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First, does everybody have the dream where your teeth fall out or are otherwise compromised, or just those of us who were terrified of our grandmother's dentures as small children?

Second, is the pool ever an acceptable provisional shower? I often run at lunchtime (the kids are going to watch tv then anyway since it is the only way to get them to sit still long enough to eat a few bites, so I figure I may as well run too), and then we usually go to the pool shortly thereafter. Now, I have showered the night before, so I'm sweaty (very, very sweaty) but not otherwise all that dirty, and it is so damned hot here lately that the two minute walk to the pool leaves me drenched in sweat anyway, so I feel foolish showering just to sweat again and then jump in the pool. So can I just go to the pool? And then can I run to the grocery store after the pool? You tell me.

Third, what do I get my five-year-old for her birthday? She has some small requests, but we are rather at a loss. She loves books and playing pretend and her iPod and has, as ever, small use for toys.

Fourth, how old were your kids the first time you left them with a non-family babysitter? (My answer is "nearly five and nearly two and a half.") (I feel quite sure this makes me abnormal.)

Comments (46)

1) I've never had that dream, but I think I've heard of others having it. In fact, I think it's one of the more common ones.
2) I say yes :) Though I hate feeling chlorine-y - if it's an outdoor pool with no showers in the changing rooms for a quick rinse - go for it.
3) What about a special day with you and Chris? Whatever sort of adventure she'd like to go on, and your guys' exclusive attention!
4) n/a :P Though I think this current generation is more protective (or paranoid? heh) than previous so you're more likely to find agreement in peers than in your parents' cohort.

1. YES (!!) on the teeth falling out dream, though I haven't had it in quite a while. Long ago, I heard a dream analyst say teeth falling out in dreams is a sign that you feel out of control of some important aspect of your life.

2. Not sure about the shower question...

3. My cousin's little boy just turned five. His big gifts were a dog and a big kid's bike. I got him one of the "My First [fill in the blank] encyclopedia" books because he LOVES to learn facts about every little thing and will sit through the reading of an encyclopedia rather than story books anytime. (They are for grades 2-5, but he LOVES them.) Given how much Mia loves playing pretend, could you get a ticket subscription to some age appropriate theater performances to go to through the year?

4. I don't have kids, but most people in my family left their kids with non-relatives before age 1, for sure. But when you've got two sets of local grandparents and a stay-at-home mom, I can see how these things would go on for longer.

Helpful? :-)

I have had the teeth falling out dream... it was actually caused by my grinding my teeth and/or clenching my jaw at night. I had to get a night guard so I would stop doing it, and the dreams stopped as well.

1. Some info about the (possible) meaning of dreams about teeth falling out:
2. The pool (and/or locker room shower) is fine for rinsing off the stinky stuff, but I find my hair still (badly) needs to be washed the next morning even if the swim is late the night before.
3. No idea. I'll leave this one to the parents in the group.
4. No kids, but I know it's become common to go that long, particularly among those people with family nearby to assist with child care. Still, friends who live more than a few hours from family have tended to hire non-related sitters no later than 6 months in.

My link above only works if you delete the final period(.). Sorry. Also, I should have said, in #1: No, everyone doesn't have those dreams, freak! I don't, at least, but I've heard it from several friends so it can't be uncommon. :o)

Here is the corrected link:
(Sorry for the multiple comments!)

I've had that dream for as long as I can remember in various forms. I always attributed it to the fact that I still have two baby teeth and I'm dreading the day that they fall out.

1. I don't dream of teeth in any way, but I know lots of people that do.

2. Yes, just hop in the pool. Perhaps a quick rinse at the pool's shower?

3. I think it was around age 5 that our girls started getting interested in Webkinz. They are those stuffed animals that you can register online and then buy stuff, feed them, and play games and do "jobs" to earn money. In theory, I'd be morally opposed, but after giving it a shot, I realized I really liked it.

Age 5 was also when my girls got really into the Little House series: both the "my first chapter" versions of the books and the tv show.

4. We don't use sitters often, but DUDE. When we do, we don't regret it. Do it and have fun!

1. Yes. I believe it is a common stress dream. Oddly, I never had it during my year of dental turmoil last year.

2. Definitely.

3. Just go with the small requests. They may seem small to you, but if it's what she wants, she will probably be just as happy getting them as anything bigger or pricier.

4. n/a :-)

1. No, and I have never even heard of it.

2. Absolutely, as long as u are comfortable and not going to some hoity-toity country club. ;)

3. What about some littlest bet shops. They are animals, cute, and found at target. Books are always good or a journal she can write or draw in to document her own story.

4. I might be a freak but I have to say around 4 and 6 and NEVER at night. Just prefer it that way.

Hope we have helped guide you into sound choices and calmed your rather ummmm... Low level of anxiety/paranoia.

Oops!! Littlest Pet Shop

1. Never had that dream
2. Yes, totally OK
3. No clue...sorry.
4. Left my youngest w a non family sitter when he was 12ish months but it was w/ his daycare teacher (on a sat though...) other than that never and mine are 5.5 and almost 3. Can't wait until I'm ok w neighborhood high school kids...will be a while.

I haven't had the teeth-fall-out dream, but I've heard it's common.

Definitely the pool is an acceptable shower, and yes to grocery store afterward.

Would Mia like swimming-related presents? A racing swimsuit, or a swimming cap, or anything she either doesn't have or could use a fancier version of? Maybe a small version of whatever the big-kid swimmers use/wear?

I left my firstborn with a non-family sitter when he was 3 months old, and I haven't done it since. HATED IT, and moved to live near my parents instead.

i have that tooth dream all the time. My bff is a dentist and she said that it's in the top five of nightmares people have! that their teeth fall out one-by-one, or just shatter into nothing. It's crazy!

I have had the teeth dream. It freaks me out. I think the pool is perfectly acceptable under the circumstances you describe. I have no idea what to buy a five year old girl. And um, my child was 3 months old when he went to day care for the first time, so I guess the answer to your question is 3 months old. We have no family in the area, and we both work full time (or used to until The Bob got laid off) so day care and non family babysitters are a way of life for us. And it has worked out just fine. We have not yet left him over night with anyone, family or otherwise, but that is just because we haven't had the need.

birthday gift ideas:
multiple groups of 5 small things (i.e. 5 Silly Bandz, 5 lollipops, 5 sheets of stickers, 5 dive sticks, 5 containers of bubbles, 5 new books, 5 movie tickets, 5 new songs on iTunes, $5 Target card, etc)

a membership to a local children's museum?
a membership to the local children's theater?
a membership to a book club?
a book-of-the-month club?

1. No
2. Yes, and rinse afterwards in the pool shower (if you have a water meter this is also a sneaky way of reducing your water bills :))
3. More books? DS doesn't really do toys so we suggest book tokens so that he can chose some new ones, clothes shop vouchers (I presume that she is starting to want to chose her own stuff and I work on the premise that it's never to young to teach financial responsibility).
4. About 10 months - but then, we do have excellent nursery nurses from the nursery he went to (although he left 2 years ago they still babysit for us!) but then my parents until a month ago lived over 200 miles away, in laws aren't much use with babysitting, and sister has 2 kids of her own and her husband works evenings - so if we hadn't used non-family sitters we would never have gone out.

1. My family has good teeth. No teeth issues here.

2. I am a one shower a day kind of girl, at the end of the day. I think the pool is perfectly acceptable if all you really want to to is refresh yourself.

3. My kid is not yet five, so I'm clueless about this one. Something swimming-related?

4. Around two months. She survived!

1) the dream is pretty much universal. i've had it many times. it's awful, and so vivid!
2) i think you should rock your poolishness at the grocery store. or anywhere. it's too damn hot, i get sweaty just drying my hair after showering so i've given up caring. it's classic summer!
3) when i google presents for 5 year old girls i get a sh*tload of CRAP for ideas, nothing for the intelligent and sophisticated mia, so i think you should go for something really meaningful that makes her feel really "big".
4) still haven't. maybe never? i'm not sure... :)

1. I actually have dreams about my teeth building up so much pressure that they crack and explode in my mouth. I've had this same type of dream for years now.
2. Perfectly acceptable. I live in Arizona where it's over 100 degrees 9 months out of the year. We spend a lot of time at the pool. I often go from exercising, to the pool, to run errands and then shower in the evening and repeat the next day.
3. Our daughter just turned 5. We got her an American Girl Doll and then family members just purchased accessories for the doll.
4. As mentioned previously our daughter just turned 5 and our son just turned 3 and we have NEVER left them with anyone outside of my mother, father, or grandmother...and even that is rare and usually only to celebrate my birthday, my husband's and our anniversary. So, I think we are in the abnormal category with you since, at least in our circles, we are in the minority.

1. totally had the teeth falling out dream. often so vividly that i'm actually surprised i still have teeth after i've woken up.

2. pool=shower in that case

3. 5yo girl. mine is 7 1/2 and she likes crafty kits. something to DO. and books. the child lives for books.

4. as mentioned, my daughter is 7 1/2, son is four. have yet to leave them with a non-family babysitter. oh wait. there was that one time when we had to do funeral things for my FIL when son was only 4months old, but that was a total desperation move. hadn't spent a night away from them until oct2008.

1) I don't, but my college roommate had dreams like that all of the time.

2) Totally.

3) Toys R Us gift card. Then take her shopping.

4) Four

1. No teeth dreams.
2. Yes, go swim. Go grocery shop afterward. Totally fine.
3. I like the other commenter's idea about small things in groups of 5. How about a 5-dollar bill (among other gifts) or five one-dollar bills and a pretty wallet to keep the money in.
4. You are not abnormal! I didn't leave my kid with non-family sitters until he was old enough and verbal enough to communicate any problems effectively when I returned -- about 4.

1. No. That's absurd.
2. Yes. Chlorine kills more bacteria than soap. Trust me. I make science happen, so...y'know. I know shit and stuff.
3. The World of Pooh by A.A. Milne. I've given it for gifts to every kid born of friend and kin alike and they all love me still. Fools! I grew up with it and love it and still read it once a year, so I think it's a worthy gift for young bookworm.
4. If I'd had kids, I'd imagine that 5 would be OK, depending on the 5-year old's level of conversational ability. If they can hold their own in a debate, that means that the babysitter probably won't be able to get away with the rudimentary babysitter bullshit of 'Go to bed [earlier than the normal bed time] or I'll tell your parents that you were bad.' I would want my kid to be able to logic the babysitter into a corner until said babysitter made my child popcorn and backed away slowly as he/she munched contentedly while watching a DVD of SpongeBob Squarepants.

I think that it would be irresponsible, in terms of using ressources, to shower after running and before the pool. So I think it's just fine.

I don't have kids, but I used to babysit small babies (like 6 weeks - was the mother crazy?)

1. Nope, sorry!
2. Absolutely acceptable!
3. Ditto to the Laura Ingalls/Little House book suggestion. Also recommend the book Secret Garden. If she likes imagination and pretend, how about some cool puppets/puppet stage to put on her own plays? Or a doll house? Perfect for pretending!
4. My son started daycare at 12 weeks. The first non-family evening babysitter was at 15 months, but it was with a very close friend. I have yet to hire a teenage babysitter, that scares me so much!

Get your daughter this:

they also have color-your-own backpacks at the gap right now (online at least). perfect for kindergarten, which i assume mia is starting in the fall.

Also, book suggestions:

For you to read aloud to her: the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary and the All-of-a-Kind Family books by Sidney Taylor. And a Ramona movie is coming out in a few weeks and you have to read the books before you see the movie!

I don't feel it matters unless someone catches you not rinsing off before you jump in the pool. I rarely get in the pool.

Yes, I pickup a few things after pool or even worse, after working out for an hour or two. I figure if anyone notices, oh well. I was just at the gym. It doesn't make sense to me to go home, shower, change and then, go back out for a few groceries.

Recommend you just ask Mia what she wants. Nothing worse than a disappointed kid because we didn't know what they really wanted. I recommend that you just ask her for a list of what she'd like.

My mother was a single Mom most of our childhood as our father died in an accident when I was young. We always had sitters and lots of them. Probably not the best one's either. We were quite paranoid about leaving Harley with anyone.

Harley was probably 4 when someone other than a good friend or family watched him. Harley went to a licensed drop-in daycare center here in Colorado that allowed the hubby and I up to 6 hours at a time for date nights. Harley loved the environment, made friends and couldn't wait to go. It was a sad day when he got too old to go there and he was upset.

I think I would rinse off first and after swimming, but totally acceptable to head to the store as long as you have cleared up that pit stank issue! lmao

No idea about a gift. If she hasn't asked for anything else in particular, maybe some clothes or a backyard type toy that both kids can use. IE.. Sandbox, blow up pool, etc.

Non-family sitter: Kids ages were 4 and 3.

1) I have heard that dreams of teeth falling out is a sign of sexual frustration. Except in your case, it is probably the denture thing.

2) I say yes. Not in place of all showers but I don't think that is what you were suggesting anyway. What is the difference if you sweat because of running or sweat from the heat of getting there?

3) I find little girls love stuff just a touch older than they are. A little purse with some chapstick in it, something she may have seen older girls in the neighborhood with - silly bands, jumprope. Anything heavily advertised during the shows she watches will probably make her happy.

4) Unless you count actual school, I haven't yet and my oldest is 8. But I'm a freak as you have probably figured out.

1. I have teeth dreams so vivid I wake up and run to the bathroom to check my teeth in the mirror. They are very common for me when I'm stressed out of my mind.

2. Heck yes, it is.

3. We aren't big on presents - we are big on celebrating. I don't remember what I got either boy at 5, I doubt they do, either.

4. 6 months for my oldest, I think. And - around 4 years old for my oldest.

No. 2: That's how my mom did it for probably 30 (or more) summers in a row. She'd even go to the store afterwards to pick up the milk or whatever else the ever-ravenous hoard in the back of the station wagon (me and my brothers) were likely to wolf down in the next day or so.

No. 3: My 5yo niece loves, loves, loves the princess dresses I got her last year. Although, she also loves the Black&Decker tool set I got her 3yo brother for Christmas. Go figure. She also enjoyed the giant bucket of sidewalk chalk I got her last year. Good luck.

1) never, but I've been told my dreams are really boring

2) totally fine, as long as you feel clean

3) no clue

4) no kids yet, so no answer there. But, I actually started babysitting my next door neighbors when I was around 13, and their youngest child was around a year old. (They had three kids). The main condition was that my parents had to be around when I was babysitting, so that if anything happened, there was a "real" adult. Nothing ever happened though :)

1. nope
2. whatever works
3. digital camera
4. almost 3 and 1 - you're lucky!

I was interested in this post for the birthday ideas! Hannah is two weeks younger than Mia and they are alike in many ways. Hannah also LOVES swimming and is not so into toys (she loves books). Today we were at the pool and another little boy had a Nintendo DS and a light bulb went off, she asked for one for her birthday. All of the kids bring them to the high school football games to do while in the stands, sooo I think I'm going to crack and get her one. I'm not thrilled about it but she never really asks for toys period. Let us know what you decide on!

Since she likes to pretend, how about a whole box of dress up clothes? My parents hit a bunch of Goodwill/Thrift stores and my grandparents and great-grandparents donated some stuff to the cause. My sister and I LOVED it . . .we had hats, dresses, shawls, shoes, etc. and I remember spending hours playing with the stuff. :)

1) I have tooth falling out dreams CONSTANTLY. it does symbolise something in the language of dreams but I forget what! and my teeth are AWFUL. i blame my mum, and 6 pregnancies.
2) here one has to shower before going into the pool anyhow, so problem solved.
3) a day out as present? like to the zoo, or theatre (ballet?) or cinima or something? maybe just with you or just with Chris (ie, sans owen, if owen isn't theatre compatable) The bonus is, no clutter but photos and memories!
4) never. we have heaps of family locally, so it's only ever been my mum, hubby's mum, dad, or one of his brothers that have baby sitted.

Yes, on the teeth dream, although I always heard the old wives' tale that it meant someone was going to die! so I hate those dreams. Also, yes on the pool instead of shower. And then maybe shower again later at home if you feel kind of pool-ish (chloriney) as I often do. No idea about presents. Maybe a camera? Anyway- I have never left either of my children with a non-family member. One is 21 now, and the other is 7. I am definitely the weird one on that, I am sure!

1. The tooth dream means you're afraid of giving too much away, or you fear change.
2. The chlorine in the pool will kill any germs anyway.
3. My daughter loves her cheapo little point and shoot digital camera, even though she refuses to hold it the right way, so we have about 500 pictures of her eye.
4. 4 months old. But there are certain members of my family that I would not leave her with to this day!

1. Never had a dream about teeth.

2. I don't think there's anything wrong with not taking a full shower before going right to the pool. Although running errands after the pool without showering drives me crazy, but I still do it. :-)
3. Does she like shopping herself? One of Amelia's favorite gifts last birthday was a gift card to target. What about clothes, or dress up stuff, or board games? I had a hard time with the fifth birthday presents too.

4. We have no family close by, so when I had my second child, my daughter stayed with my best friend so my hubby could be there for the c section. She was almost 3. After that, I didn't leave them again until my kids were 2 and 5. And even that wasn't a teenager, it was with my daughter's preschool teacher.

1. Yes
2. Yes
3. Ummmm...*blink*
4. 2 and 4 but only with a preschool teacher who was 50 and only because we have no family in the area. And I might have had an anxiety attack as we pulled out of the driveway.

See above

1. No, but I've had other weird dreams, so I'll not judge you! :)

2. Yes. Yes it is acceptable. I work out then swim in my pool (it IS in my backyard, but still) and then go all over town like that. Maybe I need to reevaluate this?

3. My son is six, and we bought him the first set of "Magic Treehouse" books for his fifth birthday. We now have over 40 of the books in the series. He is ridiculously in love with the brother and sister solving a mystery plot.

4. We have never left our kids with a non-family member babysitter. However, both sets of grandparents live within 15 minutes of our house and usually call to say, "WE ARE BABYSITTING TONIGHT, SO THERE". It's worked out nicely.

1) Yes, I've had that dream. And my 5-year-old just had it this week, though he has actually lost four teeth in the last six months or so.
2)Is there a shower you could spritz yourself with at the pool? Our outdoor pool has several though I've never seen anyone actually use one before going in the pool like you're supposed to.
3) If she likes books, I always like to give books and small gifts that go with the book. For example, felt play food with "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs." As a previous commenter mentioned, my son also is really enjoying having the Beverly Cleary/Romona books read to him. Though I think we will skip the movie, it can't possibly live up to the books.
4) I think he was about a year old. We have lots of family nearby so rarely have to hire anyone.

A box of costumes, dress up stuff, boas, crowns, fairy wands, etc. Or puppet theater type "stage" with curtain, just be prepared for hours of being the audience!

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So the Fish Said...

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem, I whisper with my lips close to your ear.

- Walt Whitman

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I want to get a pet duck and keep it in the bathtub.
I am addicted to chap stick and altoids.
I am freakishly flexible.

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