1. The cape

Picture this. You’re in a public place, say the grocery store, and a little boy with crazy hair is running around punching his fist in the air saying, “I crash you! You crashed now!” You would probably wonder who this kid’s parents are… and not in the good sense.

Now picture the same scenario, but the kid is wearing a wax print superhero cape and mask. The fist punching is an imaginary laser beam he uses to destroy (aka ‘crash’) bad guys.


Suddenly the little boy went from wild to adorable, right? It’s not a magical cape, but it does work wonders. And that, my friends, is why I allow my son to wear his cape to church anytime he wants to.

2. The greens

I am certainly not the first mom to put spinach in smoothies. But I did want to pass on a little Dakar-specific advice here. Skip the fibrous fresh spinach the vegetable vendors have, unless you’re doing a craft that involves making your own rope. In the freezer section of the big grocery stores you can find three kinds of spinach: en branches (as whole leaves), hachés à la crème (chopped and in cream) and hachés. Buy the last one, épinards hachés.

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One cube of that finely chopped spinach added to your smoothie du jour is a great way to get in a green veggie – for both kiddo and mommo.

3. The Yelling Spot

If you feel the need to yell while you’re at our place, there’s a spot on the balcony for that. It’s called the Yelling Spot. Standing there, you may yell as loud and as long as you want. But once you leave that spot, the yelling needs to stop.

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This little idea works pretty well, especially when we go out there occasionally to yell just for fun. Keeping it fun also means he has a safe place to let out some energy and emotion rather than being ‘sent to the Yelling Spot’ as a punishment for being too loud indoors.

4. When they are the hardest to love is when they need my love the most.

I probably read this on Pinterest. Sounds like a Pinterest-y type of thing, no? But it’s also both true and helpful.

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When he’s fussing or crying or wailing or pounding his little fists, that’s when he most needs to know that he is loved. God does the same for me. Even when I am at my most defiant or angry or fearful, He shows me unconditional love.

5. Don’t be the first to let go.

This one goes hand-in-hand with the Pinterest wisdom above. When hugging a child, don’t ever let go first. You never know how much they might need that affirmation in that moment.

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I’m amazed by how many times my instinct is to hug, pat-pat, then release. But when I keep holding, he holds on for much longer than I’d expect.

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Someday I know I’ll give anything for one of his hugs, while he’s wearing his cape and drinking a green smoothie as we stand at the yelling spot and holler with all our might.