The morning was off to a bad start. I had gotten up at 6:00 with the hopes of having an hour of undisturbed time, so of course, Caleb decided to wake up ten minutes later. By 6:30 two out of the three were awake, and by 6:45, everyone had joined me. Any morning when the kids wake up before I get dressed is challenging because I can’t monitor their progress. Such was the case on this particular morning.

Caleb had actually cooperated and dressed and made his bed quickly. I got Chloe ready and then headed back to my room to focus on myself. While everyone else was getting ready, Hannah Grace proceeded to lie around on her floor naked, not doing anything productive to get ready for preschool. In between getting Chloe and myself dressed, I uttered quite a few warnings to Hannah Grace that she needed to put on some clothes but to no avail.

Finally, I was dressed and headed over to the uncooperative child’s room. She was still naked, her clothes lying on the floor, and my patience was worn thin, which was unfortunate since it was only 7:30, and I had a whole lot of the day left. At this point I decided that we were not going to wait for Hannah Grace; I would dress her myself.

As I started to put on her underwear, she began to kick and scream. We were all witnessing an early morning temper tantrum. Each time I would get her leg in a hole, she would kick off the clothing. My patience that was worn thin was now held together by one thread, and that thread was in danger of snapping.

As I was getting more forceful, she was fighting harder. We were having a battle of wills, and I was determined not to lose, not to a three-year-old, and not on this morning. I had gotten up at 6:00 so I could have time to pray for patience; if they were going to mess up that routine, they would have to deal with the consequences!

We both were struggling, and the screaming and crying continued. Hannah Grace pulled out the last weapon she had: “I don’t love you anymore, Mommy! And I don’t love Chloe, and I don’t love Caleb, and I don’t love, Daddy!”

Caleb, who had been witnessing this whole ordeal with his sister Chloe, didn’t miss a beat: “Well, I guess that means were going to have to give you away.”

I was not expecting that response.

“No, Caleb, we’re not going to have to give Hannah Grace away,” I chimed in, rather unemotionally.

“Well, if she doesn’t love anybody anymore, than we have to give her away!” he insisted.

I was struck at how silent the room had gotten; Caleb had scared Hannah Grace out of her tantrum!

Again, I assured them, “We are not going to give Hannah Grace away.”

There was a moment of silence, and Caleb pondered his next point. He looked directly at Hannah Grace and delivered his line with full passion:

“Mommy makes really good cookies!”

As if that fact should be the one to change her mind about not loving me!

But it worked. Caleb knew exactly what to say, if for nothing else, to keep my last thread of patience in tact. While I kept a straight face, I was laughing hysterically inside. What is going on in this four-year-old’s mind?!!

I proceeded to hug Hannah Grace, to tell her how much I loved her and our family. I explained how she hurt my feelings when she said she didn’t love me, but I would always love her. I knew that she was a really good girl, and I suggested that we get dressed so we could brush her hair and then go down for breakfast.

This little girl who had kicked and screamed two minutes earlier was now calm and obedient. She dressed, and I braided her hair without a fight. The morning had been salvaged, thanks to the comments of a precocious little boy.

That is, the morning had been salvaged until that little boy tackled his sister to the ground for an orange vitamin. And even though we were up three hours before preschool started, we were still late. Thankfully, I hadn’t used my last thread of patience upstairs.

God knows what we need, and I am so thankful for that moment to laugh, to gain a little perspective before blowing my top. For what are you thankful this week?

Originally published at on October 22, 2010.

Wife and mother of four; Former Children’s Ministry Director, 12Stone Church. Current High School English Teacher.