I never thought my baby would grow up, but he did

Where did he go? You know, the baby I grew inside my belly, brought home from the hospital and will never see again?

I never thought my baby would grow up, but he did

I just dropped off my hulking 19-year-old son at the train so he can go back to his dorm in the city, where he will spend the rest of the night studying for his finals. I watched him unfurl his long, muscular, legs, open the car door and let himself out. He was carrying his backpack stuffed with freshly laundered clothes, his favorite snacks from my cabinet and some extra cash from my wallet. He mumbles a faint "See ya" and races up the stairs to the platform, a fully-grown young man, with his own mind, a five o'clock shadow, and a MetroCard.


I sat in the car with the engine running and wondered what happened to the blue-eyed baby that crawled so fast and furiously he wore out the kneepads on his onesies. The toddler who sat in his high chair obediently devouring spoonfuls of pureed organic peas and butternut squash I made for him, that he now makes for himself—roasted with honey and olive oil from a recipe he saw on the Food Network.

Where did he go? You know, the baby I grew inside my belly, brought home from the hospital and will never see again?

I'm the same mother my son went home with 19 years ago, albeit with a few more lines and a lot more experience. My son, on the other hand, is no longer 9 pounds, 18 inches tall, and toothless. He doesn't fit on my lap, go to bed at 7:30 pm or laugh hysterically when I make a funny face. I don't understand how this happened, but lately, it's been catching me off-guard.

Millions of new, unsuspecting mothers-to-be are lured into motherhood by cute babies and chunky rolls. You feel like babyhood will last forever.

I mean, most baby and child books you read only go as far as year one! They never warn you that 12 months is really chintzy; not nearly enough time to enjoy every second with your baby. There's no chapter about how quickly the time goes. Before you know it, that sweet 9-month-old you pushed in the plastic swing hanging from the apple tree, will disappear and become a sweaty, moody 180-month-old wearing low hanging Nike sweats and t-shirts with sayings on them.

I imagine if you are home right now with a baby or two, you have no idea what I'm talking about. You're too tired to think about it. You can't see past the days and nights of no sleep, no time, and no freedom to go anywhere. You may not even be able to wash your hair.

I feel you. I was there too. I paid no attention to the countless moms with older kids who passed me at Whole Foods with my baby in the cart and said, "Enjoy it, it doesn't last long."

I didn't get it. How could I? I was in it. I couldn't imagine at that moment that things were going to Change. So. Fast. I wish I knew. Wish I had put off the calls and the errands and just sat on the basement floor playing with him, or holding him in my lap, doing nothing.

I'm certainly way past the point of replacing him with another baby. Anyway, that's a shell game because any new baby is going to grow up and turn into a teenager just like all the other ones did. I would just find myself in this same wistful situation over and over and over. Besides, I really don't want a new baby. I just want MY baby back.

But now my "baby" is a man who goes to a fine university not far from me. He texts me once in a while to meet for lunch or dinner and picks a restaurant in the East Village with a cuisine I've never heard of that is always excellent and cheap.

He does most of the talking, about girls, and his classes in Comparative Urbanism, or Investigative Journalism. He pulls a worn copy of a book I read in college out of his backpack, pages littered with post-it notes, and wants to know what I think of it. Me. The mommy he ignored in high school about pretty much everything.

The mommy who constantly hounded him about his grades and his future now has a son who pulls all-nighters and gets A's and B's, because he wants to, and can do it for himself.

Now, with my young man sitting in front of me, I remember the days carrying him around thinking, He's getting too heavy for me, when is he going to learn to walk?

And walk he would. I don't know if I'm ready, but I am here cheering from the sidelines.

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I felt lost as a new mother, but babywearing helped me find myself again

I wish someone had told me before how special wearing your baby can be, even when you have no idea how to do it.

My first baby and I were alone in our Brooklyn apartment during a particularly cold spring with yet another day of no plans. My husband was back at work after a mere three weeks of parental leave (what a joke!) and all my friends were busy with their childless lives—which kept them too busy to stop by or check in (making me, at times, feel jealous).

It was another day in which I would wait for baby to fall asleep for nap number one so I could shower and get ready to attempt to get out of the house together to do something, anything really, so I wouldn't feel the walls of the apartment close in on me by the time the second nap rolled around. I would pack all the diapers and toys and pacifiers and pump and bottles into a ginormous stroller that was already too heavy to push without a baby in it .

Then I would spend so much time figuring out where we could go with said stroller, because I wanted to avoid places with steps or narrow doors (I couldn't lift the stroller by myself and I was too embarrassed to ask strangers for help—also hi, New Yorkers, please help new moms when you see them huffing and puffing up the subway stairs, okay?). Then I would obsess about the weather, was it too cold to bring the baby out? And by the time I thought I had our adventure planned, the baby would wake up, I would still be in my PJs and it was time to pump yet again.

Slowly, but surely, and mostly thanks to sleep deprivation and isolation, I began to detest this whole new mom life. I've always been a social butterfly. I moved to New York because I craved that non-stop energy the city has and in the years before having my baby I amassed new friends I made through my daily adventures. I would never stop. I would walk everywhere just to take in the scenery and was always on the move.

Now I had this ball and chain attached to me, I thought, that didn't even allow me to make it out of the door to walk the dog. This sucks, I would think regularly, followed by maybe I'm not meant to be a mom after all.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.


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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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