My 8 favorite neutral toys for babies

If you’ve read my blog for a while (or followed me on Instagram), it’s likely you’re already familiar with my distaste for most children’s toys.

I’m not a monster, I swear. I just have a hard time bringing anything into my home that isn’t a) absolutely essential or b) beautiful to look at. And the fact is, the majority of children’s toys go unplayed with and are typically technicolor eyesores.

My name is Justine, and my favorite color is a light shade of gray. #sorrynotsorry

Fortunately, it seems I am no longer alone in my affinity for neutrals. The current generation of parents has spoken, at it seems they prefer toys sans primary shades and (most excitingly) not in plastic.

When I started looking around for toys for Juliette, I was especially picky. I only registered for or purchased items that I wouldn’t mind seeing sprawled all over the living room, both in an attempt to fill our home with more natural materials but also to lessen my workload every day. (Do you have any idea how much time I spend cleaning up toys? So. Much. Time. I would much rather spend that time actually playing with my girls.)

As a result, I’ve ended up with a handful of quality toys that are just as beautiful to look at as they are fun to play with. Here are my favorite neutral toys for babies:

1. Poppyseed Play Wood Play Gym


If you are at all handy with woodworking, you could probably create your own neutral, wooden baby gym. If you’re me, you rely on the pros at Poppyseed Play. I love the optional toys she also sells, but I ended up just purchasing the bare gym and hanging my own toys with ribbon.

2. Manhattan Toy Skwish Natural Rattle

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I love this rattle, and not because it’s lauded by babies and Montessori experts alike. Jules loves tracking the moving beads with her eyes, and Vivian loves shaking it for her to hear the rattling.

3. Sweet Pea Teethers


Juliette hasn’t been nearly as much of a pacifier baby as Vivian was, but I know I’ll be glad to have this teether when she gets older to use as a leash for toys in the stroller. Plus, I love how she can gum on the silicone beads along the way.

4. Petit Collage Wooden Puzzle


Even Vivi loves to play with this adorable puzzle/block combo. The pieces interlock as puzzle pieces later on, but they also make fun figurines for imaginative play. And for now, I also love them as decor in the nursery.

5. Loulou Lollipop Bubble Teether


Another favorite teether I throw in my diaper bag? This Bubble Teether. It has a mix of silicone and natural wood beads to give those sore gums multiple textures to gnaw, and it’s also a favorite to hang on Juliette’s Poppyseed Play gym.

6. Little Nomad Playmat


Whenever I post a picture with this playmat on Instagram, I always get direct messages asking me if it’s a real rug. It’s THAT beautiful—and it looks just as good in person. Since our “playroom” is really just a corner of our living room, I love that this gives the space a defined-yet-decorated look that blends with my decor style perfectly. Plus, it’s so easy to clean!

7. Baby Sew Lovable Block


Vivi loved soft blocks like this with multiple textures, rattles, and things to chew on, so I was thrilled when I found a neutral version. The multiple loops and hooks are easy for even the tiniest baby hands to grip, and I don’t mind when it gets left out of the toy box because it’s so pretty to look at.

8. Beluga Baby Wrap

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While technically not a toy, I love babywearing as a way of “playing” with baby and helping her take part in whatever adventure we have planned for the day. (And you know Beluga Baby is my OG favorite wrap.) Plus, this limited edition pattern is named after me! So naturally, it’s a favorite in our house 🙂

What are your favorite neutral toys for little ones?

My Beautycounter makeup must-haves

I don’t talk nearly as much about Beautycounter’s makeup products as I do the skincare—largely because, when I use the skincare consistently, I find myself skipping makeup more and more often.

That being said, there are a few items that I consider my makeup staples, even when I feel confident enough to forgo the foundation.

And because so many people have asked me which products I swear by since I became a consultant, I created this round-up of the makeup products I wear when I do take the time to do my makeup, as well as the extra products I like to incorporate either for special events or when I want a little extra beauty boost.

Let’s start with the must-haves:


For me, my most basic makeup routine consists of undereyes, blush, eyebrows, and mascara. I feel like these four areas give me the most bang for my buck—and by that I mean “make me look not-dead and pulled-together no matter how little sleep I’ve gotten.”

For dark circles, I live for Beautycounter’s Touch Up Concealer Pen (I wear it in Fair), especially when I’ve started my morning with a couple dabs of the Countermatch Eye Rescue Cream. The cream reduces shadows and gives me a smoother canvas to work with, and then the concealer pen makes it easy to brighten up my whole eye area, including the inner eye. The concealer never creases on me with this routine, and it makes it much easier to fake that I haven’t been up with a newborn all night.

True story: I never really wore blush until a makeup artist in the mall put it on me when I was about 23. I came home and Joey immediately commented on how rosy and awake my skin looked, and I was hooked. And while up until recently I’ve favored powder blushes, I really like Beautycounter’s Color Pinch Cream Blusher (I wear Hibiscus) for an instant flush of color. Note: Don’t be alarmed if your cheeks look really pink when you first put it on. Keep blending (I use a Beauty Blender for a subtler look), and wait until you finish the rest of your makeup to decide if you need to wipe any off. If you don’t often wear blush, you might just need to get used to seeing yourself with a rosier hue!

Truly, if I could only put on one makeup product in the morning, I would choose to fill in my eyebrows. There’s something about the way they frame your whole face that gives everything an instantly pulled-together lift. And I love Beautycounter’s Color Define Brow Pencil (I wear Dark) for that immediate effect. I love a bolder brow, but they also have two lighter shades if that’s more your jam. To use, I start by lightly outlining my brow’s natural shape, then filling in with short dashes to mimic actual hairs. Then I use the attached brush to blend the whole thing. Finally, I swipe a clean finger around the outline of my brows to 1) soften any remaining hard edges and b) clean up any makeup that has gone outside the lines.

Confession time: I don’t use Beautycounter mascara—yet. When the mascaras first launched, I tried both the volumizing and lengthening formulas (because SO MANY of our customers love them), but I wasn’t vibing with either and found them a little dry and difficult to apply/remove. Since then, BC has changed the way they heat the formulas to give them more creaminess, but I haven’t had a chance to try them yet because I want to finish up the mascara I have currently. Which…is W3LL PEOPLE Expressionist Pro Mascara. W3LL PEOPLE is another clean makeup brand I learned about through work and have thoroughly enjoyed. I love how this formula goes on (the brush is comb-like so you get zero clumps), washes off with limited residue, and is made from cleaner ingredients like my favorite BC products. I always start by curling my eyelashes, then add a few swipes of this.

So that’s it! The secret of my minimalist makeup routine. Tell your friends 😉

But what about when I want to up the stakes a bit? For special events or for when I just want a little more makeup, here are the extra products I fold into the routine:


Dew Skin Moisturizing Coverage:
I rarely need a full-coverage foundation these days (thank you very much, Overnight Resurfacing Peel), but sometimes I get a slightly redder skin tone that I want to even out, or I’m planning to be out all day and want a little built-in SPF in my makeup routine. For those days, I love the Dew Skin Moisturizing Coverage, Beautycounter’s tinted moisturizer. (I wear shade No. 2.) It’s light, blends easily, and just gives you a more even appearance without any heaviness.

Radiant All Over Bronzer:
Especially in the winter, I like to add a little bronzer in the contours of my face to warm up my complexion. (Pale girls fo lyfe, yo.) This new(ish) powder formula from BC gives me a subtly toasty look when lightly applied, or I can use a heavier hand for a more contoured look. I wear Dune.

Precision Liquid Eyeliner:
Beautycounter has actually updated the look/applicator of their liquid eyeliner since I purchased mine, but the formula is still the same. I like how dark the color goes on, and the short brush makes it easy to apply (after a little practice). It’s a simple way to add a little something for a slightly more dramatic look.

Eyeshadow Duo:
Eyeshadow is something I rarely wear, but lately, I’ve been digging light, subtly shimmery shades to wake up my eye and create a smoother canvas for when I do use eyeliner. BC has these great duos if you’re one of those people who only ever wears the same color (*raises hand*), but they’ve also launched some gorgeous bigger palettes for new Holiday releases this year.

Speaking of Holiday releases, there’s one more product I don’t wear often but have found myself reaching for more and more since I bought it: lipstick!


Specifically, this new Color Intense Lipstick Duo. I’m seriously the person who will put on lipstick only to wipe it off four minutes later because I just can’t get into it, but something about these shades just works with my skin and feels so creamy I don’t feel like it’s flaking off seconds later. (I’m especially digging Boardwalk for fall.) They may seriously make a lipstick convert out of me—and, really, second to eyebrows no other makeup product makes such an instant change on your face.

So that’s it! You officially know everything in my makeup bag. Looking to upgrade your own products to safer, cleaner alternatives? Try the Beautycounter Flawless in Five kit for an instant, all-around upgrade, or leave a comment with any questions below and I can help you find something specific.


7 items to register for with baby #2


One of the first questions my friends asked me when I announced I was pregnant with baby #2 was whether or not I wanted a baby shower. I’ll admit to feeling a little torn—after all, I had already had several amazing showers the first time around. But because we’re living in a new place and had a whole new group of friends who weren’t able to celebrate Vivi’s arrival with us (and because, let’s be real, I love any excuse for a pretty party), I ultimately decided it would be nice to have a smallish shower to celebrate the new little rabbit.

This also led to a follow-up question: Did I register for baby numero dos?

Ultimately, I decided to for several reasons:

  1. There were several things I actually did need that couldn’t be repurposed from Vivi.
  2. Because we didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl, guests who wanted to get gifts would have an even harder time coming up with options on their own.

In the end, I thought it would be simpler (and better for my wannabe minimalist lifestyle) to let everyone know what we actually needed.

Registering for a second baby was a lot more fun for me, actually, because a) I only needed a few things, so I could really edit the list to necessities and b) because I had been a mom for a few years, I knew what we actually used or wished we had gotten the first time around—all meaning we were a lot less likely to end up with toys and stuff that would just end up taking space. (You know how I feel about baby stuff.)

For today’s post, I’m not going to share my registry ad nauseam, but I did want to highlight a few things that I think all second-time moms should consider registering for or picking up before baby #2 arrives. Here are some of my favorites!

First things first, I changed the way I registered this time around and used Babylist. Babylist lets you compile desired items (or services) from around the web in one place, so you can get the diaper bag you want from that adorable Etsy shop and the blankets you want from Target. They also have custom options like “dinner” or “cleaning help” that you can request from friends if you truly don’t need any tangible items. I found it really easy to use their app to add things from my phone that I would discover throughout my day.

Now on to the good stuff.

1. The diaper bag I wish I had known about: Fawn Design Original


Honestly, Fawn Design is a new-ish company, so I’m not even sure they existed when Vivi was born. But a year ago, I bought of her mini diaper bag backpacks for our Disney trip, and I’ve been totally in love with the look and quality of the brand ever since. I told myself that if/when we had another baby, I was ditching the traditional, clunky diaper bag I had gone with the first time around in favor of this sleeker backpack option.

2. A second baby monitor: Motorola Wireless Baby Monitor


Vivi still uses her baby monitor, so I needed a second option for the little rabbit. There are so many options on the market right now, but what sold me on this one was how easily it can scan the entire room and the reasonable price point.

3. A second noise machine…with longevity: Hatch Baby Rest

hatch rest nightlight sound machine

We haven’t had any issues with Vivi’s standard noise machine, but I wrote about this Hatch Baby Rest version for Motherly a couple years ago and have wanted it ever since. Not only is it a noise machine, it’s also a night light, an ok-to-wake clock, and it can be controlled by an app on my phone. Plus, I love how the design just blends into the nursery without calling any attention to itself.

4. Toys that fit my home’s aesthetic: Petit Collage Wooden Puzzle

petit collage wooden puzzle

This is probably very millennial of me, but any of my friends can tell you that I’m very anti-plastic, anti-technicolor, and anti-gimmick when it comes to my kids’ toys. For baby #2, I requested almost exclusively toys that I felt it wouldn’t bother me to see strewn across the living room floor (because, let’s be real, that’s where they live most of the time), which meant a lot of neutrals, a lot of wood, and a lot more craftsmanship. One of my favorites? This wooden animal puzzle from Petit Collage, plus a few teethers and a play gym from Etsy.

5. Because you’re much more practical for round 2: Medela breast pump parts

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Oh, did you think you were going to get through an entire pregnancy post without hearing about breastfeeding? Sorry not sorry. While I didn’t need a new pump, I did want to update a lot of the parts from my original, especially the ones that came in contact with milk and were therefore probably not as sterile as they once were. A kind couple of friends stepped up to the practicality plate and bought me new parts (like breastshields and pump membranes) so now my pump looks like new.

6. The swaddle you actually want at 3 a.m.: Sleepea 5-Second Swaddle

sleepea swaddle

I had dozens of traditional swaddle blankets for Viv—and she wrestled her way out of them constantly. And while they were great for play blankets, stroller and nursing covers, and just general blanket use as she got older, I always felt like there had to be a simpler way to swaddle. Which is why I was psyched when these 5-second, zippable swaddles came out a few years ago. They’ve tested well for the Motherly editors, so I immediately added a couple to my registry for this new, equally wiggly baby.

7. Safer skincare for baby: Beautycounter Baby Oil and Diaper Rash Cream

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While I wasn’t a Beautycounter consultant when Vivi was born, I had started to use some of their safer, cleaner skincare products on myself. Since then, they’ve also released a baby and family line. And since Vivi has notoriously sensitive skin, especially as a newborn, I’ve incorporated more of their family products into my children’s skincare as well. I’m excited to use the baby oil on both my babies, and I’ve also stocked up on their Calming Diaper Rash Cream for the new tiny bum entering our lives.

So those are the basics! I also registered for a few decor items, a couple books, some feeding items, a new carrier (I never found a buckle version I loved as much as my Beluga Baby wrap until I tried this one from lilleBaby!), and a few clothing items. If you want to see the full registry, you can view it here.

For you other second- (or third- or fourth-!) time moms out there, did you register after the first one? What were your must-haves?

My 5 Beautycounter must-haves

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen recently that I’ve embarked on a bit of a new venture: I’ve signed up to be a Beautycounter consultant!

I’ll be the first to admit that this decision has been a long time coming — to the tune of almost three years coming. I started using Beautycounter products after getting pregnant. My friend (and now BC mentor!) Madison had been posting about this new safe skincare brand on Instagram and the amazing effects she had seen it have on her skin and overall wellness (especially after dealing with some serious infertility complications), and the idea of products that were safe for me and my baby was seriously appealing. (You can learn more about what makes them safer than so many other products on the market here.)

After using (and loving) the products for a few months, I even hosted my own Beautycounter Social. Every six months or so, Madison would reach out to me asking if I had ever considered becoming a consultant myself. And while I continued to use the products almost exclusively, something always held me back.

I was nervous to have to “sell” anything. I was nervous I would never sell anything. I was nervous about the time commitment. I was nervous I would come across as annoying.

In short, I doubted. And I always passed on the opportunity.

Until…a couple of weeks ago. I’ll probably never know what really shifted in my brain to suddenly make this seem like a good idea, but whatever the reason, I decided to take the leap. I told myself that the buy-in wasn’t that big of a deal since I could use the products anyway, and I figured that even if I just sold enough to make my money back, that would be an okay experiment.

So I told Madison, “Yes.”

And while I don’t exactly think I can chalk myself up to a Beautycounter success story just yet, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my first two sales came within the first 24 hours of signing up. And I was pleasantly surprised when a number of other friends and acquaintances reached out for more information.

I never want to feel like I’m forcing anything down anyone’s throat. For me, Beautycounter is what I actually use for my skincare and makeup. And it’s what I actually see making a serious impact on my skin. And I actually believe that making safer, cleaner choices in skincare and makeup has a big impact on overall wellness and in helping you look and feel your best.

So I hope that genuine feeling comes through — because it’s genuinely how I feel.

Anyway! I didn’t start this post intending to give you my soapbox speech. Suffice to say, I feel comfortable selling these products because I really believe in them, and I think they can have real, amazing results.

Of course, one of the first questions I get from people is, “But what do you actually use?”

Which I get. The product assortment is constantly growing, and it can be tough to know where to start. So I wanted to share a quick round-up of my five all-time favorite BC products + why I love them for anyone looking to get started swapping in safer products in their skincare bag.


Favorite cleanser: Countercontrol Clear Pore Cleanser
I’m pretty fortunate that for most of my life, I’ve had decently clear skin. But that doesn’t mean that it’s always perfect. This cleanser is a recent addition to the Beautycounter line, and I love how it treats my hormonal pimples (thanks, pregnancy) as well as cuts down on overall oiliness the more I use it.


Favorite mask: No. 3 Balancing + Charcoal Mask
This mask has been one of my all-time favorites from the very beginning! Whenever my skin is breaking out or just needs a bit of a reset, I apply it, let it dry, and then marvel at every tiny pore’s worth of gunk I can see it sucking out. Dontcha just love knowing something is working because you can see it? It’s also a great spot treatment for single blemishes.


Favorite lotion: Countermatch Adaptive Moisture Lotion
Meet the combination skin girl’s dream. I’ve always been someone with an oily T-zone (by the end of the day, you could basically see your reflection in my forehead if I didn’t blot). But ever since using this lotion (which adjusts hydration levels throughout the day to create a more even appearance), it’s like I’m suddenly one of those girls who say, “Blotting? What is blotting?” (I’m sure there are girls who say that, right?) I also really love the eye cream from this line — it makes me look like I got a lot more sleep than I did. #momlife


Favorite concealer: Touchup Skin Concealer Pen
While I really love a lot of Beautycounter’s makeup options (especially the Dew Skin Moisturizing Coverage), I’ve honestly found that I wear hardly any makeup these days because the skincare has made my skin so happy. The one exception? Concealer for my undereye circles. (Did I mention #momlife?) In the past, I’ve struggled to find concealers that cover without creasing, but this super creamy formula glides on, dabs in, and doesn’t budge. I’m always amazed at how it instantly brightens my face even more.


Favorite treatment: Overnight Resurfacing Peel
But seriously, if there was only one product I could tell you to buy? It would be this one. Whatever magic they have put in this bottle has the power to sink into your skin and help you wake up looking like a glowy goddess every morning. It’s definitely the biggest reason why I wear so little makeup anymore. It won’t actually make your skin peel, either — instead, it uses botanically-derived acids to exfoliate dull skin, leaving you with smaller pores, almost no blackheads (seriously, mine have all but disappeared), and fewer fine lines and spots. I cannot say enough good things about it!

So there you have it — my five must-haves. Of course, the beauty of the line is that there are so many products tailored to solve specific skin (and hair and makeup!) issues in a safe way. Not sure where to start? I hope you’ll reach out — I’d love to help you shop!

Here’s to our best — and healthiest — skin ever.

My woodland baby shower

Life has been so full the last few months. In some ways, this second pregnancy has flown by — except when I stop to remember that there are still three to four more weeks to go…then it feels a little longer!

This busy year has made for plenty of distractions, so I’m excited when anything happens that lets me stop and savor our second bub’s impending arrival.

Case in point, I recently had my baby shower! It was thrown by my fabulous event planner pal, Cynthia (who also planned my first shower), along with help from her incredible team (who all happen to be very close friends of mine as well). Cynthia planned it with a gorgeous woodland theme that totally spoke to my neutral/greenery-loving soul. Here are the details!

me-with-flower-crownme-with-mom-baby-showerbaby-shower-table-decorCynthia filled her home with all kinds of greenery to set the mood. Then she whipped up a flower crown for me — because every new mama should get to feel like a princess, right?

vivi-in-fairy-dressvivi-and-me-flower-crownsvivi-opening-shower-giftIt was really important to me that Vivi felt involved and special at the shower — I even referred to the party as a celebration of the new baby and Vivi becoming a big sister. Several of my friends were also kind of enough to bring Vivi presents to open so she didn’t feel left out. And I gave her a “gift from the baby” — an Anna dress from Little Adventures that she adored. Cynthia’s mom also got Vivi the most beautiful fairy princess dress  — she unfortunately only wore it long enough to get pictures, but, hey! That’s a toddler for you!

baby-shower-food-overallchicken-salad-sandwichesbrussel-sprout-saladbaby-shower-drinksThe menu was designed around all my favorite foods, so naturally I loved it! There were chicken salad sandwiches on croissants, pasta with meatballs, deviled eggs (which I’ve been craving!), and two salads. The drink bar featured a pink and a blue option since we’re waiting to find out what we’re having (recipes linked!).

onesie-gift-at-baby-showerfavors-overall-shotbaby-shower-favors-detailbaby-shower-giftsCynthia organized a couple games to keep everyone entertained before gifts (including a celebrity baby name match and an updated take on “what’s in your purse” called “what’s in your phone”), and winners took home bottles of sparkling rose. Favors were these adorable potted succulents with pretty thank-you notes.

All in all, it was as perfect as all of Cynthia’s events! Not only did it make me feel so loved (those girls know me so well), it was also a reminder of just how close we are to meeting our little rabbit!


Photos by Figment Art Photography

Review: Raised Real baby food

Food and feeding have always been a part of motherhood extremely close to my heart. From nursing my daughter moments after she was born to introducing her to her first spoonful of pureed carrots, I’ve delighted in watching her voracious appetite and helping to develop her sense of taste.

The more we ventured into the world of real food, though, the more I was surprised to learn how few resources there were supporting parents. It shouldn’t be, but first foods can be a really stressful time for parents. Babies are messy and still learning how to control their tongues, and it can be easy to interpret this as distaste or “picky eating.” Plus, there are myriad rules and restrictions for parents if you want to dive down that rabbit hole, and it can all feel incredibly overwhelming.

I was extremely fortunate that our pediatrician was very helpful with feeding. Not only did they encourage me to try a variety of foods multiple times, but they never seemed fazed by the idea that she might not like something right away. I had also read a book that mentioned that a baby needed to try something up to twenty times before you could really be sure they didn’t like the food, which was helpful for me mentally on the days it seemed like she was being overly picky.

As a result, Vivi has always been a kid who eats just about everything (some of her favorite foods are raw bell peppers and raw onions, which always blows my mind). Despite our good experience, though, I know feeding and especially first foods can be a difficult transition for a lot of parents.

That’s why I was really interested in the company Raised Real when I first heard about them. Raised Real is a baby food delivery service that provides flash-frozen, organically sourced meals for parents to prepare at home. Not only are they on the same page as my former pediatrician when it comes to what kids can eat and when, they also live by a pretty simple philosophy: There’s no such thing as a picky eater baby.


When they asked if I would be interested in trying a box in exchange for a review, I jumped at the chance.

Each delivery box comes frozen on dry ice and has 20 pouches. The meals themselves are put together by Raised Real’s co-founder and registered dietician Dr. Michelle Davenport, which means they’re not only rich in vitamins and nutrients, but the ingredients are paired in a way that makes them most effective to digest (for example, iron is always paired with Vitamin C for easier absorption). Plus, there’s no added sugar, preservatives, or funky ingredients you can’t pronounce—just like the meals you make at home already.

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I used a steamer/blender to prepare the meals. RR’s version steams (most recipes take 20 minutes), and then I simply flipped the switch to blend to the desired consistency. New eaters will most likely prefer smooth purees, whereas toddlers can enjoy steamed ingredients whole.

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Parents will like that there’s no need to source, clean, or prepare the food before you start to cook.

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What I love most about Raised Real‘s service is the empowerment it lends to parents. Even if you only used the service for a few months, you would learn so much about nutrition (what your babies could eat and when) as well as get tons of inspiration for recipes you could then make on your own. Plus, every subscription comes with unlimited access to the Raised Real Help Hotline, a number you can call or text to get help from a real RR staff member if you’re feeling overwhelmed or confused by any part of feeding your little one.

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Convenience and peace of mind for parents + nutrition and delicious options for babies and toddlers? Now that’s something I want to dig into.

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Dance like a two-year-old who doesn’t care if anyone is watching.

A couple of nights ago, my parents were in town and we took them to one of our favorite local restaurants. It’s an Irish pub, and every Sunday a few musicians set up camp for an hour or two and play traditional Irish music.

They were just setting up when we arrived, so we were happy we’d get to hear their whole set.

Vivi has always loved music, but the moment they started to play a little jig, she instantly started to dance. For the next 20 minutes, she stomped and kicked and jumped with complete abandon.

I was transfixed by her incredible confidence. The room was filled with strangers (who were very much watching her little display), but my daughter danced on, unafraid of what anyone thought of her. It embodied this remarkable age, where self-esteem is arguably at an all-time high.

It nearly took my breath away.

Beneath my joy, though, there was a small catch in my throat. Because I wondered, “When will she start to care? When will she start to worry what other people think? When will she lose this magical confidence?”

I’ve written before about how motherhood makes me want to be braver, if only because it will hopefully lead to braver children. Vivi’s impromptu dance recital was a sharp reminder to me of that promise I made to her and to myself.

Because I nurse a bubble of hope. That while she will probably start to care what other people think, she will always be confident enough to be herself regardless of her critics. That the conviction she now reserves for refusing to clean up her toys will one day help her stick to her guns over much more important issues of character.

At the risk of sounding too much like a country song, I hope my sweet girl will always dance when the music moves her. I promise I’ll do my best to be there to cheer on every step.