How to have a tantrum-free shopping trip for the price of a cup of coffee.

Sometimes I need a five dollar coffee drink to get through the day.

Sometimes I need a fifty dollar pedicure to get through the week.

And sometimes I need a ten thousand dollar Mediterranean Cruise if I am going to resist the urge to flee alone to the mountains and live off the land. Alone. By myself.

(I never do get that last one.)

Toddlers are people, too.

You know how summer days seemed so loooong when you were a kid but now they zoom by before you can get everything done? Even if ‘everything’ is just pack a bag and go to the park and come home and make a relatively healthy dinner?

Time is funny like that.

I imagine that a forty-five minute trip to Target must feel to a toddler like waiting at the DMV for an entire afternoon feels to me. Like hellacious hell.

Enter the Patient Prize.

I have mentioned the Patient Prize before. I didn’t invent the concept but I have WHOLLY embraced it. I have been looking to rebrand Bribery for quite some time now.

Whenever I bring Babystar into a potential meltdown situation — usually a trip to Target but not always — she is allowed one Patient Prize. (Babystar named it her Patient Prize, which is more accurate than Patient Present tbh because really we are all winners.)

 

How to Patient Prize:

  1. Let the Toddlermonster pick the Patient Prize first. At Target, I suggest you stop in the Dollar Aisles conveniently located near the entrance. This will save you money by avoiding the toy aisles while still preserving the illusion of choice.*
  2. Let the Toddlermonster HOLD the toy/hat/apple/whatever in the shopping cart. It then becomes a tangible reminder of the toddlermonster’s choice EVERY SINGLE SECOND whether he or she wants to keep the Patient Prize or act a fool.
  3. When the Toddlermonster inevitably wants to get out of the cart to run away, or screams because he or she is bored and wants to leave RIGHT NOW, you look them in the eyes and say, ‘Ok. But first we have to go put back the Patient Prize.’
  4. Usually, the Toddlermonster will chill. Not always, but most of the time. If the Toddlermonster does not chill, you have to put the Patient Prize back and deal with the outcome. You may decide to leave the establishment. You may decide to rush through the checkout line with what you already have. And you may decide to finish shopping while holding a loud floppy Toddlermonster (peace be with you). You do you.

 

AND YOU GUYS THERE IS AN UNINTENTIONAL BENEFIT! Since Babystar knows she gets to choose ONE thing, she doesn’t ask for EVERY thing. I hope it works out that way for you, too!

 

 

 

  • Stickers .30, $1, $1
  • Bouncy ball $2.99, $2.88, $2.99
  • Troll bandaids $1, $1
  • Light up bunny thingy $1
  • Trolls $4.99, $4.99, $4.99, $0.89, $0.89, $2.99, $2.99, $14.99, $4.99, $2.99, $2.99
  • Plastic dinosaur with googly pop-out eyes $1
  • Felt ice cream cones $3
  • Weird juice box lady $2.99
  • Bubbles $1, $1
  • Gardening toys $3
  • Wooden birdhouse to paint $3 (plus one for Princess Buttercup too $3)
  • Coloring books $1, $1, $1

 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,868.20

*Unfortunately, Babystar knows that the Trolls are in the toy aisles, so she often insists we go there. Fine. Whatever. I have since made a new rule that she cannot get duplicate Trolls and she has them all so we always ‘just go check’ if there are new ones. Her dad doesn’t have the same deal so she still brings home Trolls quite often.

You can’t spell #momlife without MLM.

So, are you on Team OMG Stahp or Team They Are Just Trying to Make a Living. Which, come on, we all know is actually Team WE Are Just Trying to Make a Living.

Love them or hate them (or just try to avoid them), if you are a mom these days you will def meet another mom hoping to sell you something. If you’re lucky. If you are not lucky, you will meet another mom that immediately acts like your bff until BAM out of the nowhere on the the third (play)date gives you the hard sell about joining their team.

I get it. Back in ye olde 1900s, my mom sold Avon, Mary Kay, and The Almighty Tupperware. I STILL keep my cereal fresh with hand-me-down vintage Tupperware. Because Tupperware is legit awesome. Many of today’s popular MLM companies are slinging awesome things. (Overpriced, of course. But awesome.) I love me some essential oils and children’s books and vegetable gummies and fancy face creams.

I will go to your parties. I might even host one because I like you and I like wine. BUT DON’T TRY TO TRICK ME. If our friendship depends on my purchases, I hate you.

I have one friend that I knew for OVER A YEAR before I knew that she sold essential oils. She actually never told me. A mutual friend had a handmade potion in her bag labeled Liquid Xanax so of course I had to ask what THAT was all about. (It was not in fact black market benzos. It was lavender and chamomile and mildly disappointing.) This essential oil MLMer is very successful and never annoys her friends.

I know the other kind of people too. I don’t like them as much.

You know who are the chillest MLMers on the block, though? The super sweet shillers of Usborne Books! Be chill must be like the first, third, seventh, and last bullet point in the Training at Usborne. I have four friends now that sell Usborne in various parts of the country. If I am available, I will always attend their virtual Facebook parties. Recently I have attended parties to the tune of $21.97 and $69.94. You can see which friend I like better. KIDDING! My book purchasing is directly correlated with my wine consumption.

tl;dr: I will buy your MLM stuff if you promise to shut up about it.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,784.36

 

 

Who wears short shorts?

We wear short shorts. If you dare wear short shorts, hit the Target Cat & Jack sale for short shorts.

Ok, I’m older than most #toddlermoms, but does anyone remember those Nair commercials? They were on before I even understood what Nair was, and it was apparently off the market before I needed to know. (Yeah, I know, shaving is a silly Western Beauty Ideal but I like having smooth legs. I don’t know if I would have enjoyed a magic chemical cream that probably burned like hell removing the hair from my legs, but I never even got the chance to find out.)

Anyway, the actual answer is Hooters Girls and toddlers. THAT’S who wears short shorts. And me when I’m at home on the farm. Or at the beach over my bathing suit.

I digress.

The temperature in Boulder, Colorado was over 85 degrees for TWO days in a row and silly me, I thought summer was here. It was Memorial Day weekend and everything — right on time.

I rushed out to Target (just kidding, I was already there because I live there) and bought some cute shorts for Babystar. This pair ($5.32) and this pair ($3.80) and this pair ($3.80) and this pair which look like regular denim but feel like buttah ($7.60) and this jumper ($7.59) because I am weak and it is adorable all toddler clothes were 20% off on Cartwheel. Plus just look at this jumper and imagine a giant heart-eyes emoji wearing it because that would totally fit.

rainbow jumper looking at clouds.jpg

(Does anyone know how to work Cartwheel? I know I’m missing deals and I hate missing deals and someone said you have to scan everything before the cashier scans everything but what if you use self-checkout, do you have to scan everything in your phone and then on the beepy thing??? If you have explained this somewhere on the internet, please drop a link below. And if you have not explained this somewhere on the internet, could you please? Thank you!)

This was one of the miracle times when I actually figured out how to work Cartwheel and I got the discount!! YAY! Plus I got an additional 5% off by using my Target card. Yep, I got a Target card. It king of seems like a bad idea for me, doesn’t it? I agree. However, the credit limit is reasonable so I can’t lose track and I SAVE FIVE PERCENT off everything. Highly recommend. I especially love the extra time for returns because I never remember anything in time. Yes, this is for sure an ad but I’m telling you because I love you.

But like, I’m serious about needing that Cartwheel tutorial.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,465.40

Also I just found a box in the basement labeled ‘3T Summer’ and I’m pretty sure those aren’t mine so whoops.

PROTIP: look in the basement/attic/older cousin’s closet before you buy more stuff. But if you forget, forgive yourself, because I’m sure you were busy remembering what shape the apple slices are supposed to be this week and which plastic dinosaur is Lulu and which one is Peeko and which one is Teetee. Peeko is starting to get her (his?) feelings hurt, MOMMY!!

She calls them dandy-blows.

Toddler malapropisms are just the best, right?

Please share your favorites with the class in the comments.

Babystar says actually instead of accidentally. So we hear a lot of ‘I actually dropped my crayon!’ and ‘I actually bumped my leg!’ Like she simply cannot believe what is happening. It is adorable and hilarious.

She has also learned the phrase ‘pretty sure’ but she uses it to mean ‘absolutely sure’. As in, ‘I’m sure I will share my sand toys with the other children. I’m pretty sure.’

(But she is actually speaking the truth because no one can ever be sure AT ALL that Babystar will share her sand toys.)

Babystar calls dandelions dandy-blows once they have turned to seed.

Tbh her word makes much more sense and I’d like to petition to have the name officially changed. Who is in charge of naming flowers please?

dandyblow4

This H&M dress was $7.99. This picture is priceless.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,437.29

All the way to Santa Fe.

The girls and I took an impromptu road trip to Santa Fe. I wanted to see some more of the Mountain Time Zone, Princess Buttercup wasn’t doing anything else, and Babystar goes where mama goes.

Also, I had finally unpacked THE LAST BOX and I needed to gtfo. It was either leave all the stuff I just unpacked behind and start a new life in Mexico or take a small weekend escape. I made the responsible choice. But maybe not the best one tbh.

Our first stop was Dinosaur Ridge ($18) in Morrison, Colorado. Did you know that the first Stegosaurus skeleton was found there? And did you know that the Stegosaurus on Dinosaur Train is named MORRIS the Stegosaurus? Coincidence? Maybe.

If you have a little dinosaur lover (or a big dinosaur lover), go here now. Babystar touched dinosaur bones and climbed in dinosaur footprints and then dug for legit FOSSILS in a sandbox. She got to keep one as long as she buried the others. The friendly volunteers stock the sand with teeth, shells, and ammonites like trout in a lake and Babystar LOVED it. I mean, it was her two favorite things: dinosaurs and sand. She did not want to leave.

But we did finally leave, after buying her a new friend named Parasaurolophus ($6.99).

We then drove south. Guess what we found in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico between Denver and Santa Fe?!?!?!  NOTHING! There are no people. There are only aliens.

Ok, there are some people but mostly there is otherworldly landscape. (I was driving so there aren’t any pictures but just imagine a place where aliens might choose to land because it feels most like home to them.) It was really quite beautiful, if a bit weird for these east coast girls aspiring to be mountain girls. I mean, we drove hundreds of miles without passing a Starbucks. And Princess Buttercup saw either a bear or a moose. (Her vision is not great.)

PROTIP: If you are so over momming that you need to G-E-T-O-U-T, but you of course have a toddler along for the ride, go to as many children’s museums as you can find. You can take a step back from your regular life, drink all the fancy coffee you can find, AND get mom-of-the-year points. Win-win-win.

We visited the Santa Fe Children’s Museum ($20). Highly recommend. The outside space is just as big as the indoor space. And BONUS – the water play feature was under construction as in NOT WORKING. (Yes, I consider that a good thing!)

 

We also visited Buell Children’s Museum ($16) in Pueblo, CO. This museum is big on crafts. If you love crafts, you’ll love this museum. There are other cool things too, like a toddler room with a sort of farm theme, a magnetic ‘fishing’ pond, a pirate ship, a room of giant blocks, and a dress up station. Though I understand they are switching the Pirate Theme soon so your mileage may vary. I suspect they will still have TONS OF CRAFTS. Like, they had a craft room bigger than our old townhouse AND they had craft stations every ten inches throughout the museum.

 

It was a pretty cheap road trip: we did a lot of just walking around and looking at stuff. We also mostly brought toddler-approved road snacks and shared our restaurant food (and free hotel breakfasts) with Babystar, but I did spend a little on food and ice cream:  $6.99, $4.49, and $3.99. We also popped in to the Georgia O’Keefe museum and the Taos Pueblo but those were for me (and anyway she was free).

Oh, and I did buy her the Satin and Chenille Trolls ($14.99) on this trip because I am a sucker. And some apples ($2.99), because I am a REALLY good mom.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,329.09