Body Safety

Body Safety Rules

I’m hearing a lot of talk about molestation and child abuse, and would like to challenge everyone to argue less about details we don’t know and talk more about what we can all agree on: how to prevent it.

Talking to your kids about body safety, which may feel awkward at first but should still be heard in a trusted relationship, helps prevent abuse or end it if it does happen.

More resources (the first link is short & easy to start using the very practical tips):…

I’m going to share this graphic and the links on threads where the conversation is happening. Let’s put the current heartbreaking news stories to good use by getting this information out there – I guarantee people who need to read it are on those threads!

And if you or someone you know have already suffered abuse, please know first that it was/is NOT YOUR FAULT. Someone touched you when you didn’t want them to (even if your body felt good when they did), and that is NOT okay. Please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat anonymously at

(image thanks to The Mama Bear Effect)

Color Play

Color Play

Just found my 4yo teaching my 2yo colors.

He “baked” Legos in their play kitchen, then asked which one she wanted.

“Orange,” she said, and he picked up a block. “No, orange!” she corrected, until he found the right one.

He knew yellow, but needed help again with pink.

Talk about play-based learning!


Earth Oven

My husband and 4yo daughter have been building an earthen oven for weeks now. It’s pretty messy work, and today she dumped a pile of sand all over the ground.

“Oops!” she called out, “Well, that’s okay. We’re a learning family, and I made a mistake, but now I learned!”

I’ve never used that exact wording, so it feels really good to hear that she’s absorbing those messages! <3

Not So Tiny

She was feeling kind of bad about herself this morning. 

“I’m so tiny,” my 4yo lamented, “I can’t cook eggs or pancakes by myself, and I can’t see the caterpillars unless you pick me up!”

I reflected, “you feel like you are so tiny,” and tried to encourage her to think of good things about being small, but she didn’t really want me to fix it for her… she just wanted to be heard and understood.

An hour later, playing outside while I did some yard work, I moved a tarp and uncovered slugs crawling all over the bottom. She was watching me, as usual, and immediately jumped into action, “saving” the slugs by relocating them so they wouldn’t end up in the garage.

I went about other chores while she completed her mission. Once satisfied no slugs would end up shriveled in the heat of the garage, she ran back to me triumphantly. “Mama! Maybe I’m not so tiny.”

When it comes to heart, dear, I think not. Not tiny at all.

(And now *I* am off to rescue slugs from the bath she just announced for them!!)


My 2yo hit me in the face this afternoon, completely without warning (so it seemed).
I held his hands, “I won’t let you hit me.”
He cried, fought against me, tried to get his hands free.
“I love you, and I won’t let you hit me,” I repeated, with a kind tone of voice while I held his hands firmly, but without hurting him.
He cried a bit more, then yelled, “Mama! I need sleep!”, rolled away from me, and fell asleep almost instantly!

When our kids misbehave, it’s so easy to put the fault on either them or ourselves. It’s much more useful to look for signs of PHALTT – do they need to Potty? Are they Hungry? Anxious? Lonely? Tired? Thirsty? Little ones have an even harder time regulating their behavior when these factors are present than we do, and I know I’ve been irritable and acted unreasonably when I’m feeling one or more of them.

The resulting behaviors don’t call for punishment, but for meeting the needs they indicate while modeling respect for both yourself AND the child, by enforcing boundaries with kind words and gentle hands. Before long, you’ll start to see them regulate their own needs and behaviors: my four year old knows to ask for a snack or a potty break when she starts feeling that way, and even the 2 year old asks for a hug when he’s feeling nervous or lonely.

What questions would you add to the PHALTT checklist?

About Page

I am finally getting around to putting some time into this website (largely thanks to figuring out how to work on it from my phone!). I’ve written an About page, so you should check it out to get a better sense of my vision for this site!

If you haven’t been following along over the past six years (and through way too many domain name changes!), I’ve always blogged about parenting, as well as my personal interests such as crafting, thrifting, eco-friendly living, healthy recipes, and of course fun photos and stories from our 5 years living in China. I have 327 posts dating back to August 19, 2008 floating out in cyber space just waiting for me to go through them and select which I want to republish here, so I promise there will be more content soon!

Playing for Power

Playing Tag

“In play, the ordinary rules of reality are suspended, and that is what gives it such power. A little boy can imagine himself a superhero; a young girl can wrestle her father and pin his shoulders down. Children playing school get to hand out the assignments and the grades and the punishments. The playing field is leveled, or even tipped a bit in favor of the child, to make up for the frustrations of being smaller and weaker and less competent than the bigger folks.”
-Dr. Lawrence Cohen, Playful Parenting

Some of my children’s favorite games seem specifically designed to give them power. In Baby Bear, they always get away with sneaking out of the cave when they’re supposed to be hibernating. In Stop! Go!, they control my every movement. In You Can’t Get It, they always manage to “steal” a toy from me (while I stand there taunting that they’ll never ever get it away) and to run away and hide it where I’ll never find it.

I love that we can play out the impulse to be in control so they can break rules, be the boss, and take things away in a safe, silly scenario rather than through misbehavior.

Playing Tag photo courtesy of Bruce McKay

The BOOP Game

by Allen Goldblatt (click for original)

Siblings Without Rivalry has been on my “to-read” list for months, and I finally sat down with a copy this weekend. The next day (yes, it was that good), I closed the last page of the book, full of new ideas but (as always) some feelings of inadequacy – I see great potential for the principles, but can I implement them?

I didn’t make any specific plans or goals, but found my morning playing out an example of one of the book’s key ideas: “Give children in fantasy what they don’t have in reality.”

My 4 year old daughter threw her smoothie to the floor shortly after breakfast. I asked her to clean it up, and she darted away.

“Ugh!” I groaned, “don’t you just wish you didn’t even have to get a cleaning cloth and wipe it up? You could just yell BOOP and it’d be all clean?”

She giggled as she came back, “yeah, and BOOP and the dishes were in the sink.”

“Yes!” I agreed, “and BOOP, they’re in the dishwasher, clean!”

We shared a laugh, and she ran to the kitchen.

“BOOP!” she exclaimed as she opened the drawer with the cleaning cloths, “BOOP!” as she wet one under the sink, “BOOP” for each and every individual dot of smoothie (yes, by this point I wished I’d chosen a less annoying sound, haha) she rubbed clean.

Our little game lasted another half or or so, the word popping up here and there as she completed tasks she didn’t really want to do (occasionally reminding me SHE wasn’t doing it, the BOOP did it for her). Morning chores were hassle-free, full of laughter instead of nagging.

I love seeing tiny changes in my perspective yield huge ones in her attitude!

Photo courtesy of Allen Goldblatt

Positive Discipline 101

Registration is now open for Positive Discipline 101, a parenting workshop scheduled for August 2, 2014, from 2-4pm at The Changing Table in Oklahoma City.

Register for Classes

This will be an interactive workshop experience, so the class is limited to 10 participants. 

During this workshop, you can expect to gain confidence in your parenting, learn research-based discipline methods that are both firm and kind, and add tools to your “parenting toolbox” to help guide your children. 

As an introductory workshop, the material is appropriate for parents or caregivers of children ages 0-18. Advance registration required.

Q & A: How do you discipline?

How do I discipline? When I’m asked this question, I wonder if the person asking is feeling desperate with behaviors going on in their own families, and I wonder if they’re hoping for a label: “I use such-and-such patented foolproof parenting solution!”

When I’m asked this question, though, I need to know more. What kind of situation? What age? How do you define “discipline”?

We use positive/gentle discipline, but it rarely mirrors the “discipline” many people seem to expect to see… we focus on proactive connectedness and playfulness, lots and lots of listening, talking through situations and working together as a family to solve problems, setting and maintaining loving boundaries, and modeling how to calm down when our emotions are beginning to overwhelm us.

What guides your parenting choices?

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