Day 8: Holy Stooping and Drama Llamas

Day 8: Holy Stooping and Drama Llamas

Hi there! This post is part of a 31-Day writing adventure I’m embarking on. I’d love for you to join me and read along. You can find the introduction to the series, and a “Table of Contents” as each day goes live, right here. Thanks so much for dropping in!

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I’m a parent, and like a lot of parents, I think my kids are uber-awesome. Really. I adore each one of them for different reasons — I love the Bear’s tenderheartedness, his clever mind, his deep thinking. Although the Tank is absolutely a steamroller in many situations, he somehow also has this incredibly gentle spirit, loves to give kisses, shows deep concern when someone is sad, and is full of that age-two-everything-is-full-of-wonder stage that melts my heart on a daily basis.

The Belle, of course, is our little princess and we cherish her. She shows so much delight in the world around her. She is quickly becoming very eager to not just watch, but participate in what her brothers are doing. She loves to be tickled and to giggle, and has an out-of-this-world nose scrunch.

It’s pretty easy to come up with a list of reasons why the small people in my life have such a special place in my heart (besides, obviously, the wonderful knowledge that they’re mine) but there are also times when it is NOT so easy to be their Mama. When I feel like a steaming pressure cooker with a stuck-on-lid, when there are more rides on the drama llama than this Mama can handle.

A couple of weeks ago, the Bear had one of those drama-llama moments. It had been a really long day. He no longer takes naps in the afternoon, but I sometimes think he still could (but then he’d never fall asleep at bedtime.) He’d been very active and was probably a little tired, though he wasn’t showing it.

Dinner wasn’t going to take long so I suggested we go for a stroll to the playground to enjoy just a little more fresh air at the end of our day. I have a double stroller, and it’s anybody’s guess, sometimes, how many kids I’ll be pushing in it. The Tank wanted to ride in the back, the Belle was in the front, and the Bear was riding the Tank’s bike, so that if he decided to get out of the stroller and ride a bike, he could.

It was not a surprise when the Tank switched gears and wanted to ride his bike. The Bear happily jumped into the backseat of the stroller when I said it would be okay — yes, he’s probably too old to be riding in the stroller, but I caved in the name of having fun.

We arrived on the gravel path we take for the last stretch to the playground, and, no surprise, sweet little Tank wanted to ride in the stroller again because it is too hard to push a plastic bike over a gravel road. Truth.

A fight ensued. Over rights to the backseat of the stroller, of course.

Knowing we would not make it to the playground without the Tank getting in the stroller, I asked the Bear to get out, and he was… more than a little disappointed.

I did my best to explain my reasoning, talked about how great it would be to play at the playground, attempted a little discussion about the best decision in this scenario, tried to make it NOT a big deal… nothing doing.

He parked himself in one spot and didn’t budge.

I strolled a little further (safe location folks, don’t worry) and looked back to see him still arms crossed, crying a little.

I strolled a little further and the weeping turned into wailing. Embarrassingly loud, cray cray wailing. Perhaps he would follow now?

I strolled a little further and he eventually freaked out with scream-crying.

Without boring you with more exhaustive details, I’ll basically say it ended badly. His favorite toy taken away for a week for his disobedience (when I asked him to come), other punishment for the fact that he yelled at his Mama… still more discussion later that evening about the fact that — {ohmigosh this is what it looks like} he actually did a little on-the-ground kicking and screaming. It wasn’t a full-fledged grocery-store-kid gone wild — but it was the closest I’d ever seen from him.

Eventually, order was re-restored, but we never made it to the playground. He cried most of all of the walk home, and waited in his bedroom for his Dad to get home.

Washing dishes after dinner that night, I reflected on the reasons behind the freak-out, and thought about what I could have done differently to better handle the situation, and to perhaps even prevent it from happening like that again.

I remembered this verse from Psalm 18:35:

You give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.

In the middle of the Bear’s tantrum, which allow me to mention — this might have been his third one, total, in his five years of life — it’s totally not like him — the first one ever was shockingly embarrassing when we had to leave a pool party early…never mind. In the middle of the Bear’s tantrum, the thing that finally connected me with him enough to manage to get him off the ground and on the way home was stooping down to look him in the eyes.

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{It doesn’t always look like this…}

However, I pretty much presided over the entire tantrum, from my vantage point, a couple of feet above him.

But my conclusion as I washed the dishes and thought about the best course of action? It would have been very good for me to have gotten down on his level sooner — to gently discuss the situation, to talk about what was happening in a way that could have put it in perspective for him, instead of barking out my own threats or wishes or commands or whatever else.

Sometimes the mess a kid is in can feel so bad you don’t want to get in it. You don’t want to bend down to try to start wading through the web of emotions and screens to get to the heart and really gain understanding.

But how gloriously good is this?

In the midst of our own mess, our collective strops and tantrums and rages, our arms-crossed defiant head-shaking no-shouting ways, (which are sometimes not visual from the outside, mind you) the God of the Universe stooped down to make us great.

Jesus condescended, entered a broken world, and created an opportunity for us to climb off the back of our own drama llamas, and to choose a life well-lived, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to the honor and glory of God.

The verses that surround this one from Psalm 18 declare the goodness of God, and discuss what He does to strengthen and encourage and prepare His people for the battles that we will face. He does not leave us to face the challenges that absolutely do come our way empty-handed.

Other translations declare that His humility, or His mercy, or His gentleness makes us great. And amen. But I love the picture of the God of the Universe stooping down to look us in the eyes, the way I might have better connected if I’d decided to kneel in front of a frustrated son that day.

Who could have expected the God who created the universe to love the people He created this much? With this everlasting, never-changing love!

And He stoops down, AND says,

“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” {Jer. 31:3}

The love of God for you and me is the most incredible unexpected treasure. And the Holy stooping He does, to help us wade through our own mire, turn our eyes to Him, be lifted up and gain understanding? It is nothing short of glorious.


My Mother


A lot of my friends are beginning to remind me of their mothers. It makes me feel like I’m getting on in years, and it makes me wonder if I remind my friends of my mother. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing, I don’t think.  I really like my Mom.


In the Kitchen Top Ten

A friend of mine and I have been chatting about the food budget recently, hence the kitchen inspiration…

When Mark and I first got married, I continually asked his advice about whether water was boiling or not. I was okay in the kitchen but not great.  We’ve been married almost two years now, and I’ve learned a few things that have made my time in the kitchen a bit more enjoyable. And hopefully made dinner time a bit tastier.

10. A watched pot never boils. A forgotten pot boils over and makes a big mess.

9. Pay attention to the recipe you’re doing! You don’t have to follow it exactly, but (bless Mark’s heart) I’ve produced some funky cuisine simply because I got distracted and put the wrong things in at the wrong time.

8. Creativity counts for something. Leftovers can be amazing new creations with a little thought and a little love. There’s a lot to be said for old bread. I’ve made tasty appetizers and salad croutons with the end pieces of last week’s loaf.

7. Rosemary is my favourite … besides brown sugar, smiling and of course bacon. I’m buying it in bulk now. If it’s not supposed to be sweet, it might just taste better with a little rosemary.

6. Give your husband some credit. He does have ideas that can make kitchen life easier.

5. If you have a baby, pureeing and freezing large amounts of baby food in ice trays is the way forward. We’ve saved so much money and gotten Asher to eat the real thing that way!

4. Double up and do yourself a flavour. For a lot of meals I’ve been cooking twice the amount and freezing half of it for another night. This has saved so much money and been super handy. Instead of feeling like you should eat more so you won’t have so many leftovers, you save it for next week or the next emergency. Great for spaghetti sauce and chili.

3. You’re right, Mom — washing dishes as you go along does make cooking time better.

2. When in doubt, don’t throw it out. Alternative uses for old stuff always seem to pop up — baking banana bread with very ripe bananas, throwing old veggies into a pot with chicken stock — and I haven’t killed anybody yet!

1. Always set a timer. You might think you can remember you have something in the oven, but then your Mom calls and ten minutes later you’ve burnt your buns.


My Single-Handed Top Ten

Being a parent has taught me a lot. Already. Including how to do a lot of things with one hand, while holding the baby with the other. I think part of the reason I’ve had to learn this is because so many folks spoiled Asher in America, by holding him all the time. I’ve included pictures of said miscreants with this post. They can be very dangerous, so TAKE CAUTION when letting them near your baby. Your baby might return to you SPOILED.

At any rate, I have some new skills to be proud of. So in honour of the excitement of developing my ambidextrous abilities, and my biceps… along with the malefactor mugshots, here’s the top ten best things I’ve learned to do with the baby in tow.

10. Tie — Unload the dishwasher. Strain and puree baby food. These are very difficult with twenty-some pounds on your hip, people!

9. Of course, you have to learn this one: mix and heat baby cereal, fruit and veggies for baby’s dinner. AND Feed the baby with one hand while holding him, and both his arms still with the other. (We haven’t found a high chair we like yet.)

8. Apply mascara.  Careful with that one!

7. Eat my dinner. Lunch. Breakfast… you get the idea.

6. Send a text message.

5. Push the stroller with one hand and carry groceries home with the other.

4. Blog, Facebook, and send emails. I can even drag and drop attachments!

3. Wash and dry my hands. (One at a time.)

2. Cook a spicy stir fry (and other meals) while keeping baby’s hands away from anything hot. [Folks, do not try this at home.]

1. Pull a plate off the shelf, toast a piece of bread, grab a butter knife, spread nutella over the toast AND enjoy some toast with nutella… all with the baby on my hip! Necessary skills!

The New Math I’ve learned:

2 weeks with South African grandparents + 6 weeks with American grandparents = 1 internationally spoiled baby!


Please note: This is obviously completely in jest! I am so glad the cuddlebear has gotten to meet his South African and his American family in the first six months of his life. Except for Uncle Vaughan!

If you would like to see more pics of our delightful time with family in South Africa and America, click these links:

South Africa, South Africa Part 2, America.

Parenthood Top Ten

I’ve been a parent for about six months now, and  I really think it rocks!  Here’s my first crack at an inexperienced parent’s top ten reasons why having a wee one is cool bananas.

10. Examining poopy diapers has become a special discussion Mark and I can share.

9. Traveling is so much better: We get to board the plane first, no one gets mad if we’re in the wrong passport line (at least not in South Africa), and sometimes we even get rushed through security if the baby’s crying (but I still get patted down, thanks.)

8. I no longer need to set my alarm clock.

7. I finally have someone to laugh at all my jokes! (As long as I add in a goofy face at the end). And he likes my singing, too!

6. The British government is hooking us up with like 18 pounds a week just for having a kid in Scotland. (Mark is a British taxpayer, mind you.)

5. We’ve decided to cancel our TV license because the baby is so entertaining. (And we can watch stuff on iTunes and hulu).

4. Two Words. Tax Deduction.

3. I’ve been reaquainted with my childhood affection for dressing and undressing baby dolls. And this one really laughs and cries and pees and poops!

2. Listening to your baby laugh and coo, and seeing him smile at you, is an incredible incredible blessing. (Awwwwww….)

And the number one reason parenthood is the best thing going…

1. I no longer need to search the world for the fountain of youth! I find it regularly when changing diapers.