First Day of Pre-K

Today is Emily’s first day of pre-K at a local nursery school. I woke her up, got her to eat breakfast with minimal prodding (a rarity!) and dressed her in a cute fall outfit. She was great about taking pictures and ran inside the school without so much as a glance backward at me. I’m glad she’s a social butterfly and not a clingy little thing — she’s affectionate as can be, but she’s an independent spirit.

EmilySchool

 

She came out excited about her morning, but was a little light on the details. I’m sure she’ll tell me more as the days go on — she’ll be going five mornings a week. Right now, I’m enjoying every minute with her while I’m home on maternity leave.

Our Toddler Needs Glasses!

Having a pair of terrible eyes myself — a lazy eye that needed glasses and patching, astigmatism, one nearsighted eye and one farsighted — I knew this day would come for Miss Frugalista. I just didn’t think it would come at the young age of 2.

Our toddler just turned 2 on Groundhog Day. A few weeks before that, everyone started noticing that her right eye was turning inward now and then, especially when she was tired. I had the ophthalmologist’s card in my purse when we went for her well visit, where the pediatrician also noticed her eyes. Three weeks later, we were at the pediatric eye doctor’s office, where it was confirmed that Miss Frugalista has a case of “accommodative estropia” — lazy eye due to farsightedness and trouble focusing. The eyes cross (‘accommodate’) in order to focus to see properly.

At this point, we don’t need to put a patch over her “good” eye or, what would be more likely for our energetic little bunny, use blurring eye drops in the good eye.  Instead, the pediatric ophthalmologist believes glasses will be sufficient to correct the issue.

Glasses on a very active, very opinionated 2-year-old are apt to break and not be worn. Right now, they’re making her eyeglasses, which will have a lavender silicone frame with a strap that goes around the head to help a toddler keep them on. Those are $80. The lenses will be scratch-resistant and super lightweight. Those are $160.

They will also be unfashionably round. This is what they’ll look like.

Glasses

I think we should start a pool to see how long it will take until she wears them full time, as indicated.

So much for potty training. Someone’s getting a short reprieve on that!

No, I *Don’t* Need to Buy Things for Vacation

We’re less than 6 weeks away from our first-ever vacation with Miss Frugalista, and it may be a crazy idea: We’ve decided to rent a house with 10 other friends and take a road trip from New Jersey down to North Carolina’s Outer Banks for a full week. Most likely, the bulk of the ride will feature a 18-month-old crying because she wants to get out of her carseat, but we’ll be stopping a few times on the way for bathroom breaks/diaper changes/meals, and, most importantly, to stretch our legs. It will be fun trying to pump our own gas. Maybe I should have someone explain how to do it before we leave!

I’ve had to rein myself in when it comes to picking up vacation “essentials.” The house we’re renting has a pool AND is on the beach, so there are some baby safety considerations. While I have my eye on a $50 beach shelter, I’m still unsure about flotation devices. We already have a large, foldable outdoor gate (formerly the “baby jail”) that may be useful for corralling purposes. I’ve already spent money on a backseat organizer for the car ride down and water shoes so the sand doesn’t burn her little feet. We’re going to use her old Pack ‘n’ Play for a crib, but I want to pick up a $25 playard mattress so she can rest more comfortably at night. We have some beach toys we got for her birthday in February, so that’s covered. She has plenty of sun hat that she won’t wear, and I don’t think I’ll bother with baby sunglasses for the same reason.

My husband believes he needs some T-shirts, and I desperately need a new bathing suit (or two), which is something I’d better buy sooner rather than later — I saw SWEATERS on the racks in Target the other day. I’ve stocked up on sunblock.

Making Our Own Meals to Save Money

What will be nice is that we’ll be buying our own food, with just one dinner planned for a local restaurant. Between the 12 of us, we’re renting a grill and propane tank for $60 a week – that’s just $5 per person — and the majority of our meals will involve BBQ. Breakfast can be a simple bowl of cereal or a “fancier” meal of eggs, bacon and toast, or even pancakes.

We’re all meeting up one day this month to talk about what food we’ll be bringing or buying once we’re in North Carolina and also set up a meal schedule — each of us will try our hand at cooking a meal for the group.

Sharing Resources

Another thing we’ll be planning is who will bring which items. Do we need 10 beach umbrellas when two pop-up canopies would do? So we’ll sort out things of that nature, too, so we’re not buying or bringing superfluous items — we’ll have enough to bring with us as it is! Since Miss Frugalista will be the only child there, we’re in charge of all of the baby stuff.

So besides food, gas for the car, and a few clothing necessities, we shouldn’t have to spend a lot of money — even the house rental was more than reasonable for a 7-day stay. We’re definitely looking forward to the trip, which we think will be a lot of fun.

Has anyone else taken a young toddler on a beach vacation? Is there anything else we should bring with us?

Spoiling Children

I now understand how parents can want to give their child the world — both figuratively and literally. Every cute outfit, every neat toy I see, I have to dig deep inside to find some restraint so I don’t wind up with a cart full of kid stuff in my cart at the store. Target, I’m talking about you here.

Between Christmas in December and Miss Frugalista’s first birthday in February, we were inundated with toys and clothes. I did think to request summer outfits in a larger size — which our little chunker is quickly growing out of already — and some small beach/pool items for our upcoming trip to North Carolina.

Toys are in abundance here, too. We have lots of little toys that play songs and teach the alphabet and numbers, along with the more traditional wooden blocks and fabric dolls. There are a few larger items, too, such as an outdoor water table and slide (two separate items), a music table, rocking horse, bouncy turtle, and a small Fisher-Price Little People dollhouse. That’s all in addition to the Little People ZooTalkers zoo and about 15 different animals that go with it. (Aside: Do you know how freakin’ hard it was to find most of those animals? They’re never in stores, so I wound up ordering many of them from the Fisher-Price website at $3 a pop.)

She has a Little Tikes Cozy Coupe, a Radio Flyer wagon complete with seats, seat belts and canopy, and, not to be outdone, a motorized mini Power Wheels car. Then there’s the stuff at her babysitter’s house.

Since her birthday in February, I haven’t bought her anything “major” besides some extra ZooTalkers animals and her Fisher-Price dollhouse. However, I do have my eye on a little outdoor playhouse for her…

Do you have trouble controlling your spending impulses when it comes to your little ones? Please tell me it’s not just me!