I Joined a Museum 100 Miles from Home.

Have any of you ever been to the Children’s Museum of Richmond?!?

It has EVERYTHING. A scarf ballet, a fully stocked art studio, a cow that you can milk (but don’t drink it), a diner with all the (fake) food you can eat, an actual ambulance to play in, an indoor carousel, and a Wegman’s. And that isn’t even half of the cool stuff at the Children’s Museum of Richmond. This place is literally the best children’s museum I have ever seen.

And it is right down the street from my oldest daughter’s college. We bought the $180 yearly membership (plus additional adult) so we have a fun place for Babystar to play on visits. She has never gotten bored here. The single downside is that she never wants to leave when they close at 5pm. We have been a few times now and we haven’t even played with everything. On our most recent visit, Babystar mostly dug in the rubber sand for dinosaur bones and then cooked her sister and I a very hearty meal.

Have you ever had ketchup in your coffee? I highly recommend it.

The visit before, we spent a lot of time in the art studio making masks. Another time, she did water experiments for an hour at the super awesome water table. (I totally brought about five extra shirts last Friday and she didn’t even LOOK at the water table. Of course.)

CMoR water table

There are also locations in Short Pump, Chesterfield, and Fredericksburg. We may check them out sometime as they are included in our membership. But the nice lady that sold us the membership said that those locations are not as big. And I am certain that none of them are five minutes from any of my children’s colleges. If we do go, I will report back.

Regular admission is $9/person. (Babies under one are free.) We only paid the regular admission once, actually. Then we did the math and realized that we should just buy a membership. So far, we have gone to the museum every time we visit Richmond. Since at least three of us (Babystar, the college girl, and whoever is driving) visit each time, the membership will pay for itself shortly.

Like many children’s museums that I have seen, this one has a lot of different areas to play, and each area is sponsored by a local or regional business. The main difference is that THIS museum has SO MANY areas to play.

 

CMoR is awesome and we love it. Go there.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,413.93

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,Β 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 CreamsicleΒ 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 InstagramΒ 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

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?

Summer Bugs Me.

I love most things about the summertime. I love the longer days and the grilled dinners and the splashy water play time.

I do not love the mosquitos. And ants and locusts and spiders and gnats and bees (ok I kind of love the bees in theory), but mostly the mosquitos.

We like to use up all the sunshine and stay at the park until dusk which means walking back home during the Mosquito Happy Hour.

Babystar was getting new bites every day. But also, chemicals.

WHAT IS A GOOD HIPPIE MAMA TO DO?

I’m still not sure, but I did buy some DEET-free bug repellent made up of a blend of essential oils. (Kid’s Herbal Armor Natural Insect Repellent $5.50.) It had KIDS and NATURAL right in the name.

Two things:

  1. I don’t know what DEET is but it sounds bad.
  2. I don’t believe essential oils can cure illnesses but I do know that certain plants repel insects so it seemed legit.

I really wasn’t sure what I was looking for but I compared the active ingredients at Target. The Kid’s Herbal Armor had a bunch of oils (citronella, lemongrass, peppermint, et cetera) that were almost identical to the Babyganics and Honest Company kid’s bug repellents.



I bought the Kid’s Herbal Armor because it was $5.50 instead of $9.49 or $12.34. To be fair, the Babyganics and Honest Company’s bottles were larger, but I wanted to make sure it worked first. Maybe we needed the DEET after all? (WTF IS DEET?!?)
The first evening, I only rubbed the insect repellent on Babystar’s ankles, a popular hangout for Arlington mosquitoes. She has pretty sensitive skin and I wanted to make sure there was no reaction. She made it home with no rash and zero bites on her legs!

Those fuckers bit her arm instead.

The next night, I used the Herbal Armor on her legs AND arms. She was bite-free! I have been keeping her arms and legs coated and it is still working. I don’t put it near her face at all but I do a little swipe behind her neck, and she usually has a hat on for extra protection.

I highly recommend this natural bug repellent. Probably the Babyganics and/or Honest ones are good too, since the active ingredients are almost identical. But I have not tried them so I cannot say for sure.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $18,090.14

What kind of bug repellent do you use for your kids or yourself?

Lost in the Park.

This is the last known photograph of Babystar’s favorite water bottle.


It was a blue and yellow (and metal) smaller size Contigo that her grandparents gave to her during her last visit to Myrtle Beach. Blue and yellow are her favorite colors! She loved pushing the button so the straw would pop up! (She could actually open and close it herself and it was still 100% leak-proof in my bag.) And Contigo beverage containers are magic so her water stayed cold all day!

(Seriously, Contigo makes MAGICAL containers. My coffee stays hot for literal hours. This is the most important thing for me as a SAHM so yay Contigo.)

Alas.

We totally left Babystar’s favorite cup at the park last Tuesday. I would have gone back to fetch it but I didn’t realize it until about 10pm and I knew the squirrels had likely taken it by then. Lucky squirrels. I hope they at least figure out how to get the straw open.

I was devastated. Like, way more upset than I needed to be over a freaking sippy cup.

Amazon Prime to the rescue — almost. Apparently, there are no more blue and yellow ones. But at least her water will be cold again. $15.99. (Hella expensive for a child’s cup but completely worth it.)


RAISING BABYSTAR: $18,084.64

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Parents, what is your kid’s favorite kind of on-the-go cup? What is YOUR favorite?