{Keke, my little sister, talked to Santa about sending the girls some elves–to work mischief in our house throughout the rest of the Christmas season. They arrived via the chimney this morning, and these pictures are of that and some shots of this morning’s breakfast. Food on faces, squinty eyes and all. At what age are they going to be mad at me for posting these kind of pictures of them?}

For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do NOT want to do–this I keep on doing. Romans 7:19, emphasis mine
This child. This child has been giving me fits.

It’s as though things I thought we mastered at 12 months age, now, at 3 YEARS seem to be giving her trouble again. She does things…like playing in the toilet water, rubbing my face lotion (my one big extravagance in my make-up bag) in her hair, writing all over her legs with markers, knocking an entire row of shampoo bottles over in the grocery store, or jumping from the TOP of the couch-back and hitting her forehead on the coffee table–you can see the bruise remnants below.

When you add this behavior to the fact that she is pathologically clumsy, and falls somewhere around 1,425 times per day, I am not sure how she is going to survive much longer.

One of yesterday’s falls happened at a most inopportune time. Before I exercise, I try to get my day’s tasks started and the house decently straight (as in my bed made and the dishes in the sink), and everybody dressed…which means I rarely make it out of the door before lunch-time. It had been a particularly frustrating morning with the Dapples. The morning began with her standing up beside her chair at breakfast and just peeing all over the floor. “Oh, OK! Mary Aplin. Let me get that for you! Don’t worry about the fact that I asked you 30 seconds ago if you needed to go potty?! If the floor’s more convenient, then go right ahead.”

As I’m Cloroxing the mess and getting her pajamas in the washing machine, I hear mother-Pace reassuring her, “Don’t worry Mary Aplin, you’re not going to get a spanking.”

“Pace, you are not the Mom and are not allowed to decide when spankings will or will not be administered.”
Mary Aplin also managed to perform a handful of the above tasks before I had them out of the door in warm coats, mittens on hands, blanket ready, and Locks rigged to a belt because I couldn’t find his leash–All this so that I could take a run and work off some of the morning’s frustrations?

There is an incredibly steep hill that I have to climb right out of our driveway. The girls wanted to walk up it (Praise the Lord!), so I pushed an empty double stroller to the top of the hill before they climbed in. As soon as they sat down, I noticed something was wrong. I couldn’t move the stroller forward at all. I looked down to find one of the tires was “wallering around on the rim” kind of flat. Ugghhh. “Get out girls, I have to go back to the house and try to put some air in this tire.”

As we headed back down the mountain towards our house, I hear a scream of pain behind me and turn to see Dapples, face plant number 435 of the day, on harsh concrete. In a panic I attempt to throw the stroller break on and toss Locks’ belt/leash to Pace. I turn and sprint towards my screaming victim and then hear, “MOM!” out of Pace’s mouth. I swivel mid-stride and see the double stroller picking up speed as it hurtles towards Pace and Locks, then gets turned because of the flat tire (thank goodness, sort of) and tumbles into the road. The shock of taking the curb flips the stroller, scattering my phone and car keys into the road as well. All of this, in front of a mini-van climbing up the road.

I gave up the run and we went back to the house and ate grilled cheese sandwiches instead.
While the falling incident was obviously not Dapple’s “fault,” there are so many other things that ARE. However, the baffling thing about Mary Aplin is that you can NOT stay mad at her. Two minutes after she gets in trouble, she’ll come and tap on the side of my leg. I look down to the face blotchy with crying and wet with tears and she says, “Torry Mommy” (we’ve got a little lisp), just before she clutches my leg in a tight hug and cries harder. Over and over I hear Romans 7:19 play in my head as I go down to my knees and take her into a proper hug. My heart turns into a puddle as I feel her real penitence and recall all the times God has offered me Grace for “the evil I do not want to do–this I keep on doing.”
Surely, she will never play in toilet water again…at least not for fifteen minutes 🙂

19 Responses to “Romans 7:19 At Work”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Sorry Mommy! Such is life with little ones. I will tell you as a Mom of 26 and 28 year old children…this to shall pass. But, I do feel your frustration and will pray for you and your family. I don't know you personally but I feel I know your heart from what I read. You are a good Mom and as long as you lean on God and seek his guidance you will do the right thing. But, tomorrow will likely be a repeat. 🙂

  2. Anonymous says:

    Abby…It's the second child…my sister has three…the youngest of which has just turned 1! Ethan, the middle child, is 6 and he was the SAME way!!! The good news is that he seems to be outgrowning it to some extent! He can melt your heart with just a look…and five seconds earlier you wanted to hang him by his toes from the fan!

  3. Lauren says:

    Does Dapples go to sleep easily at night? Sipsey does the same type thing to melt your heart into a puddle before bedtime. She stalls SO MUCH and continuously comes out of her room claiming to need a kiss and a hug and telling me, "I love you so berry berry BERRY much, Mommy!!"

    I love you too. Now go. to. bed.


  4. Lauren says:

    We have similar things at our house. Our 16 month old gets in to everything (that he is learning he isn't supposed to)…then comes up to my leg hugging my leg crying and will not let go until I pick him up. Then when I pick him up he gives me kiss after kiss and plays with my hair…then wants to get down to find something else to get in to. But, I am like you. The love that outpours from my heart cannot stand to see him upset, and I know that he loves us so much by the way that he shows it….there is just no way I can be mad at him!!

  5. Amy says:

    Hi Abby,
    My name is Amy Cook. You don't know me be we know some of the same people and they suggested I get in touch with you. My husband John and I live in Bham, Al and are about to move to Seattle in the next few weeks. We are good friends with Steven and Lindsey Salter as well as Al and Laura Renfroe (I saw you guys went on the Feb mountain trip). Another friend of a friend told me about your blog and well I would love to chat if you don't mind. This has happened quickly for us and we have to make some decisions about living soon. If you have time and wouldn't mind would you email me and we can chat that way. My email is amyjanecook at gmail dot com.
    Look forward to meeting another Southern transplant 🙂

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hi Abby,
    You are a wonderful mother from everything I've read. My story may or may not not offer any insight. Your Dapples is older than my second daughter was when she started some interesting behavior. My Tara was a little over 1 when we moved into a new home which, fortunately, had vinyl kitchen floors. She began banging her head on the floor. After she did the head banging a second time, it dawned on me that I tended to approach her no differently than I approached my 4 year old. For instance, if I were standing at the sink washing dishes and Tara from behind me started communicating something to me, I would gently brush her off("just a minute honey" without even looking back at her) in a manner that was appropriate for a 4year old. From that point forward, when she needed something, I would turn to her and bend down and look at her at face level and listen to her. She quit banging her head, conincidentally or not. With the first child, we focus on their every breath and movement and they probably wish we would give them some space. I think we sometimes forget that the second child is younger and needs some of that focus as well. Just a thought.

  7. Brittny says:

    OH my goodness I can not help but laugh only because I know exactly how you feel! My little Sophie will be 3 in a few weeks and she sounds very much like your little one! (And my 4 year old pipes in just like yours does.) She peed all over my toilet while standing on top of it trying to get into my makeup bag. Seriously, how does this happen? If it makes you feel any better, every single mom I ran into that day (and it was a lot considering I was at the kids' school) was having the same day you were… all the way in Florida. You are not alone and thanks for making me laugh too!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I think the kids need to blog. so what if the entry is jfksgsh udf hdldirdmn dsfundm it does not have to go out on the web u know. also what about an old fashioned type writer for them then they could dskdsif dkidsdn to their hearts content i thnk dki erer,e ieenvc

    would be great

  9. Kendall Boggs says:

    bless your heart. It will get better, I promise…..then they turn 13. Hum.

  10. Nancy says:

    Such beautiful girls!! I'm going through the same thing with my 3 year old..if I turn on a light she says "no Mommy, I'll do it" & turns it off & back on, or if I try to hold a kleenex to her nose, "no Mommy, I'll get it" and picks her nose. She's the 2nd child, too. Earlier this week she colored the couch. 🙂 Great.
    Calgon, take us away, just for a little bit!!

  11. Anonymous says:

    they seem to have plenty of energy let them jog with you– they could benefit from that jog power walk the bluebirdbaby blog may offer some ideas

  12. PDeverit says:

    Useful info:
    Plain Talk About Spanking
    by Jordan Riak

    Center for Effective Discipline:

  13. Konie says:

    This was just too funny to me!!! I could imagine it all as I read! And Ken said that there was even more that happened in the day that you didn't even put in the blog!!!! AND….I totally agree with you, you can't stay upset with that little Mary Aplin!!! She really does have the sweetest spirit with the most excited smile ever!! And Pace is as precious and sweet too!!! The little caring and peacemaker heart:)) Couldn't stay upset with her either!! SO, it's obvious you can and do count your blessings at the end of these small "10 steps backwards" turns in your day:)) You are going to laugh so hard one day when you reread all these blogs!!:) XOXOXO

  14. Kendall Boggs says:

    I agree with Konie Abbs!!! Oh, how I remember those days. You'll find this funny! I dreamed I went in the bathroom last night and there was stuff all stuffed in the toilet. I mean clothes, rags, towels. Musta been after reading your blog!!!! Guess what? Just in time for Christmas I'm giving away a painting!!!! Take a looksy.
    Good luck precious!

  15. Anonymous says:

    hmm all that energy–Can the new bikes be adjusted to allow the rear wheel to spin without hitting the floor? As in jacking up the rear wheel, adjusting the placement with the training wheels to transform it in to a bicycle for spinning lessons while you exercise.. … necessity is the mother of invention

  16. snekcip says:

    Your girls are adorable!! Gotta love 3yr old mischievous ways!

    I had to know…are those little "elf on the shelf" plush toy w/a book?

  17. andi says:

    🙂 Hugs! Loved all of the snow pics! Your girls are precious!

  18. Amy says:

    I'm so pleasantly surprised to find your blog! To be perfectly honest, i was trying to google josh and find him on facebook! haha! he's just too cute, and being an alabamiam myself, i thought it'd be neat to learn more about him and what he does. i promise i'm not a weird stalker from the internet! i also noticed a post with a scripture title, so that reeled me in. being a fan of not only blogging but reading blogs, i hope you don't mind if i follow yours, too. god bless!

  19. Anonymous says:

    you have visitors from all over it is so much fun to see who is checking for an update from you at the same time as I. I guess people read blogs to see how life goes on in other parts of the world it is almost like a party line on a phone but a blogger invites us in so to speak and well we thank you for a year of beautiful pictures and sharing the highs and lows of Life as the Maddox Family experience the Pacific northwest. Merry Christmas Maddox family

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