that's my kate. yep...she is definitely one in a million.
so today she has brought full on laugh out loud giggles to her mama this morning. you see, she is potty training, and she is at the point where she does a fabulous job staying dry as long as she is just wearing undies, no pants (oh heavens...no pants...pants lead to accidents right now (just ask my friend holly who watched the girls for our date night last night...yep, i must say i did not have the honor of cleaning out the first pair of poopy undies from kate)--and did i mention it is frigid outside...doesn't seem to bother kate though). but i digress...this morning i told her to get her pants and shoes on so we could run to the grocery, her response, "i no need pants...i got my "nundies" on!" elizabeth insisted she needed pants, and kate vehemently replied, "no, i a big girl...i got my "nundies"!" the whole exchange was hilarious...and it only got better as her choice of shoes was one patent leather black shoe and one brown shoe, with white socks, of course...here she is, ready for some shopping (and yes, she is standing virtually on top of Curious George...no worries, i did make her scoot back...but only after grabbing my camera and capturing the ensemble)
what's that...oh, you want to know why her shirt is covered in random foam stickers. oh, that would be because mommy foolishly left the baggie of stickers on the ledge at the top of the steps...and kate apparently snuck out when she woke up this morning, found the prize and squirreled them away in her bed.
she also has brought smiles of delight this morning. jillian woke up wet and stinky from neck to toe this morning...and while i was washing her down, stripping sheets, and remaking the crib kate sat next to her, held her hand and cooed sweeting, "its okay ji-in boo bear (her jillian), i love you...mama loves you. its okay." occasionally she would plant a kiss on her forehead. she asked at least a million times, "mama, i rock jin boo bear in the rocky chair?" (so sweet, except that i had visions of her dropping jillian or conking her head on the wooden chair...so we saved that for later!).
and then are the not-so-pretty moments...the unhappy kater moments. and, oh my, look out. honestly, it is kind of a rare gift...the ability to completely unsettle anyone around her with a shrieking dramatic cry...a scrunched up, full on tantruming face...the "i'm not getting my way and the whole world needs to know that".
kate has this amazing effect on me. of my three girls, she is the MOST proficient at stirring up an emotional response in me. don't get me wrong...elizabeth does her fair share of pushing buttons and disobeying...and jillian cries on occasion...but neither of them have the same effect on me. and it has been this way since kate was a baby...the number of times kate has brought me to my knees in tears is too high to count. when it comes to kate i have struggled and wrestled through many insecurities. i have done battle with her and with myself. i thought elizabeth was stubborn...HA...i found the true definition of stubborn in kate. and by golly...i love that stubborn girl with something crazy fierce.
this past week has marked a milestone in my kate journey. you see, i have been growing weary...oh so weary...weary of the discipline and training, weary of potty training, weary of her thumb sucking, weary, weary, weary. tuesday morning after finding that she had once again poo-ed in her pull-up (sneaking off to do so and further convincing me that she knew exactly what she was doing--and after we had tried the potty not five minutes before)...and then was throwing an all-out tantrum and finally consoling herself by sucking her thumb...i reached a breaking point and found myself in tears--not tears of anger...nope, tears of discouragement. at the core of things i was struggling with who God made kate to be...so, so sinful and prideful of me....as if i could possibly love kate more than God or know better than God. i sank to my knees...literally, crying out to God...asking Him to help me and give me grace for the moment.
and an amazing thing happened...HE DID (i know...profound, right...i prayed, He answered...so simple and yet soooo beautiful). in the core of my heart i could hear Him speaking to me..."do you love kate?" yes...definitely. "do you love her for who she is?" of course i do. "really...even if she poops in her pants?" ouch. "even if she never stops sucking her thumb?" ouch. "even if she does things in public that embarass you?" big ouch. "even if she never fits the mold you think she should...if she throws tantrums and pushes every button you have?" big, big tears...lots of them...yes, God, i love her. it was a bit moment for me. God made kate who she is. HE gave her her fiery streak. He made her funny. He made her sweet. He made her determined and spirited. those are gifts. granted, He does not desire that she use those gifts to sin, and He does expect michael and i to train and discipline her...to bring her to His feet that she might fully surrender to Him. He does desire that those characteristic be brought into submission to His will that they might be used for His glory....but He is gracious...and merciful...and He loves us even when we are still in "process". i don't even know if this makes sense, but oh my, it was renewing. i tucked an over-tired kate into bed for a much needed, not typical morning nap...kissing on her forehead, softly reminding her that i love her. i headed back downstairs with a new mindset...remembering that the bottom-line is love....potty training, thumb sucking, tantrums...they happen...they aren't always easy...not everyone fits the same mold...but the bottomline is loving and cherishing my sweet girl...delighting in the silly, laugh aloud, crazy moments...trusting in His grace in the uglier moments.
i'm sure there are more tears to come...parenting is like that....but oh that i would treasure my babies...that i would stop in the overwhelmed moments and remember that the Sovereign God is so much more in love with my children than i could EVER be...and He is in control of their days. my prayer and meditation is galatians 6:9 (a verse a sweet, sweet friend used to encourage me a few weeks ago)..."let us not grow weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." praying for a harvest...and praying the grace to keep doing good each and every day!
incidentally, wednesday, at the end of my potty training rope, i put kate in undies...it was a last resort. (i had resisted them...as i was ready for kate to be potty-trained but overwhelmed by the prospect of poopy pants...all the while i am quite convinced that pull-ups do just about nothing to help with potty training...so yes, i realize that i was setting kate up for failure--and then getting frustrated with her...ironic, huh?). anyway...i put her in underwear...and amazingly enough, the sweet girl stayed clean and dry the rest of the day...and the next day...and until i put pants on her and dropped her off at our friends' last night for date night. and not just stayed dry...she actually took the initiative to go to the potty all by herself and then come tell me when she was finished...numerous times....amazing! and this mommy is pretty convinced that poo-ing will come with time...in the meantime i might just be doing more laundry!
so, yep....my kate is one in a million (so are her sisters...i am so blessed...because, actually, my husband is one in a million too!). she is spirited and funny. she is smart and smiley. she is giggly and chattery. she is independent and kind. she is sweet and snuggly. she is loud and dramatic. she is cute and helpful. she is loved beyond belief!