I’m not just disciplining my son, I’m raising a man

This work, I truly believe, will reverberate for eternity.

I’m not just disciplining my son, I’m raising a man

The temper tantrums over the silliest things.

The refusal to put his shoes on before we leave the house.

The breakdowns after the end of screen time.

The frantic mischief he loves to commit.

Life with my 3-year-old can be exhausting.

My darling, spirited son is full of emotion and affection, defiance and inquisition. He’s at turns charming and maddening. With boundless energy, “creative” ideas up the wazoo (did you know you could pour Cheerios into the bathtub and drink them? YEP.) and endless questions, I KNOW he’s going to transform the world—if only he would put his pants on.

I realize just how lucky I am to guide this unique soul through the world. So lately, when I try to teach him right from wrong, or find myself starting to seethe when he refuses to listen, I’m trying to take the long view.

I remind myself that I’m not just correcting behavior in this moment, but I’m helping to build him into the amazing adult man that I know he’ll become.

Taking the long view with my high-energy son has helped put small, daily frustrations into perspective.

I’m not ‘just’ teaching a toddler, I’m also raising a man.

And when I think about the man I hope he becomes, I find a deeper sense of purpose and peace in the many lessons and character-forming moments during our days.

When I ask him to bring his breakfast bowl back into the kitchen, I’m helping build him into a husband who sees housework as his role, too.

When I teach him we need to wear shoes to preschool, he’s learning that there are some social norms that are worth accepting in the grand scheme of things.

When I expect him to carry his own backpack into school, he’s beginning to understand that he needs to be responsible for his own behavior.

When he is disciplined at school for using “potty words,” he’s learning that there are some words that offend and hurt and it’s best to not use them around our friends.

When he opens his lunchbox to find (mostly) healthy options inside, he’s learning that foods that nourish us should make up the foundation of our diet. (So we’re going to lay off the cookies for lunch, no matter how many times he asks ?.)

When we focus on “taking turns,” he learns that the world doesn’t revolve around him and that others deserve their fair share, too.

When I remind him that he needs to control his hands and express his frustration in words (not hitting), I’m teaching him that true strength is found in self-control.

When I ask him to put away his crayons directly after after coloring time, he’s learning that doing a job right the first time means you don’t have to fix a bigger problem later.

When I ask for help cleaning up a mess he didn’t make, he’s learning that part of being in a family is helping others with their problems.

When I insist he needs to put his clothes away even though he whines ‘it’s HARD!”, I am teaching him the pride of achieving hard things. (Hey, putting your clothes into the hamper counts as ‘hard’ when you’re 3.)

When I request that he take a bath after a long day of play and sweat and dirt and mess, I teach him that self-care is worth slowing down for.

When I am firm on bedtime despite his many, (MANY!!!!) protestations, he is learning that there are limits in life that should be respected—and the need for rest is one of them.

When we say prayers at the end of the day, no matter how silly he acts at the time, he’s learning his place and purpose in the universe.

When I comfort him out of a nightmare in the middle of the night, I’m teaching him that I will always be here for him, no matter what.

When I do these hundreds of tiny, sometimes tedious and frustrating things throughout the day, I’m not just correcting a toddler. This work, I truly believe, will reverberate for eternity.

I’m helping raise this boy to a man.

And getting to live life with this mischievous, curious, stubborn one-shoed spitfire isn’t just hard work—it’s the biggest privilege of my life.

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.


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!


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Sorry, you can’t meet our baby yet

Thank you for understanding. ❤️

In just over three weeks, we will become parents. From then on, our hearts will live outside of our bodies. We will finally understand what everyone tells you about bringing a child into the world.

Lately, the range of emotions and hormones has left me feeling nothing short of my new favorite mom word, "hormotional." I'm sure that's normal though, and something most people start to feel as everything suddenly becomes real.

Our bags are mostly packed, diaper bag ready, and birth plan in place. Now it's essentially a waiting game. We're finishing up our online childbirth classes which I must say are quite informational and sometimes entertaining. But in between the waiting and the classes, we've had to think about how we're going to handle life after baby's birth.

I don't mean thinking and planning about the lack of sleep, feeding schedule, or just the overall changes a new baby is going to bring. I'm talking about how we're going to handle excited family members and friends who've waited just as long as we have to meet our child. That sentence sounds so bizarre, right? How we're going to handle family and friends? That sentence shouldn't even have to exist.

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What went viral this week: Pregnant Disney Princesses + an airline nightmare

Now, more than ever, we need to hear those good news stories.

Last week was a week.

We lost a legal and cultural icon with the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and deadly wildfires continue to blaze on the West Coast. Now, more than ever, we need to see creativity, kindness and compassion in our world—we need to hear those "good news" stories, but we also need to see the headlines that show us how and why the world needs to change .

And right now both kinds of stories are going viral.

Here are the viral stories you need to read right now:

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