Mega Blok Party.

Babystar’s favorite game lately is called BUILD A TOWER SO TALL TO THE SKY.

block tower

I have to use all caps so you can understand how to correctly pronounce the title of this game.

She has been playing this game with her very light foam blocks or her square wooden alphabet blocks with varying degrees of success.

But now we have over 500 Fisher Price Mega Bloks. ($63.56 with tax.)

This happened slowly. I innocently bought the 120-piece Treehouse Playdate pack of Mega Bloks for $14.99 from Costco one day. ($15.89 with tax.)

We came home and opened the box and built the tallest tower ever. It was taller than Babystar!!

I did some googling and realized that 120 blocks for $15 was a really good deal. The basic 80-piece pack is anywhere from $20 to $26 depending where you look. Unless you want the pink 80-piece set, which is mysteriously $14.99. I have found the exception to the Pink Tax. (Well, Mega Bloks and car insurance.)

I picked up another set the next time I was at Costco.

We really like the Mega Bloks. They are perfect for my toddler. They are basically Legos-in-Training. I know, I know, I totally love Duplos. But Duplos need a lot of snapping and pulling apart. The Mega Bloks just sort of sit on top of one another. And the protruding parts that fit inside the bottoms of the blocks are nice and big. This means they do not topple easily. Which is GREAT for my easily frustrated, poor-impulse-control-having, two year old ToddlerMonster when she is trying to build her TOWER SO TALL TO THE SKY.

(The set comes with stickers to make some of the blocks look like leaves or branches or whatever, but we threw those away. I personally think that stickers on blocks limit imagination, but you do you, boo.)

During a recent toy purge, I gave away the small set of Green Toys blocks that she had and never played with, along with a ton of other infant toys. This left an entire ottoman downstairs empty for Mega Bloks.

So I totally bought two more boxes of blocks. Fun fact: only three boxes will fit in the ottoman so one is still unopened just WAITING for one of her friends to have a birthday party. Or for us to get bigger ottomans, whichever happens first.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $22,723.14

Riding in Cars with Toddlers.

I recently took a road trip with my toddler. Just me and the two-year-old.


I was cocky. I was so prepared. I was writing a blog post in my head as I pulled out of the parking lot. It was all about how TOTALLY EASY traveling with toddlers could be as long as you were prepared.

Turns out all you really need is a whole bunch of extra clothes and a lot of patience.

I pulled over three times before I left Virginia. I live in Arlington, which is the very TOP of Virginia. The first two times were because she ‘dropped’ something important, like a particular Care Bear or Little Pony. The third time was because she Exorcist-style puked all over herself and I had to clean her and her car seat on the side of the road. Then, fourteen miles later (but finally in a different state), she hurled again.

And I thought I had overpacked.

I stopped at the first place I could find. We changed her clothes and washed up in the Waffle House bathroom. I doubt Babystar was the first person to clean puke in that Waffle House bathroom and I doubt she will be the last. She is likely the cutest.

We walked around outside for some fresh air before we went inside and found a booth. ($10 for both of us, with tip.) My toddler ordered a piece of toast. Babystar is 85 years old, y’all.

When we finally got back in the car, she fell asleep almost immediately. We had been gone over two hours and we were about thirty-five miles from home.

So. Extra clothes and extra time. That’s mostly all you need when traveling with toddlers. I feel like I totally should have known that.

Instead, I prepared by packing an entire backpack full of fun activities (to puke on).


I brought along our beloved Melissa and Doug Water Wow ‘Art Show’ book plus two more that I bought for the trip. ($9.98) I also brought two Melissa and Doug Color Blast books, which are the ‘magic’ marker books. They only color on the paper in the book. They totally rock, but she didn’t play with them until we got to Pennsylvania. (Then they were awesome for sharing with her cousins so yay?)

I packed a super swag backpack. Inside were a few of her favorite books, a new pack of crayons from my back-to-school haul, two blank Dr. Suess tiny notepads from the Target dollar aisle, a cool generic Magnadoodle that I found for five bucks at Target, an awesome new ‘Nature’ sticker book ($6.99), and some stuffed friends for when she dropped the ones that started the voyage in her car seat. Babystar’s car seat is directly behind my seat, so I planned to just hand her fun new toys as she got bored.

I also filled and packed all three of her water bottles. I gave her one but planned to pass her the others if she emptied or dropped it.

I did not plan on the puke.

No one ever plans on the puke.

All of my preparation was totally useful for the forty-eight minutes of the trip that she was awake and feeling happy and well.

These minutes were not consecutive.

But. We made it. On the way home, I took her to a playground after our hotel breakfast (free!). We visited a train museum (free!). We waited until midday to get on the road, and it kind of worked.


She didn’t get sick right away. She played in the car seat with her bears and books and toys for a couple of hours. My magic backpack was a total hit! She then slept for a long time. And then she got sick when she woke up. We cleaned her up and spent ninety minutes at a Chick-fil-A ($10.55) that was about forty-five minutes from home. I wasn’t that mad. Babystar was a trooper.

All she ever wanted after puking was a clean shirt.

Travel tip: Pack a super cool fun backpack if you want. But mostly, pack extra clothes. And extra time.

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Does anyone have kids that are prone to carsickness? What helps?
RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,233.93

 

The Doctor is In.

You guys I have had SO MANY check ups this week. And this doctor doesn’t even take my insurance. But she does take popsicles. And so far, I have been declared ‘ok’. I am also EXTREMELY up to date on my shots. And your shots. And all of the neighbors shots.

(Lucky me. My husband had the audacity to cough during a check up and he was declared SICK. Babystar is a really good doctor. Even if she pronunces check up as chep-uck.)

Babystar is TERRIFIED of the doctor. All was well until our last visit, when she screamed and fought everything. She didn’t even like the scale. Which is weird because she LOVES the scale at home. (They wouldn’t take my word for her weight, though. I guess that is good but it was annoying.)

She also cannot handle band-aids if she actually has a need for one. She will put a band-aid on anything or anyone, including herself, any other time. I find them everywhere. In fact, I think I should add $7.99 for the multipack I bought recently because Babystar had used all the band-aids. And by ‘used’ I mean ‘wasted’. She can reach the band-aid drawer and almost always comes into the bathroom and pulls at least one out when I pee. Maybe more if I am too slow.

In an attempt to get her more comfortable with this whole doctor thing, I bought her a doctor kit. I really wanted an original Fisher-Price doctor set like the one I had when I was a kid. I totally should have stalked eBay or something. But I was impatient and I just bought the first one I found at Target. ($24.99)


Babystar LOVES it and I have had several thousand check-ups this week. According to the doctor, I am ok.

Adorably, when she bumps her head or stubs her toe, she comes to me for a check-up. As long as I use enough of the doctor tools, I can declare her ‘ok’ and she seems to buy it. I hope she doesn’t ever require proof of my nonexistent PhD.

Have you bought a doctor kit for your toddler? Did it help him or her feel more comfortable at the actual doctor’s office?
RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,173.44

 

 

Gymmie Jammies.

Carter’s, Imma let you finish, but Gymboree has some of the best toddler pajamas of all time. Of ALL TIME.

 

I totally love cheap baby clothes because babies are just gonna grow, y’all. And if I cannot have hand-me-downs, Carter’s seems to be the next best thing. Their clothes are suuuuper cute and always on sale. And if you can shop the clearance rack, you are basically paying thrift store prices.

However.

I am in love with Gymboree’s Gymmies, which is the uber twee name for their line of pajamas. The Gymmies are so soft AND they are 100% cotton. Those two qualities are often mutually exclusive, especially after a few rounds in the washing machine. Plus they have a bottom cuff so Babystar doesn’t trip during her nightly run-round-the-house before bed ritual.

gymmies at door2

I have expressed my love of Gymboree pajamas before. Last year, it was all about the cute patterns and awesome sale prices. The pajamas were the same sort of stretchy slightly ribbed cotton as the kind found at every other mall brand kid’s clothing shop.

But this is 2017, and now Gymboree pajamas are made from the cotton of some sort of artificial GMO sheep. Probably. They are marked $24.95 per set, but you have to try really hard to pay full price at Gymboree. Everything is always on sale.

I have a Toaster Baby that likes to kick off the covers and sleep perpendicular to my face. She needs short sleeves and long pants. Most pajama sets are long sleeves with long pants or short sleeves with shorts.

Quick question: WHY DO PAJAMA SHORTS EXIST? Who is putting their child in pajama shorts? Either a diaper or underwear will do just fine, and it is certainly more comfortable. The whole point of pajama bottoms is WARMTH. Right? Or am I missing something?

I refuse to pay more than $10 (ish) for a set of pajamas and I refuse to buy two pairs to mix and match (unless they get under $5 each and then I might). Gymboree has exactly three sets of pajamas with short sleeves and long pants. They were marked down to $17.99 each, and then they were 50% off of that. Score. We bought one of each for $28.60 total.

gymboree pajamas

They are so soft and wonderful that I tried to buy more at another Gymboree store two days later but they only had one size 3 (and the price was different which was weird because it is literally the exact same pair of pajamas as one of the three we purchased two days earlier) for $11.44. And now they are on ‘sale’ online for about $13 each. Strange. But I totally bought the other two again, so we have six pairs now. But only three designs. Which is fine — I did that with the airplane pajamas last year.

gymboree pajamas

BUT SERIOUSLY THO, WHO WEARS PAJAMA SHORTS? PLEASE ADVISE.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $21.029.71

 

 

 

 

 

Pasta Snakes.

When my older children were toddlers (back in the Twentieth Century), I fed them Gorilla Bars. They LOVED Gorilla Bars. Gorilla Bars are granola bars with an adorable toddler pronunciation. And they have stayed ‘Gorilla Bars’ in our family ever since.

Babystar loves penne pasta. And snakes. And once when she was particularly cranky at dinner, the Teenager distracted her by having her penne pasta hiss like a snake. And now they are Pasta Snakes. Probably forever.

pasta snakes

Do you have any unusual names for foods in your family? Mispronunciations that stuck around long past Toddlerhood?

Below is the food we purchased in August SPECIFICALLY for Babystar. So far, I’ve been listing the foods that I bought with Babystar in mind. Although she does share with the rest of the family. And we share with her. She still isn’t eating more than a few bites of my portions. I will have to adjust this food calculating method eventually, but it seems to be working for now.

  • Turkey pepperoni $2.19, $2.19
  • Penguin crackers $1.59, $1.59, $1.59
  • Bananas $0.89, $1.23, $0.95
  • Strawberries $1.29, $1.29, $2.99, $3.39
  • Blueberries $1.99, $2.99
  • Apples $3.99, $3.99
  • Pears $3.99
  • Fruit roll-ups $1.49
  • Honest grape juice for popsicles $3.99
  • Aldi organic cheese puffs $1.99, $1.99
  • Frozen pizza $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69, $2.69
  • Ice cream minis $1.39 x16 (She had HFM disease this month.)
  • Baskin-Robbins $2.59
  • Friday’s kids meal $4.99
  • Pizza slice $3.00, $3.00
  • Peter Chang’s spring rolls and fried rice $3.50, $3.50
  • French fries at the airport $3.50
  • McDonald’s Happy Meal $2.99, $2.99
  • Chick-fil-A kid’s meal $3.29, $3.29, $3.29
  • Insomnia m&m cookie $1.70
  • Dairy Godmother snickerdoodle cookie $0.95

ice cream

Also every month.

  • Laundry detergent $8.47
  • Storage unit $127
  • Diapers $4.99, $4.99, $4.99, $4.99, $20.89, $14.24  (I have basically abandoned the cloth again. Bad mama.)
  • Wipes $7.99, $4.99

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,963.61

WHAT IS YOUR WEIRDEST ‘FAMILY WORD’, THAT EVERYONE IN YOUR HOUSE UNDERSTANDS, BUT WOULD CONFUSE THE HECK OUT OF OUTSIDERS?