1-2-3-4. Raising Baby Costs Some More.

Babystar is a genius and also she knows nothing.

She knows that she is two years old, and she can hold up two fingers. I am certain she has no concept of time. She doesn’t know what ‘two-years-old’ means.

She can count to ten. I am pretty sure this is solely because her 20-year-old brother makes her count to ten before BLASTOFF. Blastoff is a game they play where he flies her to the kitchen and back. I pretend I don’t understand it because I don’t want to play.

She can count her toys or her fingers or her books. She can bring me three books. She understands amounts, especially amounts of cookies. But she has no clue what a five looks like.

We bought this Melissa & Doug puzzle to try to help her learn what the numbers look like. ($7.99) It is sort of working. She has 1, 3, 4 and 8 on lockdown. She knows where 7 fits in the puzzle, but she doesn’t know that it is seven. 6 and 9 are a lot of fun because they fit in each other’s spots. 2 and 5 give her trouble. They are almost the same but they aren’t the same at all. (Except on a calculator so she’s basically a genius.)

puzzle 2

She calls this puzzle her Number Game and she loves playing her Number Game. She’ll get there.

puzzle 3

I totally need to Pinterest-Mom DIY a number matching game for her, and I totally will. Someday. Maybe when she goes to college and I have a few minutes to myself. For now, we match the puzzle numbers to the numbers on her wooden blocks and then name the numbers.


I also bought these flash cards from the Target dollar aisle. One of them is for numbers. I haven’t opened any of these boxes. They are in the ’emergency distraction’ drawer. I’ll think of a number game soon. Maybe.

dr suess flash cards 2

Babystar busted out with ‘eleven, twelve’ the other day and I was all, what do you know about twelve?!?

It turns out that her iPad plays a song that counts to twelve, and she knows about clock numbers from Blue’s Clues.

Then I figured out that her laptop* plays a song that counts to twenty. And Babystar has learned up to fourteen. Guess what comes after fourteen? Fourteen!

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 14, 14, 14, 14, 14, 14, 14.

This is where we live now. Good enough.


*This laptop that was a birthday present last year from her uncle. It also totally taught her the alphabet. But she calls N ‘newt’. It is so freaking cute and I don’t want to correct her. Can we all just agree to change the pronunciation of N to ‘newt‘? Please? Ok, cool, thanks.






Back to School.

Tis the season for back to school blog posts. You know, right between vacation tips and pumpkin carving. I think I’m supposed to be writing this in a chalkboard font. Whoops.

Today I am driving my middle child to college. And coming home without her. If you need me tomorrow, I’ll be huddled under the dining room table with my thumb in my mouth, rocking back and forth. Babystar will hang out with me and we will have snacks. And probably several toys. And a cat. Hmm. It’s going to be difficult to wallow in my sadness with all that fun.

But I’m not sad. This is so exciting. LOOK HOW HAPPY AND EXCITED I AM.

It’s ok to be all of these things, right?

I am typing this early as I will be driving and crying (wait wasn’t that a band?) all day Monday. But I will use the magic of the internet (and future posting) to trick all of you.

Did it work?

My beautiful college freshman and I have spent the last month gathering everything she might need for her dorm. She needed a LOT of stuff, and we shopped around for deals, and for the prettiest of the pretty things. Which meant that Babystar has spent a LOT of time at a LOT of stores (ok, mostly Home Goods and Ikea and our beloved Target), helping us choose sheets and pillows and notebooks and laundry detergent and so much everything.

I have basically forwarded my mail to Target.

And we did go a little crazy in the Back to School section of the Dollar Aisles of Target for Babystar, too.

Please note: I am not pressuring my two-year-old child to, like, start reading and doing algebra or whatever. But she is naturally curious, and she loves to sing the ABCs, and point out letters, and count things. She loves books and sometimes she wants me to read books to her and sometimes she reads them to me. And other times we just have reading time and she brings me my own board book and sits next to me with another and we mind our own business. Interesting creatures, Toddlers.

My son was about Babystar’s age when he started asking to do ‘workbooks’. Target had them for one dollar each so I bought some ($5) to put in the arts and crafts dresser for whenever Babystar is ready.

toddler workbooks

But wait, there is SO MUCH MORE. We bought some flash cards for letters and numbers. Babystar knows all the letters as long as they are capital letters. We need to work on lowercase letters next. And she likes to count but she has been starting with four unless reminded about lowly one, two, and three. We bought some matching puzzle games for concepts like opposites, shapes, counting, and the alphabet. We also bought flash cards — not to quiz the baby — but so she can have her own cards to play with. (Her older brother loves magic and especially loves card tricks and Babystar likes to play with his cards. Sometimes that is ok and sometimes it is not ok.) And if Babystar wants to talk about the letters and numbers on her cards, EVEN BETTER. We also bought a felt pizza counting game because Babystar loves pretend food. All of these were one dollar each.


The Felt Counting Pizza is one of the few games we have opened at this point, and she LOVES IT and practices over and over and she’s totally doing it. I’m actually surprised at how fast she picked up the counting game. And y’all — she starts with ONE. OMG. Thank you, pizza.

pizza game

We got a few other sneaky learning toys. We found a pack of square wooden blocks with the letters of the alphabet both uppercase and LOWERCASE. She has some wooden blocks already, and these are only the tiniest fraction of an inch smaller. For only three dollars, I really thought the difference would be more noticeable.

wooden blocks

This set of wooden fruit is fun on it’s own and it also teaches balance, as the smaller fruits all balance on the watermelon. They don’t have to be in a specific order, they just have to be equal on both sides. Kind of perfect for teaching the concept of weight to a toddler.

wooden fruit

And we bought a Tickety Tock. Do you remember Blue’s Clues? Babystar is obsessed with that show. I know that she is too young to learn to tell time. I really do know this. But she very much WANTED the chalkboard clock and she has been SO PATIENT with all of the dorm shopping and it was only three dollars, so we bought the toy clock.

chalkboard clock

The grand total for all of these cool learning toys was $21.

target learning toys

Ridiculously low, I think. I do NOT want to think about how or where they were made. I know I could have made many of these things myself or I could have spent a hundred dollars buying from small business. I also know that I SHOULD have done that. But this time I did not. Please feel free to drop links for responsibly made versions of these items in the comment section.