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.

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!!

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

 

Oh, HELLOOOO, Tiny Smile.

Let’s talk about toothpaste. Yes. Toothpaste. Hello Toothpaste.

Babystar is incredibly discriminate about her toothbrushes and her toothpaste.

I owe a huge ‘thank you’ to Hello Products for including their toddler toothpaste in the gift bags at the Type-A Parent blogging conference last October.

We tried both the Apple and Watermelon flavor, and Babystar LOVES them. And now I can buy hippie toothpaste just like I always wanted.

hello toothpaste2

Before I tried the Hello toothpaste (that I honestly thought Babystar would reject based on our experience with the strawberry Tom’s of Maine children’s toothpaste), I bought a tube of Orajel My Little Pony toothpaste ($3.24). And I have purchased more of the only toothbrush she will accept, the Woobamboo brand ($6.88 with Amazon Prime).

The Hello tubes were free, and I have plenty left. But I’m excited to have a new brand that she loves that isn’t full of artificial colors and plastered with cartoon characters. Very. Excited.

I am easily excited.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $25,780.93

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