Motherhood, My Kids, Parenting

How well do you know your child?

Because Danae’s 6 and Noelle’s already almost 3, their personalities are more evident than ever. It definitely showed during our recent trip. For one, well this one’s not new at all, they’re both witty and funny. Years ago, Danae at age 3 exclaimed as we landed in Manila probably from Cagayan de Oro, “Thank you Lord!,” which made people behind us chuckle. Last month, Noelle exclaimed with her normal loud voice as we landed in Singapore, “I made it!”, which made everyone around us LOL. hahaha. It caught me by surprise how everybody turned to us and laughed. Noelle wasn’t too happy about the response but later on she would recount that “she made everyone happy on the airplane.”

We walked quite a lot in Singapore. Although Danae at times complained that she was tired, she was more a trouper than Noelle was. When Noelle didn’t feel like walking anymore, she really wouldn’t walk. She’d stop in her tracks, slump her shoulders, make her adorable complaining face, and whine “I can’t.” I must say though that Noelle is quite easy to lead because she prefers to hold my hand almost all the time. Danae, of course, would much rather be free to move around.

Danae enjoyed all the shows, while Noelle got bored quickly. Danae was willing to try some of the rides. Noelle wasn’t. She would much rather EAT! Which makes it even more surprising that she was willing to go on The Luge with us! But both definitely love love love the water. Noelle came alive when we allowed them to play in the fountains at Universal Studios.

Both girls are relatively manageable when traveling, but Noelle really has her own mind. She’s picky when it comes to bathrooms. She won’t use it if she feels it’s dirty or stinky. She’ll say that her pee is “not coming out.” She would also tell me to flush the toilet first even though it’s clean. But thank God they didn’t mind me using baby wipes on them after they did #2. I’ve finally conceded to using them. I totally refused to do so before because I preferred washing them with soap and water. Yay me!

After I got them dressed when they got wet in the fountain, Danae easily slipped on her wet shoes, while Noelle just refused to! Squeamish much? Thank God we rented a stroller. It didn’t matter much that she was barefoot, except when it was time to leave the stroller. Guess who had to carry her.

Even with clothes, Noelle is so picky! Danae will almost always comply with what I prepare for her. I cannot force Noelle to wear anything she does not like. Sometimes it’s understandable, but many times it’s just not. Even while it was drizzling, she didn’t want to wear her rain coat! The stress is coming back to me! Hahaha.

It definitely teaches me as a mom to be flexible, to know which battles to pick and which ones to let go. Did I mention that Noelle is quite a messy kid? Danae’s not a neat freak, but at least she was willing to clean up when she was little! Noelle even drew on my mom’s wall, which Danae never did! On the other hand, it’s fairly easy to talk to Noelle when it comes to things she wants, except maybe when it comes to food haha. She can cope well with not getting what she wants right away while Danae more often demands instant gratification. My kids are walking contradictions! Probably just like their mom. Haha.

It just goes to show that each child is different. Danae and Noelle may have their similarities, but they have different personalities. It teaches us parents to be attentive and engaged, else we would assume that what worked for one will work for the other, which may not necessarily be true. There is really no ONE formula in raising our kids. We must constantly learn and be open to learning — learn about our own children, get to know them, spend time with them, talk to them, play with them….and be open to learning other ways of nurturing our relationships with them, of teaching them, of guiding them.

The more I know my children, the greater my capacity to anticipate situations and prepare myself to deal with them as they come. The more I know my children, the greater my capacity to understand them and to communicate with them. The more I know my children, the more I learn about myself. The more I know myself, the more I know that I cannot do this on my own!!! I need King’s partnership and we need the wisdom, the grace, and the love of God for us to be able to raise these precious girls. 🙂

Just My Thoughts

I CHOOSE CONFLICT 2

“I’ve always been like this.”

“This is my personality. This is me. Take it or leave it.”

“If you’re not used to it by now, then you don’t really know me yet.”

“People keep telling me this over and over again. They misunderstand me.”

Ever heard these things come out of your mouth? Well, they’ve sure come out of mine. People used to complain to me that I’m too frank, offensive, and bossy. Frankly, I didn’t care if I hurt anybody with what I said. To me, I was telling it as it was, how I saw it, and if you can’t handle the truth, then you’re weak. That was my personality before, and I always hid behind it. I used it as an excuse for my awful behavior, as if it were acceptable, and I expected my friends to tolerate how I was. If they couldn’t, then it was they who misunderstood me. I was impatient, prideful and self-righteous.

When I was younger and clueless, when I did not personally know the Lord yet, I chose conflict because I thought I cared enough for my friends, knowing that the truth is what will help them. But I didn’t care enough to change how I said it. I convinced myself that “that is how I am” and perpetuated my own foolishness.

But isn’t character more important than personality?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying having a personality is a bad thing. God made us each different from the other. I still have my personality. I am who I am. I’m still a strong, loud, frank, straight-to-the-point woman, but God is continually molding my character. He’s teaching me, especially through discipleship, that I can and should use my strengths or my personality the right way. Because of my personality, I can be honest when I counsel or give advice, but because of my hopefully growing character, I can relay it in a loving way and keep our conversation confidential. Because of my personality, I can teach, but because of God’s work in my life and character, I can teach a group of people from experience. Because of my strong personality, I can also discipline my kids effectively by giving them the rod and by talking to them, but when I am in a teaching moment with my kids, I tend to lose my patience. I can’t very well tell them to accept my behavior because it’s my personality to be loud and impatient. I have to exercise the character God wants me to work on (humility & patience) — I have to apologize too and do better next time.

In any kind of relationship, conflicts are sure to arise. There are times that we do need to pick our battles, meaning not everything should be argued about and sometimes we need to compromise. In the times that we feel that it is necessary to “fight” for something, we need to learn to fight clean.

That’s why our character must override our personality. We must give more importance to building our character than protecting our personality. If we can choose to engage instead of to ignore, if we can choose to be involved instead of to be indifferent, if we can choose conflict over comfort, then we can and must choose character over personality.

We can’t after all be touched by the Lord, and remain the same.