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What went viral this week: Jen Garner gets a mama paycheck + a dad's genius bottle cleaning hack

The first full weeks after the holidays wrap up can be real doozies. You're thrown right back into real life when all you really want to do is sleep off your post-holiday season exhaustion while clad in the cozy robe you got as a Christmas gift.

But January—the season of resolutions and full workweeks — is upon us. Let's get back to the real world, shall we?

Here are the headlines making us smile this week:

Viral video of triplet dad's genius hack for cleaning bottles

We all know how much work it is to clean and prepare bottles for one baby—now multiply that by three. It's a lot. The good news? One dad has a genius time-saving hack...and you're going to want to steal it immediately.

A clip featuring this triplet dad using a power tool attached to a baby bottle cleaning brush is going viral for good reason. Look how fast that thing works! The dad simply sticks the soapy-water-covered brush into the bottle, then activates the power tool so the brush really, really scrubs the inside of the bottle.

The dad is Aerol Peterson, who along with his wife Christy, welcomed triplets triplets Natashia, Arya and Trae in June. "Multiples run in my family," Aerol Peterson told 1011now. "My dad is a twin and my great-grandma was a twin, but triplets were still a surprise."

"We feed them seven times a day, every three hours, so 21 bottles," he said. "This is our normal and we just do it and we do it well."

Instagram commenters are loving Aerol's hack, with users praising the dad's ingenuity. Nothing like life with three newborns to inspire great creativity!

What do you think, Mama? Would you use this hack to make bottle washing go by a little bit faster? Obviously, it won't make the task go away entirely (oh, if only!), but hey—we'll take a shortcut where we can find one.

A viral dad joke takes over the Internet

As parents, we all dread those awkward conversations that'll inevitably come up—whether it's talking to our kids about the birds and the bees, or about their bodily functions. While both of these topics deal with completely natural human actions, they aren't always easy to discuss with kids.

Just ask Zack Riley, a real-life dad whose tweet is going mega viral this week. The tweet reads: "My son asked me 'Where does poo come from?' I was a little uncomfortable but gave him an honest explanation."

But the joke doesn't end there. The dad adds: "He looked a little perplexed, and stared at me in stunned silence for a few seconds and asked, "And Tigger?"

So funny! Not to mention relatable—as parents, we constantly find ourselves navigating awkward situations before quickly realizing we...well probably didn't need to do so. The Internet is absolutely loving this hysterical social media moment, which is so relatable for all the parents out there.

Another social media user chimed in with a similar story, writing: "Over a Happy Meal in McDs, my 3 year old daughter asked me, 'Where do babies come from?'...'Why do you want to know?' I asked, scrambling. 'Because it's not working out with Jimmy (little bro) and we need to send him back.'"

😂

Jennifer Garner’s son wrote her a check for being his mama 😂

If there's one thing we can all agree on it's that motherhood is a whole lot of work. Of course, it's a labor of love— but sometimes we wonder why it doesn't come with more recognition...or even a paycheck.

But Jennifer Garner's son has something to say about that. The actress posted an Instagram shot featuring the image of a check from her son, Sam. The check is made out to "Mama" and was processed by a very special bank (the Piggy Bank, natch). The amount in question? $168.42, which was made out for "being my mama."

How cute is that?

Jennifer's caption reads "Apparently, birthing and raising someone is valued at $168.42. I guess I should keep my day job. 😂"

Baby Yoda is coming to a Build-A-Bear near you

Lucasfilm/Disney

Parents have been wishing for a soft and cuddly version of The Child, also known as "Baby Yoda" from the Disney+ hit The Mandalorian and soon we'll be able to get one at Build-A-Bear.

This week Build-A-Bear CEO Sharon Price John made the announcement at an investment conference, telling the crowd: "I'm excited to share that we'll be one of the first companies to be able provide the new digital and internet phenomenon who is trending higher than all of the presidential candidates combined," she said. "We now will have The Child, also known as Baby Yoda."

Just like Baby Yoda's real name on the show, the release date for the Build-A-Bear version is still a mystery. No word yet on the price, either.

When I was expecting my first child, I wanted to know everything that could possibly be in store for his first year.

I quizzed my own mom and the friends who ventured into motherhood before I did. I absorbed parenting books and articles like a sponge. I signed up for classes on childbirth, breastfeeding and even baby-led weaning. My philosophy? The more I knew, the better.

Yet, despite my best efforts, I didn't know it all. Not by a long shot. Instead, my firstborn, my husband and I had to figure it out together—day by day, challenge by challenge, triumph by triumph.

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The funny thing is that although I wanted to know it all, the surprises—those moments that were unique to us—were what made that first year so beautiful.

Of course, my research provided a helpful outline as I graduated from never having changed a diaper to conquering the newborn haze, my return to work, the milestones and the challenges. But while I did need much of that tactical knowledge, I also learned the value of following my baby's lead and trusting my gut.

I realized the importance of advice from fellow mamas, too. I vividly remember a conversation with a friend who had her first child shortly before I welcomed mine. My friend, who had already returned to work after maternity leave, encouraged me to be patient when introducing a bottle and to help my son get comfortable with taking that bottle from someone else.

Yes, from a logistical standpoint, that's great advice for any working mama. But I also took an incredibly important point from this conversation: This was less about the act of bottle-feeding itself, and more about what it represented for my peace of mind when I was away from my son.

This fellow mama encouraged me to honor my emotions and give myself permission to do what was best for my family—and that really set the tone for my whole approach to parenting. Because honestly, that was just the first of many big transitions during that first year, and each of them came with their own set of mixed emotions.

I felt proud and also strangely nostalgic as my baby seamlessly graduated to a sippy bottle.

I felt my baby's teething pain along with him and also felt confident that we could get through it with the right tools.

I felt relieved as my baby learned to self-soothe by finding his own pacifier and also sad to realize how quickly he was becoming his own person.



As I look back on everything now, some four years and two more kids later, I can't remember the exact day my son crawled, the project I tackled on my first day back at work, or even what his first word was. (It's written somewhere in a baby book!)

But I do remember how I felt with each milestone: the joy, the overwhelming love, the anxiety, the exhaustion and the sense of wonder. That truly was the greatest gift of the first year… and nothing could have prepared me for all those feelings.

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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As a mom of three, I frequently get a question from moms and dads of two children: “Ok, so the jump to three...how bad is it?"

Personally, I found the transition to having even one kid to be the most jarring. Who is this little person who cries nonstop (mine had colic) and has no regard for when I feel like sitting/eating/resting/sleeping?

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