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Preschool Means Your Baby is a Person

*We’ve partnered with Safari Ltd® to help you prep for a successful school year by using the art of play. The first day of preschool is a major milestone in the parenting practice of letting go. You spend the first few years keeping that little baby as close as can be, and then preschool comes and you push them out of the nest, and suddenly they’re, well, people. The truth is, most of them are actually fully ready to jump out of the nest, and we’re the ones left sobbing in the parking lot, wondering how they’ll (aka we’ll) ever survive. Smoothing the transition with some strategic school prep can help. So, we’ve partnered with our friends at Safari Ltd®, makers of our favorite educational animal toys and figurines, to show how some creative play with some of Safari’s hand-painted, scientifically accurate “Toys that Teach” can be the best way to get your toddler school-ready before she ever steps foot into the classroom. That doesn’t mean back to school season isn’t emotional. Even for the hilarious mama behind Unpacified, Leslie Bruce. Below, Leslie gets honest about her “baby” Tallulah heading off to college (ahem, we mean preschool), and shares how some familiar faces from Safari’s Toys that Teach® are making the Big Day a little easier, for mama and baby. “Change is hard. I’m a creature of habit, my and I don’t like to shake up my routine much. My daughter Tallulah is beginning preschool and to quote the great Ron Burgundy, ‘I’m in a glass case of emotion!’ Tallulah is far more flexible than me, and for that, I am grateful. This year has been a tidal wave of change for my little soon-to-be preschooler. We moved to a new city, into a new house, said goodbye to old friends and hello to new ones, we're in the process of saying farewell to diapers and we just made the transition to the “big girl bed.” For the most part, she’s been a superstar and I’m in awe of her ability to roll with the punches. She looks forward to new adventures and can easily adapt. She did not get this from me. Let's just say, I’m still in a deeply committed relationship with my peasant skirt from 2006. So, it shouldn't come as any surprise that I’ve been dreading this milestone, because it comes with a very undesirable catch. In order for her to grow and develop into the wonderful little girl she’s meant to be, it implies that she’s becoming an actual person…and that she’s no longer my baby. Tallulah has been in the nursery program at her new school since the spring, which was a great way to introduce her (and me) to this new stage. It’s sort of like Preschool Lite where we've been able to get to know the school, the teachers and other students and parents. While I’m certain Tallulah would have been just fine if we had chosen to just rip the band aid right off, I believe the slower transition will be less jarring for her (me). I’m the type of person who operates better when there’s a plan, so I believe in talking to Tallulah about what is going to happen…whether it’s for the day, the week or even the not-so-distant future. I find that transitions, big or small, are easier when she can begin to anticipate them. Before the first day of school, Tallulah and I talked about what the Big Day will entail (new classroom, new teacher, and lots of new children). Getting her ensemble ready for the big day was her main priority. She may be a toddler but she is FASHION. The night before, she wanted to pick out her own dress to wear (Little Mini’s…obviously) and, more importantly, which bow she would wear and which bow Zoe the Zebra, her favorite Safari Ltd® animal, would wear. She chose a glittery pale pink one for herself, and poor Zoe somehow got stuck with some strange Thanksgiving-inspired felt situation that Lulu is quite fond of (maybe it's on trend in the toddler world). I threw Zoe in Lulu’s backpack since having a familiar face (even if it belongs to a Zebra) will be a small reminder that home isn’t far away. Before bedtime, we read two new books that she’s been waiting to open. It allowed her to see some of her favorite characters celebrate the first day of school milestone, so she could also share the pride they felt. While she's busy making new friends, I’ll probably sit in the parking lot and sob for an hour, and then go to yoga for the first time in six weeks and then be so distraught I’ll go to lunch with my girlfriends and indulge on a midday glass of rose. I raised a human and sent her off to school. I deserve it.” Give your kiddo a head start on the school year by teaching the importance of nature and its conservation through the joy of play. Save 15% off sitewide at Safariltd.com with coupon code WELLROUNDED. Photography by Red Anchor Photo for Well Rounded.

Shop Tallulah’s Safari Ltd® toys here:

Safari Ltd® Wild Safari® Wildlife Zebra

Safari Ltd® Wild Safari® Sea Life Octopus

Safari Ltd® Wild Safari® Wildlife African Elephant

Safari Ltd® Coral Reef TOOB®

Safari Ltd® Wild Safari® Sea Life Green Sea Turtle

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Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

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Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

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When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

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The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.

Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

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