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Archive | Mercy in Mamahood

Dress the Dolls

Three-year-olds aren’t exactly known as the most giving people on the planet. “Mine!” is their typical mantra. Which is why I was so delighted to have my almost 3-year-old daughter take part in a local charity project at her level of understanding. United Bank in Rockford is hosting their 7th annual “Dress the Dolls for Christmas” program, in which donated dolls are dressed by the community and delivered to area children through the Family Gift Basket program at the North Kent Service Center. What’s more relatable to a 3-year-old than dolls?
Supplied by United Bank, the dolls can be picked up free at their Rockford location, 155 Marcell Drive, between now and November 2. Residents dress the dolls, either in store-bought outfits or hand-created clothes and accessories. The dolls must be returned to the bank by November 10, where they will be displayed and voted on. NKSC distributes the dolls to less fortunate children of the community for Christmas. This year, with an increase of families in need, 100 dolls need to be dressed for the cause.
I was surprised by how naturally the charitable side of my daughter emerged when she saw the dolls at the bank this week. “Look at that doll, mommy,” she said to me.
“That is a doll they will give to a little girl who doesn’t have any dolls,” I explained.
“But, it’s naked, mom.”
“Yes, it is. Would you like to dress that doll for a little girl who doesn’t have any dolls?”
Her eyes brightened, bigger than if I had told her the doll was for her. “Yeah! But, I don’t have any clothes she would fit in.”
“Well,” I said, “we could go to the store and get special doll clothes for her to wear.”
“Right now?!” the excitement was spreading from my daughter’s face to her entire body as she started to wiggle.
She picked a doll and we changed our plans to a trip to Michael’s craft store on Alpine. On the way, she sat in the back seat, explaining to her 10-month-old brother that the doll was not hers or his, they already had lots of dolls and toys at home. This doll was for a little girl who didn’t have a doll, and my daughter was genuinely thrilled to be a part of the giving. She thoughtfully chose the clothes and shoes, along with a small doll backpack and teddy bear, carried her items to the register and proudly thanked the cashier. Not once did she ask to keep the doll herself. “I’ll bet the little girl who gets this doll is going to LOVE it,” she announced. “That was so much fun!”
For our family, the lesson of charity is much more than just the act of almsgiving, it is a lesson of Christian love and agape, which, by definition is “the love of Christians for other persons, corresponding to the love of God for humankind.”
Cost of outfit, along with accessories: $20. Value of lesson in charity, humanity, Christianity and selflessness: priceless.

By Sarah Read

Three-year-olds aren’t exactly known as the most giving people on the planet. “Mine!” is their typical mantra. Which is why I was so delighted to have my almost 3-year-old daughter take part in a local charity project at her level of understanding. United Bank in Rockford is hosting their 7th annual “Dress the Dolls for Christmas” program, in which donated dolls are dressed by the community and delivered to area children through the Family Gift Basket program at the North Kent Service Center. What’s more relatable to a 3-year-old than dolls?

Supplied by United Bank, the dolls can be picked up free at their Rockford location, 155 Marcell Drive, between now and November 2. Residents dress the dolls, either in store-bought outfits or hand-created clothes and accessories. The dolls must be returned to the bank by November 10, where they will be displayed and voted on. NKSC distributes the dolls to less fortunate children of the community for Christmas. This year, with an increase of families in need, 100 dolls need to be dressed for the cause.

I was surprised by how naturally the charitable side of my daughter emerged when she saw the dolls at the bank this week. “Look at that doll, mommy,” she said to me.

“That is a doll they will give to a little girl who doesn’t have any dolls,” I explained.

“But, it’s naked, mom.”

“Yes, it is. Would you like to dress that doll for a little girl who doesn’t have any dolls?”

Her eyes brightened, bigger than if I had told her the doll was for her. “Yeah! But, I don’t have any clothes she would fit in.”

“Well,” I said, “we could go to the store and get special doll clothes for her to wear.”

“Right now?!” the excitement was spreading from my daughter’s face to her entire body as she started to wiggle.

V-Mercy-in-mamahoodShe picked a doll and we changed our plans to a trip to Michael’s craft store on Alpine. On the way, she sat in the back seat, explaining to her 10-month-old brother that the doll was not hers or his, they already had lots of dolls and toys at home. This doll was for a little girl who didn’t have a doll, and my daughter was genuinely thrilled to be a part of the giving. She thoughtfully chose the clothes and shoes, along with a small doll backpack and teddy bear, carried her items to the register and proudly thanked the cashier. Not once did she ask to keep the doll herself. “I’ll bet the little girl who gets this doll is going to LOVE it,” she announced. “That was so much fun!”

For our family, the lesson of charity is much more than just the act of almsgiving, it is a lesson of Christian love and agape, which, by definition is “the love of Christians for other persons, corresponding to the love of God for humankind.”

Cost of outfit, along with accessories: $20. Value of lesson in charity, humanity, Christianity and selflessness: priceless.

Posted in Mercy in Mamahood, Voices and ViewsComments (3)

Mercy in Mamahood

The 3 P’s: potty, prayer, pride

By Sarah Read

It’s been 10 months of potty training struggles. Before age 2, my daughter showed an active interest in using the potty, so we started it early-on. She had gone off and on, even through messy, unsuccessful weeks at wearing “big girl” underwear. We would start with enthusiasm and end in tears, giving up and dropping the subject for a few weeks and using diapers again.

Potty charts, reward stickers and treats, pull-ups, underwear, timing schedules, bare-bottoms, potty chairs, potty seats, potty books, potty videos, talking about it a lot, not talking about it all… trust me, we have done it all. The dismissive advice I would get from other parents would often add to my annoyance. “Oh, just use stickers and keep putting her on the potty throughout the day…” or, “Don’t worry about accidents; just don’t put her back in diapers no matter what and eventually she’ll learn.” Well, you know what? My daughter likes stickers, but not enough to stop playing to go potty for one. And my daughter is stubborn. If I put her on the potty and she didn’t feel like it, she would simply wait three minutes and tinkle on the floor. Don’t worry about accidents? How about when those “accidents” are all day long around your house? Am I supposed to sit back while my floors, rugs and couch are ruined? No one would suggest such a thing if I told them our dog was the source of such messes. They’d tell me to build a doghouse in the backyard and be done with it.

We started a new system about two months ago with marbles. My daughter loves marbles. We have a Mickey Mouse jar; when she tried on the potty she could put a little marble in, when she succeeded in using the potty she could put a large marble in. We told her that when the jar was filled with marbles she could have a new, big girl bicycle. My husband even brought her to the store to sit on one. It wasn’t long before the novelty wore off and she was back to going in her pants again, mostly just to get a reaction from me. And try as I might not to give her any reaction, I’m sure my “it’s okay, just try again next times” were laced with the inner frustrations I felt from having to clean up the mess again. We would have some seemingly progressive days then back to the drawing board. When I knew she was going in her pants on purpose, I would take a marble back out of the jar, which was never popular. I began to feel as though we would never turn a corner, never reach the day when it would happen and stay that way.

It’s been five weeks of potty training bliss. My daughter, at 31-months-old, is finally and officially potty trained. She tells me every time she has to go, even in public, and never complains when we have to try. She is also diaper-free at night. It’s like I have a completely different child. What turned this magic switch? The only trick in the book that worked was, believe it or not, prayer. Did I ask Jesus to potty train my daughter? No. I did, however, pray that I be released from the agony of caring one way or another if she was trained or not. I prayed for patience for myself, for however long it took. The next day she was accident free and self-determined to use the potty every time and successfully stuck to it.

It brings to my mind this bible quote, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you” Matthew 17:20 (NIV).

Now, granted, potty training my 2-1/2 year-old is not on the same realm as the miraculous cure of a child that was lunatic and vexed with a devil, as was the case in that biblical story but if any parents out there have had to deal with potty-training stubbornness, regression or potty power struggles, well, you can certainly appreciate the similarities.

Her Granny and Papa got her the big-girl bike, which she loves, but it seems to come second to the pride she feels in her own accomplishment, a sure sign it’s the real deal from the Man Upstairs. “Say you’re so proud of me, mama,” she will insist after she has used the potty. “I am SO proud of you,” I say. With a triumphant smile, she always replies, “I’m so proud of myself, too.”

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