lowering the bar

Eli & mommy[this picture is blurry. and maybe over pixelated? i don’t know much about pictures. but i just know that i love this one. it’s rare that i get a picture with my baby boy!]

one of my biggest struggles is saying no.
i want to help everyone and do everything and make everyone happy.
my friend Jessica tells me all the time, “you can say no! it’s okay. people will understand.”
and i know they will understand and be supportive, but I can’t handle it.

i set incredibly high expectations for myself. and it doesn’t help that i compare myself to others [or what i perceive from others] and use it to set my bar.
and after this last month, i realized how dangerously thin i spread myself causing me to nearly have another breakdown.

granted, things happened beyond my control [sicknesses & accidents]
but i could’ve stepped back.
at any moment i could’ve recognized my limits and stopped pushing myself. but i refused.

one night, Adam was trying to be sweet and wanted to cuddle and watch a movie.
instead of melting into his arms and enjoying the moment with him, i snapped at him, told him to give me my space, and that i was really stressed and needed to finish some work.

he just kind of looked at me and said, “what work do you have to be stressed about?”
i had no honest reason to be stressed other than i expected more out of myself.
i had been creating all this turmoil & exhaustion for myself because of my own ridiculous expectations.

i could be reveling in the fact that i get to stay home with my son all day, have absolutely nothing on my schedule besides some work for my assistantship, and just relax.
but instead i tell myself i need to write this, and do that, and go here because that’s what good moms do!
and if i want to be a good mom, a good wife, a good blogger, a good friend, i need to do everything! 

when i was going to therapy, my counselor pointed out my constant need to live up to some unrealistic ideal that i make for myself. and because of this unattainable bar i set for myself, there is no way for me to feel fulfilled or accomplished because nothing will ever be good enough.
and if i keep raising it, i will never allow myself to be happy with my life and my circumstances.

for a while i was very much aware of this problem and i felt like i did pretty well to keep it under control.
but it all came back to me recently.
so now that’s what i’m working on again.
i’m working on understanding my own limits.
i’m working on allowing myself to be human.
i’m working on putting my own needs at top priority.

in a way i think we all push ourselves to dangerous limits.
we expect too much out of ourselves and demand perfection instead of “just good enough.”
i know i struggle with this every.single.day.

i just read a quote tonight from this talk that really hit me.

“In all of these cases there should never be just two options:
perfection or giving up. When learning the piano, are the only
options performing at Carnegie Hall or quitting? No. Growth and
development take time. Learning takes time.”

i realize that i’m not allowing myself time to grow. instead, i’m expecting it RIGHT NOW!

so part of my simplifying is lowering my bar.
doing my best but staying within my limits.

i have a lifetime to learn and to grow.
i don’t need to waste all my energy, time, and emotions on things that won’t matter in the long run.

prioritizing my life

me and Elijah

about a month ago, the sweet Mary Kate of From the Guest Room and i started discussing ways that we wanted to simplify our lives and put our families first. we both realized that being rather “consumed” in this whole blogging world was taking its toll on our family lives and, quite honestly, our mental sanity.

it was quite refreshing to talk to someone else who was struggling like i was. i’ve noticed that as i’ve interacted more with other bloggers and shop owners, how much my confidence in myself has changed dramatically. what i once tried so hard to be as a writer/blogger, felt lost and thrown by the wayside for other tasks.

there are days where i feel like it’s impossible to keep up!
i feel stressed and tired and worn out for what really is nothing.

this weekend i finally broke down.
it was so random and unexpected but it was, quite honestly, a long time coming.
i was exhausted, i was stressed, i just mentally couldn’t take anymore!
i blew up at my husband, told him i hated my life, and just felt like crap.
i stewed and stewed and stewed.
and i didn’t even know why i was so mad!!
all i knew is that i wasn’t happy, i didn’t want to go through it anymore, and everyone else was to blame {of course!}

but then, come Sunday, i had the prompting that i greatly needed to hear.
i can change it.
i have the power, and the tools, to change how i am feeling.
i don’t have to be stressed, i don’t have to be overwhelmed, i don’t have to hate my life
[my life isn’t even that terrible! i was just so emotional!]
i have the power to gain better control of my life again & be happy.

when Mary Kate approached me and told me that she was having a difficult time as well, i finally felt like i wasn’t alone! and more than that, i felt NORMAL!
it was rare that i heard other people talking about their frustrations with trying to do it all
and even more rare to have them admit that they needed to change anything.
maybe they just don’t want to talk about it, or admit it, but what we realized is that there are more people than not that have the same challenges with prioritizing their lives!

this week, Mary Kate and i will be sharing our stories of how we decided to gain control of our lives and happiness by finding ways to simplify & prioritize our lives.
neither of us are experts by any means!
but we feel like we are in the thick of it and think there are many others who may be feeling the same way.

throughout this week, we will be sharing some more of our personal goals & the actions we have taken to cut out unnecessary noise that take away from our families & happiness. 

and on Friday, we want to invite you to link up your own posts of how you have simplified your own lives to allow yourself to feel the greatest amount of happiness.
i hope you will join us!


Hello Cantelmos!

{i really wanted the title to rhyme and so that is what i came up with, albeit lame.}

i am excited to introduce Melanie from Keeping Up with the Cantelmos today!
Melanie is incredibly beautiful inside and out. she started her blog just a few short months ago and already has a large and loyal following! she is very inspirational to all women and i have loved getting to know her more!
she helps me realize that i am not alone in my own thoughts and struggles and is incredibly supportive with everything.

so without further ado, here’s Melanie!


How would your friends describe you?
My friends would say that I am sensitive, sweet, good listener, silly and a little random.

How long have you been married and what {honest} advice would you give to someone about to be married?
I have been married for almost two years. Our two years haven’t been easy. I went from being a single mom of one to being married with now having three kids. We have had a lot of adjustments to make but God is good and He has helped us along the way.

My marriage advice is to appreciate the sacrifices your spouse makes for you (even if they don’t appear to be sacrifices). I am not always good at this but I know Anthony (my husband) feels valued and respected when I tell him how much I appreciate the things he does for us.

How did you start your blog and why?
I started my blog in March of 2011 and my desire was to create a place where I could document all my kids were doing since I was so great at keeping up their baby books and also a way for all the grandparents to see what their grandchildren were up to. In October 2011 I started blogging regularly and realized I could use my blog as a way to inspire and encourage others. I believe that my blog has become my ministry to other women. My desire is for others to know that God is a forgiving God and He can use us even when my make mistakes.


What inspires you?
I love working with kids that are abused and hurting. The kids I work with inspire me to be a better me. They also inspire me to be thankful for all God has given me and to appreciate all the amazing people who go to great lengths to make sure those kids are safe.

People who have overcome difficult situations and live to encourage all of us to keep pressing on also inspire me.

5. What would your totem-pole animal spirit be? :) [like a great eagle or an otter :)]
I had no idea which one I was so I took a quiz online.

Here is what it says, “You are...A WOLF! Your utmost priority is leadership and kindness. You make friends easily and steadily, learn quickly, and care about others, hurting as much as they do when they're having a hard time.”


6. What are some of your favorite items in your shop or blog posts [with links] and why?
Be You - I love this post because I encourage others to just be you and no one else.
How he loves my little girl - This post is all about how my husband wants to adopt my oldest daughter Grace.
Our love story - This post is all about how Anthony and I fell in love.

7. How do you define success?
I define success by being satisfied at the end of the day with what you did, whether it is being a mom at home, a good wife, following your dreams doing something that is out of your comfort zone or making a difference in someone’s life.


8. What advice would you give to new shop owners/bloggers? What did you wish you knew when you first started?
Here I did a post on all my blogging tips:http://cantelmofamily.blogspot.com/2012/01/some-tips-on-blogging-from-brand-new.html. My top blogging tip is to leave positive comments on other blogs and make friends!

9. What is a talent you have that you wish you used more?
I have no idea! I feel like my talent for loving and caring for others is used up so much that I don’t really have talent anymore!

meeting luke

10. Do you squeeze the top of the toothpaste tube or the bottom? Which one does your husband do? {This is a silly question from Stronger Marriage that we would ask couples just for fun}
I actually never noticed which way I squeeze the toothpaste or which way my husband does either. I heard about people having problems with the toothpaste and the toilet paper when they got married but thankfully we have never had an issue with it! Thankfully my husband is pretty tidy so we don’t have too many arguments in that department.

11. What are your goals for the future {long and short}? Do you have anything you want to change?
My goals for the short-term would be for me to be able to stay at home with my children, be organized, intentional and consistent with them. Another short-term goal is to help my good friend get her non profit started and get a grant for me to work with pregnant and teen moms. I am very passionate about working with teen moms and their children. My long-term goal for the future would be for me to finish my masters in counseling.


thank you so much, Melanie, for answering those questions!
and aren’t her kids ADORABLE!!
i have to admit, i laughed so hard that you found an online totem-pole spirit quiz!! where did you find that?

i hope you all take the time to get to know Melanie more over at her blog!
you really will not regret it! Melanie will become one of your closest friends and you will completely fall in love with her blog and her family.

check her out here!

Inspiration: Why Mormons Build Temples

I believe families are forever because of the blessing of temples all over the world.
I know that I will be able to see my family again who has gone before me.
I know that if anything ever happened to Adam and Elijah that I will be able to see them, hold them, love them again because I was able to be sealed to them for time and all eternity.
This knowledge gives me a great amount of peace and comfort for life here on Earth,
to know that it will all be okay in the end.

January Favorite Post Link-Up

This month feels like a complete blur to me...
I don't really quite seem to remember what I did or what I wrote about.
I feel like I lost the whole month and I feel incredibly behind in my life.
In fact, I know that I cooked for my family this month, at least I think I did because they are still alive, but I can only name maybe 3 meals I remember cooking.
Isn't that pretty terrible??

So, yes.
I am totally mother and wife of the month for January 2012.
uh, not.

So, since my memory seems to be pretty crappy lately, it was pretty fun to go through my {small collection} of posts for this month and remember what I wrote about.
[but seriously, I guess I didn't post a lot this month?? whoops.]

That's one of the things I LOVE about the "Favorite Post" link up each month!
Not only do others see your posts that they missed, but you are able to go back and remember the important things that happened that month as well.
Really it's a brilliant concept!

So, with all the being said,
here's the info for the Favorite Post Link-Up for January!

It's the third month of the favorite post link-up and last month was an even bigger hit than the first one so I'm super excited about this month. This month there are a couple of new guest hosts joining the mix that will have the link-up on their blogs as well to spread the love even further throughout the blogging community. Be sure to check out their blogs to find out their favorite posts this month!

This month's hosts include:

Ashley from After Nine To Five / Megan from And Here's To You, Mrs. Robinson

Claire from Polkadot Pretties / Beth from Through The Eyes of The Mrs.

My favorite post of the month is:

again, I have more than one post that I liked
so, sue me!

End of One Dream & Start of Another
Count Your {little} Blessings
Love One Another


Saturday Favorites

i may not be very good at commenting on other blog posts, or tweeting, or doing facebook shout-outs, but i do read other posts when i get a chance.

i thought it would be fun to start doing a Saturday favorites list to highlight some of my favorite posts/products throughout the week.

sounds good?

so here’s my favorite links this week
[this is not an all encompassing list! there were lots of other links i liked but i just picked a few]

i love this post by Andi over at The Hollie Rogue about marriage {of course!}. i love the perspective she gives on how to be happy in our relationships.

and speaking of The Hollie Rogue, did you know i guest posted over there last week about how i became a writer? you should check it out!

and also speaking of marriage, i LOVE this Intentional Marriage series over at Not My Own Life. she has great insight and i love reading her posts each week.

Ashley over at After Nine to Five is doing a great series on blogging tips if you want to take your blogging to another level. they are really helpful!!

Mindy from Marigold Road made the most gorgeous Valentine’s Day wreaths EVER! i need them in my life.


ever since Ashlyn posted this color crush post i’m now obsessed with the color blush!! it looks GORGEOUS!

i love Kaycie’s post on being able to finally go to Anthropologie after hearing everyone around blogland sing it’s praises. or “fangirl about it” like Kaycie said :)

this sweet love letter Kendra wrote for her little girl Evelyn for her first birthday brings back so many memories of my own baby. it’s fully of pure motherly love and i think any mother could relate to her feelings of being a mommy.

Jamielyn over at I Heart Naptime wrote a great post on finding balance. this is something i have been thinking about a lot so it really hit home for me.

i love Erika’s color blocking in this outfit from this week. i don’t think i would be very good at color blocking but i like seeing it on other people! 

i laughed so incredibly hard at this post by Jenni. it’s too perfect for words. i love that girl!

i need this ring from the After Nine to Five shop

and i need this GORGEOUS necklace as well as this necklace from Sebastian Design

Beth from Through the Eyes of the Mrs. wrote this awesome post about her husband. it’s perfect.
and then i also wrote this post about my husband as a guest post on Beth’s blog. check out both!

and last but certainly NOT least, Tahnie wrote this post about her life with Cystinosis. she is hoping to raise $2000 by her daughter’s 2nd birthday to go towards Cystinosis research. please please please help her reach her goal so that she can be around to celebrate more birthdays with her daughter!!
you can read her post and donate here
{even just a little bit helps!}


have a great weekend!!!
and be sure to check out all those links!



oh yeah i need to pick a winner for the Rouge & Whimsy giveaway!!

the winner is….

lucky number #54: Allison!

thank you for everyone who participated in the giveaway!!
please go check out Erika’s blog, you will not be sorry :)

Being the Glue: a guest post from Through the Eyes of the Mrs.

i am really excited for today because Beth and i are swapping blogs!!
Beth is seriously amazing and i have loved getting to know her better these last few months. i love how she writes and how honest & genuine she is. she likes to keep it real and i love her for that. it's refreshing to hear other mothers voice the same feelings and opinions as i feel! it helps me feel not so alone in this confusing thing called "being a mom."

i hope you all enjoy Beth's post today and be sure to stop by her blog to read my post!
and definitely stay a while and get to know Beth a little better.
you won't regret it!

and now here's Beth!


Hey there everyone, I'm Beth from
Through the Eyes of the Mrs.

Today I want to talk about being the glue of our family.
You know the one that holds everything together all the time.

Well that's me!

You could also say I'm the CEO of the household.
When there is a problem I fix it, repair it, or find a way around it.

With three kids and a hardworking husband it's a tough job.

I am the the one who schedules appointments.
I transport to soccer, music, and dance.
I cook and clean for a house full of people.

It's tough to be sometimes and to make it all work for five.

Life doesn't slow down though instead it speeds up.
Even with the pace increasing I'm thankful!

I'm thankful that I have these amazing people in my life.
That God trusted me enough to be their mother and give me my husband.

I look at the calender and think "Okay, how is all this going to work?"
It just does and sometimes I mess up and that's okay.

Last week I was supposed to be at the school for lunch and recess.
I completely forgot and instead caught up on emails.

The standards of motherhood are tough.
We set such high standards for ourselves and make it even tougher.

I swore before children my kids would never have a dirty face.
I said they would never behave that way in a store.
I told myself how blissfully organized I would be all of the time.

I was wrong and life is full of surprises.

So let's give ourselves a little break shall we?
Tomorrow is a new day and we'll do better.

Please stop by and visit me. I'd love to hear from you!


thank you so much, Beth, for sharing your story!!
i especially loved that you said "we set such high standards for ourselves" because BOY i feel that....
thank you for reminding me to be kinder to myself!!

i hope you all enjoyed Beth's post!
make sure to show her some love

BIG {500 follower} group giveaway!!

when i first started this blogging journey, i always hoped in the back of my mind that i would be able to reach a larger audience of women to help motivate & inspire.

i thought that goal would take years to accomplish.
so when i looked the other day and say a big 501 in my gadget i felt like i could cry.

i’m so grateful to all of you for wanting to hear what i have to say each day.
i’m grateful to all of you for supporting me and being my friends when i needed them.

i know it might sound silly to people {especially those who may not blog}
but in a way, i feel like this blog and all of you have blessed me in so many ways i cannot even describe.

i know it is because i chose to open up about my struggles and reach out to a wonderful community of women that i am happier today than i was a year ago.

so thank you thank you thank you for seeing me through it all and blessing my life!

and because i have amazing sponsors this month, they are helping me celebrate by giving away some awesome prizes for 21 lucky readers!!

first, i do want to say though that my sponsors really have been amazing!
i have mentioned earlier that this month has been crazy hectic and i have kind of been the worst sponser-er…
{is there a word for a person being sponsored?? am i have a total brain fart right now?}
but my sponsors have been so INCREDIBLE and so kind & supportive even when i have been the lamest.

so i just want to say a very public THANK YOU shout-out to all my wonderful sponsors!!
and if you haven’t gotten to know each and every one yet,

okay now on to the awesome prizes!!

[there will be one winner for each prize! that’s 21 winners!!]

$20 Shop Credit to Beck-A-Boo Crafts

you cannot tell me that these aren’t the CUTEST things you have ever seen!!
i am completely and enormously obsessed with these booties and i desperately need a girl so i can get her some in every size and color.

Rebecca is offering one reader a $20 shop credit towards any pair of boots in her shop!
if you win, please please post a picture of your baby in them so that i can melt :)

blog / shop / facebook

$20 Gift Card to Target from Our D.I.Y. Diaries

Jen, Laryssa, and Courtney started this great blog showcasing their every day crafts and help motivate others to do their own budget friendly decorations! i love how their houses are transforming with all their simple DIYs and can’t wait to have a place big enough to do some of my own!

today, these ladies are giving away a $20 gift card to Target!

blog / facebook / twitter

Orange & Neutral Beaded Necklace from Rhi’s Designs


of course i’m biased {since she’s my sister}, but Rhiannon of Rhi’s Designs really is extremely talented and creative!! her necklaces are all one of a kind and gorgeous! i’m totally jealous that she got the creative genes in the family and can produce such beautiful pieces without batting an eye. i mean seriously… how is that fair??

today, she is giving away the above necklace at a $15 value!

blog / shop / facebook


Beanie in the color of your choice from Alisha & Brandon


Alisha has been a great friend to me and i have loved getting to know her through her blog. she recently took up knitting and made that adorable hat!! i absolutely LOVE it and i know one lucky reader will too!

Alisha is giving away a beanie {similar to the one pictured above} in your choice of color!

blog / twitter

Blog Design for Header, Button or Social Media Icons OR Ad Space from Little Miss Nerd Girl


some great design goodies to help spruce up your look! Lacey from Little Miss Nerd Girl is giving away your choice of designing a new header, button or social media icons for your blog/shop OR a 300x100 ad space on her blog for the month of February.

blog / design / facebook / twitter


Blog 101 E-Book from After Nine to Five


i actually took this course after winning it in another giveaway and it.was.AWESOME!! Ashley is really able to help you figure out all the nitty gritty of blogging and gives you tips to help make your blog grow. she also helped me figure out exactly why i blog and what i hope to gain from it. definitely an e-book worth reading if you are getting serious about blogging!

blog / shop / facebook / twitter

Ad Space from Jenni Austria Germany

Jenni has a cute, fun, and hilarious blog that is sure to bring any blog/shop traffic! She is giving away a sponsor spot on her blog to help your business grow.

blog / twitter


Blog Design Social Media Buttons and Medium Ad Space from Royal Daughter Designs


if you are looking for more ways to spruce up your blog look, head on over to Amanda at Royal Daughter Designs! she works hard to give you the special look you want and make it unique to you.

Amanda is giving away individually designed social networking buttons for your blog AND a medium ad spot!

blog / design / facebook / twitter

$30 Shop Credit from Along For the Ride

i want everything in Laura’s shop!! it is so darn cute! and a $30 shop credit can go a looooong way to help you get a lot of favorites.

blog / shop / facebook / twitter

$15 Shop Credit from From the Guest Room

Kate of From the Guest Room has beautiful knitted items that i think are pretty essential to your winter wardrobe! i especially love this rope necklace that she is modeling above!

she is giving away a $15 store credit to one winner today!

blog / shop / facebook / twitter


Pretty Zipper Pouch from Polkadot Pretties

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Claire from Polkadot Pretties has some seriously beautiful products! you would think she sewed her whole life instead of being a self-taught sewer just last year!

today she is giving away this beautiful zipper pouch to one lucky reader!

blog / shop / facebook / twitter

Medium Ad Space from Boyish Chic


Jillian has a great shop and blog where she talks a lot of fashion and style. i always like seeing how she styles items and her awesome moving pictures that she does!

Jillian is giving one winner a medium ad space on her blog!

blog / shop / facebook / twitter

Print of Your Choice from Cinnamon Ink

i don’t think i’ll ever be able to adequately describe my absolute LOVE for this shop!! when i saw Kate’s artwork for the first time i couldn’t get it out of my mind and i am now determined to get a whole collection of her prints one day.

when she said she would offer a reader one print of their choice i could have died with jealousy!

blog / shop / facebook


Bow Hair Clip from Sea of Blooming Dreams

mrsrgiveaway (1)

i just recently found Erica’s shop and already i’m totally in love! she has some serious talent, that girl!

she is giving away a bow hair clip from her shop today!

blog / shop / twitter


$15 Shop Credit from Whimsical Poppysmic

Chrissy is a very talented lady and a true friend! i love seeing all her shop items and what designs she comes up with next. and i totally want that above embroidery like nobody’s business!

Chrissy is giving away $15 shop credit toward any item in her shop!

blog / shop / twitter


Large Ad Space from Finding the Beauty in the Ordinary

Heather is one of the nicest and most genuine bloggers you will ever meet. and today she is graciously giving away a large 200x150 ad space for one reader which includes twitter mentions + group sponsor feature. working with Heather is a great way to get your blog/shop noticed and she does a great job supporting you to fulfill your goals!

blog / facebook / twitter


$50 Design Credit from Small Bird Studios

Screen Shot 2012-01-17 at 10.00.46 AM
[example of design work by Franchesca]

Franchesca is another one of these amazingly talented designers that can take your vision for your website and make it better. she is giving away $50 credit towards any blog design.

blog / design / facebook / twitter

Earrings of Choice from Mama Nest Designs

Tricia has some amazing handmade earrings in her shop that are absolutely beautiful and colorful! i am especially coveting these beauties! please get them for me :)

blog / shop / facebook / twitter


$25 Shop Credit from Miss Mommy

Nicole’s shop has some incredibly beautiful products that i have definitely been swooning over for a long time! and to add to her awesomness, she is quite honestly one of the kindest and more supportive bloggers/shop owners i have ever met. when i first started working with her, she did all that she could to help me get the word out without me ever really asking. she is just automatically your friend!!

she is giving one winner a $25 credit to her shop which is totally incredible!! if you get one of her wrap bracelets, i would be forever jealous.

blog / shop / facebook / twitter


Large Ad Space from My Unrehearsed Life

Ashlyn from My Unrehearsed Life is giving away a large ad space on her blog that includes an individual giveaway and/or a guest post! Value of $25. Great way to help your business grow!

blog / facebook / twitter


$10 Starbucks Gift Card from Keeping Up with the Cantelmos

Melanie is a great inspiration in the blogging community and has quickly grown a large following! she is so nice to offer a $10 Starbucks gift card to one lucky reader today to help with their morning coffee/hot chocolate runs :)

blog / facebook / twitter


remember: there will be a winner for each prize!


click on “read more” to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Eli’s first basketball game [that he sat through]

IMG_2049 IMG_2088IMG_2137IMG_2138IMG_2089IMG_2090IMG_2148IMG_2139 IMG_2144IMG_2141IMG_2143IMG_2140IMG_2142 IMG_2146IMG_2147IMG_2145 

as you can tell by the variety in Elijah’s facial expressions, it was a very exciting game!

and contrary to his last face, BYU actually lost.
but Eli still had fun!
{even if daddy wasn’t happy with the outcome}

we sat up by some other families and Elijah loved seeing all the other kids!
there was this boy that was sitting behind us who was about 8-10 years old and Eli was mildly obsessed with him.
every time the kid cheered or yelled or clapped, Eli would copy him.
the pictures where Elijah has his hands over his mouth is because the other kid would cup his hands to yell something and Elijah was trying to imitate him.
and then he thought it was hilarious so he’d start laughing hysterically.

the other boy was a really good sport and was really nice to this random baby that would get up in his face.
{he was the oldest of 4}
afterwards, i thanked him and his parents for being so nice to Elijah.

i was actually really impressed with it all.
here’s this kid who is at that age where he’s starting to get too cool for being around little kids [especially having other little siblings] and yet he is playing with Elijah and being really nice even if he is mildly annoyed. 

i hope that i can raise Elijah well enough that he will be kind to other children no matter how cool he thinks he is.
and that i can teach him to love others no matter how young they are or what they look like or what they act like.
and if i can teach him that, i would think that i did a pretty good job fulfilling my role as a mother

[but right now we have quite a bit to work on… like not pulling little babies’ hair]