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I remember the first time my daughter recognized and expressed that I was upset. She was 22 months old at the time. She looked at me and said "Mama, mad". It was heartbreaking to hear, but also so amazing. She was recognizing emotion and that was HUGE! She wasn't even 2 yet and here she was able to identify emotion and name it correctly.

It's now 5 months later, and her capacity for understanding emotion has grown immensely. For the past month, she's been able to express to me how she is feeling, and I am, yet again, blown away by her maturity and understanding of this difficult concept.

I was sitting on the couch contemplating cooking dinner. We are on a budget, and it would have been so simple to just cook. But, I was tired. I was desperately wanting to just enjoy the moment and have some laughs. I also wanted to get dressed and actually look nice. Oh...and have dessert. Apparently my husband was thinking something similar. We easily decided we'd be going out with hardly more than eye contact and some smiles!

It was a Saturday around 5, and we had a 20 minute drive to Olive Garden (where our favorite dessert is). We decided it was early enough that we should beat the crowds. When we arrived there were people already waiting outside!

I jumped out to put our names on the list, while my husband went to park. I asked how long the wait would be: 40 minutes! Um, no thanks. I ran out to talk to my husband about where we should try next. Instead, we decided to wait and give it a shot. Back in to put our names on the list!

Caroline just finished her 8th month of gymnastics! It seems like yesterday when we were at our first day of gymnastics. This was her first experience having to follow instruction in a class setting, and she had a hard time the first week. The second class came around, however, and she rocked it! She listened so well and did her best at each of the activities. It was so amazing to see and I even teared up (silly mama)! She was the youngest in the class, and she just wasn't physically able to do some of the activities yet. But she always tried. Since then, she's simply continued to impress me every single day.

While I always knew Caroline was athletic and strong for her age (she jumped and got air when she was around 19/20 months old), this class has really brought it out in her and I'm always amazed at what she's capable of. She's still the youngest in the class, but there's nothing she can't do at this point.

Today is Babywise Friendly Network Day! We are all writing on the topic of marriage. Please see below for a full list of links!

Now that I am a parent, my perspective of my marriage has changed a bit. And really, I shouldn't say changed, so much as was put into a new focus. Caroline is going to learn from watching our marriage. She's going to learn about relationships, and without even knowing it, she'll start setting her expectations of her future relationships based on the example we set. I know, I know...she's 2. But here's the thing...she's already showing us her view of our relationship in her pretend play! And it's fascinating!

Caroline has a set of Daniel Tiger characters. It came with the full family: Dad Tiger, Mom Tiger, Daniel Tiger, and Baby Margaret. Caroline talks for each of the characters, has them hold hands, has mom and dad tiger hold baby Margaret, and even has the characters give hugs and kisses. When she had mom and dad tiger kiss each other I was SO happy! Since becoming a mom I've worried that we perhaps need to make an effort to show each other affection more often. Here she was, however, clearly showing me that she sees the times that we show each other affection, and that it doesn't go unnoticed. This observation made my heart fill with happiness.

When I think about what I want Caroline observe in our marriage, a few things come to mind:

Are there any toddlers out there that are not terrified of the self flushing toilets? Or the loud no touch hand dryers? If your toddler is one of the few that happens to not be terrified, I am extremely jealous!! My daughter is potty trained, yet, at the moment, she's in a phase of being terrified of using public restrooms. Why? Because one too many toilets has flushed on her preemptively, while she's still sitting on it! We've all had it happen at one point or another. As an adult we just find it gross. You can't possibly get up fast enough to prevent the toilet from splashing all over you, and you feel so dirty. I'd rather kick the flushing lever with my foot like we did in the good old days then have my rear end splashed with dirty water! My daughter doesn't think of it that way, but it scares the living daylight out of her. Once this happens, it takes me a good month to calm her down to the point where she can use a public restroom again. Anyways, it got me thinking. With all the "luxuries" of modern day life (such as self flushing toilets), there are some drawbacks as a result, when it comes to parenting toddlers.

This post originally appeared as a guest post at Guest post at BabywiseMom in December 2016. is by far the best online Babywise resource you'll come across. Every topic you could ever imagine regarding Babywise is on her blog! It is such an honor to guest post on her blog, and to be a part of the Babywise Friendly Blog Network with Valerie (writer at

A few weeks ago, a mama in the Mama's Organized Chaos Discussion group on Facebook, posed a question:

"What fights aren't you willing to have with your toddler, and what ones will you go to the mat for??"

Here was my response:

"Safety (holding my hand when crossing the street, throwing things, etc)
Manners (saying please and thank you, saying sorry)
Listening to mama/daddy: if she tries to ignore anything really (I think this sets the stage for a lot so we are firm) with this said I try to only tell her to do things that's I feel are important (clean up, come to mama, etc)
Food: try everything offered once

Today I am featuring a guest post from Cole at Twinning Babywise. She is talking about teaching our children to use Mr. and Mrs. when addressing adults. There's definitely been a shift in our society and we seem to be using formal address less and less. Great read!

I am guest posting over at The Journey of Parenthood today on methods of correction that can be used with your toddler.

Mr. & Mrs.: The Lost Art


I looked down and there stood a dirty three year old. Can I have a muffin?

I see this three year old every week. This three year old knows my name. I scanned the group of moms beside me as I struggled to find a response. Did they all just hear this? Are they really going to let this fly? I guess so. Hey you, it is.

Sure, sweetheart, here's a muffin. 

It's amazing to hear your child talk for the first time.
It's then amazing to hear their minds at work.
It's even more amazing to hear their creativity and imagination shine through.

Toddlers don't exactly have a normal perception of the world. I was at a play area in a mall the other day. I saw a little girl brush past my daughter. They touched....barely. My daughter turned around and yelled "She bonked me!!!". Quite the exaggeration, yes. But to my daughter it wasn't. That little girl bonked her...whether it was hardly at all, or on accident doesn't matter. There was contact and my girl was going to call her out on it.

Inside I was laughing (maybe a little outwardly as well- although I was trying to sympathize with my daughter).

It is simply amazing to see my daughter learn so much in so little time. Caroline is now 26 months old, and she is so different from even her 24 month old self! Her language is off the charts (doctors and teachers that we meet say she's easy to understand and well beyond what's typical), and I am so impressed with her reasoning skills. She has risen to every expectation we've ever set for her and she is simply thriving. Don't get me wrong, she has her terrible 2 moments and can throw a good tantrum... but she learns from each moment and really seems to comprehend what we are telling her.

She went through a pretty rough "I need Mama" for everything phase, and she came out the other side with amazing understanding of what I was trying to teach her, and I came out of the phase with some new tactics to use and add to my toolbox. The biggest change I see in her over the last couple of months, is her ability to know what she should be sorry for, to know what she's thankful for, and to be able to express ideas like this on her own with little to no prompting. It is amazing to me, that a 26th month old can say things like "Thank you, Mama, for making my dinner", or "Sorry for throwing the toy, Mama". She makes us laugh every day with the things she says. I asked her the other day how her milk was. She replied with "It's not terribly bad". We just die laughing at these responses from her. It is so amazing to be a part of her world right now!