A Friday for Remebering.

Babystar and I are out of town this week for a funeral. It’s not the sad kind, except that all funerals are sad. My Uncle Frank lived to be 91 years old and was in good spirits but also in pain when I saw him last year. In fact, the wake was a little too serious this afternoon because the man who would make everyone laugh was lying in the casket instead of telling stories, joking with the adults, and lovingly teasing the children.


This guy.

I had this lighthearted learning-to-count post scheduled for tomorrow, but instead I am in a hotel room with my sleeping toddler in a town full of memories and so instead here is this.
(Turning forty and then a family funeral is making me soft. We will return to our regularly scheduled sarcasm shortly.)

So. Me. Nostalgia. 

I was a Teen Mom before it was capitalized. I had my first child at the so very young age of nineteen. This was 1996; MTV still played music videos and books still had paper.
There was no Teen Mom television show; there was no 16 and Pregnant. There was no Facebook, no Instagram, and no Twitter.

There. Was. No. Internet. Can you imagine? We still spelled out all of our words. OMGLOL.
Ok, there was a tiny bit of internet. We had America Online and we paid by the minute and the chat rooms were (mostly) full of creepy old men. Computer games were on floppy disks. We still addressed our emails like old-fashioned letters.

There were no DVRs. My son (and later daughter, born in 1999) watched Blue’s Clues on VHS cassettes like every other child of the Nineties. (Babystar watches Blue’s Clues on my phone in Target if she hasn’t had a nap.)

As regular readers know, just as my two children of the LAST MILLENNIUM were headed off to college, I had a brand new baby in 2015.

Back in 1996, the doctors would have called mine a Geriatric Pregnancy. In 2015, it was no biggie. I was an Old Mom, but so was everyone else.

(Um, who coined geriatric pregnancy? Because that person is clearly an asshole who has never met a pregnant woman.)

Raising babies in the 1990s and raising babies now is mostly the same but also ABSOLUTELY COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.

We still need to take care of the babies in utero.

I remember the excitement of the sonograms in the 1990s. We had one grainy black and white sonogram at the beginning of the pregnancy to check out the heartbeat and then one later on in the pregnancy to check the fetal progression (and usually find out the sex!). They were very exciting and you got a nice snapshot of a blurry black and white semicircle so you could try to figure out which side was the head.

In 2015, I had SO MANY SONOGRAMS. It felt like they lasted for hours. They were definite twenty to thirty minute ordeals. I remember wishing them over so I could go pee. The technicians checked out every little tiny part of baby in utero, which is AMAZING. Science is amazing! But it also took forever (to me), as I was expecting a quick slimy belly time and ‘ok there’s a baby cool beans’ and then boom, done.

We still need to birth the babies. 


Back in the nineties, my labor was induced with my first two babies because they both went past their due dates. My son was only five days past his due date (and it was a first pregnancy!) when the doctor insisted I head to the hospital for induction. He called me high risk solely because of my age and my poor little baby boy was born jaundiced after over twenty-four hours of labor — including over two hours of active pushing. After he was born, the doctor reached his arm into my body to pull out the baby’s placenta. (Yes, you read that right and it hurt more than the actual birth. Also, I’m sorry for that godawful visual but I LIVED it.) The nurses weighed and measured and bathed and swaddled my son before finally handing him to his father (not me) and I had no idea that there was any other way to do this childbirth thing.

I went to a different doctor when pregnant with my second child. My daughter was induced at ten days past her due date, but other than that the labor was easy. I’m sure it was just luck, because ideas had not changed much in two years and I still had never even heard the term ‘Birth Plan’.

Thankfully, we know much more about childbirth now. I think both the medical professionals AND the parents are much more informed. My doctor and I agreed from the beginning that we would not force baby to come before she was ready. I have heard from friends (and strangers on the internet) that babies are not even really considered late until two weeks past their due date. My placenta was delivered by the doctor. My baby was placed on my body as soon as humanely possible (she had an issue but it was resolved in minutes) and we had skin to skin contact, which we now know is as important for parent-to-baby microbe transmission as it is for parental bonding.

I have read that some parents are choosing to delay the cutting of the cord for a few minutes to help baby transition earth-side. I know that a lot of people are choosing midwives and doulas and home births. I love that there is a conversation between parents and the medical professionals. I love that we now know more about our options and have choices and voices as parents.

We still have to feed the babies.


In 1996, I took my jaundiced son home and a nurse came with us to set him up in what we lovingly called ‘his nightclub’. He had to spend almost every minute under ultraviolet lights with his eyes completely covered and the rest of his body completely naked. We were told to take him out every two hours to baste him. (Just kidding. We had to feed him and clean him and clean the dishtowel lined baking pan in which he laid. Lay? Lie? You know what I mean.) The nurse helped me with breastfeeding but also brought us ready made bottles of Similac from the hospital and encouraged supplementing ‘so mama could get some sleep’.

His bilirubin count came down and he was out from under the lights within a week, but the resulting nipple confusion from the bottles that we were encouraged to feed him made breastfeeding difficult. I know that NOW. I did not understand what was going on back then, so I kept offering the bottle when he had a difficult time at the breast. No one told me to stop.

I was much more successful nursing my second child, but again, I think it was luck. 

With my last little sweetheart, I was inundated with the benefits of breastfeeding before baby was even born. I had a Feeding Plan in place while still pregnant. The nurses at the hospital all checked to make sure baby was latching well, and even kept the baby in the room so I could feed her every two hours (or more) from the moment she was born. I took a breastfeeding class before leaving the hospital, where I asked about pumping so others could feed the baby while I slept. The woman teaching the class told me that was a horrible idea and if I wanted her to, she would be happy to speak with my husband to make sure that he didn’t feel like he had to ‘have a turn’ feeding the baby. (Um, I was just wondering if I would ever sleep again, but the message was definitely received. Hard no.)

About six weeks in, my sweet little baby started having screaming fits at night for over an hour. My firstborn did the exact same in thing 1996: the doctor called it ‘colic’, and it lasted for almost a year. In 2015, the pediatrician put ME on an elimination diet to see if something I was eating was affecting the baby. The baby was indeed sensitive to dairy via my breastmilk for almost the first year of her life. I now think that my poor baby boy had the same issue twenty years ago, but the doctors didn’t know to even try removing dairy from his diet.

Per the doctor’s recommendation, I started my firstborn on cereal at four months and he was eating jars of Beechnut by six months. Twenty years later, I read for hours the benefits of Baby-Led Weaning versus purees. I decided to feed this baby purees because she had no teeth by the time she seemed interested in food at seven months old. I made all of her pureed baby food myself to avoid preservatives and whatever other scary chemicals are in ready made baby food. I know IN MY HEAD that ready made baby food is fine and certainly more healthy that it was twenty years ago but the information overload really got to me so I felt like I had to make all of her food in order to be a good mother. The mommy guilt is strong these days.

We still need to raise the babies.

The internet is a wonderful and terrible thing. I love reading Mommy Blogs and being a part of parenting groups on Facebook. I can now get advice from literally hundreds of people within minutes. Twenty years ago, we had a handful of baby books and our friends and family to turn to for answers. Your friends and family generally won’t tell you the worst case scenario every time, but you can ALWAYS find that on the internet. Dr. Google is terrifying, irresistible, and always available at 2am when that last thing you need to do is freak out over your child’s symptom that is probably fine but might kill them immediately. My 21st century baby often had pretty severe dyschromia, which is like marbled skin tone, as an infant. The internet told me that it was totally normal except sometimes. She might be fine or she might need emergency medical treatment. Of course I called her doctor in the middle of the night who told me to get offline immediately and that I would not be able to miss it if my baby became limp and needed to go to the ER. I have tried with mixed success to stop searching baby’s symptoms, at least when the sun is down.

My firstborn’s first birthday party was a few friends and family bringing gifts and eating a cake that I made from a boxed mix and decorated myself. The cake was kind of ugly but no one really cared and I barely even noticed. Including sodas and paper plates and napkins, I probably spent $50.

Today I would post that cake on Instagram with the hashtag #PinterestFail.

Thanks to Pinterest, (and also thanks to having a much older sister that loves Pinterest), my millennial baby’s first birthday party was gorgeous and themed and crafty and we all drank out of mason jars and the entire house was decorated and we spent HOURS on DIY crafts and STILL spent $500. I love Pinterest but I also kind of despise Pinterest.


I totally let the 90s babies drink soda, but only Sprite because it didn’t have caffeine. I can count on my fingers the number of times my two-year-old has had juice. JUICE. She had never had soda. Maybe when she’s eighteen.

I remember telling my two older kids how big they were on their first birthdays and turning their car seats around so they could see the world. I will rear-face this toddler until she can convince me, via Powerpoint, why she is old enough to forward-face.

I dressed my first two babies in baby clothes. Baby clothes with Winnie-the-Pooh or ladybugs or dinosaurs or cutesy flowers or some other type of childish motif. My 2015 baby wears rock band tees and handmade pants made from organic cotton and purchased from an independent shop on Etsy. (And Cat and Jack from Target because we are basic/AWESOME like that.)


In the nineties, we worried about how much tv to let the kids watch. Now we have to decide if the toddler can play with our phones, our tablets, our laptops. I personally do not let my toddler play games on my phone or iPad but I GET WHY PEOPLE DO. I totally love that she can video chat with her grandparents and other relatives that live far away. It makes everyone seem closer. That helps, this week. And all the time. But also this week.

I used to print out photos from actual cameras that used actual film and send them with Christmas cards to our far away relatives. Now I can send pictures via text or email or social media. The extended family definitely feels more close. Babystar met a lot of new (to her) cousins this week so I suspect the FaceTime will be flowing. Are we the Jetsons? I think maybe we are, so why doesn’t my car fly?

I also FREAKING ADORE that today my phone is also a camera. AND it records videos! Twenty years ago a video recorder was at least the size of a tennis shoe and maybe the size of a pair of heavy boots. I have a few albums of baby pictures of my first two children, and a few videos from Christmases or school plays. I have literally over ten thousand pictures and hundreds of videos of Babystar already.

And I took a few of her playing with her new cousin-friends at the wake today. 


What is it going to be like raising a teenager in another fifteen years? Will we have self-driving cars by then? Please tell me we will have self-driving cars by then.

xoxo 

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

 

 

Dear Fisher Price: Thanks, Boo.

Babystar received some really excellent gifts for her birthday last June. I didn’t list them here because of course I didn’t BUY them, but she was a very lucky little two-year-old. (In fact, she got so many great presents that I immediately packed a few of them away so she could have new toys this fall. #momhack)

One of her favorite new toys is her vintage-inspired Fisher-Price cash register. These days she mostly enjoys popping in the coins and pushing the buttons, but I can see the potential for plenty of imaginary play in the future. Every single kid that comes over to play gravitates to that cash register. All of them. And some of the adults.


By mid-July, we were down to two coins. (The cash register comes with six.) No one was surprised. The ToddlerMonster relocates things like its her job. Every kid that comes over fights over plays with this toy. PLUS the new kitten is obsessed with the coins. I have literally seen her reach her little paw into the drawer and bat out a plastic coin and then carry it away in her mouth. 


After a bit of googling and searching the Fisher-Price website and eBay, I realized that I could not purchase replacement coins. Huge bummer. (Really, Fisher-Price, you should get on this.)

I emailed Fisher-Price asking if there was any way they could sell me some additional plastic coins. They wrote back that they were very sorry that they did not offer the coins for sale and they sent me a $25 gift certificate for anything Fisher-Price! (Or Mattel, or Hot Wheels, (but not American Girl), but LIKE WHOA SO NICE!)

I didn’t have to provide proof of purchase or anything, which is good, since the cash register was a gift. So, um, live your life however you like. But just know that you can email Fisher-Price about your cash register coins and they might send you a gift certificate for a free toy.

I’m actually not trying to help the world defraud Fisher-Price. I really just want them to manufacture and sell packs of replacement / additional coins for this super cool cash register!! But I can’t control other people. Yet. 

I couldn’t use the voucher online and it was a pain to use at Target, but the Target cashier eventually overrode something and made it work. Babystar chose a $14.99 “iPad”, and I didn’t get any cash back or anything. But hey! FREE TOY!

 

Babystar loves her iPad and keeps it by the bed with a pile of books. Most mornings she will play with the iPad and read books and drink her Unicorn Water while I have my coffee. WHICH IS AMAZING SHE TOTALLY WINS TODDLER OF THE YEAR. At least in our house, where the competition is admittedly slim.

PLUS, once we figured out that the CAT was losing the coins and not the BABY, we had a better idea of where to look. The current coin total is five but it fluctuates daily. 

RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,140.26

 

California (Baby) Knows How to Party.

Babystar has discovered the joys of BUBBLES!

bubble bath

This kid used to totally freak out if her shampoo made accidental bubbles in her bath. She would immediately splash them away yelling ‘no bubbles no bubbles!’ But now she is FULL TODDLER and all about them bubbles.

I think I can trace this back to her second birthday, when she received one of the greatest gifts ever, Naked by Micheal Ian Black. She loves this book, and the kid in the book has so many bubbles in his bath. So now she needs SO MANY BUBBLES in her bath. She also does the hokey pokey naked every night because of that book. That book has changed our life. For the better, obvs.

The bubbles made by pumping the Honest Creamsicle soap directly into the water faucet stream were just not doing it for her anymore. NEED MORE BUBBLES.

ca baby bubble bath

I bought some California Baby Bubble Bath. I fully intended to try a bunch of baby bubble bath potions until we found our favorite one but I really see no need to buy any other kind ever.

ca baby cranky to sweet

The bottle advertises that it ‘takes you from cranky to sweet.’ It either REALLY WORKS or the placebo effect is STRONG. And the toddler can read the bottle. (Unlikely. But I’m not ruling it out because I have never called her a Wild Child out loud but she was sitting next to me and I posted a cute picture of her on Instagram and hash tagged ‘wildchild’ and five minutes later she told me she was not ‘wild child’, she was ‘Mabel’. So.)

What was I talking about? Oh. Right. Magic.

California Baby has found the magic blend of essential oils to calm my toddler down at night. I mean, she still runs around naked for about twenty minutes (including Hokey Pokey time) but she’s happy about it and then she calms down quickly and happily puts on pajamas and gets ready for sleep. One night, after a particularly trying day, I got into the bath with her. It totally worked on me too. MAGIC.

California Baby Bubble Bath is cruelty-free, gluten-free, soy-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and vegan. We have luckily passed Babystar’s gluten and dairy sensitivity stage, but some kids are sensitive or downright allergic. And yes, they will probably eat the bubbles. This bubble bath smells yummy — like a garden but not too flowery.

CA baby bubble wand

AND YOU GUYS IT COMES WITH A BUBBLE WAND. What a genius idea! I realize you can probably adapt any bubble bath by simply cleaning a bubble wand and using it with your bubble bath, but I just love that California Baby thought of this for me. Because I did not think of it.

bubble bath with tillie

By the time bath time gets here, I barely know my name.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,043.80

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?

 

 

 

 

Baby Bento.

*Sponsored post.*

Remember when bento boxes got SUUUUUPER trendy in the States a few months ago? It was right between Mason Jar salads and DIY Instant Ramen. I think we’re doing Grain Bowls now, right? Or is it still kombucha?

ANYWAY.

I never got a super cool bento box, but I really wanted one. So I was SUPER EXCITED to get the innobaby Keeping’ SMART Double Insulated Stainless Divided Snackbox at 50% off to review. It’s basically a baby bento box. How cute is this?!?

innobaby bento open with cheese

The Keepin’ SMART Stainless Divided Snackboxes come in two sizes, 11 ounce and 15 ounce. The 11 ounce retails for $12.99. I chose the 11 ounce size and it is kind of perfect for Babystar’s 2yo hands. (I paid $6.49 plus $4.16 shipping for a total of $10.65.)

bento on bench

We have had the innobaby Snackbox for almost a week now and brought it along on a few outings. The strawberries and cheese stayed nice and chilled while we waited outside in the hot August weather for almost two hours. The waffles and strawberries (not pictured) stayed separated during a two-hour car ride. The strawberries and graham crackers did not spill during a stroll to the park.

(I don’t know if you can tell, but Babystar REALLY likes strawberries. Both in her mouth and on her eyes.)

bento in stroller

For size reference, the 11 ounce innobaby Keepin’ SMART Double Insulated Stainless Divided Snackbox above held five graham cracker halves and five sliced medium size strawberries. The divider was moved to one of the side positions.

The metal divider is a bit of a mystery to me. There are ostensibly three positions. Let’s call them A, B, and C. Position B is dead center, to divide the container in half. And there are two more, A and C, each on either side of the center slot B. The container is a three dimensional rectangle that you can turn upside down, so A and C are identical. It would make more sense to me, design-wise, if position A was dead center and B and C were on the same side. Does this make sense? Am I overthinking my ninth-grade geometry?

 

I love the size of the 11 ounce Keepin’ SMART Divided Snackbox. It is perfect for the ToddlerMonster to manage on her own. I love that the divider is removable and repositionable. I love that the entire thing comes apart for easy cleaning. And I really love that it is dishwasher safe. I MOSTLY love that the stainless steel keeps the strawberries chilled for longer than our other plastic containers. Especially if you pack them the night before (or even just put the stainless steel section in the refrigerator to chill overnight).

I wish the 11 ounce size came in the same cute printed patterns that the 15 ounce size did. Though I’m sure that if I wait five more minutes, the ToddlerMonster will decorate it with stickers.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,631.52

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SNACK CONTAINER FOR HOME OR ON-THE-GO?

 

O Target! My Target!

O Target! my Target! our shopping trip is done,
This mom has search’ed every rack, the prize we sought is won,
With Cat and Jack, with Up and Up, through self check-out gates,
With empty Starbucks in my hand, the minivan awaits;
                         But O heart! heart! heart!
                            O the concrete balls of red,
                               Where in the haste my Cartwheel app,
                                  Was forgotten once again.
I love Target. I am basic af and I don’t even care.
I love Target like Babystar loves coloring. Which is, like, a LOT.
During my most recent journey to paradise, I bought two new Cat and Jack shirts for Babystar because I just can’t get enough. ($4.50 each.)
cat and jack shirts
I bought four more Up and Up blank paper pads for the insatiable Toddler Artist. ($2.19 each.)
And then I went back because their Back to School sales are ridiculous (and because I live at Target now) and bought two more paper pads and two packs of markers for $5.75.
And THEN I was like WUUUUUT so I went back again and bought a whole bunch of art supplies for $15.36. I stocked the art supply chest for the YEAR with this haul.
crayons and markers at target
Oh, and I got some scissors for $0.94 and pencil cases (that I’m using to corral crayons and markers) for $0.97 each.
Then I noticed that the Cat and Jack shirts were on sale and/or clearance so I (obviously) bought four more for $2.10, $4.00, $2.25, and $3.15.
IMG_4050
Also, I DISCOVERED A NEW LAND AISLE with tons of super cute baby and toddler plates and cups and bowls and utensils. You guys. OMG. I snapped some pictures to show you. Have you seen this adorableness??
I love that there exists colorful BPA-free divided and non-divided plates for as low as seventy-nine cents! Circles AND squares! (Though the divided plates seem about as shallow as a Kardashian.)
The Pillowfort printed plates also look really cool but I wish the dividers reached the top of the lip of the plates, like my beloved Re-play Recycled divided plates.
I found are ‘big girl’ cups and utensils, too. I bought a set of utensils from Cheeky Kids for $3.99. The front of the box promises that Cheeky Kids will donate a meal for every item sold.
cheeky kids utensils
cheeky kids box
The back of the box explains that actually means a ten cent donation. And that the products are made in China. Cheeky Kids website says they are ‘made with love in China’. I’m not sure if that means there are pictures of hearts on the sweatshop’s walls or what. I’ll hope for the best. At least they are feeding hungry children with some of the money they are saving by making their products overseas. I guess.
cheeky kids2
Babystar loves the innobaby fork and spoon that came with the Din Din Bus Platter Mealtime Set. The utensil sets are available on innobaby’s web site for $9.99 each, but I am looking for a lower cost alternative. The Cheeky Kids utensils are a bit smaller and lighter than the innobaby utensils, but Babystar doesn’t seem to have a preference. Unless she is in a ‘pink’ mood. Or a ‘penguin’ mood.
I guess I should go back to Target for a set of the Pillowfort utensils to really compare. Oh no. Golly darn it. I have to go back to Target. JUST KIDDING I’M AT TARGET RIGHT NOW.
MAYDAY MAYDAY: When did you switch your child from plastic to metal utensils? Did you buy child size metal utensils or just go straight to the adult size ones? Are you also a fan of the Target? (I know it’s not just me. I’ve seen the memes.)
RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,620.87

Baby Leash.

At least it’s not a muzzle.

(BRB going to google if toddler muzzles are a thing. No? No. Ok, cool. I didn’t want one anyway.)

Babystar is an unpredictable little ToddlerMonster. As is to be expected. I love the unpredictable things she says to me all the time. I love most of the unpredictable things she does all day long. I do not love the sudden unpredictable public sprints.

Like many good parents, we tricked the trusting little monster. She wanted her very own backpack. Mommy has a backpack. Big Sister and Big Brother have backpacks. Her cousins have backpacks. I borrowed one of the Skip Hop Zoo collection backpacks (with safety strap) from a friend for a trial run. She loved it, and barely notices if I have to grab the safety strap. Not a leash. A safety strap.

Whatever. It’s a leash. And I don’t care.

She loves that she can carry around a few books and a toy car or tiny Care Bear or whatever. I love that if my own backpack gets too heavy I can fit her water bottle into HER backpack and help her become an independent human and build a strong character and mostly take some weight and bulk out of my own bag. I don’t always attach the harness but I always have it with me. When we are walking near a road or in a big crowd of people, I like the peace of mind that the harness gives to me. I don’t lead her around by the safety strap. I do loop it onto my wrist and then hold her hand. It’s a great backup for when she gets OH SO EXCITED ABOUT THAT THING WAAAAY OVER THERE HURRY HURRY MAMA! (It is usually rocks. It is always rocks.)

 

When the safety strap is not keeping her super safe, I can loop it around the backpack’s handle and give her a little free range chicken action. She doesn’t even notice or care that it’s there. She is just excited to have her very own backpack.

skip hop zoo backpack

And, ok, she picked out her very own backpack all by herself. But since it does have a LEASH, I find it absolutely hilarious that she chose the dog.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,526.63

 

CONFESSION TIME: Who has used a baby leash? Who hates me now?

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