Everyone Thursday: Ella Packable Tote

These packable totes are great for traveling — especially if you’re the kind of person who enjoys switching bags when you travel and you don’t want to take something bulky. You can just throw this in your suitcase, keep it in the back of your car, etc. It comes in the tie-dye print pictured as well as solids like black, navy, and a very happy bright red. It’s $225 at Zappos but also in various colors/prints at Amazon starting at $186. Tory Burch Ella Packable Tote

A couple of more affordable packable totes at Zappos are from Tumi and Lilly Pulitzer.



  1. Closet Redux says:

    This is a total mothering question, but where does one buy blazers (separates) for men? My husband wears a full suit a few times a year and a blazer a few times a week. He’s always bought full suits and just wears out the blazer, which is obviously not ideal. Where can he find modern looking blazer separates? Price point is Banana Republic range.

    • mascot says:

      Department stores? Hart Schaffner Marx and Hickey Freeman are two brands for sportcoats and blazers. He might also want to watch for sales at Brooks Brothers and Jos A Banks.

      • avocado says:

        PSA: Not sure if everyone else is seeing the same links under “Sites We Love,” but I have seen the one for the Weelicious sweet potato and black bean enchiladas so many times that I finally tried the recipe. It is so incredibly easy and pretty darn tasty too. Of course my kid wouldn’t eat the enchiladas because 1) they contain BEANS, 2) they are covered in sauce, and 3) they violate her strict policy regarding the separation of the food groups, but any child who actually likes food would probably love this recipe.

    • anne-on says:

      Sales at Brooks Brothers – Red fleece line is my suggestion for a more modern cut. Pretty excellent sales going on now, and they’ll do alterations in store very reasonably.

    • I have picked up a few sport coat/blazers for my husband at Nordstrom Rack.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Express and Zara will be pretty modern looking. Zara has big selection of men’s blazers right now. Obviously not the quality of a Brooks Brothers, more along the lines of Banana Republic quality.

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      Jos A Banks when they have a sale, which is often.

  2. CPA Lady says:

    Ooooorrr you could get the nylon tote from LL Bean for $25. My daughter has one as her daycare bag and it is great.

  3. Strategy Mom says:

    Just saw this kids coat and thought it was a cool concept – made specifically to be safe in carseats in the winter. It’s pricey but I saw them in a boutique yesterday and they are adorable and VERY high quality: https://onekid.com/collections/road-coat

    • POSITA says:

      Neat, but too expensive.

      We’ve had good luck just getting a Patagonia down jacket at 6PM during the off-season. They squish down really well for the carseat and pass the same test. We’ll layer a ski jacket over the Patagonia jacket, post-carseat, for playing in the snow or crazy cold weather.

  4. rosie says:

    Recommendations for maternity tights/hose? I have been getting away with just wearing black leggings, but have a few work events coming up where that won’t cut it, and I don’t think it will reliably be warm enough to be bare-legged. Will be in third tri. Pre-pregnancy did not even like the thought of control top. Any suggestions?

    • anne-on says:

      If you can afford it, I really liked the spanx pregnancy tights. They were not ‘suck you in’ tights, it just had a lot of extra support around/under the belly, which was pretty heavenly at 7-8 mos pregnant.

    • H&M Mama

      • Oh, and Old Navy too!

      • rosie says:

        Is it worth checking local H&M stores for maternity stuff, or is their maternity line all online, like it seems like everyone else is?

        • I’m in the UK and there is a small selection in stores but what seems like loads of variety online.

          I hate the H&M maternity tights, they don’t come up high enough.

    • Anonymous says:

      I had to get the spanx ones because its all motherhood maternity had in my size/skin color. I wouldn’t exactly say they’re “comfortable” but they do make for good lines. I didn’t really need my thighs/butt sucked in.

    • Best for me was just to make a few cuts in the waistband of regular tights and wear below the bump.

    • Frozen Peach says:

      I really liked the Target brand ones. Be Maternity, I think?

    • Katarina says:

      Berkshire were very comfortable for me.

    • rosie says:

      Thanks, all! Will look at these options this weekend. I tried to cut some regular tights earlier in the pregnancy, but it was kind of uncomfortable & didn’t stay up well. I think at this point I definitely need over the bump.

      • Anonymous says:

        Old navy! Great quality and do not feel at all like control top.

        • rosie says:

          I am having trouble finding them on the ON website–there doesn’t seem to be a hosiery section in maternity, and don’t see them under leggings. Are they the regular ones or maternity ones? Thanks!

    • I find the Commando tights that I wear while not pregnant to continue to work given their waistband style. To be honest, though, I didn’t have to wear them the last two months or so since I had a summer baby.

  5. Lyssa says:

    We’re trying to plan a trip to DisneyWorld with my husband’s parents and two kids who will be 2 and 4.5. We’ll be flying to FL and are looking to stay in the park (though it’s not certain). What are your tips for making this trip pleasant and at least marginally less stressful and expensive than I’m envisioning?

    • mascot says:

      So the blessing and the curse of disney world is that there are a ton of people who spend a crazy amount of time and effort planning every aspect of their trip. FB, message boards, touring plans, etc all have more resources than you can go through in a lifetime. And, there are a bunch of travel agents that specialize in the house of mouse if you want to outsource the whole thing. Promotions aren’t guaranteed, but do seem to stay somewhat consistent on what is offered when during the year (room discounts, “free” dining, high/low season, etc.) Park tickets are expensive with not a lot of options for legit discounts. Food is expensive, IMO, although those people coming from a HCOL city don’t seem to find it as bad. We did a trip at age 4.5 and are doing another one this year at age 6.5 with our son. It really is fun for the littles.
      I’m happy to send you the really long trip report I wrote for my friends after the last one. Msg me at anonymascot at the mail hosted by Go*gle.

    • anne-on says:

      If you will be staying in the parks, use a travel agent. Seriously – they do so much of the work hunting down deals/applying promotions/etc. We used Small World travel and they were great, I’d recommend them.
      I’d also suggest staying at the parks if your kids still nap – it is so much easier to go to the park/go back and nap/eat dinner in the park that way. Figure out if you’d rather be on a bus or rail access – the hotels with rail or boat access will get you in/out faster than the bused ones. The suites that you can rent with washer/dryers in the units were worth their weight in gold. There are supermarkets about 20 minutes from the parks – take a trip over to stock up on snacks for your room, it is soooo much cheaper.
      Don’t be afraid to pay for a cab on occasion – they’re not super expensive and saving 30 minutes waiting for a bus is worth it. If any character meetings/dinners are important to your kiddos plan NOW and now when booking opens. I felt insane booking meals at midnight on the day my booking window opened but those character dinners were GONE in a flash. Especially the princess ones. Ditto with the ‘popular’ character rides – we have a boy who didn’t really care about the princess stuff but god help you if you waited till the last minute and your daughter wanted a bippity boppity botique appointment.
      Try your best to pack healthy snacks – the food in the parks is like carnival food on steroids. If you do like more interesting/ethnic options, Animal Kingdom and the Animal Kingdom lodge had some of the best food we had. My kid could not have cared less, but my husband and I really loved watching the ‘savanna’ as we ate dinner in the Animal Kingdom lodge – they feed the animals right near where you eat and you can see them all wander by.

      • Oh, that Animal Kingdom dinner sounds great! What’s your take on the character meals? Worth it? Neither of the kids is necessarily into all things Disney characters yet (though that could change – the older one is obsessed with PJ Masks at the moment, which is a Disney property), so I think that there’s a good chance that they’d be more scared than delighted. But it would make for cute pictures and grandparents would be thrilled. FWIW, the 2 year old is a girl (so I assume that she won’t care too much about the princess thing yet, though, of course, cute), and the 4 year old is a boy. Also, my husband is a Star Wars nut, and certainly pushes the boy to all things Star Wars.

        • The Star Wars stuff at Hollywood Studios is amazing right now. My son is a total Star Wars freak, and that was the highlight of our entire trip. They have a cute Jedi Academy that your older child might want to do, or you can meet Kylo Ren or Chewbacca, and they shut down the streets in the park and Stormtroopers march by. It’s really cool.

        • anne-on says:

          If you can get in I’d suggest it doing the character safari dinner at the animal kingdom. My kiddo flipped out at 3 meeting characters but did great at the dinners. Animal Kingdom is also a pretty low key park and a nice one to do if your kids like animals/dinosaurs. They’ll be too little for the Expedition Everest ride but that would be fun for the adults.
          We also really liked Hollywood studios for younger kids – that is where all the Disney Jr. characters are (Jake, Sofia, the Pixar studios, etc).

          • mascot says:

            We really liked character breakfasts (Tusker House at AK is awesome) because you are up early anyways with little kids and get into the parks early. Oh, and you can meet Rafiki in AK by the animal hospital. He was really funny.

    • Momata says:

      Wait until next year so you don’t have to worry about naps. I feel like everyone goes too early and then regrets it because their young toddler is a sweaty disaster.

      • October says:

        Agreed. It’s so expensive that I think my family will only ever go once (and that’s if we’re lucky!) so I would definitely wait until the kids are a little older to be able to really remember/enjoy it, and so it’s more of a vacation for the whole family rather than just a “trip” with toddler meltdowns.

    • We just went to Disneyworld with my 3 year old and it was totally awesome. My husband was very skeptical beforehand, but we all had a blast. A few tips:

      – Definitely stay on Disney property. And check out the Swan and the Dolphin – they are Starwoods properties onsite (and walkable to Epcot) but cost about 1/4 what equivalent Disney properties cost.

      – Get two hotel rooms. If your younger child is napping, it will be nice to have spillover space. Plus it will give everyone some breathing room from each other.

      – Check out the crowd calendars online and go during a quiet time. The nice thing about pre-elementary kids is that you’re not tied to the school calendar, so you can go at a time when the crowds are really low.

      – Follow your kids’ leads. Our best memories are times when we just followed our son’s interests and ended up watching a random Star Wars show or taking this hidden path that we never would have noticed through a dinosaur forest or taking a vintage train around the Magic Kingdom. Pushing him to do things (like meet Donald Duck) only created stress for everyone, but following his lead was really cool and we got to see the parks through his eyes and in a whole different way than we would have if we had pre-planned everything.

      I could go on and on, but it really is a very fun trip. And it’s not stressful at all – everything about Disney is designed for young kids, from the bathrooms to the restaurants, so I found it pretty relaxing.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anecdotal, but a friend of mine is in the midst of planning a trip to Disney and has had a nightmare of a time booking through Disney directly. They’ve screwed up names and birthdates, which is a big deal because Disney is also handling their flights.

    • POSITA says:

      I was just talking to a coworker who went to Disney over Christmas and she had a terrible experience. Everything was so crowded that she regretted going at all. She wishes that they had just gone somewhere with a pool.

      Her kids were so overwhelmed by the crowds and didn’t even want to go to the parks. They waited 2-3 hours for each ride and her son kept getting panicky about getting lost in the crowds (he’s 5). They ended up spending a lot of time at the hotel pool, despite having extremely expensive park passes. I think it makes a huge difference to go during low season, though I haven’t been in several years. Maybe low season is still busier than I remember.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        I have often thought that if I took my kiddo to Disney, I would purposefully set aside a day or more to lounge in the hotel pool – no park pass for that day, just stay at the hotel and enjoy the amenities. Disney resorts have such great pools. Although I recall the All-Star resorts (i.e., the budget resorts) having less amazing pools, so I probably would opt for one of the more lux hotels if I did that.

      • avocado says:

        Christmas is definitely the worst time to go. We were in Orlando for another reason at Christmastime once and decided to take our daughter to Disney World while we were there. We arrived in the morning and got on maybe two rides before dinnertime. After 5:00 p.m. the crowds really thinned out. We ended up deciding to stay until closing so we could actually ride some rides, then slept in instead of going to a second park the next day. I will never, ever go during the winter holidays again.

    • Anononymous says:

      If you are on the East Coast (or possibly the midwest, not sure precisely where this would work for), a family I knew always took the overnight Amtrak. They loaded up their three kids, giant suitcases, backpacks etc. went to sleep in New York and woke up in Florida. Always sounded like the best idea anyone ever came up with.

    • AnonMN says:

      Mostly restating what others have said: Our trip with a 2yo was really fun. We went with friends (one of which has 4 kids ages 6mo to 4yr) and we all had so much fun. So much so, that we’re going back this year (our last trip was 2 years ago). Stay on property (we loved Animal Kingdom Lodge, but the bus waits are longer because it is further away so this time we are staying in a Magic Kingdom property and having dinner at AKL), use a Disney travel agent (no extra fee to you and they retroactively apply promotions and discounts once they come out), and plan for 1-2 days of just lounging at the pool. I think the character dining is a waste if your child doesn’t like characters (ours was terrified) BUT they can get you into a park early, so that can be nice. Go during low season (we went in early November and it wasn’t too bad, i’ve heard Feb is even better). And go with the mindset that food is going to be pricey (or a plan to make it less pricey). One of our companions was annoyed about how pricey everything was, which was no fun.

      • Frozen Peach says:

        A few additional pro tips:

        I think the Disney hotels are overrated. If you’re there in an off season, you can get a lot more for your money right outside the gates. We stayed in a huge timeshare property and had a condo with a bedroom, a living room, and kitchenette for less than the Disney budget hotels.

        The best daily schedule, IMHO, is to get there before the gates open (they open early every. day.) and then leave the park midday for lunch/swim/nap (instead of pricey park hot dogs), then back around 3 or 4 and stay until the park closes/fireworks.

        We went in Sept (obviously hard if you have kids– there’s a reason it’s the slow time), and it was very quiet. We rarely waited in line for longer than 10 or 15 mins.

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      We took our almost-6-year-old son to DisneyWorld in September. I could go on and on, but here’s the main advice:
      Stay on the Disney property, preferably on the monorail.
      Get ParkHopper passes so you can visit any park anytime.
      Schedule character meals and FastPasses AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. We never had to wait more than 30 minutes in line because we planned ahead.
      Go to the park before they open, leave after lunch for a nap, and then return for dinner/parades/fireworks.
      Hollywood Studio is useless except for the Star Wars stuff, which is great. I can’t wait till Star Wars land opens.
      Bring your own water and snacks. Use a sling bag or backpack, instead of a cross-body bag.
      Our son’s favorite ride was Buzz Lightyear in the Magic Kingdom.

  6. Anon in NOVA says:

    I really like this tote in the solid colors. I looked at the amazon pictures and it looks a lot more structured in some photos than others. Could make a good diaper bag with the right organizers inside, especially since it seems easy to wipe down. I would probably only spend this much on a relatively unstructured tote if I planned to use it for a diaper bag, though. For occasional travel I would go a cheaper route

  7. BabyBoom says:

    Thanks for all of the comments yesterday on days out for daycare issues. The support is so needed right now. You also helped me form a plan and execute it!
    1) Got a note from Pediatrician on poop. Baby is (as someone else said) a prolific pooper. Ped is not concerned. Day care is satisfied with the note and confirmed that it was the number of poops in the day, not the quality that was the issue. I find this troubling, but with the note we shouldn’t have more missed days for poop.
    2) Got on a wait list for a different daycare. The one we are at was highly recommended, but I think we can do better. These kids have had so much change lately I don’t want to move them too much. But if we can get in the super awesome place near my work, I think it will be better for everyone.
    3) Have an appointment for a babysitter/nanny referral service that does backup care. We are also looking into whether we can swing a nanny for full time care.
    4) Checked in with my boss. Confirmed that boss doesn’t have any concerns with my performance or my attendance. Maybe I shouldn’t have been this direct? But it does make me feel better.
    5) For days we do need to stay home, we will implement the 1/2 day strategy that was suggested. So straight forward and brilliant!

    Again, thank you. I went from holding back tears and thinking I needed to quit my job to feeling like “I can do this!”

    • Anonymous says:

      You CAN do this and you are an awesome person for taking this on! Hope you noted how many of the comments patted you on the back for doing this for these kids.

    • Anonymous says:

      Wow, great job! I’m not this on top of things, and I have had two kids in ordinary succession, with 9 months of advance notice for each!

    • Good work! Regarding 4), my feeling is that if it makes you feel better it was worth it.

      And a belated congratulations on this exciting, tumultuous but hopefully awesome life change!

    • PinkKeyboard says:

      First: you guys are amazing people for doing this.
      Second: Highly recommended is very dependent on priorities. I looked at a highly recommended daycare near me (also the most expensive) and was horrified. It was so academic, they start standardized testing of the kids at 3!!! I just want playtime and outdoor time and fun. Do some cute arts and crafts. So depending on your personal needs/wants, it may be that the other daycare is far better.

  8. Hi ladies,

    Cross-posting from the main site — wondering if anyone has had experience with getting your membranes stripped to induce labor. I’m 39 weeks (due this Sunday) and my OB suggested doing it to move things along (no early labor signs so far), but I’m not sure what the pros and cons are of doing this (all I really know is that it seems less drastic than other more common ways to induce, like pitocin). Thanks!

    • anne-on says:

      My OB did it and it worked like a charm, ditto for my SIL twice. That being said, it is uncomfortable, but not like medicate me level uncomfortable. Deep breathing and you should be fine.
      It couldn’t hurt, especially if you’re uncomfortable. My OB would not do it until I hit 40 wks or my due date though.

    • Anonymous says:

      replied on the main site. Check ACOG guidelines on induction. Some OBs still push induction practices (sweeping, pitocin) because it’s more convenient for their schedules.

    • I had this done as my water broke and I still wasn’t in active labor 12 hours later. The midwife did this in combo with some other things to try to kickstart my active labor. I actually thought it was really painful/uncomfortable (perhaps more than crowning, which seems insane in retrospect) but maybe that’s because there was already other stuff going on with my body? Anyway, it was over very quickly.

    • I had it done at 39 1/2, BUT I just happened to start having regular contractions about 5 hours before my scheduled doctor’s appointment. Doctor said it could help to speed things along and I went into SERIOUS labor that night and had the baby 12 hours later. It hurt a lot – I don’t think I would do it at 39 if I had no other signs.

    • Jeffiner says:

      My water broke spontaneously, but several hours later there were no contractions. The hospital started me on pitocin, and several hours after that there were still no contractions. My OB then stripped the membranes, and finally we started active labor. The stripping part didn’t hurt at all for me, and was really quick. I already had an internal monitor up in there, and the baby was putting a lot of painful pressure on my bladder, so I was probably a bit distracted.

      • Thanks everyone this is all really helpful to know! My own research so far was leading me to think that at the very least it may not be worth the discomfort, esp. if technically pre-due date.

    • Anon in NYC says:

      It didn’t work for me. I had it done twice. My water broke at 41 weeks, the day before I was scheduled to go in for an induction.

    • I had it done on a Wednesday 2 days after my due date. Labor started Thursday evening. I was surprised that I didn’t find it more uncomfortable. It certainly wasn’t enjoyable, but it wasn’t much worse than a standard internal exam.

      • Anonymous says:

        This. If it’s super uncomfortable, that’s a sign your body isn’t ready. You can always ask your doctor to stop the sweep if it’s uncomfortable.

    • I had it done b/c the plan was to have a scheduled C at 39 weeks if labor didn’t start before, and I was still hoping for V delivery. Was uncomfortable but not mind-blowingly so. Did not work. Proceeded with scheduled C for my massive baby.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      My OB said something to the effect that membrane sweeping and other moderate “induction” type exercises (s*x, spicy food, leg massage, herbal supplements, etc) likely helped only if labor was already imminent or underway. She had a policy of sweeping only if there was already some dilation or contraction activity. I had a sweep, realized I was in labor a day later, and had my kiddo two days after that….(and no, that’s not a horror story; I found the first couple days of labor pretty mild and worked through a lot of it).

    • Similar to the other ladies – had mine done at 40+3 but I was already 4cm dialated. My MW sounds similar to the person who said that it could help things along if labor was imminent anyways. It was only a bit of discomfort, probably because I was so close anyways. I went into labor the next morning and gave birth less than 24hrs after the appointment.

  9. Yesterday I mentioned that Kiddo has been home sick due to an ear infection and was complaining that DH accidentally told the teachers that we’d given Kiddo Tylenol to reduce his fever. Well, when I arrived home last night, we realized that Kiddo also has hand foot and mouth. So he’s not going to daycare anytime soon. Also, he’s miserable, poor thing.

    • CPA Lady says:

      Oh no! HFM is the devil. I actually came down with it when my daughter was about 6 months old. The feverish day or two prior to the spots showing up was the worst part for me. The spots hurt for a couple of days, but were not that bad. Hopefully it’s the same for your little one and the worst is already over.

      • I’m crossing my fingers that I don’t have it. I have a virus causing a sore throat, a little congestion, and general fatigue, but no fever and no spots (yet).

    • You can still be mad at DH!

      I totally got HFM from my son–IIRC correctly the only symptoms were mouth sores–and the mouth sores baffled my doctor. He sent me to a periodontist or something, who laughed at the idea that it could be HFM (not sure he had heard of it), wanted to give me steroids and then bugged me to make a follow up appointment for the next 12 months. They went away on their own in a couple days. We didn’t realize our son had it until I got the sores. It wasn’t so bad.

    • Oh shoot! Sorry to hear that. Poor kiddo. HFM plus ear infection sounds like the devil.

      Son has HFM it twice – it just tears through daycare because they’re contagious even before fever erupts. It’s just miserable all round, and that’s with a mild edition. Pedialyte helps, as do pedialyte pops, frozen Go-gurts, anything cold and non-acidic.

    • I contracted HFM from my son when he was 6 months. His case was thankfully mild. He was home one day for the fever, got two spots on his hand, and we didn’t even realize it was HFM until I got it about five days later. My case was HORRIBLE! I would do child birth again over HFM. The fever and body aches leveled me, then I got spots on my throat (like a standard sore throat) and then spots on hands, then feet that were horrifically painful. The skin on my feet got hard then peeled off for three months afterward. So gross! I will send goof thoughts your way that you don’t get it!

      • Ugh, nephew had the foot peeling for MONTHS (and since he was a toddler you couldn’t get him to stop picking at it). His mom and sister escaped that fun aspect of it, even though they got the disease.

    • Spirograph says:

      Oh no, I am so sorry! Just to give you some hope: My kiddo contracted HFM while I was pregnant (cue freakout), but luckily had a really mild case. It was gross, but no one else in the house caught it. In fact, the worst part was that she had her normal energy level – just with bonus drool and sores, I had third trimester energy level, and I was stuck at home with her for days. ugh.

      Our pediatrician recommended a mix of benadryl and maalox (mylanta) to soothe symptoms- esp if the sores are inside the mouth/throat. That seemed to work pretty well (but obviously talk to your own ped first!)

  10. So, Kiddo is getting tubes in his ears in a couple of weeks. Do both parents really need to take Kiddo to the hospital and wait during the surgery? I’m thinking I could work in the morning while DH takes him in for the actual surgery, then go home and let DH go in for half a day. Is that crazy? Am I underestimating how hard it might be for the parent handling it alone? Am I a terrible parent for not wanting to spend my morning in the hospital waiting room?

    • If it were my son, I think he would be upset if I wasn’t there when he woke up–I’m the primary comforter–but I don’t think both parents need to be there the whole time. To me continuity of before and after surgery seems more important – the parent that was there when he goes to sleep should be there when he wakes up. I might want my spouse there for moral support, but I don’t think you are terrible for not wanting to be in a hospital waiting room. No one ever does.

    • Mine had them put in at one year old. Other than the wait and keeping ( a very hungry) kiddo occupied, there’s no “need” for both to go. Kiddo might be scared in that environment and having both parents there might be comforting. But, at the risk of sounding morbid, here is why my husband and I both did: General anesthesia. There is an infinitesimal risk of something going very wrong. I never would have forgiven myself.

    • Yes, you should both be there. Both of my kids had tubes put in at around 10 months. On one hand, the surgery is quick and relatively painless and the risks are very, very low. On the other hand, depending on your child’s temperament, he or she may be irritable and fussy from lack of food and anxious from the hospital environment, and it’s nice to be able to trade off on that. Also, the risks associated with the surgery are low, but not nonexistent. And your doctor may give you after-care recommendations and it is always good to have more than one person listening to that.

      I was worried about missing work, but people are very understanding if you mention your kiddo has surgery coming up. In fact, I think my coworkers would have thought I was heartless if they later learned I skipped a child’s surgery for work.

      If you must switch off the day of, the parent who is the most comforting to the child should go to the hospital. It can be really scary to the kid when they wake up from anesthesia.

    • Katala says:

      Not terrible if you can work it out, the waiting is boring and nerve wracking, not a fun combo. But, when we took my son in for surgery, it did not go at all according to schedule. We had a midday appointment so brought him in the morning for prep – he had not eaten since the previous evening so that wasn’t fun, and just got worse with delays. He finally went into the OR at around 4:30 and we left the hospital around 8pm.
      We were glad to have 2 parents during recovery. He was only 15 months so it might not be as bad if your kiddo can understand what’s happening. Both parents were needed to console ours.

    • Anon in NOVA says:

      Depends how old/big he is. Has he been under before? With my son (who was 5) we easily could’ve just had one of us there. But I did see a child completely flipping out when he starting waking up and I wouldn’t have been able to physically handle my child in that state. If I had to choose half the day, I’d rather be the one home with him the rest of the afternoon.
      My son had his adenoids out at the same time and neither seemed to cause him much pain. Some vomiting from the anesthesia, but otherwise he was eating/drinking normally and slept fine etc. Good luck!

    • This is just my experience with my kiddo having been under general anesthesia twice last fall: There are a couple of aspects to this, supporting the child and supporting your spouse.

      For the child: My son was comforted by having both my husband and I there when he went back and when he woke up. Logistically, someone will have to carry the child out to the car (my son was 5). Or, if the other parent isn’t there, they generally want you to sit in a wheelchair and wheel you and your kiddo out to the car. Then, getting a semi-conscious kid strapped into the car seat is not an easy task. My husband left after my son woke up the second time, and it was logistically really hard handling getting the discharge instructions, gathering up all our stuff, being wheeled out to the car and then getting us both in the car, home and then reverse the process once we got home.

      For the spouse: I get that this is a low risk procedure, but that does not mean no risk. If the procedure runs fifteen minutes long, its nice (ok more than just nice) to have the other person there for comfort. Also, is someone going to go back with the kiddo when he/she goes under general anesthesia? I sat on the gurney both times, my son sat on me and I held him as they put him under. I have zero issues with hospitals, blood (have been in the OR for operations on others), helped with L&D, and I nearly passed out after having my son go under general anesthesia on my lap. Their eyes flutter back in the head and they become unresponsive. I was prepped for all of this, and intellectually I knew he was fine, but again, it was really great to have my husband there when I got back to the room.

      It is hard to wait in a hospital room while your kid is being taken care of. Really hard. But this is one of those times that I think being present matters a great deal.

      • Meg Murry says:

        Yes, this is what I was going to say too. Logistically, it will be a lot easier to have one parent focusing on the kid (comforting them, getting them back into clothes from the surgical gown, making sure their coat/shoes/lovie/etc make it back out to the car) and the other parent focusing on getting the discharge instructions from the doctors/nurses (what things are normal immediately after the procedure and what things are concerning that you should call the office about or go to the ER for).

        My son was scheduled to have tubes put in a little while ago, but he developed a cough, cold and fever of 100 the night before so they wouldn’t do the procedure that day, and now we have to go back in a couple of weeks. The doctors and nursing staff advised us to pump him full of fluids the night before. Our surgical instructions allowed for clear liquids up to 4 hours before the procedure, and they said we may want to consider waking him for extra fluids if his temperature is at all borderline the night before – because dehydration can cause temperatures to rise slightly.

        My oldest had to have a more invasive surgery when he was about 2-3, and he had a really hard time coming off of the anesthesia. The doctors warned us about it, but it was pretty much like night terrors – he screamed and cried for 30+ minutes, and all we could do was rock him in our laps until he woke up enough to calm down, and hold him still so he didn’t accidentally split open his fresh stitches. I would not have been ok handling that without my husband by my side, it was emotionally wrenching.

        I think if you have something completely un-reschedulable the day of the procedure, or if you’ve used up all your PTO dealing with the ear infections and missing the day would jeopardize your job, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world to trade off half days with your spouse. But if I had to sit around the waiting room by myself while my son was having a procedure just because my husband didn’t feel like sitting around the waiting room and missing a normal day in the office I’d be pretty annoyed with him.

        • My son was about 18 months and we had a similar experience in recovery – a lot of flailing and crying that was probably more stressful for us than him. Our practice did appointments by age, so youngest kids went first – we had to be there at some ungodly hour but I think we were done and home well before noon. Anyways, it was really helpful to have both parents there to support each other emotionally, even though 1 probably could have handled it from a logistics perspective.

    • bluefield says:

      My daughter had tubes put in at 2, and while my husband was there in the morning, he left once our daughter was taken for the surgery. It was fine.

    • Are you not wanting to spend the time in the waiting room because you’re concerned about missing work? I have accompanied my husband to many procedures, and I always just log on and work while I’m waiting. I also feel as long as I’m working, I don’t think so much about what is happening to my loved one – even if I’m still in the hospital.

    • Thanks all. I will plan to take the entire day off. I was worried about missing a full day of work because I just started a new job and didn’t want to be out of the office just to wait around. DH is by far the more comforting parent, but it sounds like I can be emotionally supportive for both Kiddo and DH and logistically helpful.

      • Anonymous says:

        This is highly dependent on where the procedure is done and, likely, the age of the kiddo (since most places schedule the surgery time based on the age of the kid). When I did this with my kids, all the waiting was before the procedure which was super early in the a.m. because my kids were young. The procedure itself is 10 minutes max and our ENT sent us home within 10-15 minutes of our kids waking up. Kiddos were hysterical from the time they woke up until maybe 15 minutes after we got home.

        So, arrive at 6:30… and hour or hour and a half of prep. Then the procedure. Then home and make sure the kid is settled and happy. If you have a similar timeline you can log into work by 9am.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Ask if you can get the discharge instructions before the surgery so you can review them while you are waiting and ask follow up questions during recovery. My ex had a really involved orthopedic surgery while we were still married, and one of the nurses gave me discharge and medication instructions during the surgery. It was so helpful to be able to sit and review them without simultaneously managing a disoriented person. There were a few additional things added due to post-surgical complications, but they know the bulk of the instructions in advance.

  11. Core strength 1 year postpartum says:

    So, I’m one year postpartum. Haven’t really made an effort in regards to “getting into shape” as there has been enough going on, but I’m back to the high end of my pre-pregnancy weight spectrum. However, a lot less exercise and walking since the baby was born because (1) new job and cross-country move; (2) baby’s 7:00 bedtime interferes with after dinner dog-walking; (3) daycare drop-off and pick-up interfere with walking to and from work; and (4) basically the baby ruined everything and she’s lucky she’s cute. Once we move into a new place closer to new job I’m hoping to re-integrate some sort of exercise into my life.

    BUT I do have a question. Last weekend I strained my back picking up the baby. And a couple times in the last few weeks I’ve reached quickly to the side to reach something and it was really painful (temporarily) in my abdominal area (like, spasms or cramping or something). My first thought is that I probably just have really weak core muscles at the moment and need to work on that so I don’t further injure myself. I’ll mention to my doctor at my next appointment. But has anyone else had this happen? Any tips or tricks?

    • shortperson says:

      i would check with a postpartum pt to see if you have diastasis recti, and if not, start doing pilates on the weekends.

    • Phew, you’ have a lot going on! I can totally empathise. I do a lot of lunchtime runs (like, 2 or 3 miles) just to get some fresh air and me time.

      As for the core strength: I’ve put out my back picking kiddo up wrong. Remember to bend from the knees! Even if you do have diastasis recti, there are still core strength exercises you can do: http://www.strong-mommas.com/blog/understanding-diastasis-recti-and-how-to-begin-the-healing-process (she knows what she’s talking about!)

    • Post-partum issues aren’t well-known, so go to your general practitioner with a list of possible causes, and a list of referrals you want. Insist it’s post-partum (and not a random malady) so maybe you can get to a physical therapist who specializes in post-partum. Post-partum injuries can take awhile to notice, because you’re busy, you know, recovering. It took me 12 months to realize I can’t take big side-steps (a la Zumba) without a twinge of pain. Of course I’ve never looked into it…maybe I should!

      • shortperson says:

        agreed, my ob didnt know anything about this stuff. she said everything was fine. but i went to a postpartum pt and she was amazing.

      • layered bob says:

        agreed, my ob “cleared” me to exercise at 8 weeks pp, said everything was fine, but I had ongoing hip pain and core/stability problems (couldn’t lift my right leg properly) until I insisted on a referral to a PT specializing in postpartum issues at 9 months pp. Lo and behold, my core/pelvic floor/hips were in fact a disaster and I never should have been exercising at 8 weeks pp. But the PT was great (saw her weekly for 3 months) and did lots of hands-on adjustments and types of exercises I would never have thought of/known how to do, and I feel much better.

    • Core strength 1 year postpartum says:

      Thanks, all. I think I will try to get a PT referral.

    • Butter says:

      I got tendonitis in my shoulder essentially from not using it properly around 8 months pp. Normally it’s an overuse injury – mine was an underuse. I can’t overstate how little I’ve used my muscles since kiddo was born. PT did help me a lot, but now the burden is on me to get my butt moving again (kiddo is over a year, excuses are dwindling). I’m starting with some barre and pilates classes verrrrry slowly.

  12. Opinions on endocrinologist? says:

    I was just diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism/borderline overt hypothyroidism by my OB-GYN with a referral to an endocrinologist. We want to TTC but the OB said to get this checked out first because of risks of miscarriage and preterm birth (which is scary!).

    I have two options. Option one is an in-network provider with a $25 copay. I don’t know much about this physician, other than she was identified by my health insurance as someone who treats thyroid disorders and the office is near my home.

    Option two is a local “thyroid expert” I found online who is out-of-network and requires out-of-pocket payment which you can submit to your insurance for reimbursement. It probably would cost around $1000 OOP for my preconception and prenatal care with her, possibly more. I left a message at her office with some questions, and she called me back personally and spent 15 minutes to tell me about her practice and hear a little more about my concerns/issues. Her initial appointment is 2 hrs long (!) and follow ups are 30 minutes. She is incredibly caring and knowledgeable about thyroid issues from what I gleaned from our initial phone call.

    We can afford option 2 but I wanted to hear from some other mothers with thyroid issues. Is it worth it to work with a provider who costs much more but is patient-oriented and up-to-date in the field of hypothyroidism? If we weren’t TTC I would choose option 1, but there seem to be a lot of risks with uncontrolled hypothyroidism while TTC and while pregnant, particularly in the first 20 weeks.

    • Try option 1 – medication might get to back to baseline quickly. Did for me. You’ll know within a month or so if medication works.

      If that doesn’t work, you can proceed with Option 2.

      • As someone TTC with thyroid issues, I would recommend starting with option 1 and then progressing to the specialist, if necessary. Medication can help correct things relatively quickly (it did for me) and as long as it’s something you’re consistently monitoring during TTC and pregnancy, you should be fine.

    • Kindergarten boy says:

      Option 1. Not only will you know soon it it works but having gone to ins rec doc will allow you to ask ins co to cover the specialist if it should become necessary.

    • NewMomAnon says:

      Question – is Option 2 an MD? Because there are a lot of “thyroid specialists” who are not MDs, and they are crunchy as f*ck. I have a friend who has basically cut out all foods other than meat and grains because a “thyroid specialist” told her it would help her avoid medical treatment. But…..why?

      Regardless, I would go with the in-plan option. What the second person is selling seems like overkill for the issue you’re experiencing. You need someone who can read and order blood tests, find creative solutions to medication interactions (timing of multivitamin and fiber supplements, for instance) and dosing issues, and listens to you when you have concerns about your dosage (for instance, if you’re suddenly always hot and you are used to being cold, your doctor should order a blood test instead of suggesting you stop wearing sweaters). As long as you’re properly medicated, the risks during pregnancy don’t deviate from baseline.

      Also, consider distance to the office. My endo isn’t near my house or my work, and it didn’t matter much while I was pregnant because I could do blood draws at the OB’s office and have results sent to the endo. Now that I’m not pregnant, I go to the endo’s office for blood draws and it feels ridiculous to take an hour off work for a blood draw.

  13. Running Numbers says:

    Please tell me this is a phase or how to get through it.

    16 month old son has turned into… a crazy person. His general pointing and demanding have given way to an extreme passion for having anything that is not his. He was sick for about a week but was still relatively pleasant but the last few days he has been healthy and miserable. He runs around screaming, bashes his head into his high chair for no apparent reason, makes ridiculous demands and is miserable when he is not permitted to do things, like access the fireplace. He is happy when he’s sufficiently engaged in an activity like peekaboo, but most of the time, it feels like constantly trying to guess if he wants something that he can actually have/do, or saying no.

    He is not in daycare. He is with my husband in the morning, my mom in the afternoon and me in the evening. This makes me wonder if he is around adults too much and just thinks he should have the same autonomy as an adult. We’re all consistent with him and don’t give in to his demands, but we try to accommodate if it’s something he wants that is reasonable.

    How do we stop this extreme passion when he doesn’t get his way now? Or is this just a passing phase, or few days? He’s generally been quite easy and content, so I’m not used to how to handle things like him refusing to sit for a meal.

    Thank you!

    • Sounds like normal toddler stuff. Sorry! That can be a tough age.

      • Running Numbers says:

        No, that’s great! I have no frame of reference for what is normal outside of reading these comments…

    • CPA Lady says:

      “How do we stop this extreme passion when he doesn’t get his way now? Or is this just a passing phase, or few days? ”

      If by “passing phase” you mean “will continue multiple times a day on a daily basis for the next couple of years”, then yes, it is a passing phase. Welcome to toddlerhood. Some children are really docile. My niece never really had these fits of demanding passion until she was 3. My daughter started right around the time she turned 1. Lucky me. Toddlers do think they should have the same autonomy as an adult. They also think the entire universe revolves around them and are not capable of true empathy until they are 5 or 6 years old. It gets a little easier once they can talk. Time outs also help when my daughter gets so wound up she can’t calm down on her own– I put her on the floor of her room with a pillow and she stays there to calm down. I don’t think there’s anything you can do to make a toddler less passionate and crazy. It’s just a normal part of their development.

      I found this article helpful: http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/the_kids/2013/02/why_does_my_kid_freak_out_the_science_behind_toddler_tantrums.html

    • Anonymous says:

      Normal toddler stuff but you’re not referencing his speech very much. Does he have a delay? Hanen (dot) org is my fav site for speech stuff. Mu daughter had a delay (less than 10 words at 15 months), was referred, we did an early intervention parent education course at the local clinic when she was 2 (Hanen program), and she caught up within 6 months.

      A lot of frustration in the 12 – 36 month age range is related to not being able to communicate their wants/needs/emotions.

      Encourage your DH and mom to take him out to playgroups/music classes etc at least every second day for socialization.

      • I just took my 18-month old in for his well check yesterday, and our (amazing) pediatrician said the 18-mo milestone is 8-10 words. The same milestone is listed on the Mayo Clinic website.

        • Anonymous says:

          My speech pathologist BFF did a referral at 15 months because she was so far behind (2-4 words) and our waitlists are long so I tend to forget that it’s usually 18 months for 10 words.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Agreed with the communication angst. Baby sign language really helped bridge my daughter through the 12-23 month period when she knew what she wanted. And sign language signs count toward the developmental milestones too. My kiddo picked up signs for more, milk, help, and food pretty quickly.

      • Running Numbers says:

        He has plenty of words that are not presently useful to meet his demands… dog, boom and wow are among his favorites. Sign language is a good idea, I’ve just had a hard time making it a priority.

        I can’t quite imagine asking either of the other adults to get him to a structured class that often. My husband works full-time as well so they each have only a few waking hours with him. We’ve been talking about making it to church so he can get to Sunday school once a week.

        Genuine curiosity, if you have kids that are not in daycare at this age, do you make playgroups, etc. a priority? We play several times a week with neighbors that are close to his age, but nothing structured.

        • Anonymous says:

          I didn’t mean necessarily all structured classes. My DH was a SAHD around this age and did one indoor free playtime at the local community center, tots time at the local museum/art gallery and a structured music class focused on singing songs (M/W/F). Sounds like you’re already doing lots of playtime with other same age kids.

        • NewMomAnon says:

          Sign language doesn’t need to be a big commitment – learn milk, food, more, and help, and then whenever you say those words, use the sign too. I.e., “Want more (hand sign) food (hand sign) kiddo?” and hold out the food to offer it. If he’s struggling with something, say, “Need mama help (hand sign)?” Or help daddy, and say, “Look kiddo, mommy helps (hand sign) daddy!”

          If he starts picking up on those, add in a couple more – dog, cat, ball, book, and sleep were popular in my house. Diaper was popular at daycare. Kiddo also used “please” when she wanted something but didn’t have the word or sign for it (and still uses it when she’s out of control and can’t find words). Then it would turn into a pointing/guessing game, but at least we knew why she was sad.

      • Sigh, another thing to worry about. My just-turned 15-month old has no words. He understands a lot and he has several signs. But he’s not even saying mama or dada. I knew this was perhaps a bit unusual, but I haven’t allowed myself to do the Googling that will apparently show he has a “delay” and needs early intervention. Great.

        • Running Numbers says:

          My heart stopped for a moment at the whole discussion, too. There’s a wide range of “normal” at this age. Ask the pediatrician at the next visit and otherwise, don’t Google!

        • Signs count as words at that age! Keep it up with the signs and the words will come.

        • Anonymous says:

          Don’t stress!

          I posted about my daughter having a delay when she was 15 months and now she’s a 5 year old that will. not. stop. talking. She never actually needed formal speech therapy. We learned a few exercises and she came along great.

          Check out the Hanen (I swear I’m not affiliated with them in anyway), our local clinic does a parents education session called ‘It Takes Two To Talk’ but you can also order the book/dvd direct from Hanen. You can order and watch at home, with some great tips and they have free newsletters.

        • October says:

          I don’t think that’s a delay — my 15 month old didn’t even say mama or dada, but now at 18 months he has a handful of words and the doc is not concerned. Boys, especially, tend to talk late. Don’t stress!

    • Anon in NYC says:

      Definitely sounds like normal toddler stuff. My daughter is 20 months and is generally a very easygoing kid, but sometimes she is just really demanding and will collapse to the floor and throw a tantrum. She wants what she wants, and sometimes we can redirect her and sometimes it’s a little harder and we just deal with the tantrum. At this age, redirection is still the go-to (I think). Like, just recently she’s become obsessed with pulling things out of a particular drawer. A lot of it is small stuff or food items and I don’t want to have to pick it up constantly or worry about it spilling. So I take it away from her and give her something equally exciting (a granola bar in its wrapping that she got ahold of and mauled but weirdly loves). Or, she wants to do something that isn’t great, so we ask if she wants to go read a book (which she loves).

      Also, FWIW, our pediatrician said that at around this age this is a matter of where you want to pick your battles. So, your kiddo is refusing to sit still for a meal… is there a coffee table or kids table or otherwise short surface where you can put a plate down and he can zoom around and pick up bites of food? Other things, like accessing the fireplace, just let him have a tantrum because that’s non-negotiable.

    • layered bob says:

      sounds normal!

      I have suggested this and seen other suggest it here, but it was just such a huge positive change in how I think about myself/my parenting/my child that I’m going to keep suggesting it: check out Janet Lansbury. She gives such perspective on what is healthy toddler behavior and helps me approach my child in a way that makes parenting her way more fun.

      Here’s an article as an example: http://www.janetlansbury.com/2016/03/when-children-fall-apart-over-the-smallest-things/

    • Mrs. Jones says:

      It’s a phase. My son’s phase lasted 3 years, till age 4 1/2. Good luck.

    • ChiLaw says:

      I remember when kiddo was about that age (we’re only talking like 8 months ago) thinking “wellp, I guess having a kid WAS a mistake. this little person is no fun at all.” and also seriously worrying about her mental/emotional health when she intentionally bashed her head into things, etc. etc.

      I feel much better about parenting now. And I don’t think she’s actually improved — well, she hurts herself less — but I’ve learned which fits matter and which are just boundary testing, and I can roll with it more easily.

      I also think that at that age they’re starting to get ready for a lot of bigger-kid things that they can’t quite do safely, but really would like to. Smaller toys, more dangerous things to climb/ride on, etc. So there can be a lot of frustration. I would try changing things up more, if you can (my kiddo started doing part of her day at the preschool room instead of the little kid room — i’m sure there’s an at-home equivalent), taking your kid to different places (new parks?) and trying give him lots of physical activity to tire out his body, and lots of new experiences to satisfy his curiosity.

      • Running Numbers says:

        Thank you, this made me laugh. He does get out to parks and an indoor play center, but we should start looking at some more interesting things to do with him. I think we fell into hermit-status when he was little, and somehow he has become less little over the last 16 months…

  14. whitney says:

    Cross-posting from main site… Can anyone tell me if it is ok to apply for internal job postings at my current company while on maternity leave? It is a violation of FMLA or disability regulations?

  15. Kindergarten boy says:

    Son is in Kinder this year, combo k/1 class. He’s the youngest in the class with a birthday 10 days before the cutoff. He’s small for his age and will stay small. He’s a totally normal 5 year old, happy loving playful and super social. Kinder requires him to focus and write…when he doesn’t get his work done he has to stay in for recess to complete it, which means he rarely gets morning recess. He seems sad sometimes and sometimes he just says things matter of factly like that he no longer gets to participate in birthday circle and that he has to sit at the back for reading circle (because he’s wiggly). Several other things have come to light. I’ve been talking w teacher for months about how to deal but nothing works. Teacher is old and cranky and disorganized. She was fine for my older kid but it’s not working for this one and my heart is breaking to realize that Ive put him through this for all these months. Teacher has started saying ADD which horrifies me bc I don’t think he has ADD (I’m not being defensive, objectively have talked to others who interact with him…he’s an average energetic 5 year old boy). Never had discipline problems just wants to play. And frankly I’m ok with that. I don’t agree that at his age he needs to be doing so much hard paper work. So, I’m done with that class.

    Option a: move him to a regular kinder only class at same school.

    Option b: put him in Montessori preschool with 20+ 4-5 year olds and have him repeat kinder next year in a regular kinder class.

    In my gut I feel like the right thing is to have kept him back in the first place but i can’t go back in time. I hate changing things midway but I really worry that he is internalizing that he’s not smart, can’t focus, etc. I don’t want him to hate school because of this year.

    Not sure whether I’m looking for advice or just support or success stories.

    • I’m not an expert on child development by any means but punishing a 5 year old with missing his playtime because he didn’t do his “work” seems incredibly counterproductive. That seems like a red flag to me.

      Is the regular kindergarten less structured? In that sense it could be helpful.

      There was a discussion on here a couple weeks ago about keeping back young 5s… I did pre-K twice because I was a young 5, and I think my parents definitely made the right decision. For an energetic boy I would think even more so.

    • Personally I would go with option b. There are a lot of advantages to being on the older side of a class (spoken from someone who was), and I think it would be particularly beneficial in this case. It sounds like he would really benefit from an extra year (and if you have any control over his classroom, a different teacher for when he does enter Kinder again may be a good idea as well). Don’t be too hard on yourself about this school year – you made a perfectly reasonable decision and your son probably won’t even remember much about this year.

    • Anononymous says:

      Push back HARD on ADD… there are lots of studies that most boys diagnosed with ADD in K-2 are actually just the youngest kids in the class. If they really push, sign him up for a martial art or yoga and say you are beginning treatment with “physical awareness”, internal discipline” etc. (Actually what an ADHD boyfriend did in elementary…he had a true disorder, could do animation for 10 hours a day, but couldn’t sit still otherwise)

      I’m a huge fan of Montessori, so I’d go with B personally. It would really be a hard reset and a major change. There’s a pretty good chance that the regular kindergarten class is still doing a LOT of writing.

    • Anonymous says:

      I would do option A and have no problem with messaging to him that you switched his class because his teacher was not treating him fairly and it is important for everyone to be treated fairly. I presume there’s no risk he gets stuck with her for grade 1?

      It is COMPLETELY inappropriate that she is holding him in recess and excluding from circles. I would be livid.

      • ChiLaw says:

        I literally gasped when I read that part. It sounds like he desperately *needs* recess! Poor kiddo.

        • Anonymous says:

          Kind of random that you replied to my comment because my only other post today was a reply to your 38 week spontaneous water break story on the main page. Just mentioning in case you didn’t see my response as it’s late in the day.

          Kids need recess! I love the Finnish model where they have a 5 minute stretch/movement break every 45 minutes.

    • I am really sorry. We had a tough time when our energetic 5-year-old transitioned to kindergarten. He’s in first grade and it’s still hard, but better. Your kiddo’s teacher sounds terribly unsupportive and I also would push back on the armchair ADHD diagnosis. If I were you, I’d go with option B. I know several parents who have done it, and it was a good thing for everyone.

    • PhilanthropyGirl says:

      Option B would be my choice. Unfortunately in my experience with public schools, withholding recess and other such things is common for a child who isn’t completing his work. Inappropriate and horrible, yes – but the sad fact is it happens. Kindergarten is so academic now – and it is a challenge for the youngest students in particular. This sounds like a horrible situation for your poor little guy.

      I’m also a big Montessori fan, so color me biased. The extra time he would gain, and the more gentle, play-based scenario at a Montessori sounds like they would be really beneficial to him.

      • avocado says:

        Yes, our public school keeps kids in at recess if they don’t finish their work. It is supposed to be a “natural consequence.” Counterproductive if the kid needs to run off some energy, but it’s par for the course.

    • avocado says:

      Do you have the option to put him in Montessori kindergarten for the rest of this year and then re-evaluate whether to have him repeat kindergarten or go to first grade at the end of the year?

      How is he doing academically? If he’s reading and writing now, there is a chance he will be bored next year repeating kindergarten, and that can cause behavior issues and conflict with teachers.

      I would also proceed with a lot of caution if you choose to pursue the ADHD angle at this point. It seems awfully premature to be going that route unless you are seeing issues at home too.

      • Anon in NYC says:

        This might be a good option. My BIL had his youngest repeat pre-k because of the age cutoff and thinking that he just generally wasn’t mature enough for kindergarten, but mid-way through the year his son started expressing a desire to go to kindergarten and wanted “homework” and that he was bored in pre-k. I’d be hesitant to take your son down an academic level if he can do the work of the kindergarten class.

        What’s the difference between K and the combo K/1? If the K class is more flexible and understanding, then option a could also be a good choice.

    • POSITA says:

      My brother had a similar start to kindergarten. After similar treatment to your son, he had decided that he hated teachers and had resorted to calling them all Ms. Poop or Mrs. Poop-head. My mother pulled him out had put him in a ton of fun classes to fill his days for the rest of the year. He did gymnastics, art, soccer, nature classes, music, etc. He was so frustrated with a classroom setting that she didn’t want to put him in a class where he’d be the new kid and have to comply with a new routine. He was a whole different kid by the time he started kindergarten again the next year. It worked out great for him. He didn’t need anything academic, just time to mature a bit.

      The biggest challenge it caused was that he got really antsy as a senior in high school. He was really really ready for college and senioritis hit hard. It’s hard to be nearly 19 (summer birthday) and still in a situation where you need a hallpass to go to the bathroom. At the same time, that frustration may be better than being the youngest one away at college.

      • avocado says:

        I started college at 17 (late birthday) and it was a non-issue. I can’t imagine having to live at home and be in high school at almost 19. That would be torture.

      • layered bob says:

        that does sound rough, but maybe there are ways around this? (at least in some school districts?) From personal experience, my youngest brother (who was “held back”) did high school on sort of an accelerated time line (took a summer class here and there), did some dual-enrollment his junior and senior years, and finished a semester early. He was already 18 so then spent 8 months before college working and traveling. He “walked” at graduation with his class. I think it is easier to deal with a too-old high school student than a too-young kindergartner.

    • layered bob says:

      the research supports that children should not be subjected to structured academic expectations until at least age 7… switch him to the Montessori program or whatever other self-directed, non-academic, non-punitive program you can find for him.

    • Meg Murry says:

      Have you met with the principal or counselor yet? They would probably be the best to advise you as to whether switching to a regular K class instead of a K/1 class would make a difference, or if all the K classes are so focused on sitting still and missing recess for not doing classwork, etc. Or if they would even allow such a switch – is there room in the other K classrooms, or are they all at max class size?

      In my area, the K/1 classes are usually meant for kids weren’t quite ready for 1st grade (doing K a second time), and they will decide at the end of the year whether the kid is ready to go on to second grade or to go to 1st grade. It doesn’t seem like a good fit for a very young 5 year old.

      That said, discussing ADD may not be the worst thing in the world, because it may mean that you could get reasonable accommodations for him (like allowing him to stand at his desk to work instead of sit, not losing recess for not finishing classwork, etc). Honestly, I think a majority of kids would benefit from the “accommodations” our district uses for ADHD, but because they cost more money or staff resources they are typically only used with kids on an IEP.

      • layered bob says:

        this is a good idea that I had not thought of – getting him on an IEP so he gets the accommodations for ADHD, but not necessarily medicating.

    • mascot says:

      Option A. See how he does in a regular kinder class and then you can evaluate if he needs another year. I’d want some assurances though that this paperwork intensity and skipping recess is specific to this teacher/class and not a kinder policy. I wrote about it on here a few weeks ago, but my son is repeating kinder at the same school with the same teachers. It’s really not that big of a deal and he’s much happier this year. He just needed a little extra time to mature.

      • Mrs. Jones says:

        Ditto option A.

      • Kindergarten boy says:

        Thanks, this is helpful to hear someone similar. I’ve been waiting to hear back from the K teacher but she has been unresponsive (which obviously doesn’t make me feel great). According to the current teacher and principal, the regular class is still just as focused on writing and has the same amount of play/recess time. The focus on writing (really it’s just copying symbols because it doesn’t make any sense to him!) is blamed on common core rather than teacher preference, not totally sure I believe them but until I can actually talk with the other teacher and observe the class, I can’t say.

        • In House Lobbyist says:

          I am amazed at how much work they do in kindergarten now. We were the only ones that put our son in a 5 year preschool class out of his preschool class. He was 6 (end of June baby) and I was amazed that almost all the boys were 6 or almost 6 when school started in August. I’m so glad we held him back. I had no idea how much work and sitting still was involved with school. And the homework! So I think repeating or even putting him somewhere more play based for the rest of the year might not be a bad idea. I would love to homeschool just to cut out all the sitting around and waiting time. We have common core too and I’m beginning to realize why so many people hate it. And I would be worried about a teacher that isn’t responsive and frankly one that doesn’t invoke a love of learning. Kinders are still little and need some extra loving sometime. Good luck!

    • I’m also a huge Montessori fan, but make sure your eyes are open with the program you choose. It may be a bit of a culture shock for a 5 year old to enter. If it’s a program that closely adheres to traditional Montessori methods, the classroom materials may seem very foreign and unusual to him. The material are designed to be introduced to a 3 year old, and then as the kids gain understanding, they can apply the materials in a more advanced setting. Montessori has a reputation for being very flexible – and it is in the sense that a child gets to pick their activity, but is actually very rigid when it comes to how the materials are used — the materials are designed to only be used a certain way. As an example, google “red rods lessons” — a child is given a lesson by a teacher on various ways to “discover” the varying lengths, which they can then explore on their own, but a teacher is not going to permit pretending that the rods are a guitar, or whatever. It’s intuitive if you’ve been in a Montessori classroom for several years, but may be frustrating to jump into as an older child.

      Some programs take a more relaxed setting to applying how the materials in the classroom are used, and incorporate more art, imaginary play, etc. If he has not previously done Montessori, make sure you sit down with the school — and, more importantly, his new teachers to talk through how kids who are not used to the method are introduced to the materials. The classrooms are also supposed to become “normalized,” which is achieved when the kids are capable of doing most of the work to make the room run on their own (setting up lunch, snacks, etc.). As you’ve spent three years adjusting to the classroom, the “work” to be done to normalize the room makes sense, but I could see it being very odd, and therefore frustrating to be an older kid joining mid-year. I sent my son to a very traditional Montessori program, and as a policy, the school very rarely accepted children who would be on the older end of a classroom who had not had Montessori exposure (in your son’s case, it would be Primary classroom).

      In full disclosure, I ended up pulling my son because he was not doing well in the program, and he has thrived in a new daycare that incorporates more imaginative play and more flexibility in how classroom materials are used. I know there are lots of Montessori programs, and I wish I would have found one that was a little less rigid because I do love many parts of the method. For whatever it’s worth, our new daycare offers a pre-K class that introduces handwriting and reading concepts, but in a very relaxed setting and with lots and lots of outdoor play. You may want to look into something like this if there is a program available, as it mimics a traditional school classroom a little more than a Montessori program.

      • NewMomAnon says:

        Can I ask about the program you found that uses more imaginative play? I looked at Montessori for my kiddo and realized that it wouldn’t be ideal for her best attributes – social play, imaginative play, creative and spontaneous play, etc. But in my area, it seems to be either big daycare centers (which is where she is now, and there is a substantial amount of imaginative/creative play) or Montessori. I don’t even know how to google for other types of programs – what are the buzzwords?

        • avocado says:

          Reggio Emilia is a type of program you might find interesting.

          • Yes! It is a Regggio Emilia program. We’ve been so happy there — there’s a lot of focus on collaborative activities, which have been great to help my son improve his social confidence. More of a focus on social/emotional interaction between the kids, which was not a focus at our previous school. Social interaction does not come intuitively to our son, so we’ve been thrilled at how much happier and confident he seems. At his other school, he was always very shy around groups of kids and did not quite know how to incorporate himself with other kids. He was extremely focused on his work, which they saw as excelling in the class, and then when his patience ran out, he’d want more physical activit, which they discouraged (a lot of “tomorrow, we’ll really have to try harder to use our walking feet in the class” “or not use our loud voice”, etc. at pick up). All that went away at the new school (more room for freedom of expression in the classroom? I definitely don’t tginj he matured overnight — just seemed to fit in with the other kids). In a Reggio inspired program, the kids pick what the class focuses on, and the teacher follows their lead. The kids are not forced to participate in the group lessons, but most end up engaged in it (like, they ran down a rabbit hole of cooking for a while — teachers brought in different cooking surfaces – for them to test recipes on, so they made pancakes on a griddle, stew in a crockpot, and something in a blender, and now they are on cars, bc they took a walk outside by a neighboring repair shop). It’s not the right program if you want an academic focused environment (which Montessori really does – my son was starting to sound like an encyclopedia — he could recite the continents, the planets, animals Id never heard of, etc), but it’s a great method to encourage social emotional and creative growth.

    • Kindergarten boy says:

      Oh my gosh thank you to everyone and apologies for disappearing. All the comments super helpful. To clarify a few things:
      – the k/1 combo is a public Montessori but it’s really only a little actual Montessori and that is part of the problem – it’s chaotic and messy and they can’t choose their own activities
      – he spent 3 years in a real Montessori preschool that was amazing but we couldn’t leave him there for another year because socially he just needed another environment. There is no Montessori or other kind of alternative kinder in our area.
      – I’ve talked with the principal and she was horrified that he was missing out on recess to do work but then she admitted that they can’t really control this teacher because it’s a special separate program and she’s been doing things her way forever.
      – I don’t see any signs of ADD or hyperactivity or I would totally follow that up. I’m not a pro but still based on what I’ve read and conversations with his preschool teachers, I think he’s just a normal, happy, social 5 y o..on the immature side sure but not really that immature considering how young he is in the class.
      – I think he is so smart but he’s not advanced in terms of school. Not reading yet and having a hard time writing. I’m not worried…my older one was similar and by the following year (1st gr) was reading Harry Potter and writing all kinds of stuff ahead of grade level. Something just needed to click. If the same thing happens with this guy and he’s a grade behind where he should be academically I’m not sure what we’ll do. But if he’s just the smart kid in his class (not too smart so bored but just smart) that wouldn’t be so bad.

      • mascot says:

        I wouldn’t worry about him being a grade ahead academically. I had similar concerns about repeating and we’ve not see any of that. The teachers change it up each year so they don’t get bored and they have so many ways to tailor the challenge to the kid. Think about reading- you just work with them on harder books. But it won’t hurt them to get lots of extra practice with working on socio-emotional skills which is a big part of kindergarten. Also, we we assured that if he was really ahead, they would know pretty quickly and then would move him ahead.

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