Drawing Them Out

We are all different.  Different strengths, weaknesses, loves, and hardships.



As a parent, I want to be watching as those strengths and loves emerge–to help them grow.  I also want to be watching for the weaknesses and hardships–to help them grow stronger.



Pace loves language; she has from an early age.  And recently we did the most awesome project together that we’ve ever done.  She came to me in the kitchen and asked me to help she and Mary Aplin put on a play.  I told her I thought it was a great idea and started rattling off well-known fairy-tales that I thought the three of us could adapt pretty easily.  None seemed to fit her liking.  Just as I was getting frustrated (and about to tell her to go do her own play if none of my ideas were good enough :)), she said, “Momma, will you help me write my own play?”  I wanted to turn a cartwheel right there in the kitchen.

We sat down at the table, and I put on a kettle of tea.  I took pen and paper in hand, and as we both sipped, I dove into her imagination.  It went a little like this:

Me: Ok, Pace, what do you want to write a story about?

Pace: A Prince and a Princess, but I want to tell about the Prince first.  He’s hunting.

Me: What is he hunting?

Pace: A wild boar.

Me: Is he in the woods or in a field?  Is he walking?  Is he by himself?

Pace: He’s alone in a forest and he’s riding a unicorn.  But just before he’s about to shoot the boar with his bow and arrow, a dragon swoops in to protect his hoggy friend.

Me: Does the Prince kill the dragon?

Pace: Yeah, he does, because he wants to get the boar.  But the Prince didn’t know that the dragon was the witch’s favorite pet! {She’s really getting fired up now.  Arms are waving, tea is spilling, she’s in a creative frenzy, and I’m so proud I could cry…I think I actually did}

It went on like this for two afternoons.  Making her tell me not just, “the princess had a beautiful gown and she was picking flowers.”  But drawing her out, making her describe the dress, the smell of the flowers…helping her learn what little I’ve gleaned about making a story come to life.

At some point I told her we were writing a book and not a play.  Finally, after three solid pages of handwriting, we’d reached an ending.  I handed her some markers and told her to start illustrating different scenes, while I took our jumble of thoughts and put them in an orderly sequence (and added a few vocabulary words :)).  When we were both done, I let her pick out a fabric and I (crudely) bound it together with a little cardboard.


Staples on the outside were not well planned. You better watch your fingers while reading this one.


Can you tell that we've read it a few times?


That would be the Prince killing the dragon.


And a really crazy haired Witch Frangelica coming to save her pet dragon.


I put our picture on the "back flap" and laughed at how badly I must want to get a book published.



And when we were all done, it was eleven pages long, and we were as proud as two peacocks to add our very own creation to our little library.

And then, there’s Mary Aplin.  She does not love language like her big sister (at least not right now), but she is the most hilarious joy-filled child I have ever encountered.  She is also extremely flexible:



And spends a surprising amount of life on her tippy toes.




Pace has a bit more trouble in these areas 🙂

We have different little things we love to do together–a lot of them involve helping her develop her language skills, which give her fits.  But today she went to a birthday party where she got to bounce and spin and turn somersaults, and I got to see her excel at what makes her shine.

Mary Aplin came home from the birthday party with a medal around her neck.  I asked her why she had a medal and she answered in the clear language that we’ve been working so hard to develop, “Cause I’m a winner.”

We haven’t signed the girls up for ballet or gymnastics because it seemed like too much money right now, but after hearing those words out of Dapples mouth it hit me how much she needs to feel like a winner in the areas where her strengths lie.  I’m looking for summer ballet camps for that little chicken wing.

I can’t begin to thank y’all for the amazing, heartfelt comments you left on the last post.  I am so thankful for yall…  I’ll be back on Wednesday morning to announce the winner!

11 Responses to “Drawing Them Out”

  1. molly says:

    Abby! Love your new site! Your newest writing endeavor with Pace was both sweet & hilarious! Storywood is a magical place already.

  2. Lauren says:

    How sweet for your children to want their own play and to write their own story. That is wonderful that they want to be unique and share their own ideas. And so great that you pour out encouragement to them… and helping them with originality. You are right – we all have things that we are good at and things that we are not-so-good at… and kudos to you for encouraging your children in their strong areas. 🙂

  3. Meredith says:

    I love this post. I really need to remember this with my own children – especially my 4 year old. She also loves to talk and to tell stories and most of the time I find myself only half way listening. This might be a great project for us so that she will get to tell her stories and I will really be able to give her my attention. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Konie says:

    This just confirms my decision……Love and Marriage is my favorite!! 🙂 I’ve only been able to look at this through my NEW phone since you presented the new website…..and now it’s even MORE WOW!!!!! Abby…..maybe this children’s book should be the first publication of books:) Think how a child’s thoughts and imagination would draw in the interest and anticipation of another child listening to it being read to them. I can’t wait to see and read the whole book, REAL SOON:)))XOXO

  5. lindsey says:

    abby, i am really happy for you and this new site! it is beautifully done! i have no doubt i’ll be going to the store to buy a book with your picture on the back one day. maybe pace’s too! can you wait and sign mary aplin up with elle? :)looking forward to seeing you next week.

  6. Allyson says:

    Abby! I don’t think you are desperate to get a book published at all. I think you are an amazing, creative mom that is building confidence in her children! Keep up with that little book of hers…it will be a treasure when she’s all grown up and writing novels 😉 My little girl, a few months older than MA, is a ball of energy & flexible too. Tumbling is good for her. Tumbling comes to her school once a week since she was 18 months old. She loves it. She just finished an eight week parks and rec ballet class. At first I was not sure she’d make it to the third week. And with a lot of talking to her (some bribing with ice cream after) and getting the teacher on board, she finally took to it and loved it. I think the disciplined physical activity was good for her. I think MA would love tumbling or ballet!

  7. Jennifer L. says:

    I really like your new site. This post brought tears to my eyes, good ones; and it’s not the first time one of your posts has done this to me!! Thank you so much for sharing your life with us. With all the negative things to read online it’s very refreshing to read something that is both real and positive and to know that there are “good, normal” people in the world!

  8. melissa says:

    this brought me to tears. i’m not sure if it was dapples’ “i’m a winner” or the sweet book that got to me more…

    this post has also inspired me to write a book with vale! it might take a bit longer, but what a great idea!

    love you.

  9. Katie Snow says:

    Love the new site! So beautiful! This post about the girls is precious. My three are definitely so different and uniquely special….I guess God made us all that way huh?! Amazing, that guy is!

  10. Danielle says:

    I just enjoyed a lovely little Sunday evening ready this while Karman helps his sister with Physics. It brought plenty of smiles and laughs. Mary Aplin’s love for dance reminds me of myself when I was little. I would dance all around, not speak much, but then one day I did start speaking in full blown sentences out of the blue.

    Karman and his sister did continue to giving me funny looks as I continued to smile and laugh 🙂

    What a joy these two precious girls are. You are a family that portrays the beauty of the Lord so purely.

  11. Tiffani says:

    Just came over from Darby’s blog and so glad I did:) What a beautiful post about drawing out the best in your two girls! I, also, have two little girls and this is a familiar story to me{how very different they are}:) So encouraging and sweet!

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