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The world feels scary, my baby—but being with you is exactly what I need

I can't tell you when you'll get to play on the jungle gym again, but what I can tell you is you will see me every day. Because we will be together.

mom kissing baby

My baby,

You are so little. And so are your worries. I hope to keep it that way.

I know my patience is thinner and my fuse is shorter lately. By early afternoon, my requests for quiet or calm come through knitted eyebrows and gritted teeth behind my computer glow. I can do better. I will do better.

Thank you for being so forgiving the past few days.

So far, I've packed up my desk and looked at it, wondering when I would be sitting at it again. I've gotten off my bike at the gym and put down my weights with tears in my eyes, wondering when I would see them again. I know you miss the gym play center and pool, too. You ask to go every day.

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You got off the slide last week, neither of us knowing it would be the last time you slid down it for a while. Soon you may even wave goodbye to your teachers and friends, and I can't tell you when you will see them again either. We miss our routines and I don't know when we will get them back.

What I can tell you is you will see me every day. And I find deep gratitude in knowing you're one thing that I won't have to wonder when I will see again.

Figuring out working from home with you is something I need more gratitude for, too. It means I still have a paycheck. Although we don't know how long it will be until your first-responder daddy has mandatory overtime, we at least know he still has his job. He will show up every shift, ready to help where he is needed. We will miss him when he's gone, as always, but we know when we will see him again too. We are thankful he is healthy.

Your dogs are still here to greet you every morning for you to hug while you giggle and say, "I love my puppies." We will still eat breakfast and lunch and dinner together because there is food in the fridge. You will have water in your cup because the faucet still works. We will watch Frozen 2 until the TV burns out because the power is still on.

We will miss birthday parties and time with loved ones. This period comes with sacrifice for many, all in varying degrees. I worry all day. I worry if there will be a hospital bed for us when it's time for your sister to come in a few short months. I worry if my doctor will be healthy enough to be there for me like she was for you.

I worry people aren't taking the quarantine seriously. I worry about small businesses. I worry about Daddy transporting sick people and bringing it home to us. I worry about our family and friends all over the country. I worry about the elderly and sick.

But right now, it's just you and me and I can't help but be thankful for all we do have and know.

I'm not worried at all about the world I brought you into or the world I'm about to bring your sister into. What an incredible opportunity for us to teach you about selflessness, caring for our neighbors and the unity it takes to come together in the spirit of caring for each other!

No matter how badly you want to go to the park or the gym or Target, the answer will be "no." We will eat at home, no matter how badly you want Chick-fil-A because we are committed to flattening the curve and not infecting others.

When we go to the store, we will only get what we need, no matter who we see needlessly filling their carts. We will help people get things on empty shelves they can't reach. Daddy will continue to go to work and help the sick, no matter how crazy or scary it gets. We will be creative with our toys and make up new games. We will go for long walks and explore our neighborhood.

We can talk about selflessness, bravery, kindness and gratitude—but now is a prime opportunity to show you, too.

My chest is tight and anxiety is high throughout the day, but my calm comes when bath time is over, your favorite books are read and the lights go out. You snuggle in close and I can smell your lavender shampoo and sweet breath. Your baby sister wriggles between us and I hold you both. In all the uncertainty in our lives, I find my peace here. My constant is you.

As your breathing slows and eyelids flutter, I'm warm with gratitude for our health and slow, intentional time together. Right now, we have everything we could need, and for that I am certain.

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.

$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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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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