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During pregnancy, we anxiously await our little squash’s first kicks. We stare at the screen during ultrasound appointments to catch the first glimpse of our little pea’s beating heart.

At birth we await that first cry. During those precious beginning days, we marvel at the way they learn to feed, cry for demands, even open their eyes. From the moment we pee on that stick, we await their first accomplishments.

As they get older, our kids’ milestones get more momentous as they become little people with genuinely amazing personalities. They learn to smile, coo, crawl, sit up, use a spoon, chew food, walk, talk, the list could fill the page. We document these achievements ad nauseam on social media sites so all of our friends from high school know our child can poop.

We brag to all the moms at the playground that our little love can eat peas, goes potty on the toilet, or has achieved the holy grail – sleeping through the night. We constantly want for our mini-me’s to meet their next big development mark so that we can be proud of them.

No one feat, however, for me, was more eagerly anticipated than my little Bugga ditching his crib and becoming a big boy.

Compared to others, my little love had fallen behind. I mean, after the age of one, the steady stream of giant braggables seem to slow. While I still noticed steps in his development every day, the biggies, like potty training and moving into a toddler bed, just weren’t happening. 

Months passed and my little Bugga was turning three. He loved his crib. He didn’t see it as the prison some feel confined to. He didn’t attempt to escape,  he didn’t beg to get out of it — in fact, he loved his sleep, 13 hours a night, with a two-hour nap (I know, pardon the brag). We were blessed with a kid who didn’t yearn for the freedom I so wanted him to want.

Strapped with guilt that we were babifying our eldest son, and due to the urging of family and friends, I decided the crib needed to go. What better timing than when we began potty training him. I was looking to be the envy of the playground — big boy bed and potty trained in three days. HA.

At first, my little love embraced his newest milestone. He grabbed his Handy Manny tool set and donned his construction hat as he helped daddy make his crib into his big boy bed. He gladly handed over his diapers to his little bro and pulled those “undywear” on with a sense of pride that I hadn’t seen since he decided to take his first steps. I beamed. I documented. I bragged.

He initially took to these changes the same way he takes to everything: acceptance with little complaining. But what I assumed would be something he’d love soon became his (and our) biggest nightmare.

If the jack-in-the-box nap times and the full hour it took to get our little gem to bed at night weren’t enough, within a few weeks, we were starting to really fail at potty training boot camp (which might have been the most devastating to my washing machine). The list of poor behaviors exhibited by our normally happy-go-lucky kid started alarming most of those who knew him. 

It didn’t take long to realize my nugget was suffering. While he didn’t complain, all the signs I needed were screaming at me. His sudden mood swings, his exhaustion, his accidents. He was riddled with anxiety over being rushed into a rite of passage he didn’t ask for, and quite frankly wasn’t ready to handle.

So, I took a deep breath, looked the naysayers in the eye, and manned up for my little boy. Once again he donned his construction hat, grabbed his tool kit, and helped daddy reassemble his crib.

We didn’t move backward, we didn’t call him a baby, we didn’t bring back the diapers. I called it like it was: he liked his crib. He liked the comfort and safety it brought him at night. He liked the feeling of security it wrapped him in as he slept. It was his room. It was all he knew, and he wasn’t ready to give that up. And I told him, that was okay.

He went back to sleeping soundly. His behaviors returned to normal. He reestablished mastery in all things potty. He moved right along, continuing to meet each new milestone with boundless energy.

Our children achieve such astounding feats. In this act of pushing mine, I learned that it’s not about our bragging rights, it’s about theirs. And no matter how fast or slow, they all get to the imaginary finish line in this fictional race of childhood.   

Like all proud parents, I continue to brag about Bugga’s accomplishments, but have stopped anxiously awaiting the next. I know he will get to them when he is ready, not a minute faster, and instead of wasting my precious moments waiting, I am restfully sleeping since he went back into his crib.

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

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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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