Time is really starting to fly by as you are growing up faster than I am comfortable with. I was in a store today and I imagined you running up to a end display that had some princess and Disney accessories and asking could you have one. I immediately thought about the day when you were no longer small enough to hold and carry and it made me sad. One of my old bosses told me years ago that he made his daughter promise him that she would stay 5 forever for him. Although I understood what he was asking, it wasn’t until today that I could actually relate. Of course that would be a selfish request for anyone if it was possible but one that you will understand when you have a child of your own.
My posts over the years have mostly been about our experiences together and my journey as a first time father. Our interactions together may be limited from week to week but that doesn’t mean I don;t think about you every single day and look forward to our dinners together and our planned weekends together. We make the most out of any situation we are in from the mundane to the adventurous. What I like most about our time together is the affection we have and show for each other. We are always holding hands, sitting next to each other or playing together. As you grow, I can only hope that the bond grows stronger and that you know that you can come to me for any and everything and I will always be there for you. You have been an amazing experience in my life and as I have taught you life lessons, you have in turn taught me a few as well.
The other day you were rummaging through some of your old toys and setting them aside in a separate pile. You did this for about 30 minutes before I finally came over to ask what it was that you were up to. You quickly explained that you were putting toys aside that you wanted to sell at our next “Garbage Sale”. I knew you meant Garage Sale, but played along just so I could hear you say it a few more times. Funny thing is your phrase is much closer to the truth than you know as people do in fact sell their garbage at garage sales. What made your story interesting was the “plan” you had for after the garage sale which was to in fact “replace” your old toys with new ones. Can’t say that I blame you on that…out with the old, and in with the new. What’s scary/intelligent is your comprehension of a plan and how you go about executing it. I don’t know how many other 5 year old’s with that aptitude of intellect, I figure most call it a good day if they remember to wipe and flush.
I’m not sure when my interest in game shows began but glad to see it’s been passed on to my daughter. I was flipping through the DVR and saw that I had some “Let’s Make a Deal” episodes (guilty pleasure that I watch when I break for lunch) and asked Lia if she would like to watch it. She asked what it was about but told her she will see. It wasn’t too long before Lia was asking to watch the show where people dressed up. Of course this is the updated Wayne Brady version based of the original 70′s show where Monty Hall would run up and down aisles to give unsuspecting contestants prizes or the dreaded zonks. I can’t exactly pinpoint the fascination with game shows growing up, I just know I liked them. I wasn’t a game show junkie by any means, but enjoyed some Price is Right and Card Sharks when I stayed home from school from time to time. What made our first game show time together fun was the fact that Lia really got into the prizes that people won. She would even tell me “look Daddy, that person won a trip to New York”. What does a trip to New York mean to a child, I’m not exactly sure but it could be the fact she, much like I did liked the fact of winning. Hmmm, now that I think about it, could be the beginnings of my competitive nature, which by the way has also been passed down to my little angel.
The mind of a 5 year old works in ways that sometimes can make you question how you process things as an adult. For example, getting dressed. Now in our minds, getting dressed has become so routine and you know that your clothes are going to fit for the most part because as an adult you have quit growing (upward at least), but not so much as a child. For a 5 year old, clothes fit almost for 15 minutes then it’s time for new clothes again. Well, it doesn’t take Lia too long to get ready especially if we are heading somewhere she really wants to go. This particular morning we were on a donut run. Well to say the least nothing comes between Lia and a chocolate or strawberry sprinkled donut. If a pack of wolves were between Lia and one of those donuts, it’s safe to say we might have some new furry rugs when it’s all said and done. So back to the getting dressed part, once Lia knew our upcoming destination, she bolted into her room to throw on ANYTHING she could walk out the door in. I knew she was running low on clean clothes that particular day since we had yet to do her laundry, but didn’t think she would throw on some 2t pants with high waters Steve Urkel would have been jealous of. She waltzes in the room saying she is ready to go and I just had to turn around and laugh and tell her “Lia, where did you get those pants they don’t fit you anymore, they are too short”. Her response was and instant classic, “It’s ok Daddy, I’ll just wear longer socks.” What makes it funny to me is her utilitarian response as if to say, problem solved Daddy, let’s go.
Yes, you read that right, a little story that Lia recently told us began with “once a bottom time”. I had to get her to say it a few times to be sure of it, but yes that was her interpretation to the beginning of fairy tales. Her stories range from the insanely ridiculous to using pieces of stories I have told her in the past. I’m really loving her creativity and she is showcasing some great ad lib capabilities in each of her stories.
A few weeks before Lia’s birthday I had stumbled across a place called Sky High Sports. When I got home I looked them up on the web and found that someone actually brought a childhood dream of mine to life; a matrix of wall to wall trampolines. I have taken Lia to pump it up and other air filled bouncy places and she enjoyed them but this place was to say the least was a one fun and full hour action packed, all purpose energy diffuser. This place was packed and Lia couldn’t wait to get her jump on. A little cautious at first, as she jumped primarily in one square trampoline area and before you knew it she was literally bouncing off the walls. Square to square, jump zone to jump zone she eventually made her way to the foam pit. The foam pit was a little intimidating at first to her because she actually had to jump into foam nothingness with nothing to hold on to. After seeing the first few kids attempt them with no hesitancy, she was soon in mid air “arms out” feet first into the pit. It took her a few seconds to climb out but she was raring to go a few 20 more times before she was tuckered out and her jump time had expired. I have to say, it was definitely worth the price of admission and each time we go the crowds seem to double in size. I’d say this is tied for first in comparison to go-cart driving, but this definitely lasts longer and is steadily climbing the charts.
I have to say, bedtime has become one of my favorite times with Lia. Something about winding down the day with her as we both lay in her bed and talk about her favorite parts of the day as we look forward to the next days events or plans. Lia is also entitled to 2-4 stories depending on her behavior before bedtime. She likes to lay her head on my chest as I read the stories she has chosen for the night (noticing that she is smart enough to TRY and pick the 65 page small type children’s story books) but quickly divert to the shorter stories that are far more entertaining. It is a special time for me especially because it’s almost like this aura surrounds us in our own little storybook world and the bond that grows between us is palpable. Time slows down those few minutes after the stories are over as I tuck her in and kiss her forehead and pray that God watches over her. It’s those precious moments that I think of when she is not around as I pass her empty room or pick up a toy or drawing up off the floor that play back in and my mind and are forever burned into my memories of our time together.
Happy Valentine’s Day my sweetie, Daddy loves you.
Two words “party rock”, or as Lia likes to refer to it as “the everyday I’m shuffling” song. She not only loves the song, but is obsessed with the video. I think she has seen it over a dozen times, and probably didn’t even blink the entire time. These are not the typical songs we play for her, but it is a fun song. Of course in my mind I’m already fast forwarding to her teenage years when I have lost contact with the hip songs and asking “what in God’s name are you listening to?”, just as my father did with me.
At times seeing Lia grow can be double edged sword. On one hand it’s really entertaining and fun to see her so excited and dancing around, yet it’s hard to accept that she is growing up and won’t be this age forever. The other day while shopping with Cassondra at DSW shoes, Lia and I decided to wonder off and look around. Before I knew it Lia pis utting on high heels and then grabbing a purse off the hanger and prancing around like a fashion model. This continued on for several minutes as I sat quietly and recorded clips and a few snapshots to capture this precious moment. Thankfully, she still has several more years of being my sweet little angel before having to enforce dress code and curfews. Until then, I have been and will continue to enjoy every minute together.
This has to be the cutest sad little lioness photo ever. We were shopping at Kirkland’s when we came across a stand full of these animal beanies. As cute as she looked in it, she wanted no part in wearing them but was a good sport, put one on for us and allowed us to take one picture. However, she warmed up to it as we all put one on with Cassondra as an Owl, papa as a frog and me as a bear. We probably looked and acted like a lost tribe of Noah’s Ark misfits goofing off, having fun and laughing at our own silliness. Were people watching? Absolutely… Did we care? Not even the slightest. Lia is a very expressive child when she is comfortable in her surroundings, so we encourage her to be herself and interact with us in public as much as possible to help with her shyness. I know most kids are shy at her age and depending on situation it varies, but we truly encourage her to take the first step in introductions and interacting with kids and adults alike. It seems to be working, as her courage and initiative in meeting new people is starting to show, and we couldn’t be happier.
In pre-k being a scribble scrabbler is not something you want to be labeled as according to my findings. Don’t even think of calling Liana a scribble scrabbler, because she will adamantly deny any such allegations. However, she will narc on her fellow school mates naming the guilty scribble scrabblers like they had the bubonic plague. For those who don’t know, a scribble scrabbler is one who can’t color “correctly”, or doesn’t stay inside lines. A scribble scrabbler often grabs a crayon as they would a ski pole and relentlessly scribbles in and out of lines violently as to show disgust in partaking in a such a juvenile activity. Of course this is not their intention, but their finished “masterpiece” will say otherwise. Thank God bumper stickers haven’t appeared yet calling out scribble scrabblers because if those said toddlers could read, they’d be pissed.
Lia has had this Power Wheels Ford Mustang I gotten on sale at Amazon.com about the time she started walking. ( This gives you and idea on just how good of a sale it was). So the mustang sat gathering dust for well over a year and a half until she could actually reach the gas pedal. Fast forward to today I can’t tell you how many miles she has racked up on her fancy car. Often times Lia has her baby, Barbie, teddy bear or other toy snuggly buckled in next to her. What I find particularly interesting is when she pulls up next to the house and drops her baby or toy off at “daycare” (window ledge of front bay window) then gets back into her car and drives around for the next several minutes without stopping. In her mind she seems to think that when we drop her off at school, we get back into our car and drive around for hours until its time to pick her up.
During our move from our last place I seemed to have misplaced the charger to her mustang battery. We normally just ask our neighbor to have it for us since they also have a Power Wheels. This last time she was out in the car zipping around the car started to slow down due to the battery winding down. However, this time Lia asked that since the battery is dying could she get a new car, a pink one. Although she already knew that we recharge the battery and it will run fast again, she was thinking instead of wasting time recharging, we should just get a brand new one for her. Listening to her makes me smile…cautiously, knowing had presented similar arguments/justifications to my parents MANY times in the past.
Summertime was upon us again which meant one solid month long and highly anticipated time with Lia. We tried to pack as much needed rest, relaxation and fun into our time as possible. Of course since both Cassondra and I work during the week, we needed to enroll you into a summer school program that offered summer time fun. We found a local place that had not 1 but 2 indoor swimming pools AND enrolled you in personal swim lessons. You were on cloud nine during those 3 weeks and not only that you learned to actually have fun swimming rather than being afraid to venture off and try new things. Within 1 week you were already jumping off the side of the pool and holding your breath under water.
With swimming being your new found favorite past time, it seemed it was serendipitous to have my mom (Grammy) install a new full size pool and cabana at her house. This translated into a 2 day sleepover with countless hours of swimming, fun, laughter and quality time with your grandparents. To be honest, I was shocked that you let me out of your site for that long. I was almost positive that we would have to come pick you up from there because I know how much you really love your daddy. Of course that love is quickly traded in for an all access pool extravaganza at your disposal. Those 2 days meant so much to Grammy, and she will always treasure them in her heart. Unfortunately for her, she always felt that she never really got to spend some real quality time with you, but we are quickly making up for that now and building a strong bond with her and papa Ed. What’s funny is sometimes when they come over to visit or we head out there it’s like those old movie scenes where 2 people are running towards each other in slow motion, only to have you pass up Grammy to take comfort in papa Ed’s arms. Of course you run back over to Grammy to share the love, but must admit it’s fun to watch.
I’ve been meaning to write about some of your most recent sayings down that have made us laugh, smile and thoroughly enjoy because kid really do say the darnedest things.
“I can put my ears behind my back” – referring to being able to tuck her hair behind her ears.
“I don’t know anything about anything” – in regards to papa asking you a question.
“Look, that airplane’s flying a note” – Pointing to an airplane in the sky toting a banner behind it.
“When you were sick daddy did you throw up? – after telling her why I wasn’t able to pick her up because of being ill.
Lia: “Daddy, I want Chick-Fil-A.”
Me: “Ok, but they have Smurf toys at McDonald’s”
Lia: “Daddy, I want Mcdonald’s”
All in all, the summer of Lia 2011 was a huge success and can’t wait until next year’s summer vacation.
A few weeks ago after dinner one night, we passed a go-cart place on the way home. I had to process the idea of Lia riding in the go-cart with me and how safe it was and if they even allowed it. So I did a u-turn to get the answers to these unsolved questions. When I walked in while Cassondra, my father and Lia sat in the car anticipating a “yeah, she’s too young” answer, I found standing behind the counter 2 of the most hillbilly people and thought to myself these guys mothers probably gave birth to them while driving a go-cart. Sure enough, Lia was a go as long as she rode with me. Of course I had to stop from laughing when they told me that like her driving alone was even an option.
Getting back to the car with the good news we all trekked in, got our tickets and prepared ourselves for some good old go-cart racing fun. Of course I was prepared to take Lia back after one lap if she didn’t like it, boy was I mistaken. From the moment we got the green light to go to the time we pulled back in after our time was up Lia was grinning ear to ear as if she was bred for speed, like her father. Not only did she enjoy every twist and turn, but she exclaimed “FASTER” on the straightaway when I already had the pedal mashed to the floor and thought to myself, I’ve created a monster.
We each took turns taking Lia on a ride as my father watched with great joy from the bleachers. He felt that this was something we wanted to witness rather than partake in as he laughed, smiled and waved with Lia waving back each and every time we made a lap past him. Cassondra then had the chance to take her as I rode side by side jockeying for position for the perfect picture of Lia to capture her exuberant thrill on camera. Unfortunately, each picture taken was blurry since we relied on camera phones, but the memory and story lives on as Lia brought up go-carting for the next several days after dinner like it was some kind of after dinner dessert.
Project Hello Kitty was the given name to the operation of changing Lia’s room into Hello Kittyland. It was conceived and planned over the course of 2 months with the targeted 2 week window of May in which I did not have her for 2 straight weekends. It all began with a little imagination and several hours of researching what was and wasn’t available as far as Hello Kitty products and furniture. To my surprise, there wasn’t much considering it has a cult-like following and over a quarter billion Asian girls and women who wear Hello Kitty products daily.
Setting the budget was of course the hardest for me considering I wanted her room to look like it was done by a professional considering how much effort I wanted to put towards the room. Lia has never played much in her room and we felt it was due to lack of kid decor, although it to us was inviting and served it’s purpose, but it still lacked creative vision and that warm and fuzzy feeling it was certainly due. We set a budget of 300.00 and quickly found out that it was going to go fast considering the the paint required so we improvised by selling a few things via craigslist to supplement the budget accordingly.
When I first envisioned her room, I wanted more than the typical “pink” wall treatment, so I played with a couple of ideas until I decided on vertical pink and white stripes. Of course her room to begin with was a light shade of brown so the entire room needed exactly 2 coats of white paint. Now, for thse of you who have never attempted vertical stripes pay close attention “DON’T DO THEM!” Actually it wasn’t that bad, but did involve a great deal of planning, execution and most of all attention to detail, because the slightest mishap and you have one stripe thicker than the other. On paper it’s simple, just tape off and paint. What you don’t consider when taping off is the 2 inches of masking tape needs to be figured in every next stripe you paint. Sure, I know what you might be thinking… but trust me it took me, my father and Cassondra several times of assured measuring and retaping before the bristles hit the wall. A couple of times had we not remeasured would have cost us to have 2 pink or white stripes meeting together at the end of the room. Fortunately for us, that wasn’t a problem. With a little Autocad floor diagramming, I figured each stripe would need to be 13 7/8″ width to ensure a perfect match throughout the room, and it matched up perfectly.
The first week of Project Hello Kitty was designated to completing the painting, while week 2 would focus on the decorating of the room. As mentioned above, the painting was a little more involved than I had imagined but it was well worth it when we finished, although when the room was complete I felt her room had a Victoria Secrets box look to it, but I knew the artwork and decor would quickly diminish that look and would blend into the background perfectly.
We finished up week one with painting her closet and entry way door along with painting her fan blades pink to offset the white fan. Once week 2 began, I realized exactly just how much work needed to get done in just a short amount of time. I knew during my research that Hello Kitty didn’t make any type of furniture, so I knew I would have to get crafty by “making” our own. I also quickly found that I needed to roll up my graphic design sleeves and get really creative with her wall decor since there was literally nothing on the market for that as well. I began by talking to my father with what I had envisioned and getting him involved with making custom canvas frames for the completed artwork I had comped up. He went to Home Depot and bought all the wood necessary based on my artwork spacing and measurements. I chose to do multi-canvas artwork to give her room an avant garde appeal since I gravitate towards that in daily work.
I then began calling in favors to my sign company friend who printed each piece accordingly on banner material in which needed to be cut, stretched and stapled to my father’s custom canvas frames. This entire process was truly a great bonding experience with my father as we volleyed witty banter back and forth as we hurried to get the canvases done so we could focus on the furniture. With 2 days left before Project Hello Kitty was initiated, time began to be of the essence. I combed craigslist for furniture I could easily Hello Kittify, but had limited success until I found a 250.00 regularly priced Ikea kids bed for only 80.00 and that set the wheels in motion and set the tone for the rest of the mission. I quickly perused the Ikea site for matching furniture, but found only a few things that looked to “toddlerish” to be Hello Kitty furniture so I got creative with a few different cabinets and drawers as well as a table and chairs. The rest of the graphics were selected and printed as vinyl stickers for me to apply to each piece of furniture. This of course was “comped” in Photoshop to make sure I knew exactly how everything was going to look before anything was printed, purchased or applied.
Down to the last few hours before we picked up Lia and we got her furniture cleaned or assembled along with the graphics and it literally came down to the final 10 minutes before we completely finished. Project Hello Kitty was a huge success thanks to my father and my fiancé Cassondra, not to mention I was mentally and physically drained but knew the best was yet to come, the final reveal.
I had told Lia the day before that we had a surprise for her and she spent the next 2 hours trying to guess what it was. We of course gave her clues, but nothing could have prepared her imagination for what was yet to come. So with Friday finally upon us, she was at her mothers door waiting for me to pick her up with so much anticipation I could almost feel it from the street as I got out of the car. We quickly rushed home and made sure the camera was charged as ready to film as moments like these can;t be captured a second time. When Lia got to the top of the stairs she could see her bedroom door was closed, but something was very different… it was solid pink. She started getting excited and the only way I can describe what happened as she opened the door was when Willy Wonka from the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory opened the door for Charlie and the other kids to reveal a chocolate candy land seemed to be the shock and awe excitement Lia displayed. She even had to ask if this was her room after saying hello Kitty over 10 times.
She raced to each part of the room to touch every object that was Hello Kittied out and opened every drawer, cabinet, and closet to make sure she didn’t miss a thing. I almost think her mind couldn’t comprehend what had happened to her room. There was so much to take in and with the smile on her face as she scoped the room, a sense of relief and jubilee surged through my body. It was worth every cent, hour and drop of sweat that went into it and if I had to do it all over again, I’d do it in a heartbeat. What topped the reveal off superbly was while Lia was admiring her Hello Kitty bedsheets, she looked at us and asked when does she get to go to bed. Anyone with children know kids NEVER ask when it’s time for bed, and if they did they knew they should probably go see a doctor or check to see if they hit their head. In all seriousness, Project Hello Kitty was a complete success and not only did Lia want to go to bed, she feel asleep in a record time of 8 minutes. Of course she could have been extremely tired, but I’m sure a Hello Kittied room helped out a little.
On a side note, this was done to a rental house to which we do not even own which sounds silly… but it’s amazing to think of the silly things you will do for the one’s you love. I hope it was everything you wanted and more my precious Liana, I love you. Special thanks goes out to Cassondra, My Father, Kenneth, Gary and Terri for your help and support, without you, none of this would have been possible. Thanks for making it special for my little girl.
After a day of errands at a few stores I could tell Lia was ready to go home so on our last stop I told her what we were going to get and then we were going to head home and party. She turned and looked at me and said that she didn’t want to party, she wanted a celebration. I had now idea that word was even in her vocabulary not to mention using it in the right context. Either way it was well received by us. This is not the only time she has surprised us with “bigger” words, and most likely not the last time as they are priceless.
Everyone’s childhood favorite board game Candy Land was the latest addition to her collection and we enjoyed several games with her. I never knew I could enjoy watching someone cheat as much as Lia did every time I turned my head she would be 20 to 30 paces ahead of where she last was. What made it interesting was when she would draw a ice cream symbol, regardless of the fact that she has already passed that symbol, she would argue that it didn’t matter that she in fact got an ice cream card out of it, which to her is better than winning. In the end, she magically won every game we played, which is always OK in my book.
Little did I know about paper fan making before this past weekend. Lia is the foremost authority in that very subject, as there were about 7 fans strewn across the house at any given moment available in every shade of color one would desire when hot.
Lia likes playing classroom and being the teacher and we are her students. It’s fun to catch a glimpse of what goes on in her teachings as she is very thorough in her best performance as her teacher and giving directions, detailing activities, and reading to us a story that literally makes no sense to us, but perfect sense to her as she makes it up as she goes along. I just can’t wait for one of these books to be made into a movie.
A neighbor of ours recently gave me a brief glimpse into my future by setting up a lemonade stand for his daughter and supervising the event. It was fun seeing what I have to look forward to in my daughters ventures into capitalism, or in her eyes, what toy can she buy with the money she made. Either way, it’s something I truly look forward to helping her with as she will have the most elaborate and fancy set-up in the history of lemonade stands go, because image is everything and if the lemonade tastes half as good as her set-up, she is due for some big profits. This thought also spawned ideas of her history and science fairs in the coming years, and how hard it will be for me NOT to do the best displays ever, but will act as a consultant offering ideas and helping out here and there. Of course if she is anything like me, she will tell me that it’s due tomorrow instead of giving us weeks to plan it. A special thanks goes out to my mom and dad for saving my skin a few times, as I’m sure my days are coming…
On another note, Lia was literally obsessed with the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate for some odd reason and requested to watch it a few times this weekend, but we had to remind her that we didn’t have it recorded, and it was only on Friday. Of course the E Channel provided an encore presentation of the event, to which she dubbed “the parade” but soon called it a wedding once they got out of the car and the wedding started. I am not sure why she was so enthralled by the wedding, but it was cute to see her so tuned into the event like someone who was following the event religiously. With mine and Cassondra’s wedding day quickly approaching, Lia is getting excited and wanting to be in the wedding as our flower girl and think she will male a beautiful one at that. We look forward to having her in our wedding as much as she is excited about being in it. I know I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Whatever! Pretty much the last thing I ever expected my daughter to tell me at only 4 years old. Not only did Lia tell me “whatever”, but she stormed off after using the phrase followed by the appropriate walk off. It was as if time stood still for me to actually analyze what just happened. Now, I have to note that “whatever” is the adolescent version of F**K you and is not tolerated by most parents, including this one. I had to go back to the conversation in my head to replay it and it went a little something like this:
Lia: “Daddy, do you know where that little baby is with the backpack”
Me: “I don’t know Lia did you check your room? I think I remember seeing you have it in your room last night”
Lia: “Daddy, I can’t find it (getting a little flustered) and I want you to come help me find it”
Me: “Lia, I can’t right now, I am getting ready so we can go see Paw Paw”
Lia: (In her pre-cry voice) “But Daddy I want you to come help me find her, I can’t find her.”
Me: Lia, I will help you find her in a minute, but can you please clean up your room before we go and maybe you will find her”
Lia: Whatever! (storms off into her room)
Yeah, that just happened, and maybe like 8 years too soon I would say. I figured my first whatever would come in the preteen years, instead it came in the preschool years, much to my dismay. I think once I got over the initial shock, I knew I had to nip that nonsense in the bud and let her know really quick that “whatever” doesn’t work in this household, nor will it be tolerated. That didn’t sit to well with her as she was still distraught over not finding her baby but made it perfectly clear that “whatever” is not how we handle problem solving and communication when things are not going her way. I’m not where she picked it up, but hope that is the last I hear of it for a while…and things have been quiet on the range since so we will see.
I’m not sure where Lia has picked up the art of negotiation, but it’s been running rampant from how many pieces of food she eats, too how many minutes she stays up to finish watching a show or helping pick up after she makes a mess. I know I am dealing with some sort of Jedi in training as I have often found myself trying to negotiate, but when she “thinks” she is negotiating, I am 2 moves ahead in getting her something to do that I really didn’t plan for her to do, which is win win for both of us. For example, Lia will say “Daddy, I will eat 2 more pieces of chicken then can I be excused”. I quickly follow with “How about 4 more pieces of chicken, and 6 green beans then you can have a cookie and then help clean up your play area?”. 3 out of 4 times she is game, but that one time she will throw up some heavy negotiating not budging on her end. It started out to be cute at first, but noticed that she was using this tactic every time she would eat and had to quickly move into “how about let’s go to bed now” mode which meant negotiations were then cut off and fun time was over. As she grows older I see the intelligence in her little mind grow each time I am with her, but little does she know I am on to her game and deep undercover knowing all the tricks I played when I was her age. I have to give her credit, because in her tactics, she can make us laugh but have to hold back the smile at times to let her know we mean business. Even in the most difficult times in dealing with her I have to admit it’s been a wonderful process and she redeems herself by learning from each situation and how to avoid repeat meltdowns because after all, she is the only one upset while we remain calm, cool and collective. When the storm has passed and she is calm enough to talk, we explain what just happened and why they did, she apologizes, hugs and honestly feels like she learns from each event. I can honestly say this because tantrum duration and frequencies are down, which I hope, is an indication that she is progressing away from the “terrible twos and threes”. Next stop, Independence and the age of accountability. Please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times, buckle your seat belt, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.