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?

 

 

 

 

The Art of the Bribe.

Bribery. Good parents would NEVER bribe their children, right?

Who can say? There is no way to contact these Bribery-Free Good Parents. They are all very busy explaining to Toddlers why the Good Parents need at least one hand and a small amount of quiet in order to make a phone call oh never mind the office closed hours ago.

Child Bribery is the reason banks have lollipops. Without lollipops, banks are basically the most boring place on earth. WITH lollipops, banks are a super fun treat.

Child Bribery is the reason that popsicles EXIST. I make popsicles so I can say, ‘hey, do you want a popsicle’ and Babystar will say ‘obviously’ and I have about four minutes to load the dishwasher or change my tampon unassisted or make a dentist appointment.

I don’t know what I will offer when she starts refusing popsicles. Twenty dollar bills?

Whatever works, y’all.

But here’s the thing. Or, at least, here is the thing that I tell myself but is probably not true at all because Toddlers are wily af. Babystar has no clue that she is being bribed. She just thinks mommy is really nice and sometimes gives her popsicles along with a little personal space to eat them and drip them on the floor if that is her choice.

Boom. Mom of the year.

We have spent the last six years a few weeks this summer at various stores shopping for the Teenager’s dorm furnishings. (In case you don’t know, The Teenager likes everything to be just so. Dorm shopping involved a lot of Pinning and Browsing and comparison shopping and returning things and buying other things and returning THOSE things and buying other things.)

Babystar loves her sister and she loves going bye-bye (mostly) but everyone has limits. And of course she wants to touch everything in Home Goods and RUN SO FAST through Target’s aisles because duh. She is also learning sequences, and she responds really well to ‘first this, then this’. I can say first we change your diaper, then we go to the park. Or first lunch, then diaper, then park. So I always made the third thing fun. First we return sheets at Target, then we buy hangers at Home Goods, then we go to the splash park. First we get dorm snacks at Trader Joe’s, then we buy storage bins at Target, then we have a picnic with the airplanes. First Ikea, then Target (ALWAYS Target), then we can pick out a toy at Home Goods (while the Teenager decides on the absolutely perfect throw pillow).

Home Goods has the BEST toys, y’all. They almost always have discounted Melissa & Doug toys. And Green Toys. And books. There is only one small Toy Aisle so Babystar’s choices are limited (good) but the inventory is constantly changing so it is a new toy store every time (better). I am a huge fan.

During my three desperate ‘you can pick any toy’ days, I was pretty willing to buy whichever toy she chose. The most expensive thing there is usually still under thirty bucks.

The first Toy Bribe Day, Babystar chose Green Toys Sports Boats. There were two on the shelf; one was blue and one was orange. And they both had cool Duck Captains. Babystar could not choose a color, so I bought both. They were $5.99 each, and they are normally $11.99, so one was basically free, right? Isn’t that how math works? (I know. Shhh.) She loves them and plays with them every night during her bath.

 

The next Toy Bribe Day, Babystar chose a Melissa & Doug felt food sandwich set ($12.99). It is pretty sweet. Pretend food is apparently ALL THE RAGE in Babystar’s world right now. (I eat fake corn and take bites of fake ketchup several times a day.) So it is really strange to me that she has not even asked about the sandwich set since we brought it home. It is sitting in the top of her closet waiting for a rainy day (proverbial or actual) or perhaps Christmas.

 

The last Toy Bribe Day of the Dorm Shopping Extravaganza, Babystar chose a small pack of wooden blocks ($3.00). These blocks were on CLEARANCE at Home Goods. Home Goods prices are already basically clearance prices. I was very excited about the wooden blocks. I was mostly excited about the fact that they only cost three dollars.

wooden blocks

The blocks are meant to be a little town or something but Babystar loves to build a TOWER SO TALL TO THE SKY so she plays with them a bit different than intended. (Whatever; her blocks, her tower, her life.)

block tower

And oh yeah, we all got pedicures before taking the Teenager to college. Babystar’s blue toes cost $10.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,564.60

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Do you use Child Bribery to make your life easier? What form? Does it work? (I’m clearly soliciting new plans, if you couldn’t tell.)

 

SaveSave

Bitty Baby Bottles and a CHOO CHOO.

Have you been to an American Girl store lately? They used to be very DON’T TOUCH ANYTHING WE EVEN PUT THE TOYS BEHIND GLASS HANDS OFF! But now they have a playhouse and all sorts of toys out for the children to touch and play with and beg their parents to buy for them. Well played, Mattel.

Babystar doesn’t beg for toys yet THANK GODDESS but I know she will someday. For now, she just plays and plays and plays and plays and plays and doesn’t want to leave the fun toys. Who can blame her? She recently spent almost an hour playing in the American Girl store at Tyson’s Corner Mall. Adorably, her older sister stayed and played with her while my son and I ran errands in the mall. The Teenager has like nine American Girl dolls (I’m guessing — she might have ninety) so she was pretty ok with checking out all of Bitty Baby’s new swag. Apparently, Babystar took care of two babies while we were gone, and changed their diapers and fed them each bottles (which she called coffee HAHAHAAHAHA) and found them a nightlight and sang them the ABCs and put them to bed and then went to make dinner in the playhouse.

The ToddlerMonster is a much more organized mother than I.

So of course after hearing this, I had to buy her something for her Bitty Babys at home. If you have ever been to an American Girl store, you also know that the toy baby items cost more than their real world counterparts. I can get a pair of baby pajamas at Carter’s for under ten bucks but pajamas are twenty four dollars for these fancy dolls. Bitty Baby’s high chair is $48. Babystar’s Ikea high chair cost less than half of that.

I bought a set of two baby bottles for $6.36 with tax. The white one is for milk and the red one is for coffee, according to Babystar. (My Contigo coffee cup is red so I guess that is where she is making this connection. I swear I don’t give the toddler coffee. But she doesn’t drink milk out of a bottle either so I guess she is just winging it. A-plus for creativity.)


She also rode the (RIP-OFF) mall train that day. It cost me $15 because she wanted both her brother and her sister to ride and the dude charged me for both of my adult children. Jerk. (I’m still a little bit bitter but look how cute and SMALL Babystar looks with her older sibs. And look how CUTE they all look in the tiny train car together LOL.)

mall train

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,508.64

 

 

We Need to Talk About this 20K.

Twenty thousand dollars is a lot of money.

moneytree

Do you know what you can buy for $20,000?

A Volkswagon Beetle.

A Mediterranean Cruise for four.

Cartier diamond earrings.

Vespas for all four of the adults in my family.

An entire kitchen remodel.

A two bedroom house, if this Zillow listing is to be believed

I have never claimed to be a budget shopper, and I sometimes often buy completely unnecessary things for Babystar. But, like, she doesn’t have a PONY or two story playhouse or anything. I freaked out yesterday when the one changed to a two. But Babystar still brings me a million times more joy than everything on that list. Well, except maybe the Vespas.

YOU GUYS HOLY CRAP BABY COSTS A LOT OF MONEY!!

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,336.21

 

 

Wash Me.

I paid the Teenager $20 so that I could shower.

showereyes

To be more clear: I paid the Teenager $20 for two hours of babysitting so that I could vacuum and then take a long, hot shower that was worth every penny. (Also, there are like fifty filters on that picture because that is NOT how I look freshly showered.)

While in the shower, I realized that I have not added the cost of Babystar’s latest baby soaps. We bought the two-pack of Honest Creamsicle (or vanilla orange whatever) at Costco again, months ago. We are almost out of both, but they do almost last forever. Which is amazing because both because Babystar considers it a snack food AND she gets a bath every night. $14.99.

(I am lucky to get two showers in the same week. How did this happen?)

honestsoap

(There are zero filters on this picture because my bathroom tile is SO PRETTEEEEE.)

laundry

I haven’t added in laundry detergent since last May. I estimate I use about one extra box per month washing Babystar’s clothes and diapers. Sometimes less, sometimes more, but it’s a good average for now. And now I know that a box of Arm & Hammer from Harris Teeter (literally all we buy) is $8.46 with tax. So, $8.46 from June of last year is $109.98. I’ll add a box of laundry detergent each month to her monthly food post starting in August.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $19,761.37

 

 

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

 

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.