnancy when you’ve tried so hard but I think Anonysaurus was trying to come from a place of understanding and IVFer is still in a place where it really stings to hear this regardless.

          It’s a really complicated issue and the more compassion the better. I say this as someone who was raped during a time when I was trying to get pregnant (and couldn’t), and had to confront the possibility Anonysaurus raised (maybe I couldn’t get pregnant by my husband, but who knows about my rapist) and had to contend with a cycle of horrible dread following the morning-after pill and until I got my period, thinking about the possibility I might need to end an accidental pregnancy when I very much wanted to be pregnant.

          After that experience I really try not to judge anyone about infertility, accidental pregnancies, and ending a pregnancy (wanted or unwanted). They can all be terribly painful experiences and each woman is just doing the best she can.

        • IVFer says:

          @ 4:29 Anonymous. Thank you, I see your point about the planning & you’re right. But I did mean for the question to be what I said–how to handle BC once you had a kid if you struggled to get/stay pregnant. Not a general BC q.

          @ 4:50 anon for this. I am so sorry that you had that experience. I agree on the compassion. While I was always pro-choice, I have found that my losses have made me even more vehemently so. Our experiences undoubtedly shape us. But one area where I have identified that I really struggle is when experiences that seem very different are used to compare or analogize, and I think that’s a particular context in which discussing unplanned pregnancies particularly stings & why I had this reaction to Anonysaurus’s post. She was not asking about secondary IF or male factor issues, she was responding to a question about using BC after difficulties getting/staying pregnant.

        • Anonysaurus says:

          I’m sorry IVFer, I promise that wasn’t my intention. My unintended pregnancy years ago was just that- unintended, and led to a very painful and hard time in my life. It was not some beautiful experience that came out of love with a supportive partner. Now that I’m trying to get pregnant with a committed partner and can’t, I’m seeing the other side of unplannable fertility. As “anon for this” pointed out, I was speaking to your statement about the experience speaking to stripping any notions of this being something you can plan. I arrogantly thought I could “plan” when it would happen based on my past experience, and now I’m learning I certainly can’t. Some people posted about “whoopsy” babies after IVF, so I was posting about possibly needing IVF after a “whoopsy”. I didn’t mean it to sting, I’m truly sorry if it came off as insensitive.

          • Anonysaurus says:

            and I know “whoopsy” sounds flippant, but it’s my way of coping with what was a painful experience. I’m sorry that it comes off as insensitive, I see that now.

          • Thanks. Also I know there have been very compassionate discussions here about secondary IF (and I 100% do not intend to label you with that, but since it seems like you may be thinking along those lines I wanted to mention it), so I hope you might consider starting a thread if that sort of discussion could be helpful for you.

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