Five Years

March 21st is World Down Syndrome Day, and I it occurred to me today that that means that it has been five years since I found out that our little Ellie Bean had Ds.  I was 18 weeks pregnant when we had the amnio done, and it was about a week until we had the results back, making March 21st pretty darn close to the day we found out that she had an extra chromosome.

We had our suspicions before-hand. The extra fluid on the back of her neck at the 12 week nuchal translucency test (when we also found out that we were having twins), combined with the particular heart defect that she had pointed at Down syndrome.

But it was still a shock to the system, holding the print outs of our (now confirmed) girls’ chromosomes in our hands and seeing the third copy of number 21 sitting there.  I remember calmly talking about what this all meant with a very nice genetic counselor, who tried really hard not to cringe when she told us that we still had the option of trying to selectively abort one baby, but that at this stage it was very possible that I would lose both in the process.  She was visibly relieved when we told her that abortion was out of the question.  We loved our girls, no matter how many chromosomes they each had.

Then I went home and cried.  A lot.  I’m not going to lie about it.  I was heartbroken.  Not at the thought of having a child with Down syndrome, per say.  I didn’t have much experience with people with Ds, but from what I had seen, they seemed like pretty happy, healthy folks.  I was the loss of all the things I had envisioned for my child that hurt so much.  She would never drive a car.  She would never go to college.  She would never get married and have babies of her own.  She would never be a famous writer or artist or doctor or dancer.  Would people make fun of her?  Would she sit in her room, crying, because her sister had a date to the prom, but no one had asked her?  Would she watch Laurel drive off to college and wisht that she could go, too?

After a couple of pregnancy-hormone fueled days of this, I hopped online and started doing some research, where I found that most of my fears were completely unfounded.  People with Down syndrome do all of the things I thought she wouldn’t.  I had an image of Ellie being shunted off to a dreary special ed room with the other “disabled” kids, like when I was young, but that isn’t how things are done any more.  Next year, when she starts kindergarten, Ellie will spend a decent part of the day in a regular classroom with the “typical” kids.  She’ll have extra help, of course, but it really isn’t like it use to be.  One day Ellie will go to the prom, and there are more and more colleges that are opening their doors to kids with special needs every year!  Our little Bunny’s future is pretty darn bright, and you had better believe that she isn’t one to feel sorry for herself.

A lot has changed in the past five years, but some of the biggest changes are happening right now.  For the first four years of Ellie’s life, she was, quite frankly, coddled by Chev and me.  She was our baby long after Laurel started to become her own little person.  The combination of Ellie’s developmental and speech delays made her more apt to sit in my lap and snuggle than to explore the world.  But something has changed.  Ellie is starting to talk, and that has made her bolder, more confident.  She has found her voice and at the same time she seems to be finding herself.  It is a fascinating thing to watch.  Just in the past few weeks, she has started to string words together into short sentences, and she can now hold a conversation with us about simple things.  She has NO problem giving her opinion, either, and woe betide the person who tries to ignore her when she wants their attention.  She is growing into her own person, and that person is pretty fantastic.

I can’t wait to see what she’ll be like in five more years.

Also, if you are interested in learning more about the college opportunities for people with Down syndrome, or are feeling generous, check out Ruby’s Rainbow and take their 3/21 pledge.  The Ellies of the world thank you.

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The Eating Styles of the Cute and Picky

Ah, dinnertime.  That once-a-day ritual that I so looked forward to when I was pregnant, dreaming of the perfect little children I was growing in my tummy.  In my mind, lit with the warm glow of the chandelier, I could see Chev, myself, and the girls sitting around the table, eating a healthy, lovingly cooked meal, quietly talking about our day.  The girls would, of course, have amazing pallets, eating everything from steak to tilapia happily.  (You know, because I was going to start them out early, getting them to try exotic flavors as babies.)  We were smiling, even laughing.  There was no crying, screaming, or throwing of food.  Not at MY dinner table.

Oh, what a fool I was.

The reality of trying to feed two four-year-olds and two adults who all have very different tastes is a heck of a lot more difficult.  Despite my best efforts, and their early willingness to eat whatever I put in front of them, the girls have become two very picky eaters.  We often liken them to Jack Sprat and his wife.  When it comes to food, they are complete opposites, but put together they can usually polish off a meal.  Ellie will happily devour any kind of meat, except hamburger, often asking for more.  She will not, however, touch vegetables.  Laurel will eat a bite or two of meat, then scarf down all of the corn, peas, and potatoes on her plate.  Ellie likes all noodles equally, and will eat them no matter what you cover them with, from alfredo to pureed spinach.  Laurel will only eat spaghetti-shaped noodles, and only with marinara sauce or butter.  Ellie isn’t a sweet-eater, preferring pretzels and crackers over cookies and cakes.  We have to hide candy and baked-goods on top of the fridge, where Laurel can’t reach them.

So dinner time, instead of being a peaceful time to bond over reflections of our day, is now a stress-filled half hour full of cajoling and threatening the girls into eating at least three bites of each food on their plates.  Laurel, at least, can be reasoned with.  She will eat something she doesn’t want to eat, but she will make a face like it is going to kill her, and she has limits.  She will eat three bites of something, but that is IT.  Don’t even try to convince her that since she said she liked something that she should eat more of it.  The idea of eating ALL of something she doesn’t love makes her brain explode.  The explosion sounds a lot like whining.

Ellie won’t take a bite of something she doesn’t like the looks of.  Not even one bite.  It doesn’t matter how long we make her sit at the table or how many cookies we try to bribe her with.  It just isn’t happening.  I honestly think that if someone told her she had to eat a single pea to save my life, I would be quickly be meeting my maker.  You can sing Daniel Tiger’s song about trying new food until you turn blue; my stubborn little girl isn’t going to open her mouth.  If you really push the issue, Ellie will completely shut down, turning sideways in her booster seat and crying uncontrollably, thus ending any hope that we had of her eating even the foods on her plate that she does like.

I don’t want you to think we just let them get away with bad dinner behavior from the get-go.  We have tried everything we can think of to get the girls to eat: I’ve read all of the blogs, scoured Pinterest for cute ideas, talked to other moms.  And you know what?  None of that crap works.  I get Laurel involved in cooking dinner all the time, and she’ll tell me that she LOVES vegetable soup….until it is sitting in front of her at the dinner table.  We’ve tried making them sit at the table until they eat all of their food.  (We couldn’t take the crying after 45 minutes.)  We tried not letting them have anything else to eat all night.  (Ellie woke up crying in the wee hours of the morning, and Laurel woke up at 5am starving every single time.)  We tried bribery.  (Ellie doesn’t care about cake enough to eat three kernals of corn.)  We tried threats.  (No TV after dinner if you don’t eat = penalizing myself WAY too much.)  We’ve tried talking to them as if they were logical human beings.  (*snort*  Yeah, that didn’t work.)  The list goes on and on.

Really, the only part of my pregnancy daydream that has come true is the healthy, lovingly cooked meals I provide on a nightly basis.  Even the chandelier is a let-down, since there is always at least on bulb burned out.  (What is up with that, anyway??)  Basically we have resigned ourselves to not having a peaceful meal together for at least another five years.

And you know what?  I’m ok with that.

I know that one day they WILL eat what I put in front of them.  One day Laurel will ask me for seconds of chicken.  One day Ellie will ask for a second helping of roasted veggies.  One day they will be in college, eating mushy meatloaf, and they will think, “Man, I really miss mom’s cooking.”

I know because I was one of the pickiest kids to ever walk the Earth.  I spent an entire year of my life eating nothing but peanut butter sandwiches.  No, really.  That’s it.  Peanut butter on white bread.  And now I’ll eat almost anything.  My dream vacation would be to eat my way across the globe.  I drool while watching cooking shows, and wish I could afford to go to high-end restaurants.  If I ever win the lottery, I’m going to weigh a million pounds.

So, if you have a picky kid, remember, it isn’t the end of the world.  Just go with what they WILL eat and keep trying.  Fight the good fight, my friends.

Carrying On

Today is a bitter-sweet day at our house.

Today I am saying goodbye to a faithful friend, one who has really lended me support over the past few years, one on whom Ellie has depended on many occasions.

I am, of course, talking about my Ergo baby carrier.

That’s right, after four solid years of use, Ellie has out-grown her Ergo.  I couldn’t have asked for a better carrier.  My only regret is that I didn’t get it when the girls were first born, because it would have really made those first few months a lot easier.  As it is, the Ergo enabled me to do things that would have been impossible without it, like hiking, going to the fair, and eating with both hands when Ellie was sick and refused to be put down.  I love my Ergo.

All good things must come to an end, however, and it is time to pack up my old friend and send it off to someone else, who I can only hope will appreciate it as much as I did.  While still technically under the weight limit, Ellie is simply too big to fit comfortably in the Ergo now, and it has been getting progressively less comfortable for me to wear her on my back over the past six months.  So farewell, old friend.  You will always be remembered as the single most useful baby item I ever owned.

“But wait,” you say, “You said today was bitter-sweet.  Where is the sweet part?”

Well, my friends, let me introduce you to the newest addition to our household…..

Picture 117The Beco toddler carrier.

Picture 125Holy crap is this thing awesome.

New to the relatively small market of toddler carriers, the Beco is all that I could wish for in a carrier.  Besides the considerable size difference between my baby Ergo, I am loving the way it is constructed.  The waist clip is adjustable from both sides, so it can be clipped right in the middle, which I find a lot more comfortable.  The shoulder straps are SO much cushier than the Ergo, and they are really easy to adjust.  I’m no longer getting strangled by the chest clip, either, which is a very nice change.  I can even wear her on my front, something I haven’t been able to do for a really long time in the Ergo.  There is a little pocket on the waist band, a snap-on zippered pouch, and an adjustable snap-on hood.  It also comes with a super cute little carrying bag, so there will be no more flailing straps in the back of my car.

Ergo Baby on top of Beco Toddler.  Note the size difference!

Ergo Baby on top of Beco Toddler. Note the size difference!

Look how thick the straps are, compared to my old Ergo!

Look how thick the straps are, compared to my old Ergo!

Where can you get this wonder?  Well, I snagged one from Lil Tulips, and it only took three days to get to my house.  You can’t beat that for service!  Now, I know they are pricey at $200, but I really think they are worth the money.  I am notoriously cheap, but I know that I am going to use this carrier for at least two more years, and some things are just worth investing in.

All packed up in the little storage bag.

All packed up in the little storage bag.

Especially when you have a child who has special needs.  Because while a toddler carrier may be a convenience item for most families, it is pretty much a necessity for us.  Ellie simply can’t walk for long on her own, and hiking is pretty much out of the question.  Add in her dislike for holding our hands and complete lack of stranger danger, and a carrier is a must.  I was really worried about what we were going to do when I realized that Ellie was going to outgrow her Ergo before she could walk really well.  Thank goodness for the all of the babywearing mamas out there who have spurred the carrier companies to create carriers for bigger kids!

Ready to hit the trail.  Or the mall.  Whatever comes first.

Ready to hit the trail. Or the mall. Whatever comes first.

So while we are sad to say goodbye to our friend, the Ergo, Ellie and I are very excited to start our Beco journey… one step at a time.

Someone was sad that this post wasnt about her.

Someone was sad that this post wasnt about her.

Food Snob

I'll cook anything for love

I’ll cook anything for love

It all started with a simple question.

A friend and I were discussing what we were making for dinner.  I told her that I was making meatloaf and mashed potatoes.  She then said, “Oo!  Meatloaf!  Can I have your recipe?!”  I don’t have a recipe for meatloaf, and I told her so.  She got a sort of miffed expression on her face and told me I didn’t have to be such a food snob.

A food snob?  Me?  I’m not talking about making duck a l’orange here.  I’m talking about meatloaf, one of the most basic staples of housewives for generations.  So I asked her to elaborate, and she told me that this isn’t the first time I’ve told her that I didn’t use a recipe for something I was cooking.  That in the past she has asked me for my recipe for something and I’ve just rattled off a list of ingredients and instructions to her, when she really just wanted me to email it to her later.  She said it made her feel like I was acting superior to her, because she didn’t memorize things so easily.

Whoa there, I told my friend.  I use recipes a LOT.  I’m always making new stuff, and thanks to Pinterest, my family never gets a chance to get bored with any of it before I find something new to make.  I have a folder stuffed with recipes that I’ve copied down from online, recipes I’ve ripped out to magazines, and recipes that I’ve collected from family members.  I have very few things memorized.

She scowled and said that making new stuff all the time makes me sound even snobbier.  She makes the same basic stuff all of the time “like a normal person.”  Apparently I make her feel like she’s not doing enough, like she’s a bad wife and mother.

Ok, hold up.  Is it me, or are you seeing this a lot lately?  Moms feeling like they are in competition with each other?  Or that they aren’t as “good” as other moms?  Me too.  And it needs to stop.

Look, I told my friend, just because I can make stuff without a recipe doesn’t mean that you aren’t as good of a mom as me.  It means we grew up differently and have different priorities.

I grew up in a house where most stuff was made from scratch.  We didn’t have a lot of convenience foods around.  I didn’t know that mac and cheese could come from a box until I was in high school, and didn’t actually taste it until I was in my twenties.  Take-out didn’t really exist yet, and nobody delivered to our farm.

I can remember my mom teaching me how to make meatloaf when I was a kid. I thought it was cool because I got to smush it with my hands.  I’m sure she was quite willing to pawn that job off on someone else.  My mom was (and still is) a pretty boring cook, and most meals consisted of meat, starch (usually potatoes), and (frozen) veggies.  Rice was exotic.  Spices didn’t move much beyond salt and pepper.  She was an awesome baker, however, and some of my fondest memories revolve around cookies, cakes, and pies.

From the time I was 14 to 17 my mom was the Camp Director at a Girl Scout camp, and she was only home every other weekend for the entire summer.  Since my dad worked all day, it fell to me to do the cooking, cleaning, and laundry.  I still hate cleaning and laundry, but I really fell in love with cooking during this time.  My dad has a much more adventurous palate than my mother, keeping a cabinet full of things like Thai spices and lentil soup mixes that he cooked for himself on weekends.  Because of this, I felt that I could branch out from mom’s standard recipes into unknown territory.  I searched through cookbooks and cooking magazines for fun new things to try.  Sometimes I crashed and burned.  I remember when we decided to try making General Tso chicken at home.  It was so bad that we went out for pizza.  But most of what I made was really good.  I learned new techniques, and more importantly, I learned how to put together flavors.

In college I was the only one of my friends who lived in an apartment instead of the dorms.  The food on campus was….sad.  So I’d invite my friends over to my place and cook for them.  They would take turns asking for stuff they missed from home. (Non-mushy pasta was a theme.)  For the end of the year, I made five cornish game hens, each stuffed and seasoned with different stuff.  It was during college that I realized that food could bring joy and comfort.

Fast forward to the present, where I have a spouse and two kids to feed.  All three of them are pretty picky, so my cooking is limited to what I can actually convince them to eat.  (The girls are more persuadable than Chev, by the way.)  I don’t really cater to the girls’ tastes, because it is my opinion that four year olds don’t have the experience to tell me definitively what they do and do not like.  So I cook what the grown ups like, and if the kids don’t eat, well, then they don’t eat.  But I really like when I find a new recipe that all of us like, and I don’t want to fall into a rut, making the same handful of things all the time.  I cook for fun as well as for fuel.

And there is the difference between my friend and I.

I’m not really a food snob.  I just really, REALLY like to cook.  I’ve been cooking for twenty years.  I love combining new flavors, trying new spices, and figuring out delicious ways to get my family to eat things they all claim to hate.  If I were young and single, I’d be a food writer and eat my way across the globe.

My friend didn’t grow up cooking.  She just wasn’t interested in learning how to cook from her mom or grandmother.  She was in sports, choir, 4-H, and band.  She had practices every night of the week.  In college she lived in a dorm and lived off of Ramen noodles.  Now she is married and has the cutest little boy I’ve ever seen.  For the first time in her life, she has found herself to be the person in charge of putting food on the table every night, and while she has basic cooking knowledge, she is no master chef.  Cooking just isn’t her thing.

And you know what?

That is ok.

We all have our own strengths.  My friend is super active.  She takes her little guy to the park almost every day.  She runs, plays tennis, and sings in her church choir.  Her son is in karate and t-ball.  Her hubby just did his first half marathon.  Their Facebook photos all depict them doing fun things like hiking, swimming, and having epic snowball fights.

They make me feel bad about me.

The fact is that the only kind of marathon I’m interested in involves Doctor Who and a large tub of popcorn.  My kids watch too much TV.  Chev and I are much more on the sloth end of the activity spectrum than the cheetah end.  I have zero desire to hang out in the frozen tundra of our yard while Laurel chucks snowballs at me.  I fear that we are raising the next generation of couch potatoes.

I explained this to my friend, and she got very quiet for a few minutes.  Then she hugged me.  She told me that she was afraid that I thought she wasn’t a good mom because she would rather go for a run than bake cookies with her kids.  I laughed and told her that I figured she thought I was a bad mom because my kids watch so much television.  It was like a barrier had broken down between us.  We were no longer judging ourselves by how we thought other people saw us.

We were just moms, talking about what we were making for dinner.

 

Dogs Are Not Babies

 

Foster

Foster

 

The other day a friend of mine told me that she understands the craziness of my life because she just got two new puppies, and it is NUTS at her house.  At first I just stared at her in disbelief, then I laughed hysterically.  But it got me thinking…this isn’t the first time I’ve heard people liken having puppies or dogs to having children.  I’m fairly sure I even made the comparison myself, before having the girls.  Because until you have kids, you have NO idea.  You just don’t know what crazy is.  And to prove this to you, here are some ways that dogs and children differ.

1.  Puppies come to you at around 8 weeks of age, fully weaned, running, and ready to play.  Babies..not so much.  Ignoring the entire pregnancy and birthing process, babies take a year to start eating real food and walking.  That’s a year of late-night feedings, and a year of carrying your baby around everywhere you go.  No just snapping on a leash and hitting the road.

2.  Puppies potty train within weeks of coming home.  Toddlers, on the other hand, can take years.  YEARS of dirty diapers, of poopslosions, of peeing in your face, of peeing on your couch, of pooping in your lap.  You get the picture.  Cleaning up your puppy’s messes has NOTHING on cleaning up after a toddler who has discovered that poop is just like finger paint that you make yourself.

3.  You are allowed, in fact encouraged, to train your puppy to sleep through the night by locking him in a small crate.  Try that with your kids, and you’ll find out if orange really is the new black.

4.  You can call your dog a asshole and not feel guilty about it.  You also don’t have to worry about your dog repeating those words in front of other people.  Actually, I wish my dog would start cursing.  Then at least I could make some money off the little jerk.

5.  You can have a dog and still have a life.  Need to go to the grocery store?  Pop Fido in his cozy little crate, grab your wallet, and be on your way.  Same with going out with your friends on a Friday night.  Not with kids.  Junior has to go with you everywhere.  No crates for babies.  Going to the grocery store with a baby is more like an Antarctic expedition.  You need the carrier, blankets, toys, snacks, lists, coupons (because now that you have kids, you have a LOT less money), diapers, wipes, and….. you get the point.  As for going out on a Friday…unless you can shell out for a sitter, your ass is staying home.  Sitters don’t make a couple bucks an hour like they did when we were young, either.  We’re talking $10 an hour in most places.  Good luck with that.

Puppy Love

Puppy Love

6.  Babies cost more.  I don’t care how many toys, treats, beds, clothes, or organic dog food bags you buy for your dog, it has nothing on a baby.  And toddlers?  Helloooo growth spurts, goodbyyye money.  They will eat you out of house and home.  And they aren’t satisfied with eating the same dry kibble every day, either.  Once they get off of breast milk or formula, they will eat everything.  I swear they can taste how expensive something is, too, and they will decide that the thing they want more than anything is the most expensive food in the house.  Don’t even get me started on the cost of daycare, preschool, or activities.  I’m going to need a second mortgage to pay for gymnastics.

7.  Babies take up more space.  Before we had kids, we lived in a 20’x20′ apartment with two dogs, two cat, and two snakes.  We had plenty of room.  It was great.  Then the girls were born, and we realized that this just wasn’t going to work anymore.  So we bought a house.  Holy crap.  Talk about expensive.

8.  Dogs love you unconditionally.  No matter what I do, my dog loves me.  If I have to go somewhere, he is waiting for me at the door, tail wagging and tongue lolling out the side of his mouth, just happy as can be.  If I don’t have time to rub his belly, he forgives me and lays at my feet until I can give him a quick pat.  I can call him any name under the sun, and he will just keep licking my face.  My girls, on the other hand, are a bit less forgiving.  Now, I know they love me, and that the always will, but they are almost four, so…  If I go somewhere without them:  tantrum.  If I don’t drop everything I’m doing to pay 100% attention to them:  tantrum.  If I give them the wrong color cup:  tantrum.  You get the picture.  I know its not that they don’t love me. I’m not an idiot.  But they sure have crazy ways of showing it at this age.  Dogs, on the other hand, are much simpler in their emotions.

9.  Dogs don’t care about Barney.  Or Strawberry Shortcake.  They don’t cry if I want to watch Master Chef instead of one more episode of Daniel Tiger.  Foster (my dog) just cares that he gets to snuggle up to me on the couch a little longer.

10.  Dogs are quieter, even when they are barking.  Until you have experienced the ear-shattering sound of a toddler who hasn’t gotten their own way, you have NO idea what noise is.

Let me say again that I love my kids and my dog, even though there are times I wish I could lock all three of them in the crate.  But they are different.  Very different.

Best frenemies

Best frenemies

Happy Mothers’ Day!

Picture 017

Mothers’ Day is upon us.  A lot of companies use this time of year to peddle everything from cards to jewelry to chocolate.  While jewelry and chocolate are always welcome, they really aren’t on the top of my list of things I want for Mothers’ Day.  What do I want?  I’m glad you asked.

1.  I want to drive to and from a wedding in Maryland this weekend without anyone vomiting or pooping in the car, church, or restaurant.  I realize this is a tall order, since Laurel has inherited my car-sickness gene and Ellie’s GI doctor has us feeding her gluten for the next month.  But it would be so nice not to have clean up someone else’ digested food on the side of I-95.

2.  I want Ellie to sleep through the night.  Just one night.  That’s all I’m asking.  She is three and a half and she has never slept through the night.  Which means I’ve been exhausted since she was born.

3.  I want Laurel to stop yelling.  I realize that in order for this to happen, that I probably have to stop yelling as well.  So if anyone has a magic want that can grant both of us more patience, spread some of that good stuff our way.

4.  I want Ellie to talk.  I want to hear my little girl say “Momma, I love you.”  I want her to be able to tell me what is wrong when she is crying.  I want her to be able to tell me what hurts when she is sick.  I just want to hear her sweet little voice.

5.  I want people to be nicer to each other.  There is so much negativity our there.  I want people to stop glaring at each other and try smiling instead.  Stop over-thinking things and say hi to each other.

6.  I want people to lend a hand.  If you see a small child running for the doorway at Target, grab the kid before they hit the parking lot.  Their mom will thank you.  If you see someone struggling with their grocery bags, grab a bag and help them out.  If you see a mom trying to control three kids in the check-out line, distract them for her.  Talk to them, smile at them, ask them what they did today.  That little distraction can keep them from a complete melt-down, and the entire store will thank you for that.  If you know that one of your friends is having a rough time financially, and you can help them out, do so.  An extra twenty bucks may not seem like a lot to you, but to a family who is struggling it can mean the difference between their kids having food until payday or being hungry.

7.  I want my dog to stop being an asshole.

8.  I want the car-thing that the Cat in the Hat uses to put the house back in order at the end of the book.  How cool would that be?

9.  I want people to stop using the words “retarded” and “gay” to describe things that they don’t like.  The English language is full of words.  Pick another one.  Don’t be a dick.

10.  I want the girls to forget that Frozen exists.  Just for a few days.  Because no, I don’t want to build a freaking snowman.

That’s about it.  What is on your list?

Let it Go, Folks

 

The Frozen Trinity

The Frozen Trinity

During the past few weeks, I’ve noticed an increasing number of FB posts from my friends who are parents of young girls, looking for the dresses and dolls from the movie “Frozen.” Over the past few days, the posts have become down right desperate. People are getting crazy about finding this stuff. Anyone who does find a store that actually has dolls or dresses left is buying them all, to resell to friends in other areas. Not to make a profit, but just to share their luck. (Mostly.)

$1,000 on Ebay, and this sucker could be yours.

$1,000 on Ebay, and this sucker could be yours.

And the whole situation leaves me somewhat mind-boggled. Most of these kids are the same age as mine: three and a half. How badly do they really need this stuff, that you are stressing out this much about finding it? It’s just STUFF. More stuff to fill your house, which most of you have complained about being too cluttered already.

Seriously, why are you making yourself crazy about this? What will happen if little Jenny wakes up on Easter morning and “all” the Bunny brought her is a basket full of candy, bubbles, toys, books, DVDs, and whatever other nonsense you put in there? (And please, don’t get me started on the crazy amount of stuff kids get in their Easter baskets.) Do you really think that she’s going to be scared in some way by NOT getting Elsa and Anna dolls, dresses, stuffed animals, and accessories? She’s THREE. She’s going to stuff her face full of Peeps, spill bubble stuff on the living room floor, and spend the rest of the morning playing with the plastic eggs.

Ok, I admit, these are really cute.

Ok, I admit, these are really cute.

I know that some of you are sitting there, thinking, “But I want to get it for her, because it’s special and I know she’ll love it!” Bull. It’s not special if ever other kid is getting it. It is mass-produced crap that Disney is hoping will instill a deep sense of commercialism in our kids.  And yeah, she’ll love it. Of course she will. But you know what? If you don’t get it for her, SHE WILL NEVER KNOW. Because she’s three. Unless you have made some big deal about finding this stuff for her, she’ll never know that she is missing it.

Usually frozen eggs explode.  These just sparkle.

Usually frozen eggs explode. These just sparkle.

Our kids are still little. They don’t have peer pressure yet to get the newest, coolest toy.  At this age, they are just as happy playing Elsa by wearing a piece of blue cloth like a cape and a pair of your old gloves, pulled up to their elbows.  So stop making yourself crazy.  There will be plenty of time for that later.  Save crazy for the day that they are old enough for their first cell phone, or their first car.  Then, by all means, stress out.  But for now?

Just…. Let it Go.

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