Blog - Mood Baby


Dear 2020 baby: Thank you

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Posted on: October 25, 2020

Sweet 2020 baby,

I just want to say thank you.

Because in many ways, this year has been a mess.

A bit of a disaster, really.

But you.

You’ve been the light in the darkness.

The calm in the chaos.

The joy in the midst of a whole lot of hardship and pain and frustration.

So I know people will talk about 2020.

They’ll talk about the stress and the fear and the sadness.

They’ll recount every bit of the hard stuff that’s brought tears to my eyes more times than I can count.

But I’m just so glad that, when I think back on this year, I also get to think about you.

Because you’re such a gift.

The sweetest blessing.

And even though things looked a little (okay—a lot) different than I’d planned, and it certainly wasn’t always easy or comfortable, your timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

So thank you, little one.

Thank you for allowing me to be grateful for 2020.

Because it gave me you.

The post originally appeared on Kisses With Boys with Krista Ward.

Their faces haunt me. Their little glittery eyes. Their sewn-on mouths. Their expressions: innocent enough, until you swipe your thumb across the plush… and reveal the face of pure, bottomless evil.

The stuffies.

As a parent, you are forced into an uncomfortable familiarity with
your child’s stuffed animals. You are forced to get to know their personalities, their preferences and where they like to “sleep” at night. I had to learn, for example, the critical difference between the mostly-identical-to-the-naked-eye light gray kitty and striped gray kitty, and I was taught in no uncertain terms that Little Dog and Dog Dog were not just wholly separate entities but also specialized in completely different fields of stuffed dogness.

But more than just being able to tell the difference between your child’s stuffed animals, there’s also the exquisite torture of being forced to
play with them.

True life: I have literally fallen asleep while playing stuffed animals with my daughter, it is so soul-piercingly boring.

Parents (and “fun uncles”) will recognize the truth of this statement: One of the worst things you can do is to come up with a game your kid loves, or a joke that makes them happy, or a facial expression that makes them laugh. Because guess what? Now you’re telling that joke, making that face or playing that game for the rest of time, until you die.

When my daughter was 3, I made the mistake of coming up with a (if I say so myself) pretty awesome way to play with stuffies: I adopted my best, most sonorous
David Attenborough voice and narrated the wild coming-of-age trials and tribulations of my kid’s stuffies. Kittens were hunted by wild raccoons until they, improbably, learned to make friends and banded together against their common enemy, a giant owl. Baby deer attempted to climb waterfalls with guidance from some fish. A bear adopted a piglet. Planet Earth had nothing on what was happening at our house.

Guess what. We played
Planet Earth: Stuffies until it actually, literally put me to sleep mid-narration. David Attenborough would never.

But I didn’t learn my lesson—I did it again when my daughter was 5, and every day when she came home from preschool we sat on her bed playing
Harry Potter Stuffies, re-enacting Quidditch games with a kitten, a puppy and a stuffed baby dragon as Hermione, Ron and Harry. (Okay, actually, Harry Potter Stuffies was kind of fun. Until the thousandth time we played it, anyway.)

Research tells us that getting down on the floor with our kids and playing with them is one of the best ways to
boost their cognitive and emotional development. While children benefit from independent, unstructured playtime, children also learn valuable social-emotional skills—like patience, empathy and sharing—from playing with their parents. Playing with your child promotes bonding and creativity. There are real health benefits for parents in playing with our kids, too.

So, file under “boring-but-necessary part of parenthood:” Playing stuffies is sweet, and it
brings you closer to your child—until the repetition and the exquisite boredom put you to sleep. (I wish I had known some of these social-skills-boosting games to play with kids to mix up the David Attenborough routine a bit.)

And I admit, I do really like one of my daughter’s stuffies. He is an unassuming, dorky-looking knitted bunny doll with a blue striped coat and absurdly long arms, legs and ears—really, he bears no resemblance to any actual bunny, anywhere. I just like the look of him.

Floppy Bunny doesn’t always get picked for a Quidditch team when we play
Harry Potter Stuffies. He doesn’t always make it to the treetop with the other stuffies during Planet Earth: Stuffies. But sometimes I’ll sneak Floppy Bunny into the mix, just to make sure he feels included. Because I guess I’m learning something from playing with stuffies, too.

More than just another teddy bear: Offbeat and adorable stuffies for imaginative play.

Otto narwhal knitted plush toy

narwhal plush toy

Made of organic knit cotton and beautiful attention to detail, this adorable and magical narwhal will provide hours of imaginative play for all.

Moo Moo the cow

cow plush

Mooove over, a new stuffie is in town! This little cow serves as nighttime companion and new favorite plaything for every farm animal loving kid.

Painted Pony soft toy

painted pony toy

This adorable pony stuffie comes with Mary Meyer’s signature tags, which little ones absolutely love touching and playing with.

Putty sloft plush

sloth plush

Sloths are all the rage right now, and with this soft little buddy, you child will be sure to fall in love with them, too.

Lily Llama Plush

llama plush

Soft, snuggly and oh-so-fun, this llama plushie is as fun to play with as it is pretty to look at.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You’ve got this.

Daylight saving is coming for us once again, and as any seasoned parent knows, your child’s sleep is about to get messed up (again) for a week or so. You could be in the lucky group of parents whose children are pro sleepers and don’t even realize the clock changed, but since I’m not one of them, I’ve done all the research about what helps kids sleep better and longer for my own sanity.

The most important thing is creating a routine for your children so they know what to expect when bedtime rolls around. The routine can be anything that fits your family. Bath time? Yes, that helps children relax and also get a little bit more time for play, but with three under 3, bath time is not an everyday thing at our house (no judgment please). Story time? Absolutely. Even a quick book can get them in the mood for some sleep. There are other products, classics and new inventions that deserve a shout out because they have been so useful with my children in setting up a great sleep environment.

Here are my favorite products to prepare for daylight saving time:

Blackout shades

Gro Anywhere Blackout Blind

These Tommee Tippee blackout shades are ideal to take with you wherever you go. Perfect for traveling or naps at the grandparents house, these will make any room pitch dark. I use them as we all adjust to time changes so we’re not waking up when the sun’s up an hour before we’re used to.

Weighted sleepsack

DREAMLAND BABY  Dream Weighted Sleep Sack, 6-12 months

Just like your favorite weighted blanket, this weighted sleep sack helps little ones sleep better by making them feel secured and hugged. It’s a best seller for a reason, it works!

A mighty sound machine

YOGASLEEP  Dohm Connect Sound Machine

I’ve had a Dohm machine since forever for my toddler, but the new version is so much mightier than the original model. The sound is louder and easier to turn on and off thanks to the button being at the top (I can even do it with my foot!). This sound machine will keep unwanted noises from disturbing your kids, like birds chirping or your neighbor’s loud car as they go off to work.

Sleepy time oil blend

BAMBINI FURTUNA  Dreamy Hush Time Roller

This roller comes filled with an oil blend of blend of herbs and flowers that smell delicious and can be introduced at bedtime as a cue for sleepy time. Plus, you can use it on yourself as well.

Hatch light

Hatch Rest

If you have kids sleeping in big kid beds, this Hatch light + sound machine is the perfect tool to teach them when it’s time to get out of bed. Choose your family’s wake up time and the unit illuminates to let kids know it’s ok to leave their room. You can also control the color it glows via the app.

Portable sound machine

LectroFan Alpha

If your baby wakes up ahead of time and messes up your whole schedule, don’t panic. You might need to embrace naps on the go, and for that, I swear by this ‘LectroFan portable sound machine. It gets my twins to sleep in their stroller in literally seconds.

Calming bubble bath powder

NOODLE & BOO  Calming Bubble Bath Powder

Pediatrician-tested, this bubble bath is enriched with gentle moisturizers leaving skin extra soft. Safe to use from 6 months and up, it will make any bath time more enjoyable for everyone.

Soft lovey

SLUMBERKINS  Narwhal Snuggler

Introduce a new friend to keep them company in bed. These Slumberkins loveys are my children’s favorites. They are soft, durable and all come with a story to read, which is ideal for a routine. I seriously cannot recommend these enough.

Super soft PJs


If you haven’t heard about Kyte Baby, you are missing out because OMG their PJs are so soft! They will make your babes feel totally comfortable and snuggly in time for rest.

A blanket to hug

Organic Cotton Oversized Baby Blanket

Reserved only for big kids (babies should not sleep with anything in their cribs), this blanket is perfect to tuck them in, keep them warm, but also allow them to hug something as they drift away for the night. Made of 100% organic cotton, it comes with two chic shades of colors.

A travel crib

BABYBJu00d6RN  Portable Travel Crib

If in a pinch (or working with those naps on the go) this BABYBJORN travel crib is perfect for your babe to nap anywhere. I’ve put my babies in it inside our closet (hey, it’s the darkest room in the house!) and they slept like the best babies they are.

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You’ve got this.


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