Cleaning Stains from Our Hands


Many mama moments capture the true essence of how best to respond under pressure.  Most times, it's those little things that send me over the edge, while the bigger moments (where maybe I should be sent over the edge, I'm not) I tend to keep it together.  

This afternoon during our weekly "rest time," I laid out the ground works very clearly about expectations.  V in my room with bathroom attached and Tay in their room.  I heard V enter the bathroom, which was fine, because when you gotta go, you gotta go.  What puzzled me was what came next.  

Rule #1: We Stay In Our Designated Room

V was opening the towel closet.  Why?  She's not a mischievous, get into trouble type of kid.  In fact, when you look up guile in the dictionary, you're sure to find her picture with a large red mark across it.  I call up, "V, is everything okay?," wondering if water or the toilet (yuck) overflowed.  

What's a mama to do, but put on the inspector cap and go up.  There I find my daughter pink handed.  Yes, pink handed with a very distinct smell of nail polish.  Not only was it all over her hands, but her legs, feet, floor, and cabinet.  She was getting a towel to clean up & cover the mess.  

Instinctively, one might expect a harsh word from my mouth, but all I could do was look at her face.  Clearly, my child whom I know wasn't intending for wrong, made a colossal mess.  Her eyes and her lips said it all.  

She began speaking rather quickly about how she just wanted to paint her nails and "don't worry Mama, I just need to clean it up."  Meanwhile, I'm thinking, "But have you looked at yourself in the mirror?  You're glowing with hot pink all over."  

Instead, I took her hands and began scrubbing away with soap & water.  I began talking with her about how she made this choice?  And asking her if it's okay to get into the nail polish by herself?  She knew that part.  But I think it's when grace needs to be extended.  Her lip quivered.  That says it right there, her lip folks, when it quivers, I get this pain jabbed in my chest.  

I know, you might be thinking I'm a softie or push-over, but I'm not.  If Tay's lip quivered, it wouldn't have the same effect.  You just know as a mama what physical act your child displays that means, "I'm in the depths, and I'm stuck, will you give me grace?"  When V's lip quivers, it says that to me.  It says, "I'm gonna try not to cry, but I'm wholeheartedly mortified by what I did.  I didn't mean for it to go here."  

And as she says to me time and again, "Mama, will you give me some grace?"  Oh those words.  "Will you give me some grace?  Will you give me some grace?"  Because grace means a free gift not deserved.  

That lip shaking as a cold body in the wind, pleads for someone to wrap tight to warm her up.  And although our home is devoid of nail polish remover, and baking soda mixed with vinegar doesn't work, I hold my little girl to let her know that I am not angry.  Her lip said sorry & forgive me enough.  

How can I not give her grace, as she quickly covers her pink stained legs, feet and hands.  Upon closing the door, I assure her that we will bathe after rest time as she pulls socks on her feet to cover up her mess.  

"Will you give me some grace?" Jesus replies, "oh sweetie, yes," as he takes off the socks from our hands, covering our mess & he scrubs it pure.  


How We Played Hookie From Sunday School


V has ended up catching the cold that I've been suffering from this past week.  Poor kid gets it via watery eyes, runny and stuffy nose.  She's a champ about it.  I asked wondering if she was feeling okay with going to Sunday School.  She thought it might be good to stay home.  

So during breakfast, I realized that I wasn't quite clear on us going or not going to church service.  By that point, it was 20 till it started and began to talk about what we would do.  Ben of course brought up Seattle Mariners Fanfare day again (it was Saturday & Sunday), while V said she wanted to stay home with me.  Tay was up for the adventure as she happily read her library books.  

Next thing I know, we are all busily getting ready within 20 minutes to get in the car, in order to be at Safeco in time for one of the autograph signings (here behind V is Taijuan Walker & Danny Hultzen).  



Both girls had their baseballs ready to sign once we got to the table.  V asked, "Your autograph please?" and then proceeded to inquire about the hot dogs from Danny Hultzen, an upcoming Major Leaguer.  Meanwhile, Tay was second.  She handed the ball to Taijuan Walker saying thank you (and very oblivious as to what was going on), then to Danny Hultzen, and then to the lady sitting next to him.  Heck, as far as she knew, she was the next up & coming.


V was glad to be done with the line, so she could finally get her coveted:

"hot dog with ketchup."  

So was Tay, but she likes the natural pairing of mustard & ketchup.  


We watched families round the bases, with mamas & daddies holding their little ones hands rounding second.  There were the skads of young boys garbed in little league attire running and sliding into third.  Sheer delight & victory sung over their face.  We watched how men were pursuing their dream of catching a pop up ball in the outfield, while failing miserably.  Our turn was next, with Tay eager about running.


Apparently, Tay had many looks on her face like this when it came time to take pictures.  Maybe she knew something like falling was just around the bend; hence, preparing herself.


Again, Tay is not amused, while V is saying her obligatory "cheese" but not really smiling.  It's how we roll.  Let's see if it's better with daddy.


Well, at least both girls are saying cheese.  Maybe it's because Tay has a sense of triumph with her foot resting on third base.  You be the judge.


We visited the Mariner Clubhouse, which is only open to the general public during Fanfare days (a little tidbit we found out when we visited years ago).  The girls, not really impressed.  But, daddy, I'm sure he was just a bit.  

With me being pregnant, which inevitably means I was more tired, constantly using the bathroom and a bit cold, doing this sort of thing isn't my number one choice in life.  However, when you can see the gleam come from your husband's eyes about baseball, his team's stadium, getting an autograph, etc, you can't help but think that maybe as he watches those young boys rounding second, sliding into third that a part of him is in them.  

And as I would have been fine to not see the Mariner clubhouse (I didn't grow up with them as my team, San Diego Padres), I knew that love to him is not complaining & cheerifully going ahead to encourage "cheeriful, sweet voices" from the girls as we make one last stop.  But, you know, I wouldn't have changed our playing hooky one bit.  It's trudging past the uncomfortable for the moment, in order to give love & receive love.  In order to create memories & a family story to share at the end.


Come to find out as we already left the stadium, Tay exclaimed with sadness, "We didn't get to throw my baseball!"  Because you see, maybe she kept looking in the distance on the field, or the waiting in line for the autographs was her thinking, "I can't wait to throw this!"  Could it be?  We'll have to wait next year and see.


Happiness Sings



So I get a reminder every now and again from a certain family member how I'm not keeping our Family Page up to date.  This is all true.  

Our little girl turned five last week, which is a bit surreal to recall how 8lbs 2oz of beauty has grown so much.  One of which I didn't know, how kind & beautiful her soul would become.  She receives a gift with pure joy & excitement.

And I love being able to make my girl a ladybug birthday cake that replicates her ladybug blanket (aside from the "Happy Birthday V" on it).  Her happiness as she relishes in everyone singing merriment for her & blowing out the candles is pure gift. 

What I think blows me away the most is seeing her kind, hospitable heart in action.  You know, the moment when your five year old child teaches you a thing or two (or three or four) about what unconditional love & welcome mean.  This last week at her school, a new little girl came to her class.  She was so excited about this potential friendship as she slowly took off her coat with eyes peeled on the girl.  She turned to me and said, "Mama, a NEW friend in class!"  I simply replied about it being her job to make sure she feels welcome.

Now, with V, one of the things that might surprise people about this introverted person is her uncanny ability to walk up to complete strangers to greet & befriend them.  However, in her classroom, she is more reserved and takes everything in.  What she did was look around the circle to see if there were two seats next to one another.  When none could be found, she walked directly up to the little girl with her hand waving & said, "Hi, Welcome to our class!"  

Small tears began to form as Teacher Gina looked at me, "Did you tell her to say that?"  No friends, I did not.  I think it's due to how big her heart is & how kindness has been a fruit constantly growing on the tree of her soul.  As I drove home, I prayed, "Jesus, continue to increase that in her.  That kindness that steps out & loves unconditionally."  I paused, "Jesus, increase that in me."  

Because sometimes, it's from the mouths of babes that we see the face of God.  



Personality Types for Children


I have a love for Myers-Briggs & most likely have given you a four letter label to match your personality.  I met a gal online, Amy Jane, who has an equal love for MBTI.  She recently wrote up a post on children & understanding your child's personality.  She accounts for the F, T, N, & S, while steering away from the J, P, E, & I, because the organizing & energy placement aren't stablized or constants in little people.  

Most of what I've read on understanding children's personality traits is that they begin to emerge at the age of two, but become much more defined by age five.  After reading her description of N: 

tend to be very imaginative, seeing possibilities, thinking of the future, frequently storytellers and often lost in their own world.  They can be very focused on things others don’t notice, and still miss the obvious.  These are the kids who genuinely don’t notice they’re stepping on the only book left on the floor.

Completely describes V & myself, especially the part where we focus on things others don't notice, yet still miss the obvious.  

And then she describes the S as:

tend to be very grounded and practical children.  Their wants and delights are physical: bright colors or quiet spaces, building towers and watching how they fall. Their distractions and distresses, also lean to the physical: the cold, a stickiness, or stone in the shoe. They have a high attentiveness to the information gathered through their senses: tastes, textures, sounds sights and smells.

This describing Tay.  She gets upset about her clothing being wet, is meticulous about eating & mess being around her, and has a tendency to be a little too assertive/take charge with play.


This got me thinking about knowing my girls.  How I can best teach to their personality & their skill set.  V is much more fanciful & imagery driven.  Her strengths aren't always ones seen with the common eye, because her world & strengths are "out there," while Tay's strengths are very practical, observable, down to earth skills.  She is a master at putting together puzzles.  You need only tell her directions once & she is on it.  She is not like me.  I need instructions a couple times & then still need some space.  

V is like me in this regard, taking slow to tasks & follow through, meanwhile having a story playing out in her head that she assumes everyone can see.  Oh how I love the differences as it makes life an adventure.  

I encourage you to take a look at Amy Jane's post.  What do you see in your children?  How can knowing the way the see the world help you better parent them?  


Always Makes Me Laugh

In case you needed a laugh, I sure do everytime I read it.