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To our pediatrician: We couldn't do this without you

You, and your staff, have become an invaluable part of our village.

To our pediatrician: We couldn't do this without you

Dear Doctor,
It takes a village to raise children—I know that. Each person in that village plays a unique role. In my eyes, the role of pediatrician is such an important one. From the first day we "interviewed" you when I was an overwhelmed, pregnant, soon-to-be first-time mom, I was immediately at ease in your office. You answered all of our questions and your demeanor was exactly what we had hoped for in a pediatrician. You were serious but warm, and super knowledgeable.

From that day forward you, and your staff, have become an invaluable part of our village.

Thank you for being as good with kids are you are with the parents.

Upon walking in the room, whether for a well or sick visit, you immediately make all of us feel calm. You engage my boys first, to make them feel comfortable and they always light up. I think it is a rarity that kids are not afraid of their doctor. That is a testament to you.

You are kind and gentle with them. Somehow—quite effortlessly—you also ensure I'm aware of what is going on, how we treat what's going on, and any follow-ups. You make sure we are aware of milestones we should be hitting and how we can help get there.

Thank you for giving me your personal cell phone number.

Even though I know you may regret that now, there was a time (not too long ago) where we were going through a lot with the health of our second son. You didn't want us to "be in it alone," as you said, and you wanted us to know that we had a resource to check in with—any time, day or night.

And, thank you, for picking up so graciously when we called you at 9 pm on a Saturday night or on a holiday. And also when our older son came down with croup on our most recent trip. Knowing we had access to you, when we really needed it, truly meant the world to us.

And I promise to delete your number now.

Maybe.

Thank you for never, ever making me feel rushed.

I don't know how you do it. The office is always busy but you still manage to always answer every. single. one. of my questions. No matter how silly they sound as I recite them off of my month-long curated list. You respond to each thoughtfully. And sometimes you throw in a witty joke when my list gets too long.

You hang in there with me while I check off each and every question. And by the time I leave, my list can easily be deleted. I never leave wondering, or thinking "I should have asked that." That is invaluable for a parent.

Thank you for being with us through the highs and lows.

For taking extra time to do research and talk to other doctors when we were dealing with a unique situation. Thank you for calling in favors when we needed it most. You did not let us down—not that I ever thought you would. Having you in our corner always makes us feel like we are in the right place, always, and are all being taken care of.

I am so grateful we found you. And we're so thankful you're part of our village.

Thank you for being in it with us. Really, in it. The growth spurts and milestones. The walking and talking. The NICU and scary test results. The diaper rash and eczema. The croup and coxsackie. The potty training and thumb sucking.

Thank you for continuing to be a rock for our family when we need it most.

Sincerely,

A very grateful mama

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14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With fall 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 outside-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.

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden 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

Detective set

Plan Toys detective 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

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

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

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

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