She doesn’t know she’s big.

The girl was tiny – really tiny.  She looked like a walking baby doll.  She was obviously much older than her size would lead me to believe and when I asked her mom, yep – 16 months in 9-month clothes.  She was beautiful and just so precious.  Malachi was tiny like that, too, and it was the best.  He wore newborn clothes for 4 months, and I carried him around in his infant seat until he was 14 months old.  In a sense you really do get to keep them “babies” for longer.

My daughter, however, is the opposite. 22 months younger than her brother but four pounds heavier.  She is not even 2 but comfortably wearing 3T shirts because of her adorable, enormous potbelly. We are asked frequently if they are twins.  She is stronger than my son.

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And she’s fearless.  She climbs things, jumps off things, and is utterly independent. I let her climb ladders and slide down big slides and learn by doing because she won’t have it any other way and she has plenty of padding to cushion her falls.  Which are frequent.  When Malachi is too timid to try something she goes first and barely notices when he follows her because she’s already off to do it again.  She’s a natural leader who doesn’t even know she’s being followed – she’s just being herself.

She’s heavy, and she’s squirmy.  You carry her for 5 minutes and you are exhausted.  When Malachi hides from scary cartoon characters, she laughs.  She talks in sentences and already knows half her letters and can count to 13 (minus “7”).  She has entire songs memorized.

Two months ago she got a toddler bed for Christmas and she was really excited. She layed in it to watch TV and we set it up in her room that night.  And the poor thing was terrified.  She didn’t know what to do with herself and felt so insecure. Every time I heard her get out of bed she was picking up another toy to put in the bed with her – her popcorn push toy, her Elsa doll, 6 books.  If I told her to go back to sleep she burst into tears.  The next two nights I had to lay with her until she fell asleep and she still wimpered and sniffled.  We switched back to the crib after that, and I dealt with my Mommy guilt for a week.  I was so surprised by her reaction – my girl who leaps from couches, laughs at the guarddogs in our neighborhood, and watches the Frozen ice monster without fear just did not know what to do with herself in a bed with no walls.

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I adore her hugs and cuddles, but carrying her around is so hard.  She’s so big, and so advanced, and so mature, and I have to constantly remind myself, “She doesn’t know she’s big.”  She may not look like a baby doll, but she’s still a baby, at least for a few more days.  Even though she can do things other kids her age can’t do, reach things, open heavy doors, climb on the big kid playground, balance on a tire swing, she still crys when she bonks her head, or when she can’t play with big kid toys, or when Mommy can’t carry her anymore.  She is Malachi’s best friend but she doesn’t understand pretend, so when he tells her that he’s a crocodile and he’s going to bite her, she runs to me for protection.  And I have to say to myself and to my son, again and again, “She doesn’t know she’s big.”

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Your kids don’t either.  They don’t know they are mature for their age, or strong, or heavy.  They know they are your baby and you are their protection.  And in the moments when they are frustrating, or tiring, or needier than you’ve seen them in weeks, remember that most of the world still looms over their heads like so many giants, and most obstacles are still too big for them to hurdle.  You are the one who gets on their level, picks them up, and carries them home.

She doesn’t know she is big, so I won’t forget that she’s little.  She is, afterall, still my baby.

(Un)Certainty

**Have you noticed how long it’s been since I last posted?  I have, and I hate it.  I am itching to write but simply won’t have the time for a few more days.  Until then, this is a blog I wrote on an old project quite a while ago.  It still holds true for me, and hopefully for you, too.

Sometimes I just don’t know.  Sometimes I don’t know what the right thing is.  I know what the Bible says, I know what Christ says, and I trust it.  But I wonder how we’re really supposed to go about it and if our methods are hurting more than they are helping.  Hurting people, hurting our cause, hurting Christ.  Sometimes, it’s really hard to draw lines.  Maybe drawing a line will hurt me and the people around me.  Maybe not drawing a line means I don’t trust what God says. Maybe there are some situations in life where God isn’t asking us to draw a line, or even stand on either side of one.

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”  

Sometimes it seems impossible to do both of those things at the same time.  Sometimes loving God, holding to what He says is true, and obeying Him can really, really hurt other people.  Not just offend them, or make them angry, or make them think you are stupid.  Actually hurt them.

But…

But…

Does that mean you aren’t loving them?  Does hurting someone mean you don’t care about them?  Does offending them mean you don’t want what is best for them?  In complete honesty, doesn’t doing the right thing almost always hurt someone, somewhere?

Love God.  Love people.  Speak truth.

Sometimes, I don’t like the truth.  In fact, there are a lot of things God says and does that, if I were God, I wouldn’t say and do.  But you know what?  I’m not God.  I don’t get to tell Him who He is or who He should be.  I accept Him completely, even the things that make me uncomfortable.  And I think that God, in His great sovereignty, understands right and wrong, up and down, hot and cold, back and forth, justice and mercy, judgment and discernment, and even left and right a whole lot better than I do.  I can trust this – even when I don’t like it, even when I don’t feel it – and believe that His ways and thoughts are higher than my ways and thoughts.  Or, I can discard everything that makes me uncomfortable and end up with a “faith” based on my own god-concept, with no roots, no foundation, no certainty, and no backbone.

I don’t understand God, or claim to.  I don’t have all the answers, or claim to.  Sometimes I change my mind.  Sometimes I screw up.  Sometimes I say too much and sometimes I say absolutely nothing and in both situations, I usually err.  Sometimes I might even get it right.  But all of the time, God has the answers.  God never changes.  God never screws up.  God always says enough of the right thing.  God always gets it right.  If He didn’t, He wouldn’t be God.

He is sovereign.  He is holy.  He is loving.  He is just.  He is right.  He is.  And when I can’t trust the world, when I can’t trust people, when I can’t trust the lines, when I can’t trust myself, I can trust Him.  So can you.

You mess with my kid and I swear I will blog about you!

My son doesn’t get as much social interaction as he probably needs.  I guess that’s one of the downsides of being a stay-at-home-mom is that sometimes it’s easy to forget that your kid really needs to be around other kids.  Our church has very few toddlers, he hangs out with a bunch of kids speaking Korean for an hour and a half on Thursdays, and I try to take him to story time at the library every week but it’s still not really enough.  All that to say that my son LOVES other kids, especially kids that are older than him, but he is pretty shy.  Unless he is at home, he likes to watch them from a safe distance and usually would rather play with me.  But a few weeks ago at story time he decided to break out of his shell.  He left my lap (*gasp*) and sat on the floor with the other kids, interacted, and played.

There is one group of rather rambunctious friends at the library.  They are all probably four or five and they always play together.  Malachi really wanted to see what they were doing and he was so excited to see them playing with the plastic animals that he LOVES.  I was so proud of my boy when he walked over and tried to play along.  I was beaming.  My heart was singing.  I was actually almost teary and any other mom will tell you they understand and my husband will tell you I am a hormonal mess but whatever.

Then, that little girl.  That.  little.  girl.  You know what she did?  She said, “NO!,” grabbed the woof-woof out of my son’s hands, and clutched the bucket it came from with a vice-grip. I was FURIOUS but I held it together.  I told my son, “You need to say please and wait until she gives it to you.”  And he did.  He beamed at her, said “dee,” and picked up the doggie again.  She took it back again.  “NO.  You can’t have it!  WE’RE playing with it.”  By now my face was red and smoke was coming out of my ears and I said, “You should really share” to which she responded, “He didn’t say plee-eez” to which I said, “Yes he did, actually, and those toys are for everyone.”

Far be it from me to pretend that I didn’t get raging mad at that five-year-old-girl but you know what?  Malachi didn’t.  He looked at me, said “woof-woof?,” pointed at the toy, and walked back to the girl smiling again.  Denied again.  At this point the little girl’s mom (who had been watching the ENTIRE time and saying nothing) finally decided it would be appropriate for her to chime in and told her daughter she needed to share.  The little girl’s posse also had started to feel bad for my boy and each shared one animal with him which I thought was quite sweet.  I’ll spare you the back-and-forth that ensued between alpha-child and overwhelmed-mother but finally the little girl was pretty much told “You can hog all the animals except for the dogs, because that is what he wants” and I kept my mouth shut because I figured “It’s about TIME you dealt with your selfish daughter who clearly controls the relationship” wasn’t the best thing to say.

Malachi, who despite not being exposed to many kids still has manners, said “dat-dee” (thank you), and happily walked back over to me to line up all his plastic doggies, his one elephant, and his one bear, respectively, in a row.  He shared with the kids who came to see what he was doing, and he even gave the animals back to alpha-girl when he was done.

As we left the library, I had several feelings.  I was incredibly frustrated with the girl’s mother.  She told her daughter countless times to share but never enforced it.  She let the girl bully my son and a few other kids because she didn’t know how to control it (or perhaps was scared to be firm in front of other mommies).  I was angry at the little girl for being so selfish.  She was twice my son’s age and should really have had some manners.  And I was really disappointed in myself for feeling all of that.  It wasn’t fair.  Children at that age are the product of the situations they grew up in.  And I didn’t know that mom – I don’t know her story.  And while some frustration is probably understandable, some grace (which I had none of at the time) would have been a much better response.  I did hold it together – she didn’t know any of the thoughts going through my mind when I smiled at her and said “Thanks” after she stepped in.  But God knew my heart, and that matters more.

And lastly, I was so, so proud of my son.  My son who stepped out of his comfort zone, played with other kids, shared with anyone who asked, said please and thank you (sort of), and left the library probably thinking that the little girl was his best friend because she gave him a doggie.  I could learn a lot from him.

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