She spilled the beans!

Cups are not just for drinking! They are also for bean-pouring. Who knew?

She gingerly poured the white lima beans into the paper cups. Completely enthralled in the journey of the bean INTO the cup, she then found she can pick beans one by one and distribute them to the other cups.IMG_5129 IMG_5132After this, I gave her some of her nesting cups to challenge her pouring ability.

IMG_5140Success! Now moving onto bigger cups

IMG_5144 IMG_5143And back into the mini cup…

IMG_5142 IMG_5141This dexterous activity turned into about 30 minutes, and what made it even better was it was completely unplanned. She found something she can do with her little fingers. 🙂

And…when she did spill the beans, she “uh-ohed” them right back into the cup with the rest of the lima friends.





From Mulligans to Merriment (with dear friends)

Not everything works 100% of the time. Being a black and white person (in recovery), I have a hard time understanding why what has worked in the past does not work in the present. The battle of “who gets to hold the toothbrush” heated up as Tatum forgot the “I count to 10” rule and then [you] can hold it.  The not so pretty incident had me question the tone of the day. I would not let this stand in the way of happy day! Upon a mulligan with the toothbrush to get it right and be successful, we were headed out for a great day with some old, dear friends.

During the drive to their house, I decided to tell the story of how I knew Dick and Marilyn. I told her that I wanted her to be the kind-hearted, lovely little girl that she is and show respect and love to them.

Tatum took them both in with merriment and absolutely seemed to adore them as much as I do.

IMG_5119Dick and Marilyn played with her for a while and they also spent time encouraging me which mommies always need! Sometimes one just needs to hear that she is doing some things right, and they both ooze positivity. I truly cherish them in my life, and I know Tatum will continue to build a relationship with them. She sure felt comfortable!



She just chilled out and read, studying a bit about marinating and herbs from Cook Magazine, as we visited.

IMG_5125Their influence in my life has been immeasurable.


Venti is not only my favorite Starbuck’s size

It’s also Tot’s day today! VENTI MES!

And what a celebration it has been. I knew today had to contain some sort of water play, so we would head to the Splash Pad at Kierlands with Moms of the City from my church. But first…a bit of piggy play on the patio.IMG_5091

Then…off to Kierland. Being 110 today, we smothered the lotion, donned the shades and sported the hat. Ms. Fashionista.IMG_5093

When we arrived, I gently placed Tatum down on one of the mini-fountains and she started to cry.


Seriously, MOM?

Once I demonstrated the water fun she could have by running around myself in the springs (looking ridiculous, I might add, but oh..the sacrifices (to my hair and clothes) we make for our children 🙂


Finally, she couldn’t get enough. Moreover, she met a little friend, Addison, who walked with her through the water and guided her along!


Now, she was a pro!



I handed her a cup and this added a whole new splashing dimension.IMG_5112 IMG_5110 IMG_5109 IMG_5108 IMG_5107
While there, I met a lovely girl (Addison’s mom) from Indiana who just moved here with her husband 3 weeks ago. She’ll be a fellow teacher in the Isaac District, so we got to chat for a while about her new venture. Truly a blessing which I was not expecting (which are the best kind)

Getting her to leave the Splash Pad? This was another kind of water works within her eyes 🙁





From Sunday to Sunday

Last Sunday, I felt like a child back in kindergarten completely ill-equipped for the life of parenting. In fact, after putting her to bed on Monday night, I cried and thought I was failing miserably at this job. What was it that set it off? I tried to bite off more than I could chew. Moreover, I did not realize I was causing Tatum unneeded crying and whining which could have been avoided had I set her up for success. And MOREOVER, I was taking her little un-adorable behaviors (which are very few) personally. BUT, what has been missing from my parenting is oddly enough, Love and Logic which is what I use in my classroom as a philosophy for discipline and management. I tell my students everyday what I expect of them and communicate constantly (well, I hope I do!) Why have I not been doing this with Tatum?

So, it started in church on Sunday. I figured she could sit in the service if I provided needed toys and much comfort. The music was perfect as she danced along in her much-needed sitting position. But then, about 5 minutes into it, the toys I provided started going down on the floor and she wiggled and squiggled. Out and in of the service….out and in of the service….we did this multiple times and she just got more annoyed as did I. She probably could (and does) feel my trepidation about having her NOT whine and cry.  Finally, after reading a bunch this week and talking to some close people in my life, I  have been trying new tactics. This Sunday, I can look back and see a monstrous change. (no pun intended)

The difference? Giving her choice and communicating with her constantly about what I expect and what her behavior should look like. That way she makes the choice not to perform or to perform. Also, the choices I give her allow her to feel independent and that she has a bit of control; these options for her are: 1. Which of TWO outfits 2. Which of TWO bibs 3. Which of TWO or THREE books…and anything which is not super critical.

Next, she was tossing something when she was finished with it including her babies. Anyway, this was even happening in the car from her car seat. I modeled how to say, “thank you” then hand me the toy/baby/bottle/book. Then I made her do it over if she did not do it. Amazing! She now hands me the babies or her bottle or whatever she is playing with and says, “thank you,” and I say it back with much appreciation. (Today in church it was pretty funny because she said “thank you” after every little toy she played with)


She still will toss baby, but if she does, she loses it until further notice. It has diminished down to once a week maybe from many times a day!

Next, I tell her what we will be doing in the next few moments. Then I can tell her what I want her to do in that setting. Example: We go into church today and I told her that I will be giving her a bag of toys and she can play with them. I also told her I expect her to be a lady in church and not make noise or move around. She ended up sitting next to me the whole time. We did have to go out once; I placed her on  my lap in the lobby and told her that she is doing great, but she has to remember that it’s a place of quiet. I encouraged her and asked her if we could try again. She did great. Then I gave her cheerios and she ended up lasting the whole service.

This is by no means MY doing. I am just treating her like a young lady who can understand and follow my direction (WITH LOTS OF LOVE). I can tell she is yearning for this as she loves to test, but when redirected and left with the correct way to do it, she sees my glee and wants to have THAT kind of mommy. (not the disappointed one).

When we got home from church, earned back her babies (which went into the sink this morning) and she happily picked up her ball and was ready to play.

IMG_5074Hopelessness did overtake me last week. I am continuing to learn that it is one day at a time; one behavior at a time. There is not “easy” path, hence each day requires a lot of prayer for wisdom and the RIGHT attitude.


Nipping, Napping and Budding

So, I make a big deal out of the little mysterious and un-lovely behaviors which come out of my adorable princess. I must because, you see, I teach middle school. Daily I am around 13 year olds who may be in large bodies but likened to 2-year olds in behavior. My overactive mind thinks I will not have a daughter who shows  B…R…A…T…T…I…N….E…S…S (looks like thrashing about/biting/slapping when her way is not given) or  E…N…T..I…T..L..E…M…E…N….T (sounds like “mine!” and whining when wanting something NOW!) or E…G….O…C…E…N….T….R…I…C…I…S….M (feels like demanding my full attention at ALL times no matter what is going on or with whom I am conversing). Now, many will say, “Oh this is completely normal at this ripe old age of 20 months.” Sure, may be normal once or twice but again and again? Nope. It can be nipped and tucked out.

Case 1: Throwing Baby when wanting attention. Baby goes bye bye until a much later hour in the day after she has realized she should not throw her toys.
IMG_4735OR When she is finished with something, say, “Thank you,” and hand it to me nicely. She must do it over and over again until she gets it right which gets tedious, but she gets the idea after 15 tries. Plus, she WANTS her _____ (insert what she wants at that moment)

Case 2: She wants to hold the toothbrush while I brush her teeth. We had to play tug of war and then she lightly slapped me on the face. Solution? That time she got a time out and showed me “gentle hands” and this morning, knowing that this may happen again I prefaced our brushing with, “Tatum, I am going to count to ten and brush your teeth. After that, you may hold the toothbrush.” Done. Then distract with “You have to help me close the cabinet.” Success.

Case 3: Tatum demands ALL of my time. I tend to give in and play with her letting her really run the show of what we do. Solution? I play with her for 30 minutes, then I go in my room, she follows me,  plops in her little chair and I tell her to go get a book.

IMG_0341She did not go, “UP!” to get on my lap. She kept busy.

IMG_0337Well, she kept busy around me trying to get my attention, but at least she was playing! Then, after a while, we read together. Her time, my time, our time. Nice. Moreover, we can then be silly and have F…U…N!


Case 4: I know she is going to cry when we get into the HOT car. I have learned that I must give her warning that it will be HOT. So, I am now armed with a cold drink or I tell her we will get her some crushed ice. The key? Communication. Telling her ahead of time what will be happening. Just like if we are going into the store. I tell her what we are doing and what I expect. “Tatum, I expect you to hold my hand the whole time.” vs. “Don’t xyz”…I focus on the positive and what I want not the “don’t” or “no”…  Also, I make sure I put “Baby” into the conversation. “Baby misses you” or “Baby wants you to be happy” or “Give baby a sip” etc. This gets her outside of herself and helps her to care for
another. Also, it is distracting to her needs. Then SHE wants to do what Baby does. Perfect!

Today, I just looked at her as she napped and thought: Man, this is hard work, but she is so worth every minute.


My goal is to raise an independent, kind, God-loving and God-fearing lovely woman so I keep my eye on the LT goal vs. my need to be loved or accepted by my daughter or to have her be happy with her mommy at all times. She will get upset and fight it, but in the long run, she is becoming a lovely, budding, young woman (with her Father God’s help).





The Pink Seat!

Used today and by choice!
She ran up to me and said “poopoo” and pointed to the bathroom. We plopped onto the pink seat and voila! By no means is she trained, but the seat was a success!

Actually I think it is just wanting to seat on a throne herself. Hmmm?



1 + 1 = 2

Caught again. Secret: She has two babies. One for the car and one for the house. They got a bit mixed up last week, and I lost track. I had forgotten she left one in the “pub” (tub).

One of her babies she had placed in the dollhouse, and after running into the bathroom, she looked in the tub and saw her…what!? What is this? “Baby??” Baby!!! She then ran into the dollhouse room and voila! TWO Babies! She had to tell me immediately, so now?

IMG_5053A pretty happy chick!