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.

The Artist at Work.

Can I pretend my baby is a sea otter?

Hear me out.

Babystar is an artist. She is really feeling the modern art these days and is totally digging the whole minimalism-one-single-blue-line-on-a field-of yellow-construction-paper look. Or she may add a few circles. But not, like, the basic round circles of the bourgeois. Her circles don’t close. Or they loop around three or four times, expressing themselves.

One time she accidentally made a triangle.

I am sure she is making really interesting statements about society and the rate at which we dole out snacks. Or something.

Also, she can only work with broken crayons.

Once. She can use the broken crayon once but then never again.

She is almost certainly making really interesting artistic statements about society and our insistence that she wear sunscreen.

ANYWAY. This minimalist inclination of hers has got me going through paper like whoa. Paper doesn’t grow on trees, you know. Well, it kind of does, in a way, but you take my point.

While Babystar’s work isn’t great for a human, it is excellent for a sea otter. What I want here is permission to completely misrepresent her work as being done by a sea otter and then sell it on Etsy. I will even split the proceeds with an actual sea otter. Does anyone know a sea otter?

No? Ok, fine.

I bought the Ikea easel ($19.99) to try to stop the paper flow. You know the one: one side is a chalkboard and the other is dry erase.

Ikea easel

Thankfully, Babystar LOVES the chalk medium. She covers the entire chalkboard with a rainbow of colors. The easel distracts from the crayons and markers for at least ten whole minute every day. So I figure I’m saving thousands of trees.

Also purchased in the interest of supporting the arts: Ikea roll of paper ($9.98), Ikea table top paper holder ($7.99), chalk ($2.97), dry-erase pens ($5.98), smock that is already lost ($4.99), 96-pack of crayons ($4.99), drawing pads ($2.19×7), watercolor pad ($3.99), canvas ($24).

PROTIP: For amazing grandparent/godparent/whomever gifts, give the kid canvas after canvas but only TWO primary paint colors. And some of the colors in between. Like blue-purple-pink-red. Or yellow-orange-pink-red. You get it. Be on standby to change out the canvases like a toddler assembly line and voila: gifts for a year.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $28,429.30

 

Castle Babystar.

I have a very serious question.

HOW DID THE TINIEST PERSON IN THE FAMILY TAKE OVER THIS WHOLE HOUSE???

Ok, for example, look at this dining room. There is a tiny dining table in the tiny corner and the rest of the room is a rocking horse and ride on horse and a bunch of blank space because Babystar likes to RUN.

dining room

Please also notice the living room. This ENTIRE AREA is dedicated to a teepee fort for Babystar. And the window seat holds her adorable toddler books. Including the new box of Baby Lit board books that I bought her from Costco ($15.99) thirty percent because I thought she would like them and seventy percent because if Babystar is going to take over the house, then her things should at least be cute. (All I read are children’s books. HOW ON EARTH do other parents read books?!? Genuinely asking. I keep a book in the bathroom and I read one chapter per bath so I will likely finish it by my birthday. In September.) Oh! That adorable tiny wooden bookshelf is from Ikea ($24.99) and it’s perfect for toddler sized books.

That window seat is actually pretty cool. It holds books and a couple of Melissa & Doug puzzles. One puzzle set is the really cool one she played with last fall with her cousins. I finally found it (on CLEARANCE at Target for $8.98) and Babystar LOVES it. I think it is the perfect started puzzle for kids, because you just match the shapes to create a picture. You don’t actually have to fit one particular piece into one particular place. Genius. The other puzzle was given to us by our only Colorado friend (so far). Babystar gets to drive the vehicles around the puzzle path to match them to their homes. I mean it: Melissa and Doug are both GENIUSES.

Over here we have the toy box corner. That toy box ($42) is FULL and it’s not even her only toy box. It’s her living room toy box. I don’t have room in this giant fucking farmhouse for a desk which I really need but we have a DOWNSTAIRS TOY BOX.

toy box

And do you even see this freaking train table?!? It is taking up some prime real estate in the living room just so Babystar can have a place to play dinosaurs with her rocks. Oh, and she plays trains sometimes too. Sometimes the Trolls ride the trains. Ok, it really does make her happy. And it was FREE thanks to an awesome mama on an awesome Boulder mama Facebook page.

train table

We shoved the couches and lamps and end tables into the other corner over there and you better believe she STILL LEAVES HER TOYS ALL OVER THE COUCHES. Dude. What.

living room

Also one of those ottomans is full of papers that really belong in a desk. Help. Me.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,955.75

 

Hoppy Easter!!

How does your family celebrate?

We tell the kids that the Easter Chicken will only lay pretty eggs if the children clean the house the night before.

APRIL FOOLS! (Although we totally should have went with that version and you can feel free to steal it.)

In our house, the Easter Bunny hides the easter baskets. And he (she? it?) always includes  a book, some chocolate, and a surprise.

E.B. hid three baskets last night.

Babystar is only two years old so hers was kind of easy to find: under the train table.

basket1

Princess Buttercup and Magic Boy (he’s a magician) are legal adults so E.B. could try a bit harder.

Princess Buttercup (age 18) insisted on having a giant stuffed chick so her basket and chickie were hidden in the only place it would fit: the corner cupboard.

E.B. tried hard to trick College Boy but he found it anyway.

Babystar found her basket first. AND she found it all by herself! E.B. is gonna step up her hiding game next year. Tbh I should have known. Babystar LOVES hide and seek.

And now it’s time for the break down.

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means that if you click through and purchase anything, I may earn a small commission. You will earn my eternal gratitude.

  • Book: Frida Kahlo by Isabel Sanchez Vegara $8.09 (The Easter Bunny shops at Barnes & Nobles but it’s available on Amazon, along with tons of other great titles in the Little People, Big Dreams series.
  • Tiny chocolate bunny $0.59
  • pastel Goldfish crackers $0.99
  • Skittles with bunny ears $0.80
  • egg full of M&M’s $0.80
  • Cheez-it crackers $1
  • Trolls bubble wands $1
  • three easter-themed coloring books $3
  • easter sticker book $1
  • twenty mystery Trolls (though we have already opened a few and one is COOPER!!) that were on clearance last month $17.80

Easter basket total: $35.07

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,854.80

Stop This Train.

Babystar visited the Emergency Room this week.

She was scared but very brave and very very sweet.

Babystar just wanted to make sure that I would hold her the whole time at the doctor’s office. I promised that I would. We first went to Urgent Care because Babystar had not peed in twenty-four hours. And she had a fever for about half of that time. AND I gave her a choice of peeing or going to the doctor and she told me that she didn’t want to pee. So into the car we went.

Ok, technically she had not peed in twenty-three and a half hours, but Urgent Care closes at seven and the co-pay difference is $300. And since we just moved here, Babystar does not yet have a pediatrician. That changes today, by the way.

(Anyone in Boulder have a pediatrician recommendation pretty please?)

The doctors and nurses at Foothills ER were all very very nice but they definitely underestimated the strength of my little ToddlerMonster. Since she had not peed, there was concern of a possible UTI or other infection. Which meant they needed a urine sample. She is not potty-trained, and she was straight up refusing to pee, so they needed to do a baby catheter.

I wanted to cry but I was a brave strong mama. (We were there alone due to family logistical reasons.) And Babystar was on my lap because I PROMISED. (Well actually she was between my legs but she knew she was on mama’s lap so that’s all that mattered.)

Do you know that if you take a young child to the ER they basically put them in a straight jacket? They hold baby’s arms by his or her side and wrap a sheet around baby’s entire torso. MY baby was screaming and fighting this whole situation, and they wanted ME to hold her arms inside this torture device. MY sweet baby wiggled her arms up and out, but not to rip off the sheet or push away the nurses. She just wanted to hold my hands.

Things were not going as smoothly at the other end of the gurney. The nurses cleaned and prepped her but holding her down for the catheter was not working at all. Babystar is strong like mom, y’all. She has a shirt that says so and everything. They had to go get another nurse to help hold down my little thirty pound kicking machine.

They tried.

It didn’t matter in the end.

She. Peed. Everywhere.

I have never been so happy to be soaked in baby pee. (She was on my lap, remember?)

And for those med students following along, since she was prepped, she was clean. A quick thinking nurse collected a sample for testing. Actually, I think they managed to get two vials and they probably could have gotten twenty. There was SO. MUCH. PEE.

She even peed on her head. I didn’t know that she peed on her head, so when the nurses left and I was cleaning her and changing her clothes and giving her a million kisses, I kissed her head. Right on the pee. It was gross. I didn’t care.

Hashtag momlife, right?

I got to wear awesome blue paper scrubs and pretend to be J.D.

We waited around for about thirty more minutes and Babystar was pronounced bacteria-free.

BOOM. $350.

We have been talking a lot about the potty the last couple of weeks. Babystar will be three in June, and she is showing all the textbooks signs that she is ready for the potty. She knows when she is peeing or pooping in her diaper (because she always tells me right before it happens so I can be ready to change her because “remember that time I had a rash and it hurt?”) She hasn’t had a wet diaper overnight in almost a year. She has the ability to hold it. Obviously. And she actually DID pee in the potty about two weeks ago. We made her a chart with stickers and did the pee pee dance and she got some chocolate candies and we did ALL THE THINGS.

But she hates it. She doesn’t want to use the potty and she tells us all the time. So I told her we would stop. And that while she was sick, she could have m&m’s every time she pees in her diaper. My sweet funny Babystar got so excited and said, “we don’t have to go on the potty train anymore?”

Did I just push her potty training back to age four? Probably.

Will she go to college in diapers? Maybe.

Am I the worst mom in the world? Nah.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $26,819.73