OMG With These Shoes.

I AM THAT MOM.

I totally paid $47.70 for a pair of shoes for a toddler. She will fit them for MAYBE five months, if I’m lucky.

And they aren’t even expensive Stride Rite super-supportive first-walker shoes either.

THEY ARE WAY BETTER!

superstar adidas

Y’all. Babystar was SO EXCITED to get shoes like her big sister. She knows these are ‘Fifi’s shoes’ and she tried them on and was strutting around in the store and holding her feet out one by one to show us how cool they were. She even said, ‘SO COOL’. I had to buy them. I had no choice. My entire body and soul was melted into a puddle at the shoe store and all of my willpower leaked through the cracks in the floor.

Plus. For real. I totally thought they were on sale for $29.99. But nope. The GOLD and white Adidas were on sale. But her sister has the BLACK and white Adidas. So black and white Adidas for Babystar.

She said that I should ‘no tell Fifi picture shoes — shoes airplane airport’. Her sister was out of town and she didn’t want me to tell her or send her a picture. (I speak Babystar LOL.) She was so excited and wanted to surprise her by wearing the matching shoes when we picked her up at the airport.

airport hug

airport sisters

YOU GUYS OMG. But she really is growing out of her size 6 shoes. And these are a size 7, so, um, totally necessary.

The Universe was looking out for me on this one, though. Less than a week later, Myrtle Beach Grammy sent three pairs of size 7 shoes PLUS an additional $45 cash (in the mail — I know) for a pair of yellow shoes. Yes, yellow shoes. Because Babystar told Grammy on FaceTime that she wanted new yellow shoes. Grammy sent THREE pairs of awesome Mary Jane velcro-style Stride Rite shoes, but none were yellow. So she sent the baby some money to buy yellow shoes. My MIL is awesome and crazy. Maybe we will find yellow shoes next time but I think four pairs of size 7 shoes for the ToddlerMonster will be plenty. And one pair is the exact same pair of pink waterproof shoes that Grammy bought her in a size 6 and they are perfect for summertime. THANK YOU GRAMMY (that doesn’t read this blog)!

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Is it just me? Have you ever bought something that you KNEW was a bit silly and/or overpriced for your baby/toddler/dog/child/self but you did it anyway?

RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,625.40

 

 

 

Llama llama, MORE BOOKS MAMA!

Dude. I can tell myself over and over that Babystar has ENOUGH STUFF, and I am totally right. But I keep buying her books.

She loves books. She ‘reads’ her books to herself and her friends. (Her friends are stuffed animals.) She reads her books to Tillie the Kitten, who seems oddly into it. She brings her books everywhere and will ask anyone to read to her. Her books ward away toddler meltdowns. Her books are fucking magic.

(Yes, I know about libraries. I love the library. I also know that if my kid likes to lick her books, other kids probably do also. I mean, duh, licking books is SO LIT. So we don’t check out board books or ‘beginning reader’ books from the library. We do check out story books from the library, but those are read TO her by an adult under highly supervised situations.)

Last week, I bought a six-pack of ‘Learn-to-Read’ Little Critter books at Costco for $9.99. We already love Little Critter, and the kid needs practice on NOT RIPPING PAGES of non-board books. At less than two dollars per book, this seems like a nice price point for practice. And — bonus! — maybe she will in fact learn to read.

toddlerreading

Then on Saturday, we bought two new board books from the last of the big box brick and mortar bookstores, Barnes & Noble, for $16.98. We also joined their Kid’s Club, which is totally free! (Their adult version is $25 so free is awesome.) You get $5 off for each cool hundred that you drop in their store (books totally add up quickly tho) and the kids get a free cupcake on their birthday from the cafe. And they probably email you some coupons and stuff, I’m assuming. Since they asked for my email address. Or maybe they just want to sell it to make some money to pay the rent since everyone buys books on Amazon these days. (Which I totally get because I could have saved $3.08 buying them on Amazon. But I like to touch books and I miss bookstores.) Either way, I’m kind of cool with it.

llamaspaceboardbooks

MAMAS AND PAPAS AND ANYONE WHO HANGS OUT WITH THE LITTLES: How old was your kids when you started checking out library books? And do you prefer Amazon’s prices and convenience or the magical experience of actual bookstores? (I like a good combo platter myself.)

RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,577.70

Two Years in (and out of) Cloth Diapers.

I wrote about cloth diapering after a year in cloth already, and it is full of good information that is all still true.

All of the lessons I had learned still apply: diversify your stash, buy a diaper sprayer, resist the aftermarket (if you can and want to but at least be aware of it but maybe don’t completely resist the aftermarket because I will hopefully be selling some diapers within the year).

I still wish that I had used covers and flats for the HUGE money savings. Especially now that Babystar is wearing so many disposable diapers (yep) while the pretty easy-to-use all-in-ones sit quietly in the drawer.

Cloth diapering an infant is super easy and almost fun. The only downside is the extra laundry but I was doing laundry anyway. In fact, I barely had time to get dressed so there wasn’t really extra laundry, since I never changed my clothes. Infants have like one hundred diaper changes per day. (Ok, maybe fourteen-ish.) I enjoyed seeing my sweet newborn baby in cute cloth diapers and if there is any way at all to enjoy changing diapers, CARPE THAT DIEM.)


Cloth diapering a growing but relatively stationary baby is still pretty easy. Yes, the poop gets grosser, but the volume of poop is still reasonable. You know, for poop. And sure, it smells bad, but y’all, toddler poop smells REAL BAD.

Ok, I’m going to stop talking about poop now. Probably not forever, though.

The biggest challenge I’ve faced in cloth diapering my toddler is all of the tiny adventures every day. Between parks and libraries and soft play rooms (and Target), we go ALL of the places ALL of the time. Toddlers gotta GO, man. Babystar will just put on her shoes and head to the door talking about a ‘bye-bye.’ With no regard for pants.

When she was smaller, the diaper bag was mostly full of diapers. Cloth diapers and wet bags for the dirty ones take up a lot of space, AND REMEMBER, you have to carry the dirty diapers around with you at least until you get back to the car. (And they are heavier  once they are used.) Now that she is a person with opinions and advanced nutritional requirements, the diaper bag is full of snacks and her water bottle and my water bottle and at least two changes of (bigger) clothes and sunscreen and bug spray and sunglasses and books and probably some toys that she MUST HAVE but will not play with and there isn’t much room left for the cloth diapers. (And the disposable diapers are SO LIGHT. But yes, they will sit in a landfill until the end of time so I still try hard to use the cloth at home and during our shorter adventures.)

I use a cute striped Steve Madden backpack as a diaper bag. It has a lot of pockets but it was NOT AT ALL made to be a diaper bag. It looks like it belongs on a trendy tween in 2008.


I bought an actual diaper bag long ago that I literally never use. It isn’t a backpack and I NEED my hands free. The actual diaper bag is cool in that it will hang on a stroller but Babystar refuses strollers with me: this is the hidden downside of baby wearing. So maybe the answer for me is a better backpack-style diaper bag? Does anyone have recommendations?

I haven’t added in the cost of diapers in awhile (but they are still on the list). We bought the giant Aldi pack for $10.89 and I ADORE that price. The diapers are fine, but they do not at all work for overnight use. As long as you change the diaper after each pee, they are fine. Just beware of blowouts. I usually buy Target brand Up and Up diapers. I had been buying them by the 28-pack but after a good look in the mirror, I started buying the larger boxes. It’s a great deal at $14.99 and the diapers work well for Babystar. We never have overnight leaks and blowouts are super rare. (I’ve bought two boxes since the beginning of June. I have a bunch left so I’m maybe doing better than I think with the cloth.)

I guess my only new lesson is to be prepared for the bulkiness. I know I need a better diaper bag and a better system. I am loathe to buy a crazy expensive diaper bag now that Babystar is already two, though. But a better system could be free! Maybe I can pack less in the diaper bag and have a wet bag full of more emergency rations in the car?

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Do you cloth diaper a toddler? What are your tips for diapering on-the-go?

 RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,550.73

 

Cousins.

Babystar has an older brother and and older sister both of whom she adores, but they are SO MUCH OLDER that they may as well be extra grandparents. (Age gaps of eighteen and sixteen years, LOL, my life!)

Luckily for Babystar, my younger brother and sister each had a kid fairly recently so she has a 3yo nephew and a 4yo niece to play with (and imitate). These are the ‘big kids’ in her life. My nephew lives far far away in the land of Florida and my niece lives fairly close in the far away land of Fairfax. The nephew visited recently, so all three toddlers/preschoolers were together for about two weeks, having a lot of fun and fighting over a lot of toys.

We scheduled a lot of outings just for the Little Kids. The coolest new place I discovered was the Club Run RECenter. It was a bit of a drive (about 45 minutes, almost at Dulles airport) but TOTALLY WORTH IT! (If you are ever staying near Dulles airport, you should absolutely go here.) I paid the non-resident rate of $12.50 and Babystar was ‘free’ with me. She LOVED the water park and keeps asking to go back. The zero entry pool has a few fountains and a twisty slide (which she totally went down a few times before declaring it too scary). Her older cousins crushed that slide over and over again. The toddler area is walled off from the bigger pool and never got deeper than my little shortie’s chest. The RECenter has life vests and water wings available for use so you don’t even have to bring your own. There are also lockers for a quarter or free open cubbies inside the water play area. And there is a bigger pool, cool current river, larger water slide, and neat water cyclone area for bigger kids, and a hot tub for the grandparents. (I’m sure the hot tub for everyone but it seemed sparsely populated by blissful older people with no small children to look after, on this particular day.)

waterwings

The Club Run RECenter also has tables both indoors and out, so we packed a picnic lunch. (The only food to purchase there was from a vending machine.) After about two hours, we packed up and drove about ten minutes to the often overlooked Air and Space Museum right by Dulles Airport. All three of our littles are huge fans of airplanes, and this is just an airplane hanger full of planes and helicopters, and the Space Shuttle Discover, which is pretty freaking cool. The museum is free but parking is $15/vehicle. (My brother was in my car and paid for us, though, in case you are checking my math. Please do check my math, btw.)

airplanes

We had fun Toddler Adventures at our tried and true Busy Bees in Falls Church. Tuesdays in July are 2-for-1 admission and I paid for our three toddlers plus a surprised stranger behind us in line ($30) and bought another 3-pass for Babystar while I was there ($36). We also ordered Chick-fil-A snacks (conveniently located next door) on their awesome app ($18.36). And then we went back AGAIN the following Tuesday (it was a looooong visit, y’all), and again I paid for Babystar and a random stranger behind us ($15) plus Chick-fil-A for me and Babystar ($13.59).

busybees

At Springfield Mall, we played at the fruit-themed indoor play space and rode the train. The train costs $5/person so it was $10 for me and Babystar. (I got to be the designated adult rider and it was super awesome. Mostly because my sister and sister-in-law bought me a Starbucks drink while I rode. <3.)

toddlersinatrain

Finally, My Gym Alexandria threw a Moana party ($25 for non-members, which we are) that seemed like a slam-dunk toddler fun grand finale for the last day of their visit. In reality, it was a chaotic mess, but the kids did have a good time. My 4yo niece was front and center during the hula lessons and all three of the kids liked spinning the poi balls which is something I would NEVER let them do with toys at home. (I almost can’t believe that no one was hurt. I am GLAD no one was hurt, but totally surprised.) But during the Moana story time and the lines for tattoos and pictures, the kids just played on the super cool equipment at My Gym. Their favorite was the rope swing into the ball pit. Even little Babystar tried it, though she didn’t really swing on the rope. She sort of held onto the rope and jumped into the ball pit and laughed and laughed and laughed. My Gym offers a free introductory class so I think we will be back soon.

(In my pre-SAHM life I planned travel for groups and meeting and it was WAY EASIER than these two weeks of preschool event planning! I’ll post some ready made ‘super cool fun auntie days’ shortly to save you some sanity. XOXO!)

RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,509.86

 

 

 

Funscreen.

Ok, we all know that I mean sunscreen but does ANY TODDLER like having sunscreen applied? Maybe it just needs a new name? Funscreen. Like when I call bathtime, splashtime. No?

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Does anyone have any ideas on how to apply sunscreen to a wiggly ToddlerMonster in a fun, laughter-filled manner? Or at least in a way that gets full coverage with zero tears?

I ordered the Target Baby Box last April ($5) with some great intentions of reviewing products for all of you wonderful people that take the time to read my little blog. I wanted to give something back to you, even if that something is just more of my opinions. I did not do that. Mostly because I’m lazy. But I did discover a wonderful baby sunscreen through that Baby Box so it was totally worth it.


I highly recommend the Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sensitive Skin Lotion Zinc Oxide Sunscreen SPF 50. I have read a lot of scary articles this past spring about all of the poisonous crap in a lot of sunscreens out there in the world. I even found out that my SPF 15 face lotion was most likely going to kill me.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Does anyone have and love a grownup face moisturizer with an SPF of at least 15?

I used the entire tiny bottle of Aveeno Sunscreen that came in the Target Baby Box and just recently had to replenish ($10.49). It goes on not-too-thick and it’s not at all greasy, but it definitely works. We have been in the sun quite a bit this summer and my little pale blond super white ghost baby has not had a single sunburn. Babystar is the whitest little marshmallow ever, so this stuff is legit!


RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,349.41

Art Show.

Melissa and Doug have done it again. We already love their puzzles and toys and stickers, so I am not at all surprised. But DUDE have you checked out their toddler art sets!? I am particularly referring to the Water Wow! painting books ($4.99). Babystar LOVES this thing. She calls it her ‘art show’. She can paint the pad with water and it will color in the picture plus add a few surprises like birds in the sky or starfish in the sea or whatever. They are marketed as on-the-go activities, and I did not realize until writing this post that the ‘paintbrush’ actually unscrews so you can add water to it and you do not actually need a cup of water for the tiny artist. I did wonder why the brushes were so chunky, but I just thought it was because they were made so perfectly for toddler hands. (I am clearly a genius.) Plus the cup of water is a sensory activity. Right?

Protip: dab the pages with a paper towel when your child finishes to avoid them sticking together. And lay the books on their side with the pages fanned out to dry. They will dry clear and are actually totally reusable. We are on about six times now (in only a few days) and the Water Wow! book is still as good as new.

I also bought a Melissa and Doug stamp pad ($5.99) and a Color Blast marker coloring book ($4.99) at the same time. I’m saving the stamp pad and marker book for later, though.


I like to dole out new toys a bit at a time. Once I show her the stamp pad, THERE IS NO TURNING BACK. I know this. I almost feel like a bad mommy because she got a ton of little stamps in her easter basket but she has no stamp pad. But right now, she still likes naming the animals on the stamps and has not even asked for a stamp pad. She knows that stamp pads exist. She loves to play with them at Nook. So I know that once they are available at home, THAT WILL BECOME MY WHOLE LIFE AND I AM NOT READY FOR THAT JELLY.

The stamp pad totally says washable and I have high hopes. But. I believed Crayola once too, so we’ll see. Washable = it will totally come off but be prepared to scrub really hard, mama.

I also recently purchased a Magic Ink Moana coloring book from Amazon as a fun new toy for her sister to give her when she babysat her recently. It was $6.50 at the time but I see now that the price has gone up. Babystar was underwhelmed, but I think it was just a bit too old for her. The marker tip was a bit too small to hold a toddler’s attention for revealing the colors. Though she did play with it for about an hour, I’m told. Mostly, though, it isn’t just a coloring book but more of an activity book. It would be great for older Moana-lovers on a road trip or something; it has games and mazes and such. I’m hoping the Melissa and Doug marker book will be more toddler-focused.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Has anyone found any truly washable markers? Do tell! Pretty please.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,333.92

 

Storing the STUFF.

Where does it all come from? I am writing a blog about literally all of the stuff we buy for this baby and I STILL DON’T KNOW where it all comes from!!

Ok, some of this stuff was given to us (and we are very grateful), but that alone cannot possibly explain what is happening here.

For the first time since we moved into this townhouse nine years ago, we have had to rent a storage unit nearby to help store all of our crap. Yes, it’s all mostly crap. And it is definitely not worth the cost of the storage unit. But it IS cheaper than marriage counseling.

I’m joking.

No, I’m not.


Due largely in part to some very good things — my son moving back home and going back to school nearby but of course needing some closet space of his own, my oldest daughter going away to school and packing up a bunch of her things in boxes that we have to put somewhere, being lucky enough to have a little surprise Babystar but needing to pack up a lot of breakables that were previously stored all around the house — we ran out of room in our not-that-big townhouse.

I blame the baby. We were always able to make room before, but now we have to be really careful where we put things. Plus she needs a room (even though no she doesn’t because she sleeps with me). Plus she has way more stuff than the rest of us (and it’s all sticky).

Example: Her things take up FULLY HALF of our already-small townhouse patio, and she is only 1/5 of our family. Size-wise, she is only like 1/20.


I don’t even want to talk about our living room.

So, yeah. The cost of the storage unit is ALL ON HER.

I paid $35 to open the unit, and it will be $127 per month. (I actually did this last month so I already paid $127 for June.) Going forward, I’ll add the recurring charge to her monthly food posts. Baby costs MONEY, y’all.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Does anyone else live in a tiny house with a tiny person? How do you do it? Where do you put everything?

RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,311.45

 

 

 

All About that Basement.

Like everyone else on the planet, I’ve decided that 2017 is the year that I GET ORGANIZED.

Unlike everyone else on the planet, I have a lion living in my basement (and baby it’s ready to ROAR.)


In order to make room for my oldest chicken coming home to roost, I have been spending a lot of time cleaning out the basement and pantry and all of the closets.

I have paid the teenager $50 (in segments) to occupy Miss Babystar so I could have some uninterrupted time to sort through all of the valuable and necessary items crap.

I also paid College Boy $30 to occupy Babystar while I continued cleaning out closets. He needs SOMEWHERE to put the all of the stuff that we just drove here from Florida.

I babysat my younger sister and brother so much when I was growing up, and I definitely resented them for a long time because of it. I’m over it now, but I still tend to mother them. (They would probably appreciate it if I would stop. Nope.)

The Teenager and College Boy adore their little sister, and they play with her all the time. HOWEVER, when I ask them to occupy her for however many hours while I either work on something at home (or shower), or get out alone with my husband (rare, but it does occasionally happen), I pay them our area’s going rate of $10/hour. I think it keeps them from resenting her (they play with her plenty on their own), and it definitely keeps me from taking advantage of them (because that is expensive, yo, and I don’t have a job).

We HAVE actually gone out to two (!!!) concerts recently and it cost us $190 in combined babysitting so we clearly need to find shorter concerts that are closer to home.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: I really want to know. What is the going rate for babysitting where you live? (I pay my kids at the lower end, actually, but I deserve a small discount for BIRTHING THEM.) Do you pay your older children to babysit your younger ones (if you have that type of situation)? Did you babysit siblings in your youth? Did your parents pay you (mine did NOT)?

RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,149.45

 

Brusha-Brusha-Brusha.

BAD MOM ALERT.

Babystar has not brushed her teeth in six days.


Go ahead. Mock me. Shame me. Send me unsolicited infographics about children’s brushing habits and their ability to get into a good college. Tag me on Facebook on articles about toddler dental health. Email me links to articles about why I suck. 

I have no excuse. I KNOW. But if I did, it would be this. 

We ran out of the delicious bubblegum flavored, fluoride-free kids toothpaste on Tuesday night after she DID brush her teeth. 

On Wednesday, I bought new kid’s toothpaste but it was hippie Tom’s of Maine ($3.99) strawberry flavored and she HATED IT. She spit it out and decided to rub her toothbrush all over the toilet instead. I guess this was a commentary on the new toothpaste. Two thumbs down PLUS a toothbrush in the toilet.

So of course we had to toss it into the trash immediately. Because gross.

That happened to be the last of four kids toothbrushes that my husband and I got in our MommyCon gift bags back in 2015. (We each got a gift bag, and they were 2-packs.)

So, ok, no biggie. We will just buy her another toothbrush.

On Thursday, Babystar woke up in a terrible Toddler Mood and we cancelled all adventures and stayed home to color and watch Blue’s Clues and play with blocks. I remembered the toothbrush around dinnertime and popped over to Harris Teeter, where I couldn’t find a single kids toothbrush. Not one.

Darn it. Oh, well, she’s two. She will live, right?

On Friday, I bought a Orajel-brand kid’s Elmo toothbrush and candy-flavored toothpaste set ($4.39) at Target.

Nope. Nope. Nope. She refused to put the colorful Elmo toothbrush anywhere near her mouth.

Crap. So the teenager helped me find the toothbrushes from MommyCon 2015 online. (I was really wishing I had taken a picture of the swag bag contents for the blog because we had long since tossed the toothbrush packaging.) She figured out that they were made by WooBamboo; I found them on Amazon and ordered them with my sweet Prime two-day shipping ($8.43).


MORE BAD MOM CONFESSIONS.

I only brush Babystar’s teeth at bath time. Which is usually in the evening. I ask her if she wants to brush her teeth in the morning with me, and she says yes about 20% of the time. So that’s what we do. I insist that she brush her teeth at bath time, and she’s not always on board but we make it happen. Babystar got her first tooth a bit AFTER her first birthday so we did not establish a good routine early. I know, I know.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Does anyone know any good ways to convince a very particular toddler to brush her teeth? Asking for a friend.

Ok, so the package arrived yesterday, and guess what. She did not take a bath yesterday. She fell asleep instead and I was not about to wake her up and now it is Monday.

Six days.

TERRIBLE PARENTING. Go ahead, call the police. I don’t even blame you.

I promise she will get a bath and BRUSH HER TEETH tonight. If they haven’t already fallen out by then.

Aaaaand, because we have out priorities straight, we got matching blue toes again over the weekend. Hers are only $5 + tip (so $10.)


(I used the make-it-seem-like-I-recently-shaved-my-legs filter on that picture. Did it work? 🙃)

RAISING BABYSTAR: $18,879.45

 

Another Food Post.

I dread these necessary-for-accuracy-but-totally-boring food posts.

The following is a list of food purchased specifically for the ToddlerMonster in June. She does eat OTHER food. In fact, the following is mostly a list of foods offered to and refused by the ToddlerMonster. (Except the fish. We don’t buy extra steak or chicken for her but we buy extra fish because she eats so much fish.)

  • penguin crackers $1.49, $1.49, $1.49
  • frozen pizza $2.29, $3.79
  • frozen french fries $1.89
  • blueberries $1.79, $1.79, $4.99, $3.99, $3.79
  • string cheese $1.79, $1.79
  • strawberries $1.29, $1.29 (Aldi price!!)
  • freeze dried strawberries $1.29
  • freeze dried bananas $1.29
  • oatmeal cereal bar cookies $1.49, $1.49
  • organic rainbow baby carrots $1.69
  • animal cookies $1.29
  • pineapple bits $0.89
  • m&m’s $1
  • peaches $2.98
  • melon slices $2.99
  • bananas $1.74, $1.48, $0.87
  • apples $3.99, $4.99
  • Trader Joe’s mac & cheese $2.99, $2.99, $2.99
  • Trader Joe’s apple bars $1.99, $1.99
  • Trader Joe’s blueberry bars $1.99
  • Trader Joe’s strawberry bars $1.99
  • SO MANY POPSICLES $4.69, $469, $4.69, $4.69
  • eggs $4.99
  • salmon $8
  • sea bass $6
  • Caesar salad $4.99
  • Kid’s pasta at Busboys and Poets $6
  • side of fries at Busboys and Poets $5
  • Angelico Pizzeria cheese slice $3, $3, $3
  • Chik-fil-A kids meal $3.39, $3.75, $3.39
  • Kid’s chicken and fries at Boardwalk Fries $4.99
  • french fries at Five Guys $4.19
  • kids meal at McDonalds $2.99, $2.99
  • spring rolls at T.H.A.I. $5.99
  • spring rolls and fried rice at Peter Changs $2.50
  • Robek’s smoothie $4.99, $4.99, $4.99
  • kleenex in a Moana box $1.99*


Not on the list because it is free: mama’s milk.

I have no idea what is up with this new nursing all day, erry day thing that she has going on now. Maybe she’s trying to kick it retro?

Babystar was basically day-weaned, and then the two year molars showed up and everything changed. She wants milk ALL OF THE TIME. I was using the ‘don’t ask, don’t offer’ method of gentle weaning, but apparently just my existence in the world is a reminder that I have milk. And that she wants the milk nownownow.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: To those of you out there that successfully weaned a toddler with little to no tears, HOW did you do it? I have exactly zero ideas. I have googled. I have asked friends. I have googled some more. I have asked the doctor. I got nothing. Please help.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $18,852.64

*Yes, I know that this isn’t food but it was purchased at the grocery store and once she saw it, she HAD TO HAVE IT, and we didn’t feel like fighting that particular battle. Kleenex is at least useful. It could have been, like, Moana paper plates or something else that we really don’t use at home.