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A letter to my wild child

At every turn, you find new limits to test, places to explore, and journeys to be discovered. There is never a dull moment with you in the family.

A letter to my wild child

My darling,

You are my wild child. A truly free spirit. A gift from above. I couldn’t have dreamed your unique, carefree spirit into existence. You are a pure miracle.


Also, it would be best if you stopped impulsively mooning the teenaged girls who go to school down the street. They find it adorable because you’re three, but that won’t last long, my sweets.

You see, every single child is a gift. But you, my wild one, have rocked my world. Your older brother and younger sister present their own challenges, but there is NOTHING like the magic and challenge of raising a wild child.

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You have been wild since the day you were born: Relentlessly stubborn, endlessly energetic, eternally creative. Unwilling to be told what to do. Here to make a tremendous impact on the world—if only I will let you.

You dream up of “fun adventures” I would never imagine. When I see a fence to keep you safely in the yard, you see a climbing wall to scale.

Where I see a bath to clean you at the end of the day, you see an undersea scuba diving adventure.

Where I see a bed for you to sleep in at night, you see a trampoline to launch you into outer space.

At every turn, you find new limits to test, places to explore, and journeys to be discovered. There is never a dull moment with you in the family.

Also, my sweets, it would be amazing if you could please lower your ear-piercing shrieks while we’re in the car. I know you just saw a squirrel run up the tree carrying a nut (!) but mommy needs to concentrate on driving and your high-decibel screams and energetic kicks made that challenging. KTHXBYE.

You have one mode: FULL SPEED AHEAD. You wake up ready to attack life every day. You’re always dreaming and scheming, imagining how you could suck the marrow out of every moment of life.

Perhaps it sounds strange, but sometimes I imagine you as a wild animal, a lion cub, or a puppy dog. You’re full of the exuberance of existence itself—and see every day as playtime or a party.

But just a reminder, you’re NOT actually a lion cub and so wearing clothes is the standard operating procedure of human society. Nudity might be fun, but it’s only for special occasions. Shoes, shirt + pants are required. Signed—the management.

I don’t want to crush your incredibly vibrant spirit. I don’t want to break you. I don’t want to stifle your creativity, or force you to conform to society’s standards. (You confidently declared pink your favorite color and while that makes you the unusual boy in class, I love you for that.)

I don’t want to burden you with rules and limits and regulations that cause resentment. There is nobody like you on earth, and I don’t want you to really change—at all.

But if you could honestly just try to not whirl all of my tediously-organized paperwork directly onto the dining room floor 2 seconds after you enter the room that would be AMAAAZZING. Thanks so much, kid.

Not everyone understands you. Sometimes in the grocery store old men make comments like “I used to get smacked for acting like that.” Sometimes other moms raise their eyes when you scream “POOOOOP!” on the playground and I imagine they’re thinking something like, “I wouldn’t let my kid say that.”

But I’ve been learning that the more I tell you “No,” the more appealing that activity becomes—so I try to only say no when it’s really important.

Instead, I’m focusing on teaching you WHAT to do (instead of what NOT to do.) Your eyes light up when I make it a race to put on your pajamas. Your chest puffs out when I give you a hard task to achieve and you complete it in record time. You swell with pride when I tell you what a role model you were in preschool that day.

So if you could not confess to the preschool teacher that mommy let you eat ALL the Halloween candy, (because she just got tired of telling you no over and over again), that would be fab. You’re so persistent. Let’s have it be our little secret, baby.

You see things most people don’t. You feel things other people can’t. You imagine things other people never will. And with that amazing perspective on the world, I am still learning how to guide you. How to decide which rules and limits are important, and which I should let slide.

I’m starting to understand how to excite you with visions of a hero’s journey—of how to channel your amazing spirit for good in the world. You have a tough exterior, but empathy runs through your veins. Will you become a policeman? A nurse? A Navy Seal? Whatever path you choose, I know you’re going to make a huge impact on the world with that energetic spirit.

But if you would please, FOR THE LOVE, stay in your bed at bedtime and not make me chase you 20 times to stuff you back under the covers again and again and again and again, I’d really appreciate that. Trust me, we both need the rest.

Because keeping up with you, guiding you, and getting to live life by your spirted side is the biggest adventure of my life.

Love always,

Mama

14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Every week, we stock the Motherly Shop with innovative and fresh products from brands we feel good about. We want to be certain you don't miss anything, so to keep you in the loop, we're providing a cheat sheet.

So, what's new this week?

Meri Meri: Decor and gifts that bring the wonder of childhood to life

We could not be more excited to bring the magic of Meri Meri to the Motherly Shop. For over 30 years, their playful line of party products, decorations, children's toys and stationery have brought magic to celebrations and spaces all over the world. Staring as a kitchen table endeavor with some scissors, pens and glitter in Los Angeles in 1985, Meri Meri (founder Meredithe Stuart-Smith's childhood nickname) has evolved from a little network of mamas working from home to a team of 200 dreaming up beautiful, well-crafted products that make any day feel special.

We've stocked The Motherly Shop with everything from Halloween must-haves to instant-heirloom gifts kiddos will adore. Whether you're throwing a party or just trying to make the everyday feel a little more special, we've got you covered.

Not sure where to start? Here's what we're adding to our cart:

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It's science: Why your baby stops crying when you stand up

A fascinating study explains why.

When your baby is crying, it feels nearly instinctual to stand up to rock, sway and soothe them. That's because standing up to calm babies is instinctual—driven by centuries of positive feedback from calmed babies, researchers have found.

"Infants under 6 months of age carried by a walking mother immediately stopped voluntary movement and crying and exhibited a rapid heart rate decrease, compared with holding by a sitting mother," say authors of a 2013 study published in Current Biology.

Even more striking: This coordinated set of actions—the mother standing and the baby calming—is observed in other mammal species, too. Using pharmacologic and genetic interventions with mice, the authors say, "We identified strikingly similar responses in mouse pups as defined by immobility and diminished ultrasonic vocalizations and heart rate."

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