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“What if there’s something wrong with him?”

It’s a question that’s slipped through every parent’s mind at least once. It hit us hard when our son, after being told he couldn’t have any more candy, erupted into a fit of shrieking, kicking, and trying to claw at our faces until he drew blood.


He’d never done anything like this before, and it terrified us. This wasn’t the behavior of a boy whose parents knew what they were doing. It was the type of behavior that makes people in supermarkets scoff, or teachers call home and ask just what kind of environment, exactly, are you people raising this child in?

 

 

We spent that night watching a documentary on the childhoods of serial killers and worrying about what was going to become of our little boy. As we watched and worried, my wife and I, trying to figure whose biology was to blame, listed off every family member we could name who had ever done anything wrong.

Was this built into his DNA, we wondered? Was this proof of a deep-rooted hatred and anger hidden in our child’s core? Was this a glimpse into his violent future?

Were we bad parents?

At that moment, it seemed to us like the answer was “yes.” We had raised one of those children who terrorize their teachers when they’re young and end up on the 5 o’clock news when they’re grown. One of those children people get together and talk about, shaking their heads in disbelief and wondering just where their parents must have gone wrong.

But none of that happened.

Our son never tried to claw us again, except for one half-hearted fit a few days later that he gave up on almost immediately. He hasn’t tried violence since.

We made it clear that what he was doing was wrong. We talked to him about handling his emotions, and he got better at it. He learned to leave the room when he felt mad or to talk about how he was feeling. When he saw that it worked, he changed his behavior.

When he started school, we didn’t get any angry calls home or teachers questioning our parenting aptitude. Instead, his teacher gushed about him from the very first day. While the other kids had fought and screamed over toys, she told us, he had told them that it was nice to share and tried to give them advice on how to calm down.

It’s easy to forget, but one bad action doesn’t mean your child is heading down the wrong track. When we see other parents, we only see them at their best, and we imagine that they never went through the struggles we fight with our own kids. But the truth is that everyone’s been there, and they all worried just as much as we did.

Kids need to be bad before they can be good. It’s how they learn. They’re naturally curious. They want to know what will happen if they try something new. If I scream at Mama and Dad, they wonder, will I get my way? If I say a bad word, will I get away with it? If I hit people, will they listen to me?

Children try these things and see if they work – and they try a lot of things. It’s perfectly natural and normal for a toddler to scream and have tantrums, to hit or bite their siblings, to bully their classmates, to draw lewd images, to run away from home, or kill insects for no reason.

When our kids do these things, it can feel like we’re raising little serial killers, but it’s all a part of growing up. It’s how kids learn – by pushing boundaries and seeing what they can get away with.

When our kids act out, we take it as an opportunity to mold them into the good people they will become. It’s a chance for us to show them the difference between right and wrong, to help them understand how their actions affect other people, to teach them how to behave.

And that’s something I need to keep in mind. Because my son hasn’t reached his teenage years yet. There’s a lot of weird stuff that he’s still going to try and – as I’ll have to remind myself – that he’s going to learn from, too.

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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