even a princess…

Ask almost any parent what is their most difficult toddler/preschooler moment, and I believe they will agree it is a public temper tantrum.

Whether in the middle of a family reunion or in a crowd of strangers, when your child is the one screaming and thrashing, it is challenging to say the least.

But a few days ago on the national news, there for the world to observe, was England’s  two-year-old Princess Charlotte having her own royal tantrum right there on the airport tarmac.

And as far as I could tell, a royal tantrum looks and sounds like any other tantrum.

But I thought – good for you Princess Charlotte.  Let it out!  Enough of this 5-country- sweep in your perfect dress and shoes.  Enough of smiling and waving to strangers. You’ve had it!

And isn’t that the truth for our children too – when they begin to bawl and shout?  It’s usually because they’ve had it also.  They’re tired, hungry, over-whelmed, over-stimulated, sad, frustrated, and can’t take it anymore –  and this is the only way – at their age and stage of brain development – to let you know.

Because the part of the brain that helps them to think logically and control their emotions, to help them think before they act, to problem solve, to reason isn’t developed yet. And its full development will take its own sweet time, growing in small increments before fully functioning when they are a young adult.

But you will begin to notice examples of maturation as your child moves on from this early age.  This very morning I heard from a mom who was telling me how busy their summer was – so busy, in fact, that her 8-year-old son asked her, “Could we have more days of doing nothing?”

There you go. Now that’s a change in the right direction – no tantrum  -just asking for what he needs.

Brain development in progress – for sure.





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team spirit

I often think of family friends of ours who raised four daughters.

And when it was time for things to be done in their family, to get moving, arrive someplace on time, to rally the troops, their go-to-solution was to announce “Team Scott”.

And that very announcement – “Team Scott” – brought about a hearty response.  Because they had spent family time discussing what it meant to be part of a team, that their family was a team, and like any good team, it takes all the players to participate, they all pitched in and got the job done.

And together, it did seem like fun.

Now I’m not saying this  was always perfect because I’m sure it wasn’t.

But I saw it work enough times to witness and appreciate a certain pride they shared in belonging, in working together, and in accomplishment.

As young toddlers and preschoolers grow, and we look for ways for them to connect,  help, contribute, and care for one another, a slogan such as this might be the answer. You may notice smoother transitions and more cooperative participation in your own growing family.

Hey  – I wonder –” do you think it’s  too late to get Tootsie on board with Team Swift?”

I might just try it out!

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simple is …

Someone said to me recently “is anything simple anymore?”

I get where this person is coming from, but I will go down fighting for simplicity to be found – appreciated – and passed on.

We often look at our driveway and think that perhaps we should resurface it, get rid of the dips and cracks, and make it smooth – make it perfect.

But everyday in the summer, the dip that exists near the garage becomes a public bird bath, as my husband fills it several times a day to keep our bathers happy.  As many as seven sparrows at a time splashed today alone.  Doves, cardinals, and robins all enjoy.

The ol’ waterhole my husband calls it.

It’s what I consider a simple pleasure, for us and for our feathered friends.

We usually find simplicity when we slow down, when we do less.   We want to invite our neighbors over – or the new family we just met at the park, but who has the time, expense and energy and so we let it go.

Do less instead – choose simplicity.  Invite them over for watermelon or popsicles after dinner – the sprinkler in the backyard on for the children, some chalk for the driveway.  Done – fun for everyone; more than enough.

For simplicity to be evident in our lives we have to pause, let be, look around, sit out on the steps while your children play, take a walk together – the same walk you took last evening and the evening before.  Simplicity is often the repetitive unconditional enjoyments that occur when we least expect them, but that sneak into our sense of place, of belonging and of harmony.

Share with us on The Parenting Place facebook page when you’ve experienced a slice of simplicity with your family.

Together we’ll keep simplicity alive.

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Recently I saw an official sign nailed to a post with the word NOTICE in bold black letters with the message written below.

All of us have seen this same type of sign numerous times in our lives.  But this time, the word NOTICE jumped out at me and resonated over the past few days.

Because in some ways, to notice is really the key to relationships, to work, to life.

There’s an art to noticing I believe but one we can all perfect.  Most of us can’t help but notice the big things, the joyous moments, the saddest moments, the loud explosions, the annoying frustrations.

But it is the smallest things that we notice that often make a difference.

It’s noticing the expressions on your child’s face, the happy ones, the sad, the pensive, the scared, the reluctant.  It’s noticing the shy mom at your next group gathering, your own personal responses/reactions, your needs. Its noticing the “sweet nothing” moments with your loved ones.  Its noticing nature in all its glory. Its noticing plenty and when you have enough.  Its noticing comfort and satisfaction.

This week on 4th of July, as fireworks explode and light up the sky, we’ll ooh and aah and notice for sure.

But then try posting your own NOTICE sign in bold letters on your refrigerator door and pay attention to your own quiet reasons to ooh and aah.

It will be amazing.


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In our neighborhood, near a mailbox post, under a bayberry bush, lies commitment.  There a mother duck sits alone on her nine eggs and waits.

It’s been several weeks now that we discovered this secret hideaway, the nest perfectly camouflaged so that one would never know it was there.

We discovered it only by accident as we walked Tootsie down the street.  She nosed it and immediately the mother duck spread her wings and flew out to distract us and, of course, Tootsie. It was then that we peeked and saw the nine eggs inside.

Now when we walk by, we stay far enough away that the mother duck feels safe.  Even Tootsie seems to understand and accept this new boundary with respect.

I read online that a mother duck sits on her eggs for a month – so soon we may see her walking them to the river which will entail crossing a very busy street.  But I’ve no doubt that this determined mom will pull it off.

I thought about this mother duck sitting so conscientiously on her eggs several times while I was away this past week, soaking up the joy and energy of our two grandsons – almost 3-year-old Theo (end of August) and baby Zeke, just three and a half weeks old.

And like the mother duck, I watched and thought about their parents’ commitment – so strong, responsible and enduring, meeting the needs of their children, and the universal commitment it takes for each and every parent to raise their children.

And it fills my heart with awe and admiration.

So – here’s to Theo’s and Zeke’s parents, and to all parents out there who daily commit to raising their children – and to the noble mother duck sitting alone on her eggs – I salute you!





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a dad

It seems many children go through a stage when they want to be a fire fighter when they grow up.

And why not?  Fire fighters are our heroes – our real life super heroes, rescuing people from danger, putting out fires, racing down city streets with sirens blaring and lights flashing.

This week during Friday Play Shoppe, we were making SuperDad capes for Father’s Day when we heard the sounds of sirens and firetrucks as they zoomed down Green Bay St., right past The Parenting Place.

One little boy about three years old,  concentrating on his project, not looking up, said, almost as if to himself, “That’s my Daddy’s fire truck.  My Daddy is a fireman.  I’m going to be a fireman when I grow up“.

Oh my – how sweet is that!  It was the perfect way to begin Father’s Day weekend!

But, actually, we all really know, right?  Dads don’t have to be a fireman to be considered, in the eyes of their children, a hero.

They just have to be a Dad.

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mothers count

I know – I know – it’s Fathers’ Day weekend coming up – so why in the world am I focusing on mothers?

Well – I just can’t help it!  All around me (literally) are expectant moms in various stages of pregnancy.

They are all conscientiously taking care of themselves, eating well, going to pre-natal visits, making absolute sure that all is well with the baby, continuing to take care of family members, while often still working outside the home.

When the baby arrives, however, the focus becomes solely on the baby.  From friends and relatives to doctors and nurses, everyone’s concern is about the baby.

Yet the mother, who just accomplished a near Olympian feat, a physical accomplishment that leaves a women’s body and often times her emotions in need of care, repair, and attention – is on her own.

Recently I heard about a Godsend – a true and manageable support and help for all pregnant and postpartum mothers. It comes from an extremely reliable source; yes, a woman who just gave birth herself and has reaped its benefits and totally believes in its effectiveness, and how it has made a difference for her.

mommastrong.com – check it out – really – see what you think – there’s something for everyone here.

It’s only a click away!

Oh yes, I actually didn’t mean to forget the dads out there on this upcoming Father’s Day weekend so I sincerely say – “suck it up, dads!”

Do the dishes, vacuum, fold the laundry,  bathe the children, order out (after the kids are in bed).

This might just turn out to be your best Fathers’ Day ever!







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