Embarrassing Story Time: Toothpaste or Something Else?

There’s nothing like a little embarrassment, especially from your past self.

I love rereading old blog posts and remembering stories that happened. Sometimes I even go to my old blogs just to see. It makes me laugh every time.

Recently, I’ve started a project with my grandpa (and all the family) and was reminded about one story. It happened clear back in 2015 when I went to watch my little cousin graduate from boot camp. I found it on one of my old blogs and figured I’d share it with you now.

It also makes me smile knowing this was written when Jensen was just a little speck in my belly. I didn’t know yet, but I was pregnant with him.

Look and see how much I’ve grown in six years… and you can laugh at me too.


Brush, Brush, Brush…

As many of you know or would guess, I’m a very clean person. I’m constantly brushing my teeth, washing my hands, or showering. My biggest pet peeve is my teeth being unclean or feel like there’s buildup on them. Every night, I brush my teeth, wash my face, and brush my hair. Every night it goes smoothly, until I went to Fort Leonard Wood, MO this past weekend.

The clouds are low in MO.

Since I wanted to get there a day early, I left with my Uncle Steve and Grandpa. I tried to pack everything I could think of that I would need for one night. Usually my mom will have all the other things I forgot, but she wouldn’t be there. The whole trip was going smoothly. I remembered all my car sickness medicine, my toothbrush, and deodorant. When we got back to the hotel room late, I realized I forget conditioner.

This simple sample-sized product can usually be found in the hotel shower. Yet, there was none. As my uncle and grandpa settled in and started to fall asleep, I snuck down to the lobby to ask nicely for conditioner. Turns out the whole hotel was conditioner free. At this point, I was stuck. I couldn’t ask anyone for keys to drive to the store. Plus, I didn’t even know where a store was. Of course I got on Pinterest and found out once could use lotion as a conditioner substitute. Well, it was worth a try.

Thankfully the lotion worked.
This probably was the biggest success of my nightly routine.

The after effects of lotion: puffy hair.

After my shower I felt like all the travel grime was washed away. I could sleep peacefully all clean in a nice comfortable bed. First things first though, I had to get that minty fresh taste in my mouth. As I’m rummaging through my weekend bag, I realize I forgot one other thing… my toothpaste.

Let’s just say there’s not Pinterest tips to help me here. In my last attempt effort, I saw my grandpa’s toiletry bag by the sink. He has to have toothpaste in there. It only takes a second to find the tube. I get my toothbrush out, squeeze the paste, and go to town on my teeth. But, the toothpaste tasted off, it was bland and seemed to be sticking to my teeth. I keep brushing as best as I could, but still it gets harder around my teeth. Then it tastes and feels as if there’s cement all throughout my mouth.

In a panic, I hurry and look at the ‘toothpaste.’ Instead of saying Colgate, I read Fixodent: All Day Hold.

I just had confused denture adhesive with toothpaste; aka the WORST decision ever. Not only was it the most disgusting taste, I seriously did not think it was going to come out. I kept brushing, but nothing helped.

Long story short, it took my 45 minutes to get all the adhesive out. Better yet, when I put my old clothes back into my bag… I found my toothpaste.

Moral of the Story…

Always put your toothpaste in a place you can easily find.

Hopefully you all enjoyed this post and got a little giggle out of it. Initially after I did this, I only told my mom and did not want anyone else to know. BUT I think you would all enjoy.


What a night to remember.

I think the second best part of finding this was the grainy phone pictures six years ago. Either way, this put a smile to my face.

Do you ever look back on past situations and just laugh? Or have you ever mistaken denture adhesive with toothpaste?

Oh… that last part is definitely just past Danielle.

Support Local: Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market

On Wednesdays, we go to the market. More specifically, we head to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market in Dover, Ohio for food, entertainment, and a fun time.

Open every Wednesday from 3-7pm during the months of June to mid-October, the Market sets up at the Tuscarawas County Fairgrounds. It’s open rain or shine.

Anytime we can support local farmers, makers, and businesses, we do! So, we grab our canvas bags and go shopping.

Mila loves interacting with all the people and I love knowing where our food is coming from.

It’s a perfect combination.

It’s so fun watching Mila interact and explore different foods. She loves to pick out zucchini, all fruits, and flowers. I love that everyone is patient with her (and me too!). Somehow I feel like this is only going to strengthen her relationship with food.

My favorite part is trying out different vegetables than what we would normally pick out.

We’ve tried different squashes, baby carrots, and a vegetable called a kohlrabi. Kohlrabi looks like an alien vegetable, but tastes like cauliflower. I have a recipe I’m going to share soon with it.

We also love the homemade jams, puff corn, hot sauces, and flowers too. I guess you can say we like everything there.

Every time we go, Mila enjoys picking out fresh cut flowers to take home.

They add so much beauty to our home and are different every week we go. That’s the magic about buying local, it’s whatever is growing or read that week.

When you go to the Market, you’re not just going to get produce and leave.

The library brings crafts for kids every other week to do. You can either make them there or take them home to do later.

There’s usually entertainment, such as local bands and musicians too. Mila and her friends danced for a while one week. They had so much fun, as well as everyone else around too. It’s so special to watch a community come together and enjoy the moment.

Another added bonus is the food trucks and stands that join in on the fun.

I don’t know if anyone else is like me, but after I get back from shopping I get tired. Instead of rushing home to make food, we love ordering food and eating there. They usually have brick oven pizza that tastes so good!

Mila usually had sampled all of our produce by the end, but never turns down macaroons or ice cream!

Once you do get home to make meals, you won’t be disappointed.

Last week, I made an amazing BLT with all local ingredients. It honestly tasted fresh and so much better than usual. I definitely need to pick up more tomatoes and bread this week!

We hope that you can make it to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market this year!

It’s a great event for our community, way to educate our kids about food, and help grow our local commerce. You might even get to try an out of this world vegetable too!

Just watch out for Mila pushing her cart!

If you’ve ever been to the Tuscarawas Valley Farmers Market, what’s your favorite thing about it?

My faraway friends, do you have a local farmers market you like to attend?

Explore the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

Mila and I love to find quirky, local adventures. One of our favorite places to explore is the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in Sugarcreek, Ohio.

It’s definitely worth the visit!

You’ll find this treasure located in downtown Sugarcreek, on the corner of Main Street and North Broadway.

We actually went to go out to the cuckoo clock, but got sidetracked by the Butterfly Exhibit at the Norma Johnson Center. If we’re nearby the clock, Mila and I like to get ice cream and watch the show.

It’s one of the places she asks to go quite frequently. I have no idea how she got so fascinated with it.

The clock plays it’s song and show every half hour in the summer. Its closed down in the winter, so be mindful of that if you’re planning a visit during the cooler months.

We got there a little early, so we walked around the block to explore… and take pictures.

The history of the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock is pretty cool. If you read the Ohio marker in the picture it tells you all about it.

Here’s a little recap of what it says:

Originally, the clock was at a local restaurant a few streets down. It was on the the cover of the Guinness Book of World Records in 1978. Then, after decades, it needed a major restoration. Two years after it was restored, the restaurant it was at closed down and the clock was moved to its current location.

I think knowing what the clock has been through and seeing the shear size of it, makes it even more impressive.

Once it was time for the clock to do its song and dance, Mila ran over to the bench.

The whole thing runs about five minutes.

It’s really cute to watch and Mila likes it too. You can always tell when it’s the half hour because there’s a little crowd all around the clock.

When it was over, Mila gave me her best cuckoo clock impression. I think she loves the dancing.

If you’re close to Sugarcreek or visiting Ohio, this should be on your list to see. It’s only a ten minute stop if you time it up right. Then you can get lunch, ice cream, or go shopping at the local shops.

It’s truly a sight to see and something that will make you smile. Your kids will love it too!

Local friends… have you ever seen the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock? What other fun things would you suggest people see?

Far away friends… what’s your closest “World’s Largest” to you?

My Toddler Designed a Tattoo… and I Got It!

Yes! You read that right. My three-year-old drew my latest tattoo. I loved it so much, I actually went and got it.

Toddler turned tattoo artist.

Tattoos are such a fun way to express yourself.

I have some that have a ton of meaning, one I just randomly got, and others that just make me smile. Yeah, they’re lifelong commitments and I know the whole ‘when you’re old’ comments. But, I still like them and want more.

This latest one will always be one of my favorites. I think I say that about all of mine.

A few weeks ago, I shared how Mila signed off birthday cards to other people. She draws a little creepy person and then scribbles for words.

Well, I really loved her creepy people and decided I wanted one of them tattooed on me.

So… I did it.

Before I went, I showed Mila the person I was getting. She was so ecstatic I was getting something she drew on me.

We talked about it a couple days before and I even heard her tell a few people too.

This is a big deal for her.

I love that I have the way she first drew people and seen the world. It reminds me that she pays most attention to facial expressions, if I’m paying attention to her, and legs. Which makes a lot of sense if you put yourself in a toddler’s shoes.

The tattoo took maybe thirty minutes to get. It was simple and quick to do.

Liz from Crown and Anchor Tattoo Club always does a great job on my tattoos. She’s easy to work with and is usually down for whatever pops in my head.

I’m sure it was super easy to decipher a child’s drawing, but she honored it, line by line.

When Mila first saw me after my tattoo, she immediately wanted to see it. She reminded my family that she was the one that drew it and was so proud when she saw it on my leg.

As much as I love it now, I know she’ll always love it too.

In the future, I’d definitely be open to getting more of her artwork. We’ll see what she comes up with. I’m most definitely getting her handwriting through. That is so special to me.

Would you ever get one of your child’s drawings tattooed on you? Or do you think I’ve gone completely crazy!?

My Response to My Daughter Being an ‘Only Child.’

Grief is an ever-changing entity in my life.

Since losing Jensen, I’ve heard the wildest things in efforts to help me ‘get over’ his loss. Now since Mila is three, it’s evolved.

I’ve not been shy in talking about how things can come off as rude or intruding. Honestly, I don’t think that anyone means to come off that way. They mean to be helpful, but it’s just not.

Anytime anyone mentions me having one child, I always let them know “I have two.”

Here’s what I wish I could say…

“Don’t you want more kids so she’s not an only child?”

I have more kids. He just died.

She’ll never, ever be an only child because one came before her. I’m fact, Jensen will always be her big brother. Not even death can take that away from her, him, or me.

If you have a conversation with Mila, she’ll tell you who her big brother is. She’ll let you know he lives in her heart and she loves him.

When we have guests, she shows his pictures off and wants everyone to hold Jensen bear.

She is definitely NOT an only child.

“It has to be lonely for her not having a brother or sister?”

Just because her brother isn’t physically here, doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a relationship with him. She talks to his pictures and bear. When I hold his bear for too long, she gets jealous. She misses him dearly and always wants us to read his book. Her relationship with him is beautiful.

Mila also has an amazing set of kids she’s with all the time. Friends and cousins love her and play with her whenever she asks. She is in dance classes and will be starting preschool too.

She’s not lonely.

“Don’t you want to give her another sibling?”

She has a sibling.

My daughter grieves her brother. She wishes he was here and could come to our house all the time. We talk about him because he’s a part of our family. Our family just looks different than most.

If she were to have another sibling, it wouldn’t take away that she misses Jensen. Just like how no other child could fill his spot for me.

When she talks about missing Jensen, Mila has never asked to have another sibling.

She already has one.

One other thing… don’t ask intrusive questions about private lives. If you were supposed to know what was going on, you would.

It’s rude to assume that everyone can have a child easily. For a lot of people, it’s not.

Some people are healing from abuse.

Some just like their family unit just the way it is.

Shark Week Paper Craft

Duuun dun duuun dun… look out, it’s Shark Week!

This might be the first year that I’ve ever participated in Shark Week. They’re one of my biggest fears… good thing I live in Ohio. But, I’m raising Mila to be fearless, so we did a toddler-friendly shark inspired craft!

The set up is reminiscent of our Frida Kahlo portrait we did earlier this year. Just shark inspired.

Here’s what you’ll need to hammer it out:

Since Mila isn’t the Steven Spielberg of using scissors, I prepped this activity. If your kids are older, they’ll have fun with this.

All I did was cut out different shapes of the shark and waves for her to put together.

  • Light blue for the background
  • Newspaper for the shark’s body
  • Black for the shark’s mouth and pupils
  • White for the eyes and teeth
  • Dark blue for the waves

Honestly, I just free-cut everything jaws because it was easier and I knew it wasn’t going to be ‘perfect.’ I’m so happy I did because the shark’s expression is amazing.

Once your done cutting the pieces out, have your child assemble their shark.

I let Mila place the shark’s parts however she wanted. She also had her toy shark for reference. The only thing I did tell her was that a shark’s mouth is FULL of teeth.

Take a bite out of this…

Shark’s will have 30,000 teeth over their lifespan. I told Mila that, but she doesn’t really know 30,000 is a huge number.

Back to the craft…

While Mila was working away, I found the letters to ‘shark’ in the newspaper to cut them out. There’s always an opportunity to learn letters, so we take them.

After the pieces are set, glue them down.

So, Mila’s shark is the only shark I probably would not be afraid of seeing in the water.

I mean, just look at him.

He’s not very ferocious and makes me laugh every time I look at him. I don’t know if it’s how big the eyes are or the mismatched teeth…

All I do know is Mila is extremely proud of her shark.

He’s currently hanging on our fridge. So every time I look in our kitchen, his bewildered face makes me smile.

Isn’t that fintastic?

We hope you liked our Shark Week paper craft! It’s always fun to see your child creating and learning at the same time.

What’s your favorite type of shark?

I’d you’re looking for other Shark Week activities, check these more ferocious ones out:

The Butterfly Exhibit at the Norma Johnson Center

Looking for something fun and educational to do nearby? Head out to the Norma Johnson Center to see the Butterfly Exhibit.

The exhibit only runs until July 18, but it’s worth the quick trip.

Their hours are from 10-4 on weekdays and Saturday and 12-4 on Sunday.

Mila and I actually didn’t plan on seeing the butterflies this week. It was quite the happy accident. On our way out to Sugarcreek, we saw signs adorned with butterflies.

After a quick thought, I asked Mila if she wanted to go and we were on our way.

The Norma Johnson Center (NJC) is between Dover and Sugarcreek. We’ve been there to hike, take pictures, and look at flowers. It’s a beautiful location that also offers educational programs for kids and adults. This was our first one, but we will certainly be back for more.

To get to the exhibit, all you have to do is park in the lot by the red barn. Then follow the signs up to the pavilion you saw when pulling in. I promise you can’t miss it.

Mila was so excited to see the butterflies, she ran up the hill to get to them.

Under the pavilion, the NJC crew had butterfly crafts, face painting, and information. Plus, the main event: actual butterflies!

The butterflies were in a screened off section of the pavilion.

Inside, there was a lady who was extremely knowledgeable about butterflies. She was such a huge help in teaching kids the different parts of the butterflies and how to handle them.

We learned that we shouldn’t touch butterflies with our fingers, they eat with their proboscis (which is like a straw), and they love to eat rotten fruit, but prefer flowers more. Also, that Eric Clarke wrote that caterpillars made a cocoon, but it’s actually called a chrysalis!

Those were the main takeaways. There was so much more information.

If you’re wondering why Mila has the q-tips, it’s a good question. Since you shouldn’t touch butterflies with your finger, q-tips are the best option to be interactive with butterflies.

They’re dipped in watermelon, which some butterflies like. You can get them on there so they drink the juice. Then they can either fly away or you can transfer them to a flower. You get to see the butterflies up close AND they get to stay safe.

After we visited the butterflies, it was craft time!

The NJC had a free paper butterfly craft. It consisted of coloring the wings, cutting them out, and assembling it together. Mila and I tackled this one together!

Then, she got to get her face painted, with a butterfly of course. She picked all her favorite colors: pink, blue, purple, and a silvery color. The butterfly was very unique.

It was her very first time getting her face painted! I think she was a little nervous, but overall stayed as still as she could.

Immediately after, she wanted to do a little photoshoot and ran on the hill.

I guess you could say she was happy with the finished product.

After face painting, she made some sand art.

They had crafts that costed up to $5 that were butterfly themed. She choose to do the sand, but they also had concrete garden stones kids (or adults!) could paint too.

Before we left, Mila said goodbye to everyone, especially the butterflies.

I’m so glad we fluttered by the Butterfly Exhibit.

Everyone at the exhibit was so helpful and nice to Mila and me. We loved learning, playing, and interacting with it all.

She’s even asked if we could go again!

If you’re local to Ohio and are looking for something to do this week, check out the Norma Johnson’s Butterfly Exhibit!

You can learn more about the Norma Johnson Center and all of their programs on their website.

For those who live further away, I hope you have something similar close to you. It’s definitely worth checking into. Maybe you’ll find a new place to take your kids to play too!

Did you learn anything about butterflies through this post? Or what’s a fun fact you have about them?

The 5 Easiest Houseplants You Need to Buy.

If you LOVE the look of plants, but are afraid to kill them, you’ve come to the right post. I’ve put together my list of the 5 easiest houseplants you need to buy!

I promise they’ll thrive under your care.

Note, there aren’t any succulents, strings of things, or spider plants on here. They are way more difficult. I’ve killed all three of those ‘easy’ plants!

So dig in and reap the information I have for you! (I had to get one pun in…)

Pothos

The one type of plant I would recommend to every one are pothos.

They’re hands down the easiest plant to care for. You only need to water when their soil is dry. If you forget, they’ll forgive you!

Even though the Golden Pothos is the most basic houseplant, it’s so beautiful. You can up it’s variegation by placing it in a spot that gets more light. You can even put it outside, in the shade, during the summer.

If you want more variety, there’s so many different types of pothos. My favorite is between the marble and manjula.

I also love that most pothos are adorable. Of course, there are some rare ones that go for more. But, you can go to Lowe’s or any big box store and find a golden pothos for a good price.

Trust me, if you want to try caring for plants, start with a pothos!

Philodendrons

Philodendrons and pothos get mistaken quite a lot. Once you get familiar with the two rules, you’ll be able to instantly spot their differences.

This type of plants has a ton of varieties. Way more than pothos. There’s one specific philodendron called a Pink Princess that goes foe a ton of money. You can find good priced ones that are just as beautiful though.

My two favorite and the easiest to take are of are the philodendron brasil and the basic heart leaf philodendron.

Again, these plants are a breeze. Water when their soil is dry. These guys like a little more humidity too. It helps the new leaves unfurl. Other than that, they’re simple!

Have fun checking out all the beautiful varieties of philodendrons. You’ll find one to fall in love with!

Snake Plants

Snake plants are another plant I’d recommend to everyone. It’s very hard to kill a snake plant!

These plants can tolerate low lights and don’t need watered constantly. Of course, they’ll grow faster with more light. Remember: there’s no plant that is a no light plant!

I love snake plants because they’re very… interesting looking. They’re like little swords sticking out of the pot.

Again, you can find different types of snake plants. I love the darker kinds.

This is another easy plant to find in big box stores. They’re also really adorable, even for huge ones.

If you’re a person who forgets to water your plants, try one of these!

ZZ Plants

I have a small collection of different types of ZZ Plants. My favorite is the Raven ZZ, which leaves are black.

ZZ’s and snake plants have similar care needs. They can tolerate low light and drought conditions. Yet, I am just in love with how these plants look. That’s why I have so many.

These guys are a little more difficult to find than the others. Lately, Raven ZZ’s have been in stores, but not regular ones.

It’s all about the hunt.

If you master snake plants and want to branch out, definitely get yourself a ZZ plant!

Monstera Deliciosa

When you think of a popular plant, monsteras are probably the first that come to mind.

They just look tropical and eye-catching.

There’s a ton of varieties monsteras, but the deliciosa is the most popular. Let’s not mention their variegated counterparts. Those can go for a TON of money.

Monstera Deliciosas need medium light. Mine is right by a bright window and my humidifier. They’re watering needs depend on the season. In the summer I water way more! I can tell it needs water when the first two inches of soil are dry. So yes, I put my fingers in the dirt to check. You can also get a moisture meter!

These guys take a little more care than the other ones on the list. They’re still not hard though!

Plus, they’re one of the most beautiful plants. They get really big and their fenestrations are breath taking. This was one of my first plants and I still have it!

You can also check out the two adansonii varieties. They’re just as amazing as the deliciosa.

I hope that you can make a planty purchase here soon. Houseplants are a fabulous way to practice self care and bring you happiness all year long!

Do you agree or disagree with my list? Either way, let me know what your favorite plant is too!

If you’d like to see more of my plants and the journey through plant parenthood, follow my planty Instagram.

Support Local: The Little Theatre of Tuscarawas County.

Mila and I got all dressed up to meet some friends for a play! It was Mila’s first. She was so excited to see The Little Theatre of Tuscarawas County put on The Little Mermaid.

Okay… she was way more excited than this picture shows. This was after watching and she was tired!

The play took place at Dover High School‘s auditorium. It provided comfy seats, a decently sized stage, and an overall nice atmosphere.

I will say… Mila and I did get lost finding the restrooms though.. oops!

We met Mila’s dance friend, her sister, and mom there. The girls were SO excited to see Ariel. The potential of meeting here was in the air. All they had to do was watch one of their favorite stories unfold in front of their eyes.

Since it was there first play, we explained how they worked. The lights would dim when they play would start. We had to stay quiet while the lights were dim and they were on stage. Clap after the songs. No eating and drinking while we were watching.

The first time they saw Ariel was like magic. Every time she left the stage, they wondered where she went!

It was so cute seeing their excitement and hearing their little chatter. Thankfully the people in front of us didn’t mind toddler talk and their seats being touched.

Honestly, hearing all the kids in the theatre made it extra adorable.

The play would be in two parts with an intermission in between. I’d say the break was definitely needed with two three year olds.

Although I won’t give too much away about the play (you know the story), the intermission took place right after Ariel lost her voice. Hopefully if you go the next two nights, this can help you plan for your littles.

During intermission, the girls took some pictures, ate a snack, and got some of Ariels treasures!

Her treasures were some mermaid inspired merchandise. Mila got a necklace, ring, lipgloss, tattoo, and shell. They also had crowns, keychains, and so much more.

One really cool option was writing a note to a cast member. Mila and the girls chose to write their note to Ariel!

During the second part of the play, the girls were getting tired. Somehow knowing they were about to meet their favorite mermaids kept them awake.

Honestly, I was so impressed by the play. It’s the first local one I’ve been to in a couple years. The actors were amazing. I laughed so many times throughout the entire thing. Sebastian had me laughing out loud every time he was in stage! The music and singing amazed me too. On top of that, the props and costumes were on point too.

It was just such a great play.

As they play ended, the girls knew it was time to meet all of their favorite characters. It was so interesting watching Mila interact with different characters.

She ran up to King Triton and gave him a big hug. On our way home, she told me, “Ariel’s daddy is so cute!” No wonder why she ran up to him then! When she saw Sebastian, she had to go talk to him too.

I mean, just look at their costumes!

Then, she saw Ursula. Mila refused to even stand beside her. I absolutely loved her costume, makeup, and performance. It’s quite comical that Mila wanted nothing to do with her. She knows she’s ‘evil’ in the movie.

The girls met other cast members and took their pictures. Mila also did not want a picture with Flounder or Prince Eric. I found this perplexing because she loves watching them.

While we were meeting with other characters, Ariel snuck in the room.

Mila was so giddy and just happy to see her.

The actress was so patient and gave each child time to talk. I think that’s such an important thing to do when portraying a Disney princess. It’s a huge deal for kids and she understood that.

I wish I could tell her thank you again!

The night was absolutely beautiful. We got to spend it with great friends watching an amazing performance! The added bonus of meeting Mila’s favorite characters just made it sweeter.

Although the rest of The Little Mermaid performances are sold out, you should still check out The Little Theatre of Tuscarawas County. They put on different shows throughout the year. I can only imagine they’re as great as this one!

I can’t wait to see what they put on next year for the kids. Mila and I will definitely go.

Maybe one day she’ll want to try theatre too. Who knows? No matter what she does, I’ll be there cheering her on.

Until then, Mila and I have plenty of mommy-daughter date nights ahead.

What was your or your child’s first play?

If you’d like to support The Little Theatre of Tuscarawas County, check out their website. They provide a ton of great ways to get involved with local arts.

5 Tips to Help Your Toddler Swim Without Floaties

Mila has always loved the pool.

Her first summer, we were constantly in the pool. She seemed to be at her happiest when we dance around and swam, so that’s what we did. It helped become familiar with the water and gave her a lot of pool confidence early on.

The next summer, I worried whether or not she would like it as much. But, she loved it and had no fear of getting in with her floaties.

Last summer, she mastered jumping in by herself (with her puddle jumper) and swimming to one of us. It felt like a victory! We spent so much time during our COVID summer swimming around.

When this summer came along, I wondered what she would want to try this year. I had no idea she’d be confident enough for no floaties.

I will say, my anxiety definitely stepped up. All the thoughts of what could go wrong flashed through my head. Yet, when I saw her excitement and determination to do it, I calmed down a little.

Since it’s been a process, I figured I’d share some tips that worked for us through it with other parents.

1. Set rules.

This was so big for my anxiety and Mila being pool safe. Not everyone’s rules will look the same, here’s ours.

  • You have to wear floaties if there’s other kids in the pool.
  • You don’t have to wear floaties if there’s an adult in the pool already.
  • If you’re practicing swimming without, you have to have an adult beside you.
  • When swimming between adults, let them know where you’re going.
  • Only jump in without floaties if someone’s there watching.
  • There has to be breaks.

These are the rules that work for us. My main focus is Mila’s safety. I want her to know she cannot swim without floaties by herself. She seems to be receptive with our rules too.

Although she does like to challenge us and push her limits.

2. Be confident and open.

Toddlers and kids can immediately tell what their parents are feeling. If you’re not confident and open to the situation, they’ll feel that.

At first, I was really anxious about it all. She was too! The more I let myself be okay with her swimming by herself, the more confident and stronger she became.

I think by having some sort of rules and guidelines for her, it calmed my anxiety too.

3. Get active with them.

Monkey see monkey do, right?

To put it out there, you can teach your child to swim confidently if you’re not in there with them.

While we’re in the pool, there’s someone showing Mila different ways to swim. Or they’re going under water with her. Just being active and involved goes a long way.

I also think the more she sees confident swimmers, the quicker she’s going to get there too.

4. Give them feedback.

At the beginning of this no floaty journey, I felt like I nit picked everything she was doing. Just because I wanted her to be safe.

Now, I’ve been able to give her constructive feedback.

The biggest one I’m always saying is to use big arms. She forgets halfway through to keep moving them. Once she’s reminded, she does it the next time. It’s all just a learning process!

Obviously, try not to bombard them with feedback. That can be discouraging, but there is a good balance to keep them safe and swimming.

5. Have FUN!

As with anything, the most important thing is to have fun!

I encourage Mila to jump in and show me different tricks. That’s always a hit! When we’re in the pool, we have races and make waves too. We make sure to play games while she has her floaties on too. Some games we play are hide-and-seek and building forts.

The stronger she gets as a swimmer, the more games we’ll get to play. I know she’s really excited to be able to dive for diving sticks and toys.

I hope our experience with swimming and these tips can help you with your toddler or child too!

What are some of your tips and tricks that helped you or your child swim?