Insert Grace Here…

…finding grace to help in the time of need…

The Wonder of Sophie

I thought I was prepared.

Cammie and Courtney were teens.  I’d been Nanny for many years to a variety of children—strong-willed, introverted, attention deficit, bossy, whiny, needy, loud.  I nurtured newborn babies, bathed them and clipped their nails.  I potty trained toddlers, carpooled preschoolers and went on field trips.  I disciplined and demanded structure.  I documented my success our days as The Nanny Diaries for the parents.  No-it-all Nanny advice abounded.

But those children were sent home at the end of the day, often after classic fit-throwing in front of tired parents.  And so were my nieces and nephews who call me Nanny. 

I patiently waited to start the parenting process all over again.

And then she arrived. 

My pedestal was kicked out from under me.  My rule book was shredded.  Survival mode replaced rigid structure.  I’m 39 and she is 2.  Is this a joke, Lord?  Strong-willed?  NOW I get strong-willed?

She currently toddles into my bedroom all hours of the night with her blanky in tow, slides my eye mask up and wakes me from my slumber.  The frightful jolt from sleep keeps me from dozing long after I’ve returned her to her quarters and reclaimed my territory.  Diet Coke overloads my bladder as I ease my stress.  I wander aimlessly to my bathroom with my eyes half open only to plop down on Sophie’s attached potty lid.  Cushy, but small with handles that attack my bottom.

Those rules I applied previously to all manner of children are adjusted.  Sometimes I scoop her up in surrender and plop her in my bed only to be tortured by sudden punches in the face, jabs in the side or kicks in the stomach.  My extra pillow fails to protect me.  I reason that she’s been having “nightmaras”.  She’ll sleep in tomorrow.  That only happens when my schedule calls for an early rise.  Otherwise, she challenges me to remain calm when she wakes me at the butt-crack of dawn (Sorry for the harsh language…I’m feeling a bit worked up suddenly.) with her sweet grin.  “Gooood morning, Mommy.” 

I let down my guard and I melt.  Just when I think it’s safe, sudden aggravation overtakes her.  She doesn’t like my choice of T.V. shows?  “NO!  Not THAT one!  Want Dora!”

In a nanny-second (I made that up.  I was a Nanny, remember?) she sends hours (okay, sometimes minutes) of work into cyber-space.  “I’m checking my emails,” she says as she pecks away at the keyboard.

She’s a back-seat driver.  “DON’T pumpin’ gas!  Go bye-bye!”  “COME ON PEOPLE!”  “NO, NOT THAT WAY!”  “I wanna’ watch (listen to) THAT one!”  I find myself changing stations for a toddler.  Tension grips my shoulders, then she holds our her hands and says, “hug?”

Don’t misunderstand.  I am smitten.  How could I not be?  It’s just that the new look of smitten is disheveled.

“I like your face,” she says as she brushes my cheek.  “I like your pretty hair.  I like your eyes.  I like your nose.  I like your boogers.”  HUH?  “I like your boobies.”  She reaches for them.  “I’m gon-na get your boooo-bies!” 

She knows her full name, the last name of her sisters, her birthday, the street she lives on and even her state—“Deweesiana”.  But she repeats most of what she hears.  This has worked effectively on the conscience.  It’s clear that much of her language originated from the teens.  “WHATEVER!”  “I’M not a BOSSY!  YOU a BOSSY!”  She understands and knows how to apply words rather quickly—forget, remember, already, behind, backwards.  She said she was nervous when she was in the car the other day.   

She hates band-aids but picks her scabs.  We hog-tied her after many warnings and placed a band-aid on a scooped out sore.  “It’s gonna’ be ALRIGHT.  Just leave it there,” she attempts to comfort herself.  Several days passed and the band-aid was hanging on by an arm hair.  I took it off.  She hates band-aids, remember?  “NOOOOOOO! I WANT MY BAND-AID!”  I attempted to console her.  In between the heaving, it was apparent that she wasn’t going down to sleep without a fight.  I applied another band-aid.  “It’s gonna’ be alright!”

She hates medicine.  “I DON’T WANNA’ LIKE VITAMINS!”  But inconsistency is her theme.  I don’t have the energy to chase her down for Benadryl.  After laying it on the counter, she climbs up the bar stool and takes it herself.  THAT could be a ‘nightmara’.

She sneaks into her sisters’ rooms and comes out smelling like a french perfume factory.  “Mommy, I’m messin’ in Courtney’s room.”  After following her to Courtney’s room, I find a small bottle of strong perfume on the floor with its top close by.  Eyeshadow smeared across her face goes unnoticed when I leave the house.  The other day she had shocking pink nail polish on her neck.  I used to have it together.

It often takes four arms to hold her down to retrieve a booger.  It’s quite frightening.  I’d say it goes way beyond the normal fear of booger retrieval.  Yet the other day she found an eraser from a mechanical pencil and shoved it up her nose.  She was tortured—but unharmed—during its retrieval.

She pushes her cousins and hits children she doesn’t know while in public.  “I.  HIT.  Her.”  No remorse?

But she constantly tells me, “I love you, Mommy.”  “I miss you.”

She draws beautiful pictures to mail to Cammie at the “Nashul Guard”.  Then she balls them up and throws them away.

Some children have very rigid schedules and do well.  But when change comes, many of the same children struggle with adapting.  Some children have very flexible schedules and go with the flow.  Yet many of these children resist being boxed in by predictable routines.

I often question my parenting of Sophie.  (Or lack thereof.)  I question my decisions and especially my inconsistency.  And well I should.  All of my children are different.  But that’s an obvious point.  Reluctantly, I have accepted the realization that changing what used to work is sometimes essential for effective parenting.  The dynamics have changed.  While I find relief from this insight, I am careful to remember that “the basics” must remain.  Discipline is crucial to the well-being of my child(ren).  What worked for Cammie and Courtney simply may not work for Sophie.  However, I must find an effective form of discipline that “will” work.  And I must be consistent.  The answer is still the same:  love and discipline. 

We are all unique individuals in the Body of Christ.  The many facets of Father God are reflected through us.  Our stories and testimonies vary.  The circumstances and messages that pointed us to Christ differ.  But we all came by Way of the Cross.  Regardless of need, circumstance or sin, His Word is our Authority. 

His is the example I want to follow as a parent.  His Book covers every need for every child.

I will remain humbled as Sophie challenges my expertise.  And I’ll likely continue to be humiliated at times.  Perhaps it will be a repeat of, “YOUR BREFF STINKS,” while we’re in public.  But then I’ll be encouraged again when she folds her hands together before eating, bows her head and says, “let’s pray.”



  Mrs. Q wrote @

LOL… subsequent offspring can be interesting for parenting pride, no? My firstborn was compliant and people-pleasing (much like moi…lol), then along comes Mr. Independent (I chose his psuedonym without difficulty) and then Miss Precious seems as if she will be even more strong-willed than her brother! Ack! But I have to remember that God made them that way for a reason and it is up to me to help mold and shape their character. Harness the power of their little spirited spirits for God and not for evil. Being stubborn and strong-willed is good! And finally, He knows our children intimately, inside and out…thank YOU LORD!

Prayer…lots of it 🙂 I can’t imagine what you experience during the day…but I loved your description of your strong-willed, independent, loveable daughter. She sounds feisty, and I for one, think that feisty people are WAY more interesting 🙂

Hugs and blessing!

  insertgracehere wrote @

Mrs. Q,

Thanks! YES, yes, yes…LOTS of prayer!

And I totally agree—she is full of personality and the stuff that makes leaders.

We could sure use more of those. Those who follow after Christ, that is!


  Jerri wrote @

I, too, have three daughters and each one is different. I’m kind of like Mrs. Q, feisty people are more interesting, and they make good leaders.

Prayers and Blessings to you and Sophie,


  Sarah S. wrote @

Thanks for stopping by my blog! We CAN be best blog-friends and, guess what? I grew up in Louisiana, too!! It was meant to be. And? Oh. my. stars. I have the hardest, hard-head of a strong-willed child you would ever want to meet. He’s 10 now, though. Yes, we both survived. Sometimes I wasn’t so sure. Here’s what got me through: “Child, the ONLY person on the planet with a head harder than you is ME. And I! WILL!! WIN!!!!” And win I did. Most days. Remember that if you point those chubby little feet the right way on the right Path, they will be immoveable!! Praise!

  Tammy Marcelain wrote @

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I love your post! Your little Sophie will definately keep your life interesting, I know that she will bring so many blessings. Have a great week!

  Kristen wrote @

Hi Rena! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog the other day. I always love having new folks to visit and new blogs to read. Your little girl sounds just precious! I hope you are enjoying every moment of life with her!

  Tasha Via wrote @

It’s nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping my blog=) I love finding and reading new blogs.

We know our Zeke has these same qualities for Greatness and Leadership. It’s so hard to see that now, in the midst of the temper-tantrums, but we KNOW God has made him in His image!=)

  Nichole wrote @

Hello Rena,

Thank you so much for visiting my site, so I could have the wonderful blessing of visiting your site.

I was reminded by visiting your site today that we have a lot to learn from our little ones!

  Joy wrote @

Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving your lovely comment.

I found this post so interesting. I have a sister who was 18 years old when my sister and I were born – yes my Mom had twins 18 years after her first child. I can only imagine the joys of parenting a teen and toddlers at the same time!

Remembering today that children are a blessing from the Lord.

  Audra Krell wrote @

Ah she is such a joy. And so was this well written post. There are many wonders about her, and many, many more to be discovered. Thank you for sharing her with us! Blessings and prayers to you all!

  Ginger wrote @

Nanny this is awesome! Reminds me of how Jordon is so different, yet today I find myself challenged in all areas… ha! In truth, we all learn from our children. Their reflection of us keeps us on our toes, while their reflection of Him keeps us on our knees.

What a blessing Sophie Jeanne has been and will continue to be as you begin to see “yourself” through your Savior’s- or your Father’s- eyes.

Your advice will always be welcome. (Even when you fall flat on your face… ha! I know you’ll get back up, hair disheveled in all.)

Love you Nanny,

  Rebeckah wrote @

This is what scares me about our next one : ). The first one has been easy peasy pumpkin pie nice but I have heard nightmares about what could come next : ). Especially since there will be a huge age difference. I still want one though! My husband keeps saying, let’s wait till we have all of our bills paid. Please, that could be never : ).

  Whitney wrote @

Absolutely Priceless. Hang in there and grab all of those precious moments that you can. She will love you for loving her. God continue to bless you….and give you strength!

  Please Don’t Feed The Ducks! « Insert Grace Here… wrote @

[…] The sound of bumbling humans unloading their vehicle was obviously welcoming to them.  In a nanny-second they flocked around us quacking loudly.  Before retrieving Sophie from her car seat, we pondered […]

  Supernanny…HELP! « Insert Grace Here… wrote @

[…] I’ve said it before.  Sophie’s arrival changed everything.  She is a little firecracker to say the least.  I’ve gone from confident mother and Nanny to entertaining the notion of contacting Supernanny, JoJo.  This past Saturday, the ABC show accepted applications at Cortana Mall in Baton Rouge. […]

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