Her compassion.
April 19, 2012

Yesterday afternoon I snapped at Charlotte because she made a mess in the bathroom while I was washing dishes – and you know what?  IT WAS MY FAULT.  I was too busy focusing on my activity to tend to her needs.  From my daughter’s perspective, she had a problem and she resolved it without me.  When I came back to find her, she was immensely proud of herself.

But I came back and I saw the mess and I said “NO!  Charlotte!  Why did you do this?  You should not have done this!” and blah blah blah blah blah.  I was too wrapped up in my own irritation at having one more mess to pick up to focus on how incredible it was that she’d solved her problem so inventively in the first place.

Her face fell faster than a lead weight.  She looked at me like I had crushed her soul and she ran into the farthest corner away from me that she could reach and turned around and put her palms outward toward me.  “STOP!” she said.  “You are being MEAN, Momma!  I AM NOT LIKING THIS!  STOP!  YOU NEED TO BE NICE!”

It stopped me dead in my tracks.  It broke my heart.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart,” I said.  “You were right to be proud of yourself.  I’m sorry that I was so upset.  I’m very proud of you for figuring out how to solve that problem yourself; I was just short-tempered because this mess could have been dangerous.  Next time, please talk to me first.  And you’re right; Momma should be nice too.  It isn’t fair for me to ask you to be nice if I can’t be nice myself, huh?”

“NO IT IS NOT!” she said.

“Would you like a hug?” I asked.  She shook her head.  “Would you like me to sing a song?” I asked.  She nodded.

So we sang.  Bill Grogan’s Goat.  She’ll Be Coming ‘Round The Mountain.  Big Rocky Candy Mountain.  Princess Pat.  Sweetly Sings The Donkey.  And when we were through, she was in my arms and I was rocking her slowly and smelling her hair and kissing the top of her head.

“I’m sorry,” I told her again.  “I’m just so sorry.”

“It’s okay, Momma,” she said to me yesterday while she gave me a kiss on the cheek.  “You are just sick.  The baby makes you sick.  You will feel better if you sleep.  Do you want me to tuck you in?”

She tucked me in and then she curled up next to me and we sang songs until we both fell asleep.  And when we woke up, everything was okay again.  We cleaned up the mess together and we talked about bathroom safety and we finished the dishes.  We talked about how proud I am of her and why and we talked about how important it is to be nice, no matter how tired Momma is.  And then we told stories and made art and blew bubbles and fed the chickens and had a generally fantastic afternoon.

It will never cease to amaze me what a gem my daughter is.  Truly.

** Charlotte is two years and eight months old.  I am eleven weeks pregnant.


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  1. By Haley @ Carrots for Michaelmas on April 19, 2012

    Darling girl! What a precious heart she has. My son is VERY THREE right now and it can be…..erm…trying at times. But he’s also so dear and so gentle and loving with his baby sister and helps me remember that underneath all the willful, defiant, independent threeness, there’s a tender, loving heart.

  2. By on April 19, 2012

    what a sweet little daughter !
    when you snap at her, do you also drag that bitter feeling for days ? Guilty, heartbroken.. sad and ashamed ? i hate it when i loose patience…

  3. By Sarah@CrazyLoveGambleStyle on April 19, 2012

    That is a very sweet story.  I just love kids.  I know that awful feeling well when you yell when you shouldn’t, caught up in a moment for some reason or another, I love how no matter what my daughter quickly forgives me when I sincerely apologize.  They have such big amazing hearts.

  4. By Sarah on April 19, 2012

    Ah, I remember snapping out when I was pregnant. My poor kids and husband. Thank goodness it provides a teaching moment on how to apologize and that everyone, even Mommy, messes up sometimes. It also teaches our kids how to forgive. Great job handling that!!

  5. By on April 19, 2012

    She is a gem!  Her parents are gems too!

  6. By Karen on April 19, 2012

    Truly amazing! What a gift to the world she is! And you are an amazing mother… everyone snaps at times, but you owned up and treated your daughter with such humility and respect. With a model like that no wonder she is so compassionate.

  7. By momiss on April 19, 2012

    “I AM NOT LIKING THIS!“
    Oh, that just kills me!  In a good way! 
    You are raising a very wise little one, there, girl.  “you will feel better if you take a nap”.......INDEED.

  8. By on April 19, 2012

    One of my favorites, Sarah. I love how you handled this. And shared it with us all. :)

  9. By on April 20, 2012

    Oh we had a rough, rough day this week. I’m not proud of how I handled it and apologized to my babe several times.
    I just hope I learn from such episodes and they help me become a better mama.
    The ridiculous part was at one point I was shouting and saying “I need you to stop shouting”. I know!

  10. By on April 20, 2012

    I truly think children are the most forgiving of all. It seems harder when we grow up doesn’t it?  I had a question for you on your adoption plans? Will you still proceed with those plans now you are pregnant?  Put on hold for now?  I was just curious.

  11. By tara pollard pakosta on April 20, 2012

    what a total sweetheart!
    this made me cry!
    so so special your little girl is!
    tara

  12. By Sarah Christensen on April 20, 2012

    Monique - We are still proceeding with our adoption plans, but our agency does not allow a long-term placement until the baby turns one.  In the meantime, we will finish certification and accept emergency placements (usually less than 72 hours, until the family receives a court date, after which point the child or children are moved into a different foster home) as we can.  We had to cancel our last training session because we had a wedding to attend last weekend, so hopefully the training will be repeated sometime this summer and we can wrap up certification shortly afterwards =)  We still haven’t had a chance to talk to our social worker - it’s been a game of phone tag the last few weeks - so our understanding of what exactly is and is not allowed during and after the pregnancy is a little restricted.


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