Toddler Love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

Once upon a time, when I was young and punk rock, I thought that Valentine’s Day was a stupid made-up joke. I have never cared if I ‘had a Valentine’ or made a big deal if I DID happen to be in a relationship on February 14.

But I ADORE the kid-version of the holiday. I can’t get enough silly puns and sugary love. Still Hallmark, but harmless. (And I am 100% behind Galentine’s Day because that shit is genius.)

Somehow this year, Babystar found out about Valentine’s Day. I’m pretty sure it had something to do with the forty million times we have been to Target in the last month. Plus it’s a NEW Target, so I don’t yet know where all of the land mines seasonal aisles are located. (I know now.)

We explained all about Valentine’s Day (the kid version) and she wanted to make Valentines for her friends. So sweet. But of course we just moved over 1500 miles away from home so none of her friends are nearby. She talks about them every day and tells us about things that happened ‘yesterday’, but she also knows that Colorado is VERY FAR AWAY from where we used to live. I wish I knew what was in her awesome Toddler Brain.

Babystar chose a pack of Trolls (of course) Valentines from Target ($2.50) and she made her Valentines. And then we mailed them to her friends ($6.86), some of whom are babies and will not even understand the whole postal system thing. But hopefully they will still like looking at the cute Trolls on the Valentines.

Best of all, she made Valentines for all of us too. I helped write the names, so I got a sneak preview, but they have been in her microwave waiting for Valentine’s Day. OMG THE CUTEST.

Trolls valentines

Um, can someone tell me the best way to get crayon off a table top? I’m tired of scrubbing.

RAISNG BABYSTAR: $26,101.93

 

Spoiling Babystar.

There is a long history of movie titles using the formula VERBing GIRLNAME.

Driving Miss Daisy. Chasing Amy. Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Killing Zoe. Raising Helen. Stealing Beauty. Kissing Jessica Stein. Finding Dory.

I’m hoping if I use a fancy Hollywood name for this blog post, no one will notice that I have gone FULL BRIBE with the toddler.

Moving is hard, y’all. We have only been Colorado residents for three weeks. We still have boxes yet to be unpacked. We still haven’t found the plastic sink that goes in her play kitchen. And Babystar is pretty chill with everything that is happening around her.

She plays with the toys that she has, and gets excited whenever we unbox new toys.

But we also needed to stock the house with groceries and toilet paper and coffee and wine (!!!) and some more towels and hand soap and lamps and just house things.

If you look at the huge number by the dollar sign at the bottom of my posts, you will likely discern that I am a total sucker for buying toys for Babystar. But now we have turned them into ‘Listening and Patience Presents.’ I let her choose something fun during each long errand (usually Troll-related, but it does vary) and then I use the method taught to me by my dear friend and supermama Mary Catherine. The Patience Present is hers to lose. As long as Babystar listens and is patient during the outings, mama will buy the toy she has chosen. If she does not listen or she runs away from me (which used to be a problem back in Arlington ALL THE TIME), then we have to wait until our next errand trip to buy the toy.

So far, it works. I definitely think that letting her pick her toy/whatever and hold it while we do the rest of the shopping helps immensely. A total physical reminder IN HER HAND to listen to mama.

Dude, if you told me you could make my toddler behave in the shops for five bucks, I would totally do it. Trolls are about five bucks, and those are her favorite presents right now. I am ALL IN.

So, anyway, behold the baby’s recent bribes.

trolls

Trolls, purchased separately. $4.99 each.

felt mail

Felt mail, for playing along with Blue’s Clues. $3 at Target.

rocks from ned

A box of rocks. $12. Yep. From our adventure in the adorable mountain town of Nederland. The locals call it ‘Ned.’ And I’m a local now. So the rocks are from Ned.

She also chose a ‘Cloud Guy’ pillow ($7.99) for her Patience Present from Ikea* and she sleeps on him every night. Hopefully Cloud Guy AND Babystar will soon move into her Big Girl Bed (Coming Soon).

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,092.57

*I firmly believe that EVERYONE that doesn’t have a breakdown in Ikea deserves a Patience Present.

Santa, Interrupted.

Oh, the Holidays. The time of year when we try our hardest not to offend those we love and cherish. Or something like that.

Because we are moving soon (OMFG I NEED TO PACK), we took the ToddlerMonster to visit one set of grandparents in Myrtle Beach. The Teens* were in Florida with their dad and we all met back home after Christmas.

*The boy Teen just turned twenty-one and has not been a teenager for a few years but I have no other name for the two of them. The Teens is just so short and easy. I am open to suggestion, as they don’t care for the alternatives I have proposed: The Freeloaders, The Children of the Last Millennium (abbreviated COLT), or the Starter Kids.

SO ANYWAY.

Babystar is and was and remains all about Santa this year. And THE TEENS wanted to watch her experience SantaMagic and open her other gifts because they love her and they are brats. So we waited.

We told Babystar that Santa took her gift to her house. When we were just about to leave for Myrtle Beach last week, I ran back inside to hang the stockings. And I left instructions for THE TEENS to build the trains set ‘from Santa’. The shenanigans were only 99.9999% stressful and annoying.

But worth it. Ugh. Loving your kids is SO OVERRATED.

(Presents do not equal love. This whole delaying Christmas so all three of my favorite children could be happy and get what they wanted DOES equal love.)

But. Um. Y’all. I feel like I must Confess.

Babystar had WAY TOO MANY presents to open last night. And I didn’t even realize that it had happened.

Christmas shopping was done from about September to November. Sometimes via Amazon in the middle of the night. (When those packages arrived, I put them straight into a closet without opening them. So I guess I may have forgotten about them.) Often the Girl Teen was at Target with me, and she is a huge Babystar enabler. It is just so much FUN to choose toys for little kids. And so the Target bags would go in one closet or another and I guess I sort of forgot about them.

We even wrapped all of these gifts in November. The Teen and I had a wrapping party and we had music and snacks and it was fun and I was sad when it was over so I didn’t realize that I had purchased an entire toy store for the two year old.

It’s actually quite lucky that we are moving to a big farmhouse with no friends because she will have plenty of toys to play with and plenty of room to keep them and plenty of time to play with them. But soon I have to pack them. Ugh.

Santa brought her the train set that she wanted. Of course it was made by elves, but I think their summer job is at Ikea. Ikea would have charged $57.96 for all of the pieces that Santa’s elves made. And some are still in the closet. Santa went overboard.

Her Christmas stocking was full of chocolate coins* ($1.99), three packs of pink Play-doh ($0.77 x 3), a Rudolph board book ($1), a pack of M&Ms ($1.29), a Princess Poppy expandable washcloth from the Target dollar aisle which she already used last night ($1), ten adorable ‘monsters’ from Ikea** ($7.40), and a tiny baby doll*** ($3.59).

*Did you see those awesome Coins from Around the World for $1.99/bundle at Trader Joe’s this year??

**Ikea chooses ten kid’s drawings each year and turns them into stuffed animals with two sizes each and all proceeds go to charity and it is the cutest thing.

***Her Toddler BFF has this little baby from Target and Babystar loooooves it. Her BFF calls her ‘Baby Lucy’ so this one is naturally ‘Baby Lucy’.

And then there were a million more gifts wrapped under the tree.

  • Melissa and Doug felt food Sandwich Set
  • Melissa and Doug Scoop and Stack Ice Cream Cone Magnetic Play Set $21.20
  • Melissa and Doug Birthday Party Cake $14.97
  • Felt donuts from the Target ‘dollar aisle’ $3
  • Wooden breakfast food from the Target ‘dollar aisle’ $3
  • Strawberry Shortcake doll $9.99
  • Angel Cake doll $9.99
  • Blueberry Muffin doll $9.99
  • Orange Blossom doll $9.99
  • vintage Huckleberry Pie doll from eBay $9.95

I tucked Huck in with Angel Cake because she was the only one without a giant hat.

  • Terra Prehistoric World Playset (basically an awesome giant bin of dinosaurs) $15.99
  • CAT mini machines (“just like at nook!”) 5-pack $4.69

CAT trucks at nook

  • Hotwheels car launcher (meant to go with a track but Babystar just likes to zoom her cars) $9.97
  • Moana pajamas $17.97
  • Usborne books: Ludwig the Space Dog (it’s 3D!) and My First Book About Me (to help with naming feelings) $28.24
  • Three adorable winter hats with animal ears ($3, $3, $3)
  • Lacing toy for building fine motor skills $3
  • Honestly Cute Potty Training set (a baby doll with a flushing potty that she already adores and is currently peeing on my table and I hope will get Babystar excited about using the potty herself) $20.69
  • Play-doh Florist Shop $9.99
  • (We also bought an 18-pack of Play-doh but didn’t give it to her. We have been doling it out as she smooshes her Play-doh colors together.) $15.49

I did luckily get most of these things on sale. But dude. Yeah. It’s a bit much. I know, I know. I have no idea how this happened?

Parents: Got any advice for reigning it in with the gifts? I didn’t THINK I was an Over-Do-It Mama but apparently I am one. Bummer.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $25,036.15

Cat and Jack in the Cold.

This year I will not buy too many clothes for Babystar.

This year I will dress her in hand me downs and work with less and do more laundry.

This year I will just layer a lot and save some money.

HAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHA NOPE.

Omg I cannot stop buying long sleeves and sweaters and sweatshirts for Babystar. And it’s alllllll Cat and Jack from Target. I don’t even think I have pictures for everything. But my favorite is this Bear Sweater. It’s my favorite because Babystar loves it. And Babystar loves it because it has a Bear Butt.

Y’all. It totally does.

bear butt

I kept a list, though not everything is pictured. And most was bought on sale.

  • Leggings $5
  • Leggings $5
  • Leggings $5
  • Sweater $16
  • Long sleeve shirt $7
  • Long sleeve shirt $7
  • Sweatshirt $4.90
  • Sweatshirt $4.90
  • Long sleeve shirt and pants set $8.39
  • Long sleeve shirt and pant set $11.89
  • Sweatpants $6.99
  • Purple sweater $12.59
  • Sweatpants $4.20
  • Long sleeve shirt $3.85
  • Long sleeve shirt $6.99

My favorite is the ruffly purple sweater that works over almost anything.

new sweater

Babystar’s favorite thing to wear are her new Princess Poppy slippers (Marshall’s $7.99). She doesn’t quite understand that slippers are not shoes, so she wears them everywhere. I guess it’s a good thing that we bought her all those boots.

poppy slippers

Hey, did you know that Starbucks will give you a free small cup of whipped cream for your ToddlerMonster so she can stop asking for the whipped cream from your fancy coffee drink? #themoreyouknow

RAISING BABYSTAR: $24,562.15

Plus a Flamingo.

And now for a tale of a teepee and a flamingo.

Anyone that has ever read this blog (THANK YOU FOR READING THIS BLOG!!) knows that I am mildly very much obsessed with Target.

So. The grandparents bought the adorable Pillowfort Gold Star Teepee for Babystar’s second birthday.

(If you are wondering, this teepee is HUGE. Which is super awesome if you have a playroom or you want a cute way to corral toys and give your kid a play area in your family room. It is less cool if you have a nursery the size of — well, the size of a teepee plus a changing table. Also, if you were wondering some more, the fabric is nice and thick like canvas. We loved it.)

Target has a 90-day return policy. On Day 103 of owning this teepee, a small child broke one of the thick dowel rods during a playdate. The child was aged two to five (we don’t really know who landed the kill shot). The manufacturer suggests this product for ages three and up. It should not have been broken so easily. Have they ever MET any kids age three and up??

To be fair, there was a knot in the wood where the dowel split, so it was likely weakened before the children started their Game of Destruction.

I took all of it to Target: the broken dowel, the non-broken dowels, the gold star fabric, a two-year-old child. And I asked for a new one. Or at least a new dowel.

The fine people at Target were AWESOME.

I had the receipt in an email (it was purchased online) so they knew I didn’t steal a giant teepee, break it, and try to pull a fast one. They couldn’t give me Target credit since it was past 90 days, but they DID totally break the rules and let me exchange the teepee.

But of course they didn’t have the gold star one in the store. And it HAD to be the gold star one. BabySTAR. Obvs.

So they gave me a brand new other-flavor teepee AND let me keep the gold star fabric from my old one.

And. AND. My receipt showed that the grandparents paid $89.99 but the teepee was currently selling for $79.99 so they couldn’t do the exchange unless I found ten more dollars worth of merchandise — but it had to be from the same department.

OH HAI MINGO! Babystar saw the pink flamingo and it was love at first sight. Mingo was a bit more than $10, so I paid $7.41 to exchange the teepee after the return window had passed AND bring home a new bff. Fair deal.

Mingo joins us on lots of adventures.

mingo1

mingo3

Um, plus I now have TWO teepees. I just need four dowel rods to make the second one. However, the teepees are giant, so I currently have ZERO teepees outside of a closet in the basement.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $23,224.17