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6 Tips to Create a Shared Bedroom for Big Sib and Baby

When I became pregnant with my second, we decided to give our boys the “bigger” room in our cozy apartment. The switch got my creative juice flowing, and my Pinterest board was on fire. I was so excited for our kids to share a room, but designing a shared space for a school-aged kid and a baby turned out to be much more difficult than I anticipated.

The moment I brought in the first decorative item that my son didn’t approve of, I realized that I needed to not only consult with him, but also give him creative rights. That was challenge number one. Challenge number two was to create space for a baby while keeping challenge number one in mind! After all, while I would love to Marie Kondo all the toys, my 6-year-old son is simply not there yet. Challenge number three was to make it functional!

So with all that, I decided to save my sanity and enlist the help of my friend Sarah Bean to help make this small space welcoming, fun and functional all at once. As a children’s space designer and mom of three, Sarah was able to share tips that helped us create the perfect space for our family of four!

From getting a chair where you can nurse and read stories to putting the changing table in the closet, here are the 5 tips that Sarah gave me to create a room for big sib and baby will love to share.

1. Collaborate with big sibling. Involve the older sibling by collaborating during the design process. A child may have mixed feelings about a new sibling sharing their room. By including the older child, it can help them feel like they are a part of the change - not just feeling like the change is happening to them.

There are several brands that appeal to both children and adults. The selection of prints and posters at Fine Little Day is beautifully curated. Like we did with Oliver, let your older child pick his favorites. Bedding is another fun area for kids to help with. Pick a few options for your child to choose from so it’s not too overwhelming for them and to make sure you end up with something you like, too. Both Land of Nod and Natti Natti have great prints that kids love and parents will approve of. A collaboration between a child and the parents result in spaces that families can truly enjoy together.

2. Pictures speak louder than words. To create an environment a child can take pride in and ownership of, be sure to showcase their original artwork. Oliver is an amazing artist and builder. So we displayed some of his work as well as a few special LEGO creations. We also designated a space to hang artwork, which can be done easily with tape.

Of course we wanted Francis to feel welcomed too, and that was done by making sure a picture of Oliver and Francis is front and center. Always to hang those sibling photos!

3. Choose multifunctional Seating. Multifunctional seating is important in a shared room. Since the space will be used as Francis’ nursery, a comfy spot for Kaity to nurse was a necessity. We chose not to go with a glider in an effort to save floor space. Instead we went with an upholstered side chair, which can work in any room down the road.

The corner provides a spot to feed baby, and it’s also a great place to read books. We added a bright overhead light for that reason, and we put board books and picture books on shelves, placing them so that they’re easy to grab. Oliver’s chapter books, which he tends to read at bedtime, are closer to his bed. Speaking of books, wall shelves work great in a room pressed for space.

4. Save space. Utilize every inch of space. City living often means dealing with smaller apartments and the need to get creative with furniture positioning. In this case, it made sense to move the changing station and dresser into the closet instead of taking up floor space for the boys to play. This lets the room feel open, and believe it or not, it even maximizes the closet space. Having the option to close the doors is a bonus.

Another great storage spot is under the bed. We stored the majority of Oliver's toys under his bed. They’re in clear bins with lids so he can see what’s what. The lids will keep little pieces locked up, which makes it safe from baby brother! Keeping the toys under the bed also makes playing on the floor on a cozy rug easy.

5. Keep things within reach. As we organized the closet, we kept Oliver’s age appropriate needs in mind. His clothes are kept in the lower drawers so he can dress himself. Francis’ clothes were placed higher for mom and dad. Same idea with toys; the items Oliver plays with on his own are stored lower. Games and puzzles that are played with an adult went up top.

6. Function and Form. Nothing is permanent when living with kids - especially with multiple kids. The space around them will have to change as they do too. Invest in furniture that not only looks great but also can adapt as your little ones grow.

The Bloom dresser started as Oliver’s changing table and dresser before being just a dresser. And now that Francis is here, it’s back to its original purpose, as a changing table and dresser! Down the road when the changing station is no longer needed, the pad will come off, and it will be a dresser again. Francis’ crib, Bloom's Alma Papa, is slightly smaller than a standard crib, which is a huge plus for city living. But most importantly, the mattress can be at two heights, and the crib converts to a toddler bed as well, which can guarantee your littlest one a place to sleep until he's up to 4 years old.

Shop the nursery:

Crib: Bloom

Crib Sheets: Winter Water Factory X Bloom

Cloud pillow: Lorena Canals

Twin Bed Sheets: Land of Nod

Twin Bed Comforter: Natti Natti

Bookshelf Near Bed: Land of Nod

Rug: Lorena Canals

Eyes Pillow: Natti Natti

Dresser: Bloom

Hello Neon Light: Land of Nod

Pendant Light: Urban Outfitters

Rainbow Print: Fine Little Day

Eyes Print: Fine Little Day

Diaper Pail: Ubbi

Chair: West Elm

Trucks under crib: Green Toys

Donut Rattle: Chengoo

Geometric storage bin under shelves: Gautier Studio

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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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