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Should we have a third kid?

My vague response probably has people thinking I am already pregnant, but the reason for it is simple: I just don't know.

Should we have a third kid?

The question everyone inevitably seems to have asked me ever since my son was born is, "Do you think you'll have another?" It seemed to be the question on everyone's mind when he turned one, two, three and started school. My vague response probably has people thinking I am already pregnant, but the reason for it is simple: I just don't know.

My husband is one of three and as the only boy sandwiched between two sisters, he is and always was treated like the family prince. While most people I know who are one of three say they hated it, my husband liked it. Since he was the only boy, he never dealt with the middle child syndrome we've all heard about.

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I was the youngest of two and grew up very close to my older brother. We had a very small family and I was always envious of my friends who had larger ones. There was always something going on at their house. I thought if I was one of three (or more), I'd never be bored and my life would be perfect.

Siblings are the only people who experienced life relatively the same way you did. My brother and I are the only ones who understood our strained relationship with our father. We were travel buddies whenever we were sent to Boston or Florida to visit my dad and his family. We definitely had rocky patches in our relationship, but overall we stuck together through his short life. We were all each other had.

After my brother suddenly passed away when I was 23, I made a vow to myself that I would have three kids. If, God forbid, anything ever happened to one of my children, I wouldn't want my other child to go through that alone.

Once my brother passed away, I watched my mom crumble unsure if she'd ever come back. My relationship with my father got even more estranged and I felt like it was my responsibility to hold everything together. I felt really alone and scared and never wanted either of my children to feel that way.

Once we adjusted to our new and emptier life without my brother I was adamant that I had to have three kids. Looking back on my more naive self, I can confidently say it's really easy to say you want three kids. We'd potentially be that house that I always wished for when I was younger, that loud, rambunctious house that always had something fun going on. My kids would instantly have another sibling to love and play with, but in reality, the thought of it all makes me anxious.

Three kids are really expensive. Three kids are that much harder to travel with and three kids feel really chaotic to me right now. Two kids, while often feeling chaotic, feels very manageable. My husband and I can easily each take a kid for one on one time and I feel comfortable traveling with both of them by myself. Additionally, starting this week, both kids are in camp/school 5 days a week. I finally have larger chunks of time to focus on growing my business while also getting in some self-care.

The question that I often ask myself and I often get asked is, do I think I will regret not going for a third? While I do feel like I may look back in 30 years and wish I had just done it, I also recognize that I really love my life. I have two healthy and beautiful children, a loving husband, a helpful family and a growing business that feels like a child in its own right.

I am more in the moment than I have ever been while at the same time dealing with that internal struggle of should we have one more kid. I often have a thought in the back of my head that maybe I'm being greedy. I got pregnant the first month we started trying with both kids, they are healthy and thriving, I have a girl and a boy— what more could I want?

So when I was recently stressing about this decision, I decided to not decide. I decided that I am 36 years young and have a good few years to make the final decision and while having two young kids is definitely still chaotic at times, I'm really happy.

If we decide to have a third in a few years, I'll be more ready for it and if we decide not to, we are ready for that too. While asking someone if they are planning to have any more kids seems harmless, I am going to try to stop myself from asking them. They may be struggling with the same internal debate I am or they may be trying and having difficulty or there may be a whole slew of reasons why they haven't had another kid (or any at all).

I know that whatever we decide will be what's right for our family, but for now -I'm just going to enjoy the moment because these moments seem to be going by quicker and quicker.

[This article was previously published here]

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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