Forty.

I never thought I would be chasing a toddler at forty years old.

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I was a teen mom before Instagram and Facebook and the MTV show. I mostly just hoped I wouldn’t have GRANDCHILDREN by age forty. (I don’t. I somehow have two amazing college students with practical knowledge of birth control.)

My Teen Marriage didn’t last (surprise!) but I have been married to my current husband for over ten years. We tried for a baby almost right away, but then got sucked into the dark depths of Secondary Infertility. As anyone who has been through any type of infertility knows, it was HELL. After six years of charting and procedures and hoping and crying and crumbling, I gave up.

I had to give up. For my sanity and for my marriage, I needed to stop the monthly devastation. I had two unbelievably amazing children and my husband had two wonderful step-children. We were both very lucky, actually. And our family was complete.

My two wonderful children lived in Florida with their dad during the school year (another long story for another time), and I missed them so much all the time. I luckily had a job that allowed me to work from home, wherever that home might be. We made a hard decision to rent an apartment for me in Florida during the 2014-2015 school year. It was my son’s senior year of high school and my daughter’s sophomore year of high school. I found a three-bedroom apartment across the street from the high school for less than $900 per month. At that point, I was spending about $1500 each month on hotels and AirBnBs and airplane tickets and car rentals and dinners out with the kids in Florida. The finances sucked but it kind of made sense. So I moved there without my husband.

But of course we visited one another.

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Imagine my surprise when three months into the school year (and three months into my Florida lease), my period was late. Holy crap. I could hardly believe it. I didn’t believe it. And then I couldn’t deny it. I took a pregnancy test and called my husband 700 miles away with the news.

I WAS PREGNANT! OMFG.

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But. I was living in Florida for the school year. The school year that ended in May. My daughter was turning sixteen in May. My son was graduating in June. Babystar was due on June 19.

That was a hell of a ride.

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I went to doctor’s appointments and ultrasounds without my husband. I heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time all by myself. I sat alone to take the gestational diabetes test. I drove myself to the hospital when I started bleeding early in the third trimester and sat in that hospital bed texting my husband five states away while he checked the airline schedules. (I was ok. The baby didn’t come until June.)

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I fetched my own ice cream. I spent too much money on pedicures just for the frequent foot massages. I ripped my cartilage and had to bind my ribs myself because the doctors I was seeing were not my own and were pretty horrible and I was not invested enough to find a new temporary doctor in Florida. I had strong faux contractions from about Week 22 and I laid awake night after night trying to get comfortable. I complained to no one. (Ok, those two wonderful college students might disagree.)

I didn’t set up a nursery, because I wasn’t home. I didn’t shop for the baby because I was too busy with my teenagers. (And we were too broke from supporting two households.) I basically tried to ignore the pregnancy. Not because I wasn’t excited — I was! I was that wary but ecstatic sort of excited experienced by parents that gave everything trying for a baby. But. But still, I didn’t want anything to take away from being in Florida with my teenagers.

Who were not at all amused, by the way. Well, my son thought it was hilarious. My daughter just rolled her eyes.

I threw a Sweet Sixteen birthday party for my daughter at 36 weeks pregnant. And I danced — in heels! I sat on backless bleachers for hours at 37 weeks pregnant to watch my son graduate high school. At 38 weeks pregnant, I sold as much as I could and packed up the rest of that Florida apartment and moved back home.

I went into labor two weeks later, on my due date. I was out running last minute errands for the baby. Everything was last minute with this baby. My son was driving but I wouldn’t let him take me home until we finished everything on my list.

I was right.

Babystar was born the next day.

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And all of a sudden I was paying attention. I didn’t put her down for months. You can’t spoil a baby, right?

Babystar has been the best little surprise. She definitely changed all of our lives. My daughter chose a close-ish state school and I am certain the main reason is her two-year-old BFF. My husband was Mr. Live Music and Football Games and I can count on my fingers the concerts he has been to in the last two years. My plan was ALWAYS to spend my fortieth birthday in Cape Town, finally reaching my dream vacation destination. Instead, I am having a movie night that will probably be a Moana double feature. First Moana, and then Moana again.

And I fucking love it.

My birthday blog post was going to be a story about me and how I felt about turning forty. And just like my life, this post was taken over by this tiny human that I never expected to meet. What’s forty? I’m too busy building block towers and pushing swings and reading picture books and blowing bubbles to care.

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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

 

Happy Father’s Day (Mate)!

Ok, so it’s not actually Father’s Day in the United States. But yesterday was Father’s Day in Australia, which totally reminded me that I did not write a Father’s Day post this year.

Whoops.

I didn’t write the things we bought for my darling husband on my eternal Babystar list because they were for HIM, not HER. But obviously I should have, because he is a father BECAUSE OF HER.

So. How freaking cute are these matching Big Dipper and Little Dipper t-shirts? I bought them from blackbirdsupply on Etsy, and they were $70.68. I paid for rush shipping because I am a terrible wife that did not plan ahead. Annoyingly, they arrived in plenty of time so I probably didn’t NEED the rush shipping but I am a wonderful wife that likes to be prepared. 😉

I also got them matching socks ($9.99) so they could look cool together at the local soft play rooms.

And Babystar painted a wooden heart shaped frame ($3 and I already had the paint) all by herself and it is the cutest thing in the world. Almost three months later, and I still haven’t ordered a picture for it. Maybe for Christmas?

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HEY AUSTRALIAN AND NEW ZEALAND PARENTS: Happy Father’s Day to you or any fathers in your life. How did you celebrate?

RAISING BABYSTAR: $21,140.46

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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?!?

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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.)

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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.
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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.
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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

The Art of the Bribe.

Bribery. Good parents would NEVER bribe their children, right?

Who can say? There is no way to contact these Bribery-Free Good Parents. They are all very busy explaining to Toddlers why the Good Parents need at least one hand and a small amount of quiet in order to make a phone call oh never mind the office closed hours ago.

Child Bribery is the reason banks have lollipops. Without lollipops, banks are basically the most boring place on earth. WITH lollipops, banks are a super fun treat.

Child Bribery is the reason that popsicles EXIST. I make popsicles so I can say, ‘hey, do you want a popsicle’ and Babystar will say ‘obviously’ and I have about four minutes to load the dishwasher or change my tampon unassisted or make a dentist appointment.

I don’t know what I will offer when she starts refusing popsicles. Twenty dollar bills?

Whatever works, y’all.

But here’s the thing. Or, at least, here is the thing that I tell myself but is probably not true at all because Toddlers are wily af. Babystar has no clue that she is being bribed. She just thinks mommy is really nice and sometimes gives her popsicles along with a little personal space to eat them and drip them on the floor if that is her choice.

Boom. Mom of the year.

We have spent the last six years a few weeks this summer at various stores shopping for the Teenager’s dorm furnishings. (In case you don’t know, The Teenager likes everything to be just so. Dorm shopping involved a lot of Pinning and Browsing and comparison shopping and returning things and buying other things and returning THOSE things and buying other things.)

Babystar loves her sister and she loves going bye-bye (mostly) but everyone has limits. And of course she wants to touch everything in Home Goods and RUN SO FAST through Target’s aisles because duh. She is also learning sequences, and she responds really well to ‘first this, then this’. I can say first we change your diaper, then we go to the park. Or first lunch, then diaper, then park. So I always made the third thing fun. First we return sheets at Target, then we buy hangers at Home Goods, then we go to the splash park. First we get dorm snacks at Trader Joe’s, then we buy storage bins at Target, then we have a picnic with the airplanes. First Ikea, then Target (ALWAYS Target), then we can pick out a toy at Home Goods (while the Teenager decides on the absolutely perfect throw pillow).

Home Goods has the BEST toys, y’all. They almost always have discounted Melissa & Doug toys. And Green Toys. And books. There is only one small Toy Aisle so Babystar’s choices are limited (good) but the inventory is constantly changing so it is a new toy store every time (better). I am a huge fan.

During my three desperate ‘you can pick any toy’ days, I was pretty willing to buy whichever toy she chose. The most expensive thing there is usually still under thirty bucks.

The first Toy Bribe Day, Babystar chose Green Toys Sports Boats. There were two on the shelf; one was blue and one was orange. And they both had cool Duck Captains. Babystar could not choose a color, so I bought both. They were $5.99 each, and they are normally $11.99, so one was basically free, right? Isn’t that how math works? (I know. Shhh.) She loves them and plays with them every night during her bath.

 

The next Toy Bribe Day, Babystar chose a Melissa & Doug felt food sandwich set ($12.99). It is pretty sweet. Pretend food is apparently ALL THE RAGE in Babystar’s world right now. (I eat fake corn and take bites of fake ketchup several times a day.) So it is really strange to me that she has not even asked about the sandwich set since we brought it home. It is sitting in the top of her closet waiting for a rainy day (proverbial or actual) or perhaps Christmas.

 

The last Toy Bribe Day of the Dorm Shopping Extravaganza, Babystar chose a small pack of wooden blocks ($3.00). These blocks were on CLEARANCE at Home Goods. Home Goods prices are already basically clearance prices. I was very excited about the wooden blocks. I was mostly excited about the fact that they only cost three dollars.

wooden blocks

The blocks are meant to be a little town or something but Babystar loves to build a TOWER SO TALL TO THE SKY so she plays with them a bit different than intended. (Whatever; her blocks, her tower, her life.)

block tower

And oh yeah, we all got pedicures before taking the Teenager to college. Babystar’s blue toes cost $10.

RAISING BABYSTAR: $20,564.60

MAYDAY MAYDAY: Do you use Child Bribery to make your life easier? What form? Does it work? (I’m clearly soliciting new plans, if you couldn’t tell.)

 

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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