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Kind, Compassionate, Peaceful



Sabine and baby.

Sabine and baby.

My Wednesday Yoga instructor always ends and begins class with an exercise in breathing in and breathing out kindness, compassion and peace. Those words resonate with me for the entire week and often shape how I go about a day, how I address my cashier, how I help an elderly person on the train, how I offer a kind word or glance to a teen girl clearly feeling the weight of the world.


I may not always be a Pinterest-worthy, mother-of-the-year type mom, but I know I am doing a good job. A quick trip to the toy isle of Lot-Less (a Big Lots-type store in NYC) has really driven that point home. Sabine has been to so many doctors appointments in the past three weeks. Between her appointments and my appointments we have spent more time than I care to calculate sitting in waiting rooms and crinkling paper sheets – a very boring thing when the weather is warm and the sun is finally shining!

So this week I took Sabine to Lot-Less to pick out a new toy as a reward for being such a patient girl. She has been really into babies lately so I showed her the options.

“BABIES!!!” she cheered.

“What baby would you like to take home? You get to choose your new baby.”

She looked at her options – little kid dolls, Barbie-type dolls and newborn dolls – and made a selection. A small newborn baby doll that had a slightly creepy face and really wrinkly feet.

“Do you love this baby?”

“Baby!!!” she cheered as she reached her hand into the box and stroked the baby’s head.

“Ok, then this is your baby. Let’s go checkout!”

We purchased the baby and walked home. Since then, Sabine and baby have been inseparable. I heard her saying “Milk, Milk” and looked in to see her trying to shove baby into the top of her shirt to nurse it. I showed her how to lift her shirt and offer baby warm milk.

Then she carried baby to the nursing pillow and announced “MILKKKK!” (she really accents the “k” sound and it is adorable) and laid down with baby on the pillow.

She realized baby has a bellybutton and tickles it. She asks me to help change baby’s diaper. She dresses baby, rocks baby, puts baby to “nigh nigh” and brings baby to meals. She even brought baby into Home Depot and wedged it into the shopping cart with her.

I love seeing how nurturing she is with this baby, and with her animals and pets. She is so gentle, so caring, that it makes my heart explode. Yesterday I wanted to sing from the garden isle of Home Depot that yes, she might be tiny and she may be a tad delayed but my gosh if she is not the kindest tiny person you have ever met? And that, y’all, is what is going to make the real difference in the world. Not that she was an early talker or walker, but that she is kind, compassionate and peaceful.

I slept well last night and dreamt of happy days with my child. Now I’m going to go have a happy day.



Thank you all for the kind words and support during our tough time, and for the gentle reminders that there is more to life than diagnosis. It warms my heart to know that this is still a place I can turn to for wise words from women who have walked a similar path. 



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  1. jak #
    May 8, 2015

    🙂 she is very bright and a very thoughtful child. love that she took baby to home depot, lol. sure better than what my kid did last weekend – put a worm in his mouth, got stung by a bee that he tried to “hold”, and picked up dog poop with his bare hands.

    • May 8, 2015

      LOL! Jak! Last weekend on our hike we were sorting out her treasures in the orange bucket and at the bottom found…. dog poop! It was so gross but she was SO PROUD! Kids are yucky. Yucky is good. Yucky = adventure. Sorry about the bee sting, though. Sabine got her first over Christmas in Arizona and it was no fun for anyone.

      • jak #
        May 14, 2015

        AHGHGHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE IT.

  2. robin #
    May 8, 2015

    Aw I love this so much.

  3. heatherwallen #
    May 8, 2015

    Hi Belle, I’ve commented here before and my twins are the same (gestational) age as your Sabine, preemies so they just turned two this week. I can’t imagine the stress you are going for as you wait for the results of the genetic tests, but I do want to reassure you that I don’t think Sabine is that delayed at least based on what I’ve read here. Our twins have been in early intervention since last September and have had 3-4 developmental batteries since then for both communication and motor and it sounds like they are at the same point that Sabine is and early intervention has told us that they are eligible for “discharge” (love how that word has so many enjoyable uses) soon if we feel like that’s appropriate. They have 50-75 one or two syllable words and only a very few 2 word combos. My daughter still cannot go up and down stairs standing. They both tend to observe more than participate at daycare during songs or at library storytime activities. I have other friends whose kids of comparable age are singing whole songs, have 5-7 word sentences, etc., but I’m convinced my kids are totally ok. Hang in there, your daughter is beautiful and I love reading about her latest strides. xo

    • May 8, 2015

      Thank you for sharing, Heather. It sounds like Sabine and your daughter are pretty similar. Sabine also can’t go up and down stairs on her own and still can’t run. She walks better but still has low muscle tone. We FINALLY have her lined up to start PT on Monday (she was evaluated in January!!! Shame on the system) and she has been in speech therapy for 6 weeks now. She also has a handful of single words but her only phrase, if you can even call it that, is “all done.” It is so frusterating to see her peers who are much larger, doing all kinds of cool things and already saying their ABCs, colors, counting, and speaking in short sentences and then to have people ask what is wrong with Sabine. GRRRR it makes me so upset! But she will catch up, as will yours. It’s good to know I’m not alone in my concerns and her struggles.

      • heatherwallen #
        May 10, 2015

        🙂 I hope that you are matched with someone good for PT! We had two PT consults with Nina, and though limited (visits), we got some super helpful info. Like hold her hand down low and close to her body while we are helping with stairs (gradually lowering it so she’s more weight bearing), encouraging her to walk up inclines outside while she is playing as a strength builder (like throwing a ball up a hill to chase), doing wrist and shoulder strengthening play with toys and art (like with an easel or certain toys that you have to insert small objects into a sorter, etc). I’m so thankful for the ideas from our therapists b/c maybe I just have ongoing mom brain drain 🙂 but I just don’t have good intuitions on how to work little things into play! Wishing you a wonderful Mother’s Day, Belle. And BTW we had 12 two year olds at our home yesterday for our twins’ party, and I would say that only 2-3 of them were of the “crazy verbal” variety, the rest were closer to where my Nina and your Sabine are with communication 🙂

  4. May 8, 2015

    I know you don’t write much about her delays, but besides her size, she sounds pretty right on! Sabine certainly says a lot more than Matthew did at her age, and with speech therapy, he’s just fine! She seems just perfect to me, tiny stature and all!

    I’m glad you’re having a happy day! 😊

  5. May 8, 2015

    I love this post so much! What a little sweetheart you have! Yo hit the nail on the head, if we live our lives with care and love, that is what really makes a difference for ourselves and for others. I hope you all are having a great day!

  6. May 8, 2015


  7. May 8, 2015

    Yes to all of this. You are doing an incredible job with Sabine. You are teaching her the important things, kindness, compassion, a tender heart. Delays can be so, SO frustrating (this is from a mom who’s younger daughter crawled at 17 months, walked at 29 months and talked at 36 months) but you’ve got the important things down.

    And you’re getting her therapies, which can help so much. My daughter also had very low muscle tone. Once she started walking, we put her in a mommy and me gymnastics class and it did WONDERS for her muscle tone. At eight years old, you wouldn’t know she’s still got low tone. She’s so much stronger than she was and really her biggest weakness these days is her fine motor skills.

    You got this.

  8. May 8, 2015

    I feel like I just wrote this same post. :). Hard not to love a little girl whose most obvious quality is loving. Sweet girl you’ve got.

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