Tag Archives: toddlers

Alligators in Arkansas?

Spring break usually means vacation time for some, but to me, it’s time for catching up on college homework, as it does tend to pile up for us non-traditional students. It also means finishing tasks around the house that also needs my attention, such as taking my car into the shop to fix a burned out fuse, as well as having them take care of a recall. Then there’s the usual, dentist and doctor appointments that I can finally make since I have some time off. Or the opportunity to go into work early. All and all, for me, spring break just means staying busy, instead of relaxing on a tropical beach somewhere, listening to the waves crash onto shore, while I work on my tan.

But, it isn’t all work and no play, I do find some time for fun.

Yesterday, I took my daughter to the Alligator Farm in Hot Springs. She’s been begging me to take her to the zoo, yet most of the things she enjoys is out of order and under construction at our local zoo in Little Rock; the train, petting zoo, etc. Plus, they no longer have giraffes, which is my daughter’s favorite.

I had thought about taking her to Turpentine Creek, which is a wildcat sanctuary in Eureka Springs, but that’s a four hour drive (back roads and road construction) and it was supposed to rain yesterday. It was also slightly chilly, so taking her into the Ozark Mountains to walk around looking at wildcats wasn’t something she would enjoy.

The alligator farm was a relatively short visit. There wasn’t much going on, but on the positive side, it wasn’t crowded. Since alligators are cold blooded reptiles, they were being kept indoors where it’s much warmer. They have spacious yards outside, yet it is still too cold for them to be moved outdoors.

Along with the numerous amount of alligators, they also had a pair of Arctic Wolves, a mountain lion, turkeys, mallards and wood ducks, peacocks, a macaque, three lemurs, an emu, a couple of donkeys, and a handful of fallow deer, goats, and sheep.

Mini me was infatuated with the alligators, yet knew not to poke her fingers through the fence to try to pet one. Although, there was a guy holding a young alligator for visitors to pet (it had a rubber band around it’s snout so it wouldn’t snap anyone’s fingers off). Of course after I touched it’s belly, she saw that it was okay and touched it twice, which was long enough for me to snap a quick picture.

It was a fairly inexpensive trip, yet we always enjoy getting out of the house, no matter the price. I think that any young child or adult would enjoy taking a few minutes out of their weekend to visit the Alligator Farm. It’s easy to get to, plus it’s located five blocks away from downtown Hot Springs, where there is plenty of other things to see and do for couples and for families.



WPC: Fresh

For this week’s photo challenge, share a photo of something fresh.

My daughter and I spent the first day of Spring, visiting the alligator farm in Hot Springs. We followed that with a short stack of pancakes at IHOP, her request, then came home just in time for it to start raining.


I love Spring. To me, it represents a fresh start in life; everything blooming and waking up. The vibrant colors popping out, adding color to the grey bleakness that represented Winter. Birds chirping, squirrels chattering and their newborns cry out for food. It’s a fresh, new life in another Spring season.


Happy Birthday Einstein

Today, in 1879, genius and physicist, Albert Einstein was born. It is also Pi Day, but Einstein is more of a memorable icon. Pi, not so much, as I’m not a fan of math. 😉 I used to be able to spat out the first 9 digits that represent Pi on the calculator, but those were the days of studying Algebra to receive my Associate’s Degree.

It's a bobble head that I have sitting on the dash of my car. The headband, around his head, is a Superman bracelet that belongs to my daughter.

It’s a bobble head that I have sitting on the dash of my car. The headband, around his head, is a Superman bracelet that belongs to my daughter.

Though the word ‘autism’ wasn’t known until the early 1900, famous names, such as Einstein and Newton had autism.

According to, WebMD, “Autism is a neurological disorder, that was once discovered around 1911 by, Eugen Bleuler, a psychiatrist from Switzerland. Though, he had associated autism as a form of schizophrenia. Researchers didn’t start using the term to describe children with autistic behaviors, until the 1940’s. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, researchers started to use electroshock therapy and prescribed LSD as a medication. In the 1980’s and 1990’s the began behavioral therapy and other treatments.”

Today, 1 in 42 boys will be diagnosed with autism, 1 in 189 girls will be diagnosed with autism. Though there are many “theories” as to what causes autism, there are no actual Scientific facts. There have been some cases where it was identified that a child’s autism was caused from genetics or from the environment during early brain development, but not every child on the spectrum can be identified with this being the definite answer as to why they have autism.


More Snow and Another Snowman

My daughter and I have only been to school one day within these past two weeks. It continues to snow, or we receive more freezing rain, or it melts then freezes, making the roads slick, to which all school close for the day. Either way, I’m getting further behind in my classes due to there not being any…classes. Plus, it’s hard to get any homework done with my daughter at home. I mostly get it finished when I’m at school, sitting in the library, where I can sit in a quiet spot and work.

It isn’t easy being a single mom and a college student at the same time, especially during the winter. There’s only so much whining to go outside and play in the snow that a mom can take before she gives in. I’m trying to be the model college student and work on my research papers and other homework assignments, yet my inner child is screaming at me to listen to my daughter and go build a snowman.

Of course I couldn’t say no to that! My inner child jumps for joy and my daughter does the same. She rushes around the house looking for her hat, gloves, and shoes with all the excitement of a five year old. I proceed to change out of my pj’s and into some jeans.

Of course it was still snowing when we walked outside. It was also mushy and melting, though relatively slowly. Guess it was too warm for it to actually snow, yet it was still coming down.


I was surprised to find that this round of snowfall was easy to work with and it didn’t take much effort for us to build a snowman. I showed her how to roll a small snowball around in the snow, allowing it to grow bigger and bigger until we had the size we needed for the bottom half of the snowman. After we had the middle portion and then the head placed into it’s proper spots, she found a stick that was then used for arms and a mouth. I found a rotten pecan that I busted open, placing the two halves as eyes, and the pecan as a nose.


We stood back and looked at it. It was almost as tall as she was.



Winter Fever, Cabin Blues…

Or is it ‘Cabin Fever, Winter Blues’?

Either way, it’s another fine winter day, stuck indoors. I’m actually being a bit sardonic, but who wouldn’t be unless you could be outside enjoying the weather. Though there aren’t any slopes here for me to grab my snowboard and head out to. Nor is the ground covered in snow, for mini me to go sledding. Instead, the ground is covered in ice that has been melted and frozen, again, and again, over the past few days. Today, our forecast called for a snow and rain mix, which didn’t began falling until late morning. It just made everything that much more slippery. I decided to stay home with my daughter, since I have to drive North where the roads would be much slicker.

Though I have driven in wintry conditions, it is very different here in Arkansas, especially when you’re surrounded by drivers who cannot drive on ice and/or snow. Some cannot even drive when it’s raining, so I find it best to stay clear by staying home. My daughter finds serenity in watching the snow fall. We have a large picture window in the living room with a wide window sill for her to lean on and to also give her plenty of space to play with her toys.


On days like this, I find myself in the office, on the computer, trying to finish up homework, or work on the next research paper for a class or two, or do a bit of writing. I think if I redecorated this office, it would have more of a calm, soothing atmosphere where I can be more creative. I think it’s the only room that still has the fake wood paneling from the 1960’s, covering it’s walls. Plus, the photos that cover the wall space above grandpa’s desk are decades old and could be upgraded.

I think I may have found my next summer project…to redecorate and rearrange the office.

I mostly find my creative energy in a mixture of places, such as, bookstores, coffee shops, libraries, front porch. Sometimes, the recliner in the living room, next to our picture window is a perfect spot for writing, especially on days like today. Anywhere my mind can roam freely.

write2 write1

Lately, I’ve been spending most of that free time between classes, in my college library. Just yesterday, I had my headphones on, music going, and I was able to finally finish editing chapter one of my young adult novel. This is the same novel I had tried querying agents last summer for, but without success. It’s a tough job, being an author. Tough market, actually. Some of them were very close in saying yes, adding tidbits of helpful info that would make the next round of querying a bit more successful.

So, I began working on it….again.

There was originally a prologue, but I had cut it out entirely. Now, I added it back into the novel, but instead of it being a prologue, I made it the beginning of chapter one’s story line. I then moved some of chapter three into chapter one, so the next on my to-do-list is to edit chapter three.

I’m coming up on 60K words total…on the manuscript that is. I’m going to make that a goal that I must achieve. Once that’s done, I am finished…I hope, cross my fingers and knock on wood. I’m looking forward to seeing it finalized once more and also hope that I can send it off to the publisher very soon. I think I’ll try querying agents again, if not, I know a few small publishers that wouldn’t mind publishing it for me.


A happy report of being accident free

Due to my daughter’s autism, potty training has been a major challenge for her and I. I had the difficult time getting her to transition from diaper to pull-up, then an even harder time getting her to transition from pull-up to panties. It’s a sensory thing, plus it’s an autism thing. Change is something a child with autism can’t handle. Then the sensory part, well, the pull-up feels way different than the diaper. The panties feel even funnier than the pull-up. it’s just uncomfortable, which can also lead to meltdowns and stress, mostly for her. I have a lot of patience with her.

It took a lot of bribing and coaxing to get her to switch over, but she did. It cost quite a bit of stickers and some M&Ms, but whatever helped.

Imagine, if you will, the feeling of a scouring pad being pulled ever so lightly against your skin. I know it sounds a bit awkward describing it this way, but this is how some things feel to someone with autism, especially someone with a sensory disorder. It is definitely an unnatural feeling, yet that’s what they experience. I had gotten her a cute little Red Sox jersey. She loves it, except she can’t wear it without having a regular t-shirt underneath the jersey. The jersey on her skin feels uncomfortable. Like wearing a wool sweater without having a t-shirt underneath it. So, not only is the change in going from diaper, to pull-up, to panties hard for her, it takes some time for her to get accustomed to the new feelings of each item.

Next came the success of actually going in the potty, which took a few years. When she was one, I had purchased a little pink princess potty, to which she loved, though she would rather look at it, than she would sit on it. It chimed each time you would push it’s little jeweled lever, which was supposed to resemble flushing the potty, but it was more of a cute little accessory that was only for looks. She found it rather amusing and giggled each time it chimed, that she would sit in the floor and continuously push the lever down.

She still wouldn’t sit on it. I continued to try though.


For the past several months, her teachers at daycare and I have been working with her on using the potty, the real one, as well as wearing panties. I would take her to school wearing panties, but had to make sure she had a few pairs of pants, panties, socks, and another pair of shoes, sometimes I would slip an extra shirt in there, as there’s been times where it was needed too. Oh, yeah, she peed all the way down her legs, soiling everything, including her shoes.

No matter how many times we took her and placed her on the potty, she would still have an accident. It was just a continued work in progress. Yesterday, however, something changed. She actually went the entire day without wearing a pull-up and without having an accident. I couldn’t be more happier for my baby girl! Although, she still has to be taken to the bathroom, I’m sure it won’t be long now before she begins to start taking herself when she feels nature calling, before nature does call.

Next on the list is for her to successful do number two in the potty, instead of holding it. Since she started wearing panties, she’s been holding number two until she can’t hold it any more and has an accident.

Small steps, still lead to great successes!


Down the Loo It Goes

My daughter has a fascination with the toilet, but only the one at home. Something about throwing something into the porcelain potty, mostly one of her toys or her toothbrush, then pull the handle and watch it disappear. Is it the disappearing act that allures her? If so, I could pull up David Copperfield on youtube and have her watch him for a few hours. Or is it the sound of the water being sloshed around the bowl, before it is drained out, or watching the bowl fill back up with water again? I’m not sure what it is about the thing, but it seems to call her attention to it and for some reason, she has to throw something in and flush it down.

I usually come running once I hear the flush, only making it in time to hear her gasp and yell out, “Oh no, my toy!” I repeatedly tell her that I can’t rescue whatever it is that she flushed down the loo, it’s gone forever, but this never helps. It doesn’t help to put her in the sad spot (a certain spot in the house where she sits when she’s in trouble). I’ve put door knob covers on the bathroom door, but the door handle is too small for the cover and she can tear the cover apart.

Usually she’ll toss something into the loo that will pass all the way through, but there’s been a few times she’s thrown in something a little bigger that won’t fit through the loopty part under the bowl and becomes lodged, clogging it up. After having to remove the toilet from the floor a second time, I decided to buy a lock for the toilet itself. I just hope that whomever walks into the bathroom isn’t in a big hurry and let’s me give them a quick instruction on how to unlock the toilet so that they can use it.


The first lock was a cheap ($2.97) latch that sticks onto the toilet bowl and lid. It was the only one this store had, so I bought it and took it home to try it out. You have to have the right toilet for this or it won’t stay stuck on the thing and even small hands could remove it without any trouble at all. My toilet wasn’t the right toilet for this one and I could NOT get the thing to stay on it, no matter where I placed the thing. Time to go to another store…actually, look online first, then go to another store. The second lock was just a little more pricier ($12), but it works. Plus, there’s no worry on whether someone forgets to lock the lock or not as it automatically locks itself back into place, the person who last uses the toilet just has to remember to shut the lid in order for said lock to do its job.


Time for a few test runs with the miniature version of me. Oh yes, she’s not called mini me for nothing, I’ve flushed my share of things down the loo, usually those things belonged to my mom, like her contacts for instant and in the early 80’s those things were pricey.

I was about to start cooking dinner, but decided it was time for her to sit on her little potty first. She’s still potty training. She sits down and I walk away, but casually peek around the corner and watch her with curiosity. I see her look at the big toilet and see that she notices the new lock I put on there. She reaches for the lid, but can’t get the thing opened. Suddenly, she glares at it, knowing her fun has been had. I giggled, did a mental jump for joy, then walked away. No more flushing things down the loo, no more calling family members over to unclog it. Maybe I can stop buying her toothbrushes in bulk.