Makeup & Beauty Monday: SolarOil Nail & Cuticle Care

I found out about CND Essential’s SolarOil while looking for nail strengtheners on Amazon — it had a ton of great reviews so I thought I’d give it a try. My skin gets extremely dry in the winter, and this year I noticed that my nails looked pretty bad, too. They were really weak and I couldn’t grow them as long as I usually do. SolarOil’s ingredients are sweet almond oil, jojoba seed oil, rice bran oil, and Vitamin E, and it only has a slight fragrance. After using it several times a week (but not every day, as you’re supposed to), it has made a big difference –my nails are much stronger and I can grow them again. Don’t expect to be able to use your hands for many things after painting it on your nails and cuticles (and rubbing it in), because they’ll be really oily. I usually wipe the undersides of my fingers with a tissue and then I can type until it gets absorbed. SolarOil is $8.50 for 0.25 oz. at Amazon, which sounds pretty small, but it lasts for quite a while. SolarOil Nail & Cuticle Care

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  1. I swear by this stuff. I keep little bottles of it everywhere. I don’t notice a big difference in nail strength, but this keeps my cuticles from looking super raggedy. Still sometimes raggedy, but not super raggedy.

  2. For the first time in a while, I’ve totally run out of books and TV shows…any recent favorites to recommend? I usually read or watch something while I’m folding laundry so I need some good stuff!!

    • Mama Llama says:

      Have you watched Jessica Jones? Season two was just released on Netflix, and I’m so excited to watch it. How about The Good Place? Season one is on Netflix and season recently wrapped up, so I bet it will be on Netflix soon.

    • I like watching The Good Place while I do chores. I’ll also watch makeup tutorials on You Tube. I rarely do my makeup like those tutorials, but I find them entertaining to watch.

      • I could probably use some makeup tutorials – ha! I’ll definitely check out The Good Place since this the second vote for it!

        • +1 to the Good Place.

          Also: consider podcasts. That’s my go-to. Stuff You Should Know and Hidden Brain are two good ones for doing chores.

    • Reese Witherspoon has a book club and recommends a ton of books on her Instagram. There are lists online – I’ve started working through those as they come up at my library. I’d say I like 1 out of every 2-3 of her recommendations, so ymmv.

      Another idea – Book of the Month Club lists 5 new releases each month with a short synopsis. I think you can create an account without subscribing to see the list, although don’t quote me. If that doesn’t work, their subscribers pick the best books of each year, so you could look at the list of finalists from last year to get a long list to add to your library queue as well.

    • I’m reading A Wrinkle in Time right now– a childhood favorite that I hadn’t read in… 25 years? It is SO GOOD.

      • Ah, thank you for the reminder! Someone actually lent A Wrinkle in Time to me and it’s sitting on my dresser. I loved it as a kid, too. First on my list!!

        • avocado says:

          The audiobook narrated by Hope Davis is fantastic. My daughter and I have listened to it several times.

          • How old is your daughter?

          • avocado says:

            We started listening to it when she was 5. She is 11 now.

          • Redux says:

            That is awesome. My husband had never read it and he was shocked to hear I had read it in elementary school. It seems advanced to him, but I remember eating it up!

    • I second The Good Place and add Schitt’s Creek – especially if you are a fan of Christopher Guest movies.

      What kind of books do you like to read?

    • The new Queer Eye on Netflix is so adorable and endearing. I loved it – only 8 episodes but definitely good to watch while doing laundry / etc.

      • Anonymous says:

        I was also going to recommend Queer Eye! I’ve only watched the first two episodes, but it is replacing the Great British Baking Show’s place in my life.

  3. quick tech question says:

    I’ve tried googling this, but figured I’d ask this group. Other than Guided Access on iphone, is there an app or extension I can buy so my child can watch a video on youtube without being able to accidentally hit the home screen and, for example, send a weird text to my boss? Basically looking for a way to lock the phone on a video, on either Safari or on the Youtube app. Thanks!

    • Just guided access, I think. We switched to watching shows on the amazon prime streaming app since you can use guided access to make it so they can’t leave the app – 3yo has started randomly clicking around YouTube and I was afraid he’d stumble across something problematic.

  4. Does anyone else find Monday re-entry so hard after a good weekend at home? We had a nice, full weekend with activities and really felt more present with DD and DH than I have in a long time. The downside to that was I spent less time getting ready for the week (laundry, cooking, etc.) so now I feel already behind at home and as always behind at work. I feel like I struggle so much to enjoy time at home without feeling like it’s a never ending series of chores to get ready for the week, and I spent part of the week sad we’re not at home. By the time I feel actually engaged at work again, then it’s almost the weekend and the process re-starts.

    • Yes! It’s super hard. I try to get most of my chores done during the week so I can have the weekend to mostly relax, and not feel too behind when I get to Monday. It doesn’t always work well, though, especially when I have a busy week.

    • I feel the same if I don’t meal plan and grocery shop for the week. I also strongly prefer to be caught up on laundry. All the other stuff seems to fall into place during the week. But really those two things take so little time on the weekend that as long as we aren’t traveling, I don’t have much excuse not to get them done. It takes 15 minutes to meal plan and make a grocery list. Then usually we have a family outing to the store so it still feels like family time. This outing often piggybacks onto church or something. Laundry can be done throughout the weekend as we’re home and able, including after kiddo goes to bed and during nap time.

      • This is what we do, too: meal plan and grocery shop as a family “activity,” and a few loads of laundry throughout the weekend. With those two big chores done we have more down time and less of a mess going into the week. I definitely feel a little of what EB0220 says, that the chores sometimes eat up the weekend and come Monday I often feel like I didn’t get out at all. But my kids are little and the reality is that we are home a LOT. When the littlest drops his morning nap, our days will open up a bit, I imagine. Also winter needs to end already.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes – there is never enough time. Great playdate with friends and their kids on the weekend, brunch with college girlfriends and family skating in the park. So much fun but I got no laundry done and I skipped grocery shopping so I feel like a wreck heading into this week. Working on simplfying in the life maintenance stuff so that I can actually enjoy weekends more.

    • So I’ve recently been forced to re-frame this. Between snow, the flu and follow up illnesses, and a confluence of random things, I’ve been home with my kids for most of the past 3 weeks. Some of that was while I was sick, and the kids were sick, but most of it was when we were not.

      Laundry still did not get done. We still ate take out. We somehow make enough dishes in a day to run the dishwasher twice, even if I don’t cook. I was still not always super present with my kids all of the time, and I ran out of patience more times than I’d like to admit. (Why can’t they just keep their shoes on for more than 10 minutes!) We didn’t get in a lot of fun, enriching activities. I’m just as behind in house stuff as I was three weeks ago Friday when I left the office, and now I’m juggling deadlines like a circus clown on speed.

      I made it into the office last Friday, and put out some fires, and made a list of everything I need to get done this week, and got in early today and blasted through a bunch of them. This is the only productivity hack I’ve ever implemented that has a noticeable effect on my week–I need to sit down on Monday morning and have a plan in action. That gets me into the groove of work, and helps with re-entry.

      • Oooo yes! This is good advice. I always go straight to my office on Monday morning. I upload the last week’s notes and clean my Rocketbook and I go through my to-dos on Trello. It definitely gets me back in the swing of work. Otherwise I’ve forgotten everything I needed to do over the weekend.

    • Yes. I way overdid it this weekend. We took on too many projects, and we had people over yesterday to watch a parade that passed by our house. I’m sore and exhausted, and there’s not enough coffee in the world. But our house looks amazing (or it will when we get a bunch of parade cr*p out of the living room), and we had a great time. I came in an hour late and haven’t accomplished anything yet.

    • I was feeling this super hard this morning. We had a great weekend and my son was really fun (and not teething for once!). It was also gorgeous out (though cold) and we were able to get out and do some fun stuff. Plus, I had a dentist appointment this morning before work, and saw about 10 moms out with kids and it made me really sad. I haven’t had a super tough Monday in a while but today was one. Solidarity.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This is possibly a silly question but what do you do all day with a newborn? I’m home on maternity leave with my 3 week old. She spends probably 3-4 hours feeding most days and we do a few minutes of supervised tummy time twice per day but otherwise she’s alone in her crib, usually sleeping. I feel like I should be doing more to interact with her but I don’t know what. We do hold her and read aloud to her after most daytime feedings but she falls asleep quickly (<5 minutes) – is there any point in reading to a baby who’s asleep?

    • We did a lot of songs. I found some kid songs on YouTube that I liked. I held her during a lot of her naps while I was on leave. I figured I could, so why not. It was glorious. We also used a Rock ‘n’ Play for

      • not sure why it cut me off…

        …naps so that she could be near us. She’ll have more and more awake time as she gets older. Just in time to go back to work :( Hold her while you can…

    • Anonymous says:

      Newborns don’t need much stimulation. Just observing the world around them is plenty. You can nap when baby naps, or prep freezer meals for when you go back to work. Or take a walk and let baby nap in the stroller or baby carrier. Enjoy the time together and practice lots of self-care so that you’re as rested and ready to return when you go back. And enjoy the snuggles.

      • oo yes walks! I forgot, since its so awful out now, but I was on maternity leave in the summer. I took LO for a walk every day. Usually to the ice cream place down the street. This was good in the early days when he ate every hour, so a walk was the best way to get out of the house and back in time for the cluster feed.

    • I tried to attend a moms meet up a few times a week while on maternity leave. The babies would lie on blankets and look at each other, while the moms chatted. It was nice to meet other moms with babies the same age. Those friendships have lasted years now, so definitely worth forming.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sounds like you’re doing fine! I think the general advice was just to keep baby near you when they’re awake. So if you’re in the kitchen, you can put them in the rock n play. On maternity leave I always got ready in the morning (makeup) because it made me feel like a human, we would take a walk because it was springtime, and I would do afternoon “music class” where I played the radio and sang for about 20 minutes. Otherwise It was just a ton of cuddling and watching tv!

    • Anon in NYC says:

      There’s not much you can do specifically for a 3 week old! I tried to generally follow the EASY plan (eat, activity, sleep, your time — see

      The “activity” for newborns is so limited. Tummy time, reading, talking to her, etc. I tried to get out of the house for activities too (pick up a sandwich, meeting up with a moms group, and stuff like that).

    • I spent most of maternity leave watching Netflix with the baby sleeping on my chest or in a baby containment device next to me. I also felt like I should be ‘doing’ something, but I’m SO glad I did lean in to the snuggles now that it’s over.

      +1 to a local moms group. The other activity I’d do is pack up LO in the car and take him to my favorite coffee shop, where he’d either sleep in his stroller or in the Ktan snuggled on me. I’d open my computer and do any kind of ‘work’ stuff I needed to get done (submitting FSA receipts, researching flights, etc). I felt like a person and sort of part of society again, which was awesome.

    • Mama Llama says:

      Enjoy the fact that your baby is sleeping well because that can change down the line. I would take naps, watch TV, get some exercise, read books, catch up with friends, and maybe stock the freezer with some meals. Do you have a video monitor?

    • You’re so lucky baby sleeps in the crib! I was lucky if my baby slept for 30 minutes, and it was either in the carseat (while driving) or in the bouncy chair. So I never got to nap. Definitely take advantage and sleep if you can.

      I also spent a lot of time watching tv while nursing, but I tried to wait until late afternoon to turn it on. I also tried to go on a walk each day, weather permitting. My LO was too unpredictable for me to join any sort of mom group.

    • I read my own books out loud so baby could hear. I watched a fair amount of Netflix and YouTube videos. It was too hot to go on walks when I was on maternity leave, but I made up errands. I went to the grocery store a lot more than necessary. My in-laws live nearby, so sometimes a grandparent or aunt would come over, or we’d meet up for lunch near my house.

      Toward the end, I reorganized my closet for work. We had renovated before Baby was born, so a lot of my clothes were still in the garage anyways. I took all my suits to the dry cleaner. I washed everything else. I tried everything on and put only what fit back in my closet. I took a bunch of shoes to the shoe repair place. It was really, really nice to go back to work and not have to think about whether I could actually wear what was hanging in the closet.

      When Kiddo was 6 weeks old or so (after I got cleared to exercise, anyways), I started taking him to a mom and baby yoga class. It was really, really good for me. It was one part yoga for me and one part games and songs with the baby, which didn’t come naturally to me. I kept going on Saturdays until Kiddo started crawling. I added in a routine of stopping by SIL’s house around the corner, getting coffee, and buying dinner from a quiche and pie store that has sadly gone out of business.

    • Momata says:

      I loved babywearing at this age for when they’re awake. That way whatever I was doing became something we were doing together. I made us get out at least once a day – for a walk (we did so much walking!), Target, a weekly mom’s group at the hospital. When I was at home and wearing her I’d just talk to her about whatever housework I was doing, or turn on some music and dance. I read longform children’s lit (Wind in the Willows) and poetry to my babies. In just a few weeks she will start to engage with toys – if you have a baby gym or other toys to scatter around I would just lie on the floor next to the babies and wiggle the toys and talk to her about them. It’s awkward at first but I just gave into it.

    • Anonymous says:

      At that age, I read to my twins while they were BFing (not after) since the wakeful periods were so short. Just the NYT headlines off my phone or whatever I felt like reading myself.

      Ditto singing to them!

      I didn’t do as much babywearing as I wish I had because twins, but I’d bring their RnPs in whatever room I was in. The sound of the kitchen sink was magical, so I’d bring them in there with me and narrate what I was doing as I washed up, put dishes away, made coffee, etc. “Now I’m putting away the orange cutting board. The small spoon. The big knife…”

    • shortperson says:

      pump pump pump and build up a freezer stash

    • I remember feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing anything but I think that’s okay. I did and do read (on ML again now with no. 2) – some kid books and some of whatever I’m reading, also poems. I don’t know if it does anything but it was/is good for me and my oldest does love reading now that she is 2. We also listened to a lot of music and I tried to just talk about whatever I was doing, even if baby was asleep. You can recite what you’re doing when you change them, or pretend you’re doing a cooking show when you cook… it’s just exposure to language that matters.

      But also this is a good time to catch up on your rest and whatever you have to do. They get mobile and needy quickly so enjoy this time!

    • You enjoy the best maternity leave you will ever have. The first baby mat leave is amazing. Napping! Watching adult TV while nursing! Walks! Napping!

      I’m almost dreading my 3rd maternity leave, even though the older ones will by and large be continuing their normal routine. So much laundry to do! So many dishes and meals!

      • Anonymous says:

        This. I wish I appreciated my first mat leave more. Would love to be trapped on a couch under a sleeping baby watching HGTV reruns again.

  6. I’m 7 months post part I’m with my second and so exhausted and having a really hard time accepting my new body. With my first, I was able to bounce back fairly quickly, but that has not been the case this time around. I’m watching what I’m eating and nursing but with two kids and sleep deprivation, I have not been able to fit in much exercise. I’m dreading the warmer months, because I can at least throw on a puffy coat and layers in the cold. Advice? Commiseration?

    • Commiseration – yes. I lost 25 pounds in 2 weeks after having my son, then stayed exactly the same weight for the next 18 months. I kept thinking nursing would help – nope. Okay, then weaning would help – nope. I ended up feeling pretty frustrated about my clothes not fitting well and some (maybe unrelated?) back pain, so I started Weight Watchers last month. I am basically just walking for exercise right now and controlling portions. I’d like to lose 10-15 pounds and after 18 months at this weight I’m not in some great hurry, so I am taking it really slow and I don’t have a time frame I’d like to lose by. I’m trying to be kind to myself and realistic on my limits. Hugs.

    • avocado says:

      Hugs. If you can possibly find any way to squeeze in some sort of physical activity (lunchtime walks? walks with baby in carrier or stroller? yoga videos?), you will instantly feel so much better because you are moving, getting fresh air, and doing something just for yourself. I know it’s easier said than done–I did not manage much more than long stroller walks for years, but even that helped.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m sorry – I’ve been there. With my first the weight flew off, but it was a much different story with the second. Was stuck at about 10 lbs above pre-pregnancy weight until seriously like 2 weeks ago (baby 2 is almost 1). I feel like all of a sudden, without changing much, I was able to drop about 3-5 lingering pounds, which made a big difference in how I felt and fit in my clothes. With my second I consciously decided that I didn’t have the energy to devote to dieting or hardcore exercising and just tried to practice acceptance of where I was. It was difficult and frustrating at times but I feel it was a very positive thing to do for my mental health. Once we’re all sleeping through the night again maybe I’ll be motivated to do more but for now this is what I am able to do and I’m ok with that. Good luck.

      • Anonymous says:

        And I’ve also decided that “literally surviving my life with two small kids and working and other life stuff” plus walking sometimes at lunch or in the evening is enough of an exercise routine!

      • You know what, I think this is a great (and realistic) attitude. After my second, my body didn’t bounce back, either. And I carried some extra pounds into pregnancy because life happened in the couple of years before the 2nd babe was born. While I didn’t love being heavier than normal, it was FINE. I basically took two years off hard-core exercising and dieting because I simply didn’t have the energy or desire. Now, that eventually caught up to me, but I still think it was the right thing to do. A few months before my daughter’s third birthday, I finally got back into the swing of exercise again. It has taken 9 months of extremely consistent workouts, but I finally feel like I’m in shape and have reached a new normal.

  7. Adoption follow up says:

    Following up on the adoption questions from last week … not the OP, but we’ve just signed up with a local agency to be placed on the waitlist for an infant adoption. Average time to placement is 14 months but it could be as soon as 3 or 4 (!)

    So how does one go about preparing for this at work? At what point do I tell my boss? How do I stay prepared at work for a 12-week absence when I don’t know when that might happen? Should I get on a daycare waiting list now?? Help this Type A prepare for something completely unpredictable!! Agh!

    • Congratulations!

      I have no experience with adoption, so I’d defer to others’ advice on this. If you’re “cleared”/officially on an agency waiting list, I think you could tell your boss that you are waiting on an adoption and uncertain of the time frame. Remember, even with pregnancy, timing is not precise and there is uncertainty involved from work’s perspective–I went out on bed rest at 7 months and had a baby at 8 months.

      I’d call day cares and ask. It can’t be the first time someone has asked the question, and it can’t hurt to get on the list!

    • AlsoAnon says:

      Congrats! I would say get a sleeping device: crib, bassinet, dock a tot or whatever you’re going to use; bottles, a car seat, and maybe some diapers and blankets. Everything else you’ll need to buy when the baby arrives. Ask the person dropping the baby off what type of formula s/he takes, then go buy it. Hopefully they’ll bring you an outfit or two but friends and family are great to pick up clothes. Amazon prime now is your friend.

      Work can be tricky: it is usually better to be honest with your supervisor about the lack of notice you’ll be given so they don’t think you’re being cagey. If you’re planning to take maternity leave, you’ll definitely want to plan and discuss with your supervisor and whomever will take over your work while you’re away.

      So glad you’re doing this! Our foster is the best thing that’s ever happened to us.

    • AlsoAnon says:

      I forgot to comment on day care: TBH I wouldn’t worry about it now since you’ll have 12 weeks off. If you get a true newborn, they can’t go to day care until 6 weeks anyway. If it’s killing you not to have a plan or day cares in your area are super competitive, you can always schedule tours and put down a deposit a few places if that makes you feel more settled. We toured several places once we got approved. Our state subsidizes care but only select places accept it, so we used the state’s family services web site to see which and then scheduled tours from there. The site also lists whether the site has had safety violations and other important stuff. Not sure which state you’re in but maybe start there.

      • Mama Llama says:

        The daycare question is definitely a “know your area” thing, though. Here in DC, it’s tough to find care in 9 months, much less 12 weeks.

        • Anonymous says:

          This. I’m in DC and was 10+ months on the wait list for each of my kids. Like to the point that I was starting to panic because back-to-work date was approaching without confirmed slots. Have you considered a nanny? It is much easier to find a nanny/share within 3 months than a daycare in some markets.

          For work, I would basically tell your boss as soon as you you are officially on the waiting list (after site visits, etc). I had a coworker who literally got a call the NEXT DAY after they were cleared by the agency, telling them to go meet their baby several states away. He and his wife packed some bags and were on the road that night. Have a contingency plan to transition everything with very short notice.

  8. NewMomAnon says:

    What are developmentally appropriate cleaning up expectations for a 4 year old, and how do I get those started? Kiddo is a lovely free spirit, but I swear she empties bins on the floor for fun….this morning she emptied every clothes bin in her closet, the bucket of blocks, the bin with toy cars and trains, and the bin with doll clothes. She spilled a cup of crayons, and there were inexplicably several sheets of stickers on the floor. Plus a bunch of books were on the floor instead of in her bookshelf (which I intentionally keep empty enough to allow for easier putting away of books). All of this in the 10 minutes it took me to get dressed….so she wasn’t playing with the stuff. She was just dumping it.

    When I ask her to pick up, she explains to me that this is her house too, and I can just close the door to her bedroom if I don’t like it. Which is hilarious coming from a 4 year old but….I could use some strategies for helping her understand her role as a citizen of our household too.

    • My 4.5 yo loves dumping containers. We now have a strict dumping-isn’t-an-acceptable-game rule. She’s allowed to dump out something if she is going to play with it; heck, she can even dump a few bins as long as she’s going to be playing with the stuff inside. But she’s not allowed to dump as the activity itself. When she tries to start, I try to stop it before it gets too crazy and she can’t clean it up herself. Dumping gets strict consequences.

      As far as clean up, she’s very resistant. She can–with the appropriate motivation–clean up specific bins. For example, I can tell her to pick up all of her blocks and she can do it. She can’t yet manage to “clean her room” without more stepwise guidance (or at least she pretends that she can’t).

      • For reference, we put our dumping rule in place after one playdate where she emptied her entire bedroom into our living room. It took me 3 hours to clean it up. I was beyond mad. When I had checked on her during the playdate, the kids seemed to be playing nicely in her room. Little did I know that every dresser drawer, container, and her entire closet had been emptied and carried downstairs.

        • avocado says:

          This is why we put a doorknob cover on kiddo’s closet when she was in the dumping phase.

          • NewMomAnon says:

            Are there baby locks that work for 4 year olds? I haven’t found one yet….her closet doors don’t have a latch, just a magnetic catch up at the top. And I’m not sure I want to keep her out of her closet; it’s somewhat helpful that she can dress herself, and the toys are all outside the closet.

            Maybe it’s time to move the toys into the closet and restrict access….

          • avocado says:

            I don’t know, maybe there is a larger version of the thing that looks like a big safety pin and goes over cabinet knobs? We were lucky that we were dealing with an actual doorknob, and our kid was tiny and also a bit younger so she couldn’t defeat the knob cover.

    • Momata says:

      My oldest is also 4. Generally, we only get out one toy at a time, and we must clean up the old toy (blocks) before we can get out another one (doll clothes). I hold a firm line on this and we clean up together while singing the Daniel Tiger cleanup song. If there is resistance I just wait them out. Yesterday, I was shocked – the two of them actually cleaned up all their play-doh accessories when asked before dinner.

      Different folks have different tolerances, but if faced with a wholesale dumping campaign and refusal to clean up when asked, I would explain that we all pitch in around here, and her job is to keep her room clean and take care of her things, and that we aren’t going to do anything else fun until her room and stuff is picked up. IIRC correctly you are in a joint parenting situation, so you may need some buyin on this from your daughter’s dad.

    • No advise, but following closely. I’ve had no luck generally when getting little TK to do things just for the inherent value of the thing itself. It usually goes, Me: “Be nice.” Him: “Why?”

      So we rely pretty heavily on some kind of tangible consequence (positive or negative) and allowing him an opportunity to make a good choice, ie, No bedtime story until you can pick up your books, or If you do a great job putting away all of your toys every night this week, we can go to the store and pick out a new ($.99) hotwheels car.

    • your daughter’s response literally made me lol. Does your daughter go to school? Presumably they have some rules or clean up procedures at school, so maybe you can try to implement those at home too? I do not know if her thought process around school is that it isn’t “hers” so she can’t just do whatever she wants there? Maybe you could reframe your home and family as being part of a community, the same way she is part of a community through her class at school and how there are rules in place to make sure that everyone is comfortable and safe. I realize some of this might be advanced for a 4 year old, but your daughter sounds like a smart little girl!

      • NewMomAnon says:

        She does go to school, and draws a distinction between school which is “Ms. [Teachername’s] school” and home, which apparently belongs to both of us. And I like that she thinks of our home as hers, but I would also like the right to make rules that she follows based on her deference to my decades of experience living in various spaces. Deference to experience is not a strong suit of hers, sadly. [and yes, I am greatly amused by her logic]

        • Redux says:

          My 4 year old told me recently, “you can’t tell me what to do because you are NOT a teacher, you are a lawyer.” I nearly died laughing.

          I get a lot of this from my kiddo, parroting things that I am so happy to hear she has internalized though not exactly in context, like, “don’t touch me, this is my body and I get to decide!” True enough, but you do HAVE to wear clothes and I am going to help you so that it doesn’t take 30 minutes. I usually reinforce the thing that she has said (yes, this is your room/ body/ dinner) and add context (and we must keep it/you safe/clean/healthy). I can report moderate success, which is a win in a house with a strong-willed 4-year old!

    • shortperson says:

      while i think her response is hilarious i think she needs a reset on chores, and probably the younger you start her the better. i recommend the book “how to raise an adult”

    • Something that I’ve been thinking about is having one standard location for everything. For example, right now we have 3 locations for stuffed animals, which seems confusing. Maybe we should just have one. Ditto for books. I’ve thought about trying this but haven’t implemented it yet. At 4, your daughter should definitely be able to do basic picking up. I’m sure they do it at school. If she doesn’t want to pick up so much maybe she would like to get rid of some things! I’m not sure it’s super nice, but I tell my kids that they’re responsible for their own toys. If they don’t put away their toys (when asked), the toys belong to me for 24 hours. That usually motivates them.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe I’m mean, but with my almost 5 year old, I have firm requirements that the last thing gets picked up before the next gets played with. If she moves on while I’m not watching (which admittedly happens a lot), then we stop and go back to pick up the first when I catch it. I am not above threatening to take away things (generally the current item be played with or TV, depending on the situation). I’ve gone so far as to get out trash bags and start collecting things like sticker collections to throw away for not being cleaned up. That’s only had to happen once or twice to get the point across.

      • mascot says:

        Also a 100% meanie here. I’ve got no qualms about embargoing/tossing things or otherwise making an example out of something for not following house rules. They catch on pretty quickly.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        This would be a good strategy, but seems to require a lot of parental capacity, which….I don’t have. If she’s playing solo, it’s because I’m doing one of the 100,000 things that need to be done around the house, or responding to a client e-mail, or going to the bathroom, or getting myself showered and dressed. I’m stunned how much damage she can do in 10 minutes.

        • Anon in NYC says:

          Is she motivated by sticker charts? Maybe you already have this, but perhaps you can implement a chart of daily activities that she is responsible for (dressing herself, bringing her plate to the sink, brushing her teeth, cleaning up toys, etc.), with a reward at the end of each week if she gets all of the stars.

    • I have a not-quite-4.5 year old. She is fully capable of pretty much anything (she’s currently helping me potty train her younger sister! Seriously!). She actually does:
      1. chooses her own outfits the night before school
      2. helps pack her own lunch (she can do this solo, sometimes I just do it, sometimes I ask her to do it all). She’s allowed to use a butter knife to spread peanut butter, cream cheese, etc.
      3. clears her plate/dishes
      4. gets (plastic) plates/cups and silverware for everyone (she’s done this since she was 2; now her 2 year old sister helps)
      5. fills everyone’s water cup either using the bathroom sink or the in-fridge water dispenser
      6. gets her own snacks, and snacks for her sister, with permission (we store things low)
      7. gets self completely dressed
      8. unpacks school bag (puts empty tupperwares in sink, puts freezable lunch bag in freezer, puts “art” away)
      9. brushes own teeth independently
      10. folds laundry (this is my face)- she can do towels, washcloths, pants, and her own shirts (but not adult shirts or pants- they’re too long!). She’s started teaching her 2 y/o sister how to fold washcloths, too.
      11. puts away own laundry, helps sister put away laundry
      12. CLEAN UP TOYS. Seriously, the kids have to do this. I tell them if it’s on the floor and stepped on, it must be trash and I will take it. It takes some reminding, but they are 100% fully capable of doing this.
      13. sweeping/ vaccuming at my request

      Lots of other stuff, too. I’m pregnant and can’t bend over well anymore, so my kiddos do all the picking up of floor items.

  9. While she’s awake, get her some sort of chair to prop her up. We got a used MacLaren rocker, and I’d also suggest the bjorn one — something that she will eventually be able to bounce a little herself. Put her where she can see you, and either put on some music or talk to her about what you’re doing. Cooking, folding laundry, talking with visitors; she’ll probably be happy just watching. The narrating what you’re doing seemed very awkward at first, but I eventually got used to it. It also doesn’t matter what you read at this point, so read whatever you want. My kid heard lots of poetry and alumni magazines back when she’d listen to anything.

    You don’t need to read to her when she’s asleep — do something for yourself in that time. Just as an fyi, somewhere around 6 or 8 weeks they’re awake a lot more, and I was completely unprepared for that. My baby was only awake for feeding until about 1 pm when she was super little, and then was only awake for 1 hour stretches the rest of the day. I assumed that would continue for longer than it did.

  10. Toddler Activities says:

    I know this has come up before on here recently, but does anyone have any suggestions regarding organized activities for three year olds? My child will turn three later this year, and I’d like to sign her up for some stuff. I’m wondering what is too much. I have available to her swimming, dance, soccer, tumbling (through a dance academy), and basketball. I like the idea of swimming and dance. My husband probably likes the idea of swimming and either soccer or basketball. I feel strongly about swimming, but my big issue is this: swimming is two nights a week in my town. I live in a small town and really only have one option (the YMCA). Right now, I think I’ve landed on the following: sign up for swimming but only go once per week, and rotate other activities to see what she likes. If she wants or can handle three nights a week, that’s great. But it seems like a little much since she already goes to daycare full time. I do have tons of flexibility and could look at picking her up early one or two afternoons per week but would still have to get my billable hours in at another time during the day or week. We’re already doing some baby/young toddler water classes off and on, but it’s not overly substantive. I have anxiety about water and would love for her to be good with the water to ease my anxiety about it. And so that she doesn’t end up like me. Ha. So, some swim is non-negotiable.

    • Momata says:

      I think I am in the minority here, but my advice would be just to do swimming. Free play is so important, and in preschool from 8-5, I feel like my kids don’t get enough time to just putz around at home. I agree swimming is an essential skill and that that is time well spent. But I would not sign up for anything else right now. FWIW my kids are 4 and 2 – they are both in once a week swim classes, and I just signed mydaughter up for a very informal weekly series of toddler track races. That’s it.

      • If you’re in the minority, then I am here with you. Mine are 4 and 2 as well, and while my 4yo is old enough for more, we are sticking with just swimming once per week (for the same essential skill reasons). We’re big believers in the importance of free play, so we want them to have plenty of time to just be.

        • Anonymous says:

          Us too. Three year old is in daycare 7:30/8 to 5:30 and I can’t really see adding anything to that. Yes he’ll need to learn to swim at some point, and he’s obsessed with dancing so at some point we’ll do a dance class. But he still naps on weekends and that coupled with family activities doesn’t leave much play time. I think we’ll wait for any classes till he’s done napping.

      • Anonymous says:

        Stuck in mod but +1 to just swimming as the only scheduled activity with a preference for free play outdoors on evenings/weekends. We have 3.5 year old twin boys. May add skating lessons in a year.

      • 100% agree. I also think 3 is too young to really understand organized sports and teamwork. Plus, I’m also kind of selfish and don’t want driving to activities to be my second job.

      • Agree. I have a 2.5 yr old that doesn’t go to daycare/school and I still think more than two activities per week might be pushing it. It’s hard because there’s so much he’d probably enjoy and right now it sounds *fun* to try things out, but I’m holding off because I know the time will soon come when he’s the one asking for activities and they may start to take over our life… I’m big on letting kids be little and not rushing into things because they will grow up too fast anyway.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      My daughter (almost 3) has a swim class 1x per week on a weekend day. I don’t think my kid could handle evening, post-preschool classes. Are weekday evenings the only option?

      Personally, I would start out small and only sign her up for one thing. I’m debating signing my kid up for tumbling classes too, but I’m worried that it would be too taxing on top of her weekly swim lesson (which I agree are sort of non-negotiable in my book). And I won’t do evening classes until she’s a little older.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’d also start with swimming and I’d do it 2x a week and see how it goes. Team soccer and basketball are a kind of a mess at this age. Most kids don’t have the coordination or concentration abilities dribble/pass/shoot goals. We’ve never done dance or tumbling so I can’t speak to those.

      • avocado says:

        You don’t really have to start dance or tumbling that early. Our ballet school, which is affiliated with our city’s professional company and regularly turns out professional dancers, does not start teaching real ballet classes until the third grade. Gymnastics is notorious for getting intense early, and even at the gyms that like them to start insanely young there is little advantage to starting before kindergarten.

    • avocado says:

      I concur with the suggestions to limit it to one daytime weekend activity at this age, and to prioritize swimming. Swimming is a non-negotiable safety skill. If you want a second activity, I’d do something that teaches lining up and following directions (dance, gymnastics, and martial arts are good for this) or a high-quality music class that teaches solfege (sight-singing), probably not before age 3.5 or 4.

      Start slowly and be prepared to take a step back and try again in a few months if it doesn’t work out. My kid easily handled Saturday pre-ballet class at age 3.5 and early evening swim lessons at age 4, but a lot of similarly aged kids in her classes regularly had screaming meltdowns. It is much easier if the kid is interested in the class, is used to being without parents in a group situation at day care or preschool, and isn’t tired or hungry.

      I would not do a tumbling class at a dance studio. Even at the tiny tot level, it’s better to be at a gymnastics gym with properly trained coaches who know not to have kids under 5 bridging, etc.

    • avocado says:

      Re. the two nights a week swimming class–does your Y have private lessons with more flexible scheduling? Ours does and they are not terribly expensive.

    • Toddler Activities says:

      Thanks! This makes me feel so much better. We’ll probably stick to swim lessons and just play the once versus twice per week by ear from week to week. Maybe she’ll get to a point where we can take a session off here and there to try other activities and make a point to go swimming as a family to practice during off sessions. When she was about 10 months we moved from a city to a small town. Sometimes I feel guilty that she doesn’t have as much available to her. And that fuels me wanting to get her in a bunch of stuff. I don’t want her to be behind on something she really likes because I started her late. Thanks again! You’re all the best!

      • I just saw above that you need to bill. If you need to regularly bill on weekends, I might suggest setting up a weekend morning class with daddy. My dd loved going to Saturday morning classes with her dad. They would do the class and then stop at a farmer’s market on the way home. It bought me a good 3 hours of a quiet house to work in my PJs. I loved getting a head start on weekend work so that I could feel less work stress the rest of the weekend.

    • anonanon says:

      My (smallish) city has something called a nature school – classes where kids romp around in mud with other kids, make nature art projects, play with bugs, etc. Highly recommend.

    • Anonymous says:

      I totally think swimming is important – a safety issue more than a fun activity – but I will say that my son really is only now getting it at age 5.5, and he’s been in swim lessons fairly regularly since he was 6 months old. So in hindsight, I am not sure how valuable they were until fairly recently – maybe age 4.5? He’s not particularly coordinated and not ahead of the curve with most gross motor skills, so YMMV; I know some kids do learn more earlier. He is super comfortable in the water–alarmingly so–but that has been true since he was an infant, and I’m not sure it was because of the swim lessons: much as I would like to take credit for it, I think he just likes water. We also live in NYC so he has limited drowning opportunities. Anyway, I would have trouble with swim lessons 2x a week, and certainly 2x/week on weeknights. We have never done any other classes other than a weekend gym class (instead of swimming) when he was 3. He really wasn’t into it – he just wanted to jump on the trampoline, not do what he was told. In general I think more than 1 activity/week is too much for us.

    • Adding to the chorus–my kid is almost 3, and we do swim lessons once a week, on a weekend morning. For us, swimming is the most important for safety reasons. He’s in and around a lot of pools. I think it has value–he’s almost 3, and he can put his face in the water and kick. I’m not sure if he’d be able to doggy paddle to the side of the pool yet, but he’s getting close.

      Kiddo is a morning person and can get pretty cranky in the evenings, so I don’t think any organized activities would work well in the evening for him. And I don’t want more than one organized weekend activity for my own sake.

    • Anonymous says:

      We alternated between swimming and gymnastics at that age, occasionally with overlap, and usually skipped swimming lessons in the summer since we spent so much time in the pool anyway. Swimming is a weekend morning, gymnastics is on a weekday after school. Gymnastics, by the way, was basically gross motor skill development – climbing, jumping, hanging from things, balance, rolling, etc.

      I’m not sure lessons helped my kids progress in swimming skill at 3, though. Similar to anonymous above, I think they have to develop some coordination that just comes with mental and physical development to really get beyond the frantic scramble to the wall. Lessons were still valuable for water safety and familiarization, and I guess my kids knew at 3 that they should try to float, but that doesn’t mean they could DO it. I think a 5-6 year old taking swimming lessons for the first time would probably make the same amount of progress as one who has been in lessons for a couple years. That said, the kids definitely thought it was fun, and I got a teacher to watch them so I could swim laps, so why not?

      • Meiqi says:

        We do a mixed sports class on Saturdays for our three year olds. On Sunday, we go to Preschool of Rock and swimming class. Sundays feel too busy with two activities and the kids are tired after swimming, so I think that one activity per weekend day is plenty.

        Even though they are not really playing the sports in the class, we think it’s worth the time/money because they don’t get enough physical activity during the week and they burn enough energy to make them nap in the afternoons.

  11. Philadelphia with kids

    Any advice on where to stay in Philadelphia for a weekend in April with 2 little kids in tow? We’ll probably opt for an airbnb for space reasons. We have an event near the museum of art on Saturday morning, and friends in the Rittenhouse and Wharton areas. My inclination is to stay near the museum for kid entertainment purposes and make our friends come to us. I hear transportation/parking in Philadelphia is not easy. Other thoughts on where to stay? We know nothing about Philadelphia, so if there is an obvious must-see for kids, please mention it!

    • How little is little? Philly’s public transportation is not the best, though the bus and trolley systems are easy, Uber is also easy and if the weather isn’t too bad you can easily walk from the museum to your friends. There aren’t as many restaurants right near the art museum, so I would actually recommend staying closer to Rittenhouse. Center City Philadelphia is very walkable. Penn/Wharton is located in West Philadelphia/University City, but many people who are affiliated with the school live in the Center City area. You can also easily walk from the Rittenhouse area to the campus. If it is a nice day, the campus has a decent amount of green space where your kids can roam around. There is also a great path along the river to walk with a stroller. By April the Rittenhouse farmers market should be in full swing on Saturdays. It is small, but nice. There is a great children’s museum called The Please Touch Museum, but it is located a bit outside of the city. The Franklin Institute is also a fantastic science museum with a lot of hands on activities for kids, but again it depends on how little your kids are. Some kid friendly restaurants include Green Eggs Cafe, Honeys Sit N Eat, Pizzeria Stella, Jones. There is a ton to see/do in Old City – the liberty bell, Betsy Ross’ House, Ben Franklin’s Printing Press. There is also a really fun ice cream place down there called Franklin Fountain.

      • Redux says:

        Thank you for this! Kids are little little– 4 and 1. So, both still napping (the little one twice a day!) and so we’ll need somewhat easy access back to our apartment in the middle of the day. I’m hoping to do one fun thing each of the three days we’re there (oh how vacation ambitions change…). I love museums but my 4 year old would prefer a park, so we’ll see what the weather does for us. Thanks for these recommendations. It sounds like Rittenhouse/ Center City might be best for us.

    • Anonymous says:

      Coming from Brooklyn, I found driving and parking in downtown Philly super easy. I mean, my standards are low, but it was no big deal – there are garages everywhere, and street parking for shorter periods of time wasn’t hard to find on the weekend. We stayed at Home2Suites by Reading Terminal market and used the hotel garage one night, then wised up and found a cheaper garage a few blocks away for the second night. We parked on the street and paid meters during the day. For the third night, we figured out we could park on the street and move the car to a meter in the early morning for free. Being massive cheapskates, we did this. I heartily recommend the Please Touch Museum – really nice children’s museum with dedicated play areas for kids under 18 months. Franklin Institute was cool but expensive and probably better for older kids than yours for what it costs. My 5.5 year old son got really interested in seeing the Liberty Bell after reading a kids book about visiting Philadelphia, Larry Gets Lost in Philadelphia, so we did that with him. Reading the book in advance and getting him interested in the sites was also really helpful – he got excited to see things he recognized from the book. I was surprised at how few playgrounds I saw, so plan ahead to find those. I think the Alfred Smith Memorial Playhouse looks like a wonderland for younger kids and would recommend checking that out. (I haven’t been – we didn’t have time). It has an outdoor play area too. For my son, the hotel pool was the highlight, and the day we got ice cream 2x.

      • Redux says:

        Ha, good point. I moved to a small town from Boston and people complained about how bad the parking was in my small town and I was like, Have a seat let me tell you a story…

        Thanks for these tips!

    • Twin Mom Anon says:

      I second the thought to stay in Center City rather than up by the Art Museum. The buses/trolleys are pretty easy to use to get around town. There are a lot of playgrounds and parks, but most of them are smaller pocket parks or school yards in the neighborhoods. If the weather is nice, check out Sister Cities park and Franklin Square. The Please Touch Museum is an easy drive and has parking – highly recommend for a 1 and 4 year old. Smith Memorial Playhouse is another fantastic park to check out (and has parking)- it has an indoor and outdoor component, with several playgrounds tailored to different age groups. My kids also love going to Reading Terminal Market (mostly for the donuts) and just running around parks like Rittenhouse Square/Washington Square. If you catch a rainy day and want something low key, the PCI branch of the Free Library (right on Rittenhouse Square) has a fantastic kids area downstairs with books and duplos/toys to play with. And if looking for a museum you can walk to, I’d highly recommend the Academy of Natural Science over the Franklin Institute given the ages of your kiddos. There is an exhibit on the third floor, Outside In, that has a sandbox that my kids could spend hours at. They also bring out various small critters for the kids to see/touch. For restaurants, we find most of the Stephen Starr restaurants to be kid friendly for brunch/lunch and early dinner. Parc would be at the top of my list if you end up in the Rittenhouse area.

  12. AwayEmily says:

    Cradle cap. Ew. Does anything actually work to get rid of it or should I just buy some cute hats and wait it out? It’s mostly on his head but a bit around his eyes also (he’s six weeks).

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Olive oil. Rub it in to the affected areas (not around his eyes), let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and gently comb it out using a super fine tooth comb. I never bothered buying any of the products meant for cradle cap because olive oil worked so well!

    • IME just wait it out. I remember asking the ped and he gave me a date (like, if it isn’t gone in 3 weeks, call me back) but it had gone away by then. Ditto for the baby acne, which little dude had going on at the same time. It was disgusting and I had to really control the primate grooming instinct.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ours had a full head of hair from birth so ymmv, but I found brushing the scalp with my regular hairbrush before bath very effective. I have one of those brushes with a million plastic bristles. Didn’t seem to hurt.

    • The only thing that worked for my daughter was Mustela newborn shampoo and brushing it out with those little
      tiny combs. I’ve seen combs specifically for it recently (round ones) at Buy Buy Baby so maybe that works even better.
      We let it get pretty gross at first thinking it would go away and it just wouldn’t. Our doctor compared to pond scum and said you shouldn’t do that if it bothers you.

      • To clarify: the pond scum comparison was in the sense of it will continue to spread for a while if left to it’s own devices , not that it’s so gross :)

    • Onlyworkingmomintulsa says:

      I found the mustela newborn shampoo worked really well!

    • AwayEmily says:

      Thanks all! Just ordered some Mustela and a brush.

  13. AlsoAnon says:

    We had good luck with using Head N Shoulders (per pedi’s recommendation) every three days during bath time. Scrub his scalp but don’t let it sit long. Brush his hair/head every day. Good luck! Ours was pretty severe but it went away eventually.

  14. PP jeans and nursing tops recommendation says:

    Thanks again to everyone who responded to my question a few weeks ago on nursing tops. I wanted to circle back and make my own recommendation in case anyone else is looking—the gap striped nursing 3/4 sleeve tops are really soft and comfortable. And I also just got a pair of the madewell (high-waisted) roadtripper jeans and they are SO comfortable on my 7-week PP body. I also think they look pretty great, and I’m tossing the maternity jeans I’ve been wearing in the meantime. :)

    • AwayEmily says:

      i’m also 7 weeks PP and am getting sick of living in leggings so maybe I’ll give these a try — thanks!

    • YES – I had two of those tees also. I actually….still wear them on the weekends because they are so soft and comfy!

    • I’m looking for new jeans, so thanks!

      For another recommendation – I’ve been really loving my gap nursing nightie. I didn’t do any nursing tanks or clothes (other than bras, of course) with my first kid but randomly orders this and it’s so great to sleep in and bonus points for making me feel cute wearing it.

  15. Weaning says:

    I want to start weaning my 2nd off bottles over the next month. With my first, I used the Take and Toss sippy cups and they worked fine. Wanted to check if other moms found other cups they loved or whether I should just use hte T&T cups. FWIW, the Munchkin 360 cups work fine for water but he dribbles a lot over his shirt so I’m not a huge fan.

    • We use the Tupperware tumblers and lids that are basically more sturdy Take and Toss – like. We use those at the table with meals and for a drink at bedtime. We use Avent and Thermos straw cups for water when we’re playing to contain spills. I like the Tupperware ones. We’ve never used a 360 kind, because I’m pretty anxious about the mold build up you hear about. The Avent straw ones come completely apart, so you can inspect them and they get cleaned very well in the dishwasher. The Thermos one not as much, but we just got that for some travel, and do like it. Also, FWIW, we stopped using the lids at meals months ago, and my daughter is 29 months. So now, they’re just a nice, sturdy plastic cup that she’ll be able to use for many years. We don’t have to buy yet another cup because she doesn’t need lids. But the Take and Toss provides the same benefit. And you can get lids for straws for them too.

    • KateMiddletown says:

      We really liked the nuby ones. The only kind we bought were the easy grip, skip the ones w/ handles.

    • We’ve been using the T&T straw cups for home and love how easy they are to clean. We do have some Avent straw cups for bringing out with us because the T&T don’t clean, and those also clean pretty well, but have more pieces.

  16. California says:

    Repost from main site – Hive, would love your ideas! If you had four days in early April and a road trip between LA and San Francisco, where would go, what would you do, and where would you stay?

    We are traveling with two under 5, would love to stay in upscale hotels/resorts, want to hit up a beach or two. Am thinking of Monterey, Big Sur, Solvang.

    I don’t know CA all that well so would love any tips or recommendations from those that do! Thank you so much.

    • shortperson says:

      we loved the hadsten house in solvang. also consider ojai, although not sure how that is doing post-fire.

      • shortperson says:

        carmel also has great toy stores and there are dogs everywhere so it is great for toddlers.

        santa barbara has a historic carousel near the boardwalk and a tiny aquarium on the boardwalk. also we brought our two year old to several wine tasting rooms in downtown santa barbara during the day time and no one batted an eye re her presence. but she’s a quiet kid, she just sat there playing with blocks and announcing every once in a while “wine is not for kids”

    • I stayed in the Intercontinental in Monterey and it was lovely! Right next to the aquarium, lots of good places to eat within walking distance.
      In Big Sur, most places to stay are either super expensive or involve camping and I probably wouldn’t do either with two really small kids but definitely stop and have lunch in Nepenthe. The food is actually good and the views are amazing.

    • We did this last year with a two year old — road trip between SF and LA, four days. It sounds like you are not in California already? The best places for upscale tourism are Carmel and Santa Barbara. If I remember correctly there is not much upscale in between. Both have outstanding food. We stayed at the Mission Ranch Hotel in Carmel – the views of sheep were a real hit for my two year old, but your kids might get less of a kick out of them. The food at Mission Ranch wasn’t worth writing home about, but Carmel has great dining. The aquarium in Monterey is excellent and worth an entire day. In Santa Barbara we splurged and stayed at the Spanish Garden Inn. I would definitely go back.

      We missed Big Sur entirely because of the landslides that took out the road last year; I don’t know if they are back up and running. In between Carmel and Santa Barbara we stayed in Cambria and Pismo Beach. They don’t have anything upscale at all. We were trying to limit drive times per day, but based on your post, I would not spend too much time here.

      If you don’t have experience in California, you should be aware that the beaches (particularly north of Pismo Beach) will probably not be warm. The beach in Cambria was cold and rocky, but it had tide pools. Pismo Beach started to feel more like Los Angeles – finally got into shorts and took our shoes off on the sand. We didn’t have enough time in Santa Barbara to really go to the beach.

      • California says:

        Thank you! Yes, not much experience in California. We’re flying in from the PNW so thankfully, won’t have to deal with jet lag. Thanks for your ideas, I’ll add Carmel and Santa Barbara to the list to investigate…

        • Just for comparison purposes: Carmel and Santa Barbara are like Hood River Plus. They are go-to weekend getaway destinations for wealthy people in San Francisco and LA, respectively, and priced accordingly. The Monterey Aquarium is hands down better than the Seattle Aquarium. I went to the Seattle Aquarium last fall and found it disappointing in comparison. But I would definitely recommend staying in Carmel and just going to Monterey for the aquarium.

  17. Things to do with a newborn says:

    Another thing to do with a newborn is baby massage. Depending on where you live, there might be classes (92nd Street Y does them in NYC). And there’s an RIE hook. But mostly you rub coconut or olive oil into your baby’s skin while listening to relaxing music. It’s good for babies’ neural development and has all the benefits of cuddle time.

    • Momata says:

      I forgot about this. My firstborn was a winter baby and I gave her tons of massages. I cranked up her space heater, lay out a waterproof pad, and put on some of my favorite relaxing music and gave her an olive oil massage. The Civil Wars always brings back memories of baby massage!

  18. balance bikes / baby monitors says:

    Thanks for all the balance bike recs! My two year olds picked it up right away and love them!

    In other news, we’ve somehow broken another baby monitor. Anyone have a rec for a no-frills cheap one? Don’t need to see a little baby up close, just where a toddler is running loose in his room.


  19. rosie says:

    For lsw in case this doesn’t thread—highly recommend physical therapy for your back. Turned out my pelvis was not aligned (carrying a baby on one hip…) and I still have work to do, but just getting it back in place helped a lot (and didn’t hurt).

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