Toes in the Water

Change in plans for St. Jude’s.  Clearly, I am not a details person and didn’t plan this well.  I can’t link to the kids’ charity page because it affiliates them with their daycare and we keep that information private.  Thanks for being willing, but perhaps I’ll just stick with bugging our friends and family instead!  🙂


I’ve posted before about how Chris and I had to call for reinforcements when raising our spitfire, Gracie.  Turns out, she is what we call a “spirited child,” which I can only assume is the politically correct way of saying she’s a real pisser.


Two was a really hard year for Gracie.  And Chris and I drank heavily.  HA!  Just kidding!  Kind of…

She just seemed to come into her strong personality so much faster than Bean did, or really than most kids do, I think.  Her communication skills were not as quick as she wanted them to be, and she was so frustrated that A) she wasn’t understood sometimes and B) when she was understood, we always seemed to say no to her.  Gracie spent much of her second year in her time out chair.


Well, that’s not really true because she wouldn’t STAY in her time out chair.  She really spend most of her year in her bedroom, either calming herself down or revving herself up.  There is very seldom middle ground with Gracie.

The closer Gracie got to three years old, the better things got around our house.  She was talking up a storm!  And that seemed to be the biggest improvement.  She still is not very good at being patient.  For example, if we buy something at the store, Gracie does not understand why we can’t open it RIGHT THERE IN THE CHECK OUT AISLE.  And if you tell her that she has to wait, she will either cry uncontrollably until you give her what she wants (which we never give in to, so there are many, many tears in many, many public places) or she asks you 10,000 times until she is able to have whatever she wants.

She’s persistent and focused, if nothing else.  She’ll be a real go-getter when she’s an adult.


But aside from the impatience thing, which kind of comes with her age anyway, she is becoming much more agreeable and flexible.  She is still not great at compromising (to the extent that three-year-olds compromise…), but she’s learning that we have rules and boundaries and she is slowly getting tired of testing them.


Still, though, even at three-years-old, we still have “Gracie Days.”  These are those days where Gracie is in rare form.  Temper tantrums, hitting, yelling “NO!” at Chris and I whenever we tell her something.  Those days are fun.  But nothing snaps Gracie out of those “Gracie Days” better than water play.

We started using water play with her over a year ago when we read the book “Raising Your Spirited Child.”  I knew it was a wonderful trick when she was not able to communicate so well and just needed something to calm her down.  But even now that she is talking in full sentences and can carry on conversations really well, the water still has a soothing effect on Gracie.  It’s magic.


Chris and I are just worried that she’s going to be 16 years old with her feet still in our kitchen sink.

You laugh, but… seriously.  I’m going to need a bigger sink.

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9 Thoughts to “Toes in the Water”

  1. Kat

    omg water play solves everything. idk if you saw my IG post today but that’s my “creative parenting” of the day. Jon (the hubs) had some work crap and had to stay late…really late…at work. I came home with two ear-infection crying children and had 10 minutes to get dinner on the table. They were in rare form. Both of them. I put a towel on the floor, filled up a big tupperwear of water and let them get soaked while I made dinner. EVERYONE was happy. It’s like MAGIC. I swear.

    side note. I think that Taylor (our little almost 1 year old) is going to be a lot like Gracie. We are struggling so much with Peanut who is 3 but had the most amazing first 3 years with like zero tantrums. Tay? hmm not so much. She’s not even 1 and throwing on-the-ground-screaming tantrums. ummm ok……i’ll just buy stock in wine now.

    I’ll be re-reading a lot of your posts when she hits 18 months because I can just feel that that will be a turning point for us.

  2. Carlene

    As a former (recovering?) spirited child myself, this article just made me feel for my parents. Eventually I decided that pushing limits was more effort than fun!

    As a middle school teacher and mother of a spirited little girl, have you seen the Girl Scouts and Sheryl Sandberg’s new campaign to teach girls that leadership and standing up for yourself is not the same as being bossy? Go to, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

    (I’m not affiliated with the campaign in any way, I’m just a big fan. I realize the above comment sounds spammy)

  3. I’m 29 and I crawl up on the bathroom counter and soak my feet when I’m feeling down. I didn’t know this was an actual thing. You can just get a hot tub when she is older. 😉

  4. Katie

    Thanks for this post!! We are in the trenches with our spirited two year old and it is nice to know I am not alone:)

  5. Peggy

    Hang in there — those spirited children test your sanity while bringing smiles to your faces. My “SC” is almost 20 and still can have one of those days where she needs water play!

  6. Oh wow! For a moment I thought you were talking about my son! Only his stubborn streak has lasted past the age of 3. He is very strong willed and loves to repeat his request a thousand times which of course drives me crazy! I will have to look into this book! Thank you for sharing!

  7. As far as the fundraiser goes, you could always set up a fundraising account on Fundly and then donate the money yourself. You would get to raise the money and still protect Bean & Gracie’s privacy.

  8. JoHanna

    I was a spirited child and my mother would do the same thing. Even now, at 22 yrs old, if Im having one of those days.. I just go sit in a bath and place my hands under the running faucet while my bath fills up. Idk what it is about water but it’s very calming and comforting.

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