I should preface this entry by saying I have had so many friends tell me stories similar to what I am about to share with you, so I know this experience is not unique to me. Kids say things so innocently, but they not always understand the effect their words might have on someone.
Today after picking Abigail up from school we all headed down to the large Half Price Bookstore off Northwest Highway. I had a couple books on hold and we spent a bit of time browsing through the children’s section too. After acquiring one tiny Thomas board book for Nicolas, one medium-sized Thomas book for Jonathan and one larger Thomas book for Abigail (aren’t we a literarily diverse family??!!) plus a copy of Madeline, whom I’ve wanted to introduce Abigail to for some time, we headed to checkout where we had to wait for a bit as there was a long line. As I paid for our purchases, several people passed by us. In order to exit the checkout area, one had to navigate a rather narrow passage, much of which we were blocking! A rather large gentleman said “Excuse me” to us as he attempted to pass by. Abigail looked up toward the voice and without missing a beat pointed to him and said very clearly, “Mommy that man is a little fat!”.
Oh dear!! I clapped my hand over her mouth but was not quite quick enough. My first thought was that having the ability to vanish into thin air at that moment would have been helpful. To tell the truth, Abigail was tempered in her description of the man. In actuality he was quite fat, but I am very thankful she did not say so. I was so concerned about how the poor man felt upon hearing my daughter’s comment. On the car ride home we had a chat about how sometimes even when we are stating something that is true, it might hurt someone’s feelings. I have to be careful though with Abigail who so much wants to please and who is quite sensitive to correction. So I carefully told her that she did not do anything wrong per se, but that sometimes instead of saying something about the way someone looks, it is good idea to keep that thought to talk about at a later time with Mommy and Daddy or another close member or friend of the family. Of course that doesn’t sound quite right to me either because in general when she makes a comment toward someone it is very appropriate, such as when she told her Grammy that she really liked her pretty dress, or when she noted how cute little Nicolas was in his Sunday outfit, or when she commented upon how well Jonathan was obeying Mommy one particular day.
So, gentle readers: what have you to say?? Have any of you found a way to verbalize what it is I’m trying to get across to my four-year old in a way which doesn’t discourage her from saying the right things but also helps her understand which things might be best left unsaid??
One evening last week while preparing supper I noticed Abigail had pulled our kitchen step stool up in front of the fireplace and was piling an motley assortment of toys and personal items up on the mantel. There wasn’t a ton of room for her to work with given the collection of spool candleholders and various other candles, a couple pumpkins, and our resident oil painting. Despite this handicap, she managed to add quite a large amount of extras to the already reasonably full mantel.
When Abigail noticed I was watching her she proudly informed me, “Mommy, I’m helping you…I’m decorating for Christmas!!” She was so pleased that she was able to contribute to the family in a way that she had often seen her Mommy work. (My decorating efforts are feeble at best, but then I didn’t have as early a start as Abigail!)
We took a picture of her finished work which we are terming “Preschool Eclectic”. You may or may not be able to see the details, but some of the components of this particular decorating scheme include Bob the Tomato, a “Duckie” washcloth, plastic squeeky doggie toy, and purple Beanie Bear. Please also note that she cleverly added her last year’s school name tag so that everyone would know who was behind this cutting edge decor!! Try it on for size at your own house if you like!
Driving back from church a little earlier this evening, Abigail and I had the following conversation. Now, admittedly, this is not a word for word transcription. However, I believe every phrase is an accurate representation of what was said… I just can’t remember every single phrase spoken.
Jay: Abigail, who does God save?
Abigail: All who have faith in Jesus.
J: That’s right! And do you know what it means to have faith in Jesus?
J: It means to trust Jesus to forgive your sins, and to pay the penalty for your sins. That sort of thing.
A: But Dad… Dad, I think I have a bubble in my tummy, so we probably shouldn’t talk anymore.
A: I have a bubble in my tummy and it doesn’t feel good. I think I have gasoline. Gasoline… that’s no fun. Dad do you have gasoline in your tummy sometimes?
J: Uh, well, something like that…
A: Once, when I was three, I had gasoline, but then I made a putt putt and felt better.
Recently, Abigail’s preschool class has been studying a unit on dinosaurs. While we are impressed with how much she has learned about these animals, the concept of “extinct” seems to have eluded her, at least so far. How do I know this? Just listen in on the conversation we had today at our lunch table. My, my.
A: Mommy, sometime can I buy a Triceratops in dinosaur land?
A: I would like to buy a Triceratops, because I’ve never done that before.
M: And what exactly do you suppose you would do with a Triceratops?
A: Well, I could take him on a little walk, and teach him how to play. That would be fun.
M: MmmHmmm. And where would this dinosaur live?
A: Oh, he can live in our backyard. That’d be good.
Jonathan (Jumping into this interesting conversation): Could I buy one sometimes too, Mommy? That will be fun.
A: Actually, I think the Triceratops would be lonely so we should get a Mommy and a baby. Then they will be happy together.
(By this point, Mommy is speechless, but is thinking quietly to herself that the pony Mark Dishman keeps promising to send us to keep in our backyard sounds really good!!)
A few minutes before sunset, I was driving in the car with Abigail and Jonathan. The sunroof was open so the kids could enjoy the clouds, which were starting to light up. Abigail suddenly piped up:
A: I saw God peeking out! Yeah, yeah, I saw God peeking out from the sky, from heaven. He looked like Jesus. And He’s really big… He was really bigger than you, Dad! I saw Him by the strings.
(Editorial comment: it is my guess that “the strings” referred to power lines.)
J: (intervening into this little monologue by asking her one of her standard catechism questions) Abigail, can you see God?
A: But He always sees me… but I saw God. I’ve never seen God before. He gave me a special treat. I got to see Him. That was fun!
(Snip much more dialogue on the topic that I can’t remember… Abigail was quite excited.)
Then, returning home at night, more dialogue, with a few more choice quotes:
A: Dad, can you see God?
J: No, because God is a spirit and has not a body like man.
A: I can’t see God either, because it is dark.
J: That’s nice, honey.
I’ve been hesitant to introduce this topic into blogdom, due to the potential for some challenging questions from our faithful readers. However, we have found it funny enough that we’ve decided to share.
There has been a recurring theme in Abigail’s conversations with us as well as her prayers over the last several days. I think her offering before this morning’s breakfast should give you a general idea of the types of requests being brought before both her mother and father and our good Lord.
(and I quote):
“Dear God, thank you for this day and for making the whole earth. And please, please, please bring me a baby sister, because we have two boys and only one girl. And I really want a sister. So please bring me a sister. But if not, please give us twins. So, please either bring us a sister or twins. Amen.”
What fun it was to watch Abigail’s performance in her second ballet recital. In addition to Jay and I, Grammy and Grandy Horne, Nana Brunone, and Aunt Sandy came to see Abigail dance.
After taking ballet for just a few short months last year at our community center, Abigail begged us this year to “get to go back to dancing class”. After some searching (most schools aren’t accepting new students in March) we were able to enroll her for the last 2 1/2 months of the school year at Tuzer Ballet, where she was in a small class of little girls taking 45 minutes of ballet and 15 minutes of tap. To say she enjoyed herself is putting it quite mildly! While it is highly enjoyable for her to attend, we also know the exercise and dancing movement is great for her physically and it is exciting to us to watch her engage in something she really likes to do.
As I tucked Abigail into bed and was about to sing her a goodnight song I got us into one of those deep conversations…
Mommy: What do you want to be when you grow up?
Abigail: A firefighter.
Abigail: B/c when fires come to the houses, then I can clean them up and spray them.
Abigail: But you have to keep the windows closed.
Abigail: Because the water, when you spray it, it will ruin the carpet.
Abigail: Yes, so when you have a fire at your house remember to keep the windows closed so when the firefighters come and spray the water it will make your house all clean.
A few days ago, I was trimming Abigail’s fingernails and received the following lesson on how our bodies function.
*Gasp!* “You almost got the blood. I need the blood inside me so it can splash me and I can stay healthy.”
Pause, as she lifted her hand and put it on her chest.
“My heart is beeping. Is your heart beeping, Daddy?”