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Giving my children the gift of siblings is one of my greatest joys

When your favorite creatures on earth recognize the amazingness in one another... well it’s just awesome. ✨

Giving my children the gift of siblings is one of my greatest joys

I am a midwife. I have been there as many women met their second (or third or fourth) child. So when I was pregnant with my second (and third), I never doubted that I would love them as much as I loved my first child.


I saw mother after mother fall madly in love with baby after baby.

While I didn’t fully understand it—because nothing prepares you for the love you feel for your children— I trusted that it would happen.

What I was not prepared for was the heart explosion that happens when you watch your children fall in love with each other.

You know how good it feels when you introduce your work friends to your home friends... and they like each other? It’s kind of like that, times 1000 ?.

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When your favorite creatures on earth, who you absolutely adore as individuals, recognize the amazingness in one another... well it’s just awesome.

In the hecticness of life, it’s easy to get swept up in the details and miss these precious moments. But when you can step back for a minute, the moments of sibling love will take your breath away.

It happens in subtle ways and monumental ways—but every day, it fills me with joy.

They protect each other

They are quick to go to battle with each other over a stolen container of Play-doh, but heaven help the kid on the playground that picks on one of their siblings. My eldest is very quick to remind me when I have done something unjust to one of the younger ones—“Mo-oooom, you told him he could have a cookie when we got home from Target, and we’re home now.”

They are a tribe. They truly want what’s best for each other (except when the other one actually has a cookie—then it’s every kid for themselves).

They teach each other

They are constantly observing each other. I notice them adopting each other’s mannerisms and repeating things that I definitely did not teach them.

Each of my kids is as different as the day is long. And I love that about my little crew. They each have their gifts, and the others benefit tremendously from the lessons they teach, every day—

My eldest teaches them to be sensitive.
My middle guy teaches them to be brave.
My youngest teaches them to be patient.

Even when they don’t get along (which is a lot), deep down I am actually okay with it—this is supposed to happen. They are my little bear cubs fighting with each other, and it’s teaching them how to deal with conflict in a healthy way. They’re learning to stand up for themselves and work out problems—they’re learning life skill lessons with their teammates.

They have fun together

There is nothing quite like watching your kids catch the giggles together. It can get a little loud, yes, but it’s so heartwarming to see them make each other laugh (usually over something completely beyond my boring grown-up comprehension).

They invent games, watch movies, build forts, blow bubbles and sometimes just wander around the backyard together. Built-in buddies for life.

I worry a lot about creating fun for them, about making magic that they’ll remember when they’re grown. But the truth is that the real magic happens in the nooks and crannies of our days, when they are given the chance to just be in each other’s presence.

When I turn around and see all three of them huddled over the same book. Or when I look in the rear view mirror and see them making silly faces at each other. Or when they hold hands and all shout “1-2-3!” before jumping in a pile of leaves. That is the stuff.

They’ll take care of each other

No parent wants to think about the time when we are no longer on this earth to watch over our children. But it gives my heart peace to know that my kids will have each other. With luck, the bonds they are forming now will last a lifetime, and in that way, I’ll always be with them.

Our little piece of the world is a far stretch from the Pinterest-esque existence I imagined. There is often at least one person crying, a seemingly endless cycle of losing shoes and losing patience, a fairly constant din of chaos.

But the absolute bliss of witnessing the love between my children makes every second of crazy worth it. I love my little tribe more than I can describe.

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

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

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

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

Life

The American Academy of Pediatrics says that newborns, especially, do not need a bath every day. While parents should make sure the diaper region of a baby is clean, until a baby learns how to crawl around and truly get messy, a daily bath is unnecessary.

So, why do we feel like kids should bathe every day?

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