A fragile life: What my son’s medical procedure taught me

What I learned from my son’s tonsillectomy. 

A fragile life: What my son’s  medical procedure taught me

Lessons from a Simple Tonsillectomy

First and foremost, when it involves your child, nothing is

ever simple. We agonized over the

decision to remove my son’s tonsils. Finally, we decided that an apparent case

of sleep apnea was worth it. I’m a big believer in staying as non-invasive as

possible when it comes to health, so it was a difficult choice. And while I knew

it was a common and basic procedure, while I understood that children undergo

anesthesia and much more, every day, when it came down to my child in that

Operating Room—anesthesia seemed anything but ordinary and easy.


The morning of my son’s surgery gave me deeper levels of

compassion for parents whose children are considered medically fragile, who

have special needs, who often require medical care, who are bringing their

child in for emergency surgery, who live between the thin veil of life and

death routinely. All you parents—I send you respect, love, and compassion

from the deepest places in my heart.

I had to wait a mere 45 minutes to hear that his operation

was a success—and it was one of the longest 45 minutes of my life.  My heart kept breaking and aching for the

parents who wait time and again for results, for progress, for answers.

Families who spend days, weeks, months, years of their lives in hospitals—I

honor your courage.

I was reminded that the heart has no bounds. Sometimes it takes

a moment of challenge, when the curtain between health and illness waving in

the breeze for us to remember it—everything can be taken away in an instant.

One moment can change the course of a life. The Beatles had it right for sure—All you

need is love.

My son’s recovery time, while fairly uneventful taught me

more. Slow down, it seemed to whisper. There is always a slower option. Slow down. A series of chilly and cloudy

days followed his surgery—I can’t say that was a bad thing. We got creative.

We shut off the outside world and we made magic inside the walls of our own

house. We constructed an Ewok Village, painted in new and exciting ways, and

read more books than we had in a long time. We spent more time cuddling and

less time moving. In my experience, less time doing and more time snuggling is

always a plus.

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I’ve learned my son sings the Imperial March song from Star Wars in his sleep.  This discovery, along with his nightly wake

ups for pain medication and my younger daughter’s usual night-time issues had

me back to earlier days the world of having two under 2, and how very crazy

those days (and nights) were. Perspective can be healing, I think, and it was

humbling to realize how exhausted I was then. Beyond that realization, I could

feel how little softness I held for myself during that time. I kept pushing

forward instead of accepting it was a phase of life that would pass. Now, I know better.

Sleep. I will never take quality sleep for granted. One

should not be expected to be fully human without it.

The recovery process taught me that it really is ok to block

the rest of the world out from time to time. It really and truly is. All that stuff out there

will keep happening – it will be there when you return. We, as a family, can

make a choice to remain grounded, close to home, and feed only off the heart’s

messages. We can stay in love and walk as far away from fear as we can. It’s

the most healing work we can do, both for our families and our larger world.

Finally, I’ve learned more in matters of the spirit. We are

so much more than our bodies and what we can see with our eyes.  We can also see with our hearts. I’ve felt

more spiritually connected to my children over the course of this experience.

Perhaps it was the half hour of unspoken dread that my son would be the one

outlier who had a horrible reaction to anesthesia.  Maybe it has been the quiet inside my heart –

the space that needs no more than the people I cherish. Maybe it was the final

days of summer, and the knowledge those times end. I’m not sure, but I’m seeing

them as beings far beyond me right now. It’s making life seem filled with

sparkle and rooted in peace.

Above all, I learned a renewed sense of the word gratitude. Gratitude

in its purest form —the simple contentment of loving our people here and now.

The gratitude to find delight in the small treasures our world offers us every

day.  I’m hoping to keep these lessons

with me as we re-enter the chaotic world of school, work, and responsibility. All you need is love.

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14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

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.


Motherly editors’ 7 favorite hacks for organizing their diaper bags

Make frantically fishing around for a diaper a thing of the past!

As any parent knows, the term "diaper bag" only scratches the surface. In reality, this catchall holds so much more: a change of clothes, bottles, snacks, wipes and probably about a dozen more essential items.

Which makes finding the exact item you need, when you need it (read: A diaper when you're in public with a blowout on your hands) kind of tricky.

That's why organization is the name of the game when it comes to outings with your littles. We pooled the Motherly team of editors to learn some favorite hacks for organizing diaper bags. Here are our top tips.

1. Divide and conquer with small bags

Here's a tip we heard more than a few times: Use smaller storage bags to organize your stuff. Not only is this helpful for keeping related items together, but it can also help keep things from floating around in the expanse of the larger diaper bag. These bags don't have to be anything particularly fancy: an unused toiletry bag, pencil case or even plastic baggies will work.

2. Have an emergency changing kit

When you're dealing with a diaper blowout situation, it's not the time to go searching for a pack of wipes. Instead, assemble an emergency changing kit ahead of time by bundling a change of baby clothes, a fresh diaper, plenty of wipes and hand sanitizer in a bag you can quickly grab. We're partial to pop-top wipes that don't dry out or get dirty inside the diaper bag.

3. Simplify bottle prep

Organization isn't just being able to find what you need, but also having what you need. For formula-feeding on the go, keep an extra bottle with the formula you need measured out along with water to mix it up. You never know when your outing will take longer than expected—especially with a baby in the mix!

4. Get resealable snacks

When getting out with toddlers and older kids, snacks are the key to success. Still, it isn't fun to constantly dig crumbs out of the bottom of your diaper bag. Our editors love pouches with resealable caps and snacks that come in their own sealable containers. Travel-sized snacks like freeze-dried fruit crisps or meal-ready pouches can get an unfair reputation for being more expensive, but that isn't the case with the budget-friendly Comforts line.

5. Keep a carabiner on your keychain

You'll think a lot about what your child needs for an outing, but you can't forget this must-have: your keys. Add a carabiner to your keychain so you can hook them onto a loop inside your diaper bag. Trust us when we say it's a much better option than dumping out the bag's contents on your front step to find your house key!

6. Bundle your essentials

If your diaper bag doubles as your purse (and we bet it does) you're going to want easy access to your essentials, too. Dedicate a smaller storage bag of your diaper bag to items like your phone, wallet and lip balm. Then, when you're ready to transfer your items to a real purse, you don't have to look for them individually.

7. Keep wipes in an outer compartment

Baby wipes aren't just for diaper changes: They're also great for cleaning up messy faces, wiping off smudges, touching up your makeup and more. Since you'll be reaching for them time and time again, keep a container of sensitive baby wipes in an easily accessible outer compartment of your bag.

Another great tip? Shop the Comforts line on to find premium baby products for a fraction of competitors' prices. Or, follow @comfortsforbaby for more information!

This article was sponsored by The Kroger Co. Thank you for supporting the brands that supporting Motherly and mamas.

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.


"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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