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My Daughter Was Emotionally Scarred by a Goat – and Other Tales From Disney World

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In the spring of 2011, my youngest daughter taught me a lesson about perception. Technically, I suppose, the message was a group project delivered by my daughter, Piglet (from Winnie-the-Pooh), and a seemingly rabid adolescent goat – all with the assistance of Mickey Mouse.

But let’s not muddy the water with details just yet.

Step One: The Journey

0330. Alarm explodes. Swear words are uttered. Snooze button is depressed.

0337. Alarm re-detonates. More vigorous swearing. Feet hit floor. Toothbrush hits teeth.

0350. Kids are dragged from angelic slumber, except for Macy The Oldest, who has been awake and twitching with anticipation since 0200. JackMan stumbles drunkenly to the car, and immediately slips back into his coma. Ellie Kate, the Princess Baby, is just looking around at everything, wide-eyed and flustered, mumbling the baby words for “what the hell is this 4 a.m. crap about?”


0400. Drive drive drive drive drive doze off jerk wheel scare family drink coffee drive drive drive.

0830. Chik-Fil-A. Creepy bathroom guy tells me, as he steps away from the urinal, “I warmed it up for you.” At this point, a tiny piece of my soul dies and drifts to the dirty tile floor. My son JackMan is very confused by this exchange. “What did he mean, daddy?”

I pretend to be absorbed by restroom signage to avoid explaining that some people in life are just destined to say creepy, nonsensical things in public restrooms.

More driving. Sweet Moses, the driving. To understand driving in Florida, you have to understand two things about Florida drivers:

  1. They hate you. All of them hate all of you. They want you dead, right now, in a flaming ball of wreckage rolling conveniently into the emergency lane and out of their way.
  2. Brake lights are meaningless. Turn signals are meaningless. Hand gestures are meaningless. Screaming at your windshield is meaningless. The only things that matter are position, relative velocity, and leverage. In this respect, driving in Florida is exactly equivalent to playing on the offensive line.

Well, O-line is what I coached back when I still coached football, and so we survived. And, like the Israelites of old, we found our way to the Promised Land (assuming the Old Testament Promised Land featured Captain Jack Sparrow doppelgangers). DISNEY WORLD! The magical land of costumed characters, cash transfusions, and $11 popsicles.

Murderous Piglet and a buffet full of bacon

The first day we were at Disney World was magical in the truest sense of the word. Somehow, we had landed in some sort of non-crowded fantasy vortex. We rode everything immediately: Dumbo, Small World, Space Mountain (whoo!), The Whirling Teacups of Vomitous Death, Snow White’s Slightly Creepy Forest, Buzz Lightyear’s Glorified Lazer Tag, and – of course – Pirates of the Caribbean. It was amazing. I hate Disney so much, it hurts my teeth to let those words out. But it was a blast.

Then, lunch.

We get very excited for lunch in my house. And this one was in that crystal restaurant where all the Pooh characters dance around and pat your kids on the head while dad gets to eat every item on the buffet. The prospect of this lunch had been the only glimmer of hope keeping my black soul from slipping into the abyss for the last few days.

Which is why it was a huge kink in my plans to learn that Ellie was convinced Piglet wanted to murder her. Please wait: I know that “kid who cries at characters” is an overused and trite cliche. You are not understanding me. I do not mean “Ellie cried when she saw Piglet.” This was not discomfort.

What I mean is: Ellie was 100% convinced that Piglet was going to shove a Mickey-themed butter knife into her chest. She screamed like that girl at the bottom of the well in “Silence of the Lambs.” She bucked her high chair like a tiny, apoplectic cowgirl astride an angry bull. It was the kind of cry that forces you to leave the restaurant for the good of the other patrons…if you’re good parents or decent people.

Fortunately, I am neither. I had driven 10 hours and paid eleventy jillion dollars, and this buffet was the one thing in my day I was looking forward to. So I declared “We’re not leaving. She’ll get over it.”

Here’s the thing, though. She did not get over it.

When it dawned on her that I had no plans to save her from the lunatic porcine assassin, my tiny Princess Baby looked at me with eyes that clearly communicated the simple phrase “When you are old and helpless, I will unplug your machines for this. Is it worth it?”

And I decided that yes, six plates of bacon was absolutely worth it.

So she screamed. And wailed. And when she was done wailing, she circled right back around to try a bit more of the screaming. It was an absurd variation on the ghost scene in MacBeth. You know the scene? MacBeth can see Banquo’s ghost, but no one else can. So in the middle of the dinner, the ghost keeps popping up at just the worst time, and MacBeth jumps up and flips his chair over and generally looks like a crazy person. You know that scene?

Imagine that, but with Piglet and a toddler. Everyone eats quietly, then Ellie sees Piglet / Pooh / Tigger / Eeyore, at which point she becomes a 12-pound bass right after hitting the ice in the cooler. That is, if that bass were strapped into a chair and screaming infantile obscenities.

On it went. Inside the park. In every restaurant. Wherever she saw a character. From a football field away, she would begin welling up, and as we approached the smiling character, surrounded by a line of happy children, she would become Sean Penn in “Mystic River” when he finds his dead daughter in that park. Just sobbing and wailing at the sky, calling on God to bring down lightning on everyone in sight.

Finally, Animal Kingdom

This went on for three days. Seventy-two hours of mortal carnage. So it was a relief, on the fourth day, when we got to the Animal Kingdom.

First of all, there aren’t nearly as many characters in the Animal Kingdom to dodge, and I was tired of spending my vacation feeling like a downed chopper pilot in Vietnam dodging Charlie. “Quick. There’s Stitch. When he turns to pretend-fart on that family, you step toward him and I’ll cross the alley to the gift shop.”

Second of all, do you know what there is in the Animal Kingdom? There is a safari ride, full of actual animals. And she loved it. Piglet in costume? Murderer. Actual lion that would maul her tiny beautiful head in a remorseless second? Best friend of all time.

Do you know what else there is in the Animal Kingdom? A petting zoo, full of cuddly, safe animals, none of whom represent animated characters. So OF COURSE we are going to visit the petting zoo.

And there we are, petting baby deer and cute little sheep and tiny goats. And she’s loving it. Finally, Ellie, my Princess Baby, is loving Disney World, safe from the organized crime syndicate of Mickey and Company.

So imagine her surprise when the three baby goats she’s petting decide this is the moment for a lively round of mortal combat. My daughter’s innocent childlike joy turned to horror, her universe twisting terribly awry in the most absurdly goat-oriented of fashions. The goats are circling, churning, head butting, making that horrid goat sound, and Ellie is slowly dawning to the realization – THE DISNEY ANIMALS REALLY ARE TRYING TO KILL HER.

And this time: they’re organized. They set her up. They lulled her to sleep for three days; Piglet and Mickey and Pluto were all red herrings, and they’ve actually planned all along to use the one animal she wasn’t scared of to execute their nefarious plot. This required both intent and forethought. (That’s attempted Murder One, for you “Law and Order” aficionados.)

I tend to be a reasonably helpful chap, so here’s a suggestion f0r the Disney suits – you’re gonna need to train those petting zoo employees a little more if you plan to avoid lawsuits from people who are less laid-back and forgiving than me.

Imagine, if you will, the half-addled college kid they’re paying to work in the goat pen, nervously chuckling and saying, “They’re just playing” while the maelstrom of goat anger builds and my daughter is trapped inside. She can’t even cry – she’s just doing that wide-eyed fish-gulp thing kids do when something too bad to even cry about has happened. And imagine the college kid’s realization that no manual explained what, exactly, one is to do when a cyclonic goat-fight breaks out literally wrapped around a toddler.

Now imagine me, striding into the fray, punching a goat.

Yes. Punching. A goat. I will say that again, because it can be difficult to comprehend. I punched a goat. In the neck. Right in his tiny goat neck.

Punching the goat was necessary, because the Disney Official Magical Goat Tender was standing there, telling people, “Let’s stay away while they calm down,” completely oblivious to the Wailing Human Infant trapped in the Maelstrom of Disney Goat Anger.

(Ellie now carries a plastic Playskool knife, which she brandishes at the mere sight of a costumed character while muttering, “Bring it.”)

We survived, though. Goats were punched, sarcastic utterances were uttered, off was stormed, at which point I realized what a GREAT story my toddler’s barnyard trauma would make. And if you can’t traumatize your children for the sake of a good story, what is parenting even for?

Of course, if I wanted to press the issue, I could point out the obvious lesson, right? Here Ellie was, surrounded by costumed characters who wanted nothing more than to make her happy, but she was terrified. And then, when she encountered actual animals that could and would do actual harm to her, she let her guard down.

There’s a point in there somewhere about American culture, or global politics, or human nature. But I’ll let you figure that out on your own. You definitely shouldn’t take any advice from me. I punched a goat.

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Pop quiz, mama! How many different types of car seats are there? If you guessed three, you're partially correct. The three main types are rear-facing car seats, forward-facing car seats, and booster seats. But then there are a variety of styles as well: infant car seats, convertible seats, all-in-one seats, high-back booster seats, and backless boosters. If you're not totally overwhelmed yet, keep reading, we promise there's good stuff ahead.

There's no arguing that, in the scheme of your baby and child gear buying lifetime, purchasing a car seat is a big deal! Luckily, Walmart.com has everything you need to travel safely with your most precious cargo in the backseat. And right now, you can save big on top-rated car seats and boosters during Best of Baby Month, happening now through September 30 at Walmart.com.

As if that wasn't enough, Walmart will even take the carseat your kiddos have outgrown off your hands for you (and hook you up with a sweet perk, too). Between September 16 and 21, Walmart is partnering with TerraCycle to recycle used car seats. When you bring in an expired car seat or one your child no longer fits into to a participating Walmart store during the trade-in event, you'll receive a $30 gift card to spend on your little one in person or online. Put the money towards a brand new car seat or booster or other baby essentials on your list. To find a participating store check here: www.walmart.com/aboutbestofbabymonth

Ready to shop, mama? Here are the 9 best car seat deals happening this month.

Safety 1st Grow and Go Spring 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat


From rear-facing car seat to belt-positioning booster, Grow and Go Sprint's got you covered through childhood. Whether you choose the grey Silver Lake, Seafarer or pink Camelia color palette, you'll love how this model grows with your little one — not to mention how easy it is to clean. The machine-washable seat pad can be removed without fussing with the harness, and the dual cup holders for snacks and drinks can go straight into the dishwasher.

Price: $134 (regularly $149)


Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Bermuda


When your toddler is ready to face forward, this versatile car seat can be used as a five-point harness booster, a high-back booster, and a backless booster. Padded armrests, harness straps, and seat cushions provide a comfy ride, and the neutral gray seat pads reverse to turquoise for a stylish new look.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)


Baby Trend Hybrid Plus 3-in-1 Booster Car Seat in Olivia


Looking for something snazzy, mama? This black and hot pink car seat features a playful heart print on its reversible seat pad and soft harness straps. Best of all, with its 100-pound weight limit and three booster configurations, your big kid will get years of use out of this fashionable design.

Price: $72.00 (regularly $81)


Evenflo Triumph LX Convertible Car Seat


This rear- and forward-facing car seat keeps kids safer, longer with an adjustable five-point harness that can accommodate children up to 65 lbs. To tighten the harness, simply twist the conveniently placed side knobs; the Infinite Slide Harness ensures an accurate fit every time. As for style, we're big fans of the cozy quilted design, which comes in two colorways: grey and magenta or grey and turquoise.

Price: $116 (regularly $149.99)


Disney Baby Light 'n Comfy 22 Luxe Infant Car Seat


Outfitted with an adorable pink-and-white polka dot Minnie Mouse infant insert, even the tiniest of travelers — as small as four pounds! — can journey comfortably and safely. This rear-facing design is lightweight, too; weighing less than 15 lbs, you can easily carry it in the crook of your arm when your hands are full (because chances are they will be).

Price: $67.49 (regularly $89.99)


Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat


We know it's hard to imagine your tiny newborn will ever hit 100 lbs, but one day it'll happen. And when it does, you'll appreciate not having to buy a new car seat if you start with this 4-in-1 design! Designed to fit kids up to 120 lbs, it transforms four ways, from a rear-facing car seat to a backless belt-positioning booster. With a 6-position recline and a one-hand adjust system for the harness and headrest, you can easily find the perfect fit for your growing child.

Price: $199.99 (regularly $269.99)


Graco SlimFit All-in-One Convertible Car Seat


With its unique space-saving design, this 3-in-1 car seat provides 10% more back seat space simply by rotating the dual cup holders. The InRight LATCH system makes installation quick and easy, and whether you're using it as a rear-facing car seat, a forward-facing car seat, or a belt-positioning booster, you can feel confident that your child's safe and comfortable thanks to Graco's Simply Safe Adjust Harness System.

Price: $149.99 (regularly $229.99)


Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car Seat


Making sure your infant car seat is secure can be tricky, but Graco makes it easy with its one-second LATCH attachment and hassle-free three-step installation using SnugLock technology. In addition to its safety features, what we really love about this rear-facing seat are all of the conveniences, including the ability to create a complete travel system with Click Connect Strollers and a Silent Shade Canopy that expands without waking up your sleeping passenger.

Price: $169.99 (regularly $249.99)


Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat


With just one click, you can know whether this rear-facing car seat has been installed properly. Then adjust the base four different ways and use the bubble level indicator to find the proper position. When you're out and about, the rotating canopy with window panel will keep baby protected from the sun while allowing you to keep your eye on him.

Price: $129.99 (regularly $219.99)


This article was sponsored by Walmart. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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If I ever want to look alive before dropping my son off to school, there are two things I must put on before leaving the house: eyeliner and mascara. When using eyeliner, I typically use black liner on my top lid, a slightly lighter brown for my bottom lid, and then a nude liner for my water line. It works every time.

My mascara routine is a bit different. Because my natural lashes are thin and not the longest, I always opt for the darkest black I can find, and one that's lengthening and volumizing. For this reason, I was immediately drawn to It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara. The new mascara is developed in partnership with Drybar (the blow dry bar that specializes in just blowouts) and promises to deliver bold and voluminous lashes all day long. I was sold.

Could this really be the blowout my lashes have been waiting for? It turns out, it was much better than most volumizing formulas I've tried.

For starters, the wand is a great size—it's not too big or small, and it's easy to grip—just like my favorite Drybar round brush. As for the formula, it's super light and infused with biotin which helps lashes look stronger and healthier. I also love that it's buildable, and I didn't notice any clumps or flakes between coats.

The real test is that my lashes still looked great at dinnertime. I didn't have smudges or the dreaded raccoon eyes I always get after a long day at work. Surprisingly, the mascara actually stayed in place. To be fair, I haven't compared them with lash-extensions (which are my new go-to since having baby number two), but I'm sure it will hold up nicely.

Overall, I was very impressed with the level of length and fullness this mascara delivered. Indeed, this is the eyelash blowout my lashes have been waiting for. While it won't give you a few extra hours in bed, you'll at least look a little more awake, mama.

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

It Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara

Here's how I apply IT Cosmetics Lash Blowout Mascara:

  1. Starting as close to lash line as possible (and looking down), align the brush against your top lashes. Gradually turn upwards, then wiggle the wand back and forth up and down your eyelashes.
  2. Repeat, if needed. Tip: Be sure to allow the mascara to dry between each coat.
  3. Using the same technique, apply mascara to your bottom lashes, brushing the wand down your eyelashes.
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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Having children isn't always as easy as it looks on Instagram. There's so much more to motherhood than serene baby snuggles and matching outfits. But there's a reason we've fallen so deeply in love with motherhood: It's the most beautiful, chaotic ride.

Every single day, we sit back and wonder how something so hard can feel so rewarding. And Eva Mendes just managed to nail the reality of that with one quote.

Eva, who is a mama to daughters Esmerelda and Amada with Ryan Gosling, got real about the messy magic of motherhood in a recent interview.

"It's so fun and beautiful and maddening," the actress tells Access Daily. "It's so hard, of course. But it's like that feeling of…you end your day, you put them to bed and Ryan and I kind of look at each other like, 'We did it, we did it. We came out relatively unscathed.'"


Eva Mendes Admits Parenting Two Girls With Ryan Gosling Is 'Fun, Beautiful And Maddening' www.youtube.com

And just like that, moms all over the world feel seen. We've all been there: Struggling to get through the day (which, for the record is often every bit as fun as it is challenging), only to put those babies to sleep and collapse on the couch in sheer exhaustion. But, after you've caught your breath, you realize just how strong and capable you really are.

One thing Eva learned the hard way? That sleep regressions are very, very real...and they don't just come to an end after your baby's first few months. "I guess they go through a sleep regression, which nobody told me about until I looked it up," she says "I was like, 'Why isn't my 3-year-old sleeping?'"

But, at the end of the day, Eva loves her life as a mom—and the fact that she took a break from her Hollywood career to devote her days to raising her girls. "I'm so thankful I have the opportunity to be home with them," she says.

Thank you for keeping it real, Eva! Momming isn't easy, but it sure is worth it.

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My labor and delivery was short and sweet. I started feeling contractions on Monday morning and by Tuesday night at 8:56 pm my handsome baby boy was born. Only 30 minutes of pushing. Afterward, I was still out of it, to be honest. I held him and did some skin to skin and handed him off to my husband, my mother held him next.

When he was in my mother's arms, I knew he was safe. I started to drift off, the epidural had me feeling drowsy and I had used up all my strength to push this 7 lb baby out. My son's eyes were open and then I guess he went to sleep too. My mother swayed him back and forth. The nurses were in and out, cleaning me up and checking in on us.


When yet another nurse came in, my mom said to her, "He wasn't latching because he wanted to sleep."

The nurse yelled, "He's not sleeping!"

The next 25 minutes happened in slow motion for me.

After the nurse said these words, she flung my son onto the little baby bed. I looked over and he looked a little blue. Then I heard the loud words of CODE PINK. In matters of seconds about 30 nursing staff descended into my room and crowded around my baby.

I couldn't even see what was happening. I tried to get out the bed but they wouldn't let me and after a couple of failed attempts one of the nurses look at me and said, "He's fine, he's breathing now."

Breathing now? He wasn't breathing before? Again, I tried to push my way to my baby, but once again I was told to not move. They had just performed CPR on my 30-minute old newborn and I couldn't understand what was happening even after a pediatrician tried to explain it to me.

I just started crying. He was fine in my stomach for 39 weeks and 6 days and now I bring him into this world and his heart nearly stops?

I was told he needed to go to the neonatal intensive care unit. I was confused, as I thought the NICU was only for preemies and my son was full term.

After what felt like an eternity we were finally allowed to see our son. My husband wheeled me there and we saw him in the corner alone. I saw the incubator and the wires, he's all bundled up.

The nurse explained all the beeping and showed me the heart rate monitor. He's doing fine. We go over the feeding schedule. I'm exhausted still. I stay with him until about 1 or 2 am. They all suggest I get some sleep. There's no bed in the NICU, so I head back to my room.

The next day was better, he doesn't have to be in the incubator anymore, but the wires remain. By that night or early the next morning, the wires in his nose come out and I try feeding him. I try pumping. It was painful.

He gets his first bath and he loves it. The nurse shampoos his hair (he had a lot!) and he seems so soothed. The nurse explains that because he's full term he doesn't need the same type of support in the NICU. She tells me my baby's strong and he'll be fine.

I look around. I see the other babies, the other moms. They could be there for weeks. And unlike me, the moms have to go home—without their baby.

Friday comes and by now he's done all his tests, blood work came back normal, all tubes have been removed and I get it. I get my going-home package. Finally. I get my instructions on doctor follow-ups and we finally get to go home.

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There have been a lot of iconic entertainment magazine covers featuring pregnant women over the years. Who can forget Demi Moore's bare baby bump on Vanity Fair or Britney Spears' similar nude pose on Harper's Bazaar?

Pregnant women on a magazine covers is nothing new, but a visibly pregnant CEO on the cover of a business magazine, that's a first and it happened this week.

Inc. just put The Wing's CEO Audrey Gelman on the cover and this is a historic moment in publishing and business.

As Gelman told Today this week, "You can't be what you can't see, so I think it's so important for women to see that it's possible to run a fast-growing business and also to start a family."



She continued: "It's so important to sort of burst that bubble and to have new images of women who are thriving and working professionally while balancing motherhood … My hope is that women see this and again feel the confidence to take greater professional risks while also not shelving their dreams of becoming a mother and starting a family."

The Wing started in 2016 as a co-working space for women and has grown rapidly. As Inc. reports, The Wing has eight locations in the U.S. with plans for more American and international locations by 2020.

Putting Gelman on the cover was an important move by Inc. and Gelman's honesty about her early pregnancy panic ("I can't be pregnant. I have so much to do." she recalls thinking after her pregnancy test) should be applauded.

Gelman says pregnancy made her slow down physically, and that it was actually good for her company: "I had this realization: The way to make my team and my employees feel proud to work for me and for the company was actually not to pretend to be superhuman or totally unaffected by pregnancy."

We need this. We need CEOs to admit that they are human so that corporate leadership can see employees as humans, too. Humans need things like family leave and flexibility, especially when they start raising little humans.

There are a lot of iconic covers featuring pregnant women, but this one is different. She's wearing clothes and she's changing work culture.

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