Tonight during devotions we had the kids start to learn a new hymn, so after working through it a bit we wanted to let them finish out on a song they knew…
Jay: Nicolas, do you want to choose a song that we can sing?
Nicolas: Ummmm, Sunday Bloody Sunday?
I suppose this may be funnier to me as I am this little boy’s mother, but I got such a giggle out of his interaction with me at breakfast this morning.
The children had requested hot cocoa with their cereal, which I gladly prepared for them. As I handed them their china teacups (we always drink our cocoa from “big-person” cups), Nicolas looked quite concerned and then asked,
“Mommy, where is my tea plate? Can I please have my tea plate?” (I’d skipped the “tea plates” in my haste to get them eating).
So, Nicolas learned a new term: “saucer”. And I learned that I have taught him to expect all the proper parts of the place setting when he drinks his fine cocoa.
A few weeks ago, Tricia and I noticed that we have been delinquent in teaching Nicolas his Bible stories… well, Tricia noticed it and called me at work to let me know. So I came home to assess the situation. And I will let our gentle readers know that in the intervening time much progress has been made to alleviate the situation… but enough of defensive disclaimers, I must now recount the initial bit of my assessment.
Jay: Who made the ark?
Jay: Well… (thinking: Hmmm… I’m a good Calvinist. There’s a profound truth in what he says. But I don’t think he has a clue.) No. God didn’t make the ark. He had Noah make the ark. With a hammer.
Jay: Who was Jesus’ mother?
Jay: No, Nicolas, stop goofing off. Who was Jesus’ mother?
Nicolas is our third child, and without a doubt, our “funniest” kid. He seems to glide through life, from one joke and giggle to another. This is usually a good thing, though sometimes his sense of everything being hilarious doesn’t confine itself to things which are appropriately hilarious. Other times, he is funny without even trying to be so, such as last night, when he prayed his more carniverous version of the Lord’s Prayer:
“Give us this STEAK, our daily bread”!! Guess he figured man cannot live by bread alone!! All right, that was corny.
Last week I had the joy of attending our preschool’s annual “Mother’s Day Tea”. It is a sweet time, during which the teachers and administration give us Moms an extra dose of encouragement in this job we are all about, raising these little ones to love God, and for His glory. The children present a program, in which they all sing songs which talk about loving their Mommy, thanking God for their Mommy, etc. It brings most of us hormonal creatures to tears. And there are beautiful monarch butterfly centerpieces on all the tables. During the spring, the various classrooms have tons of chrysalises in them, and the children enjoy watching these exquisite butterflies emerge in all their fluttery glory.
Anyway, this year, as part of the celebration to honor their mommies, the children made windchimes as presents for Mother’s Day. Having two boys in school there this year, I received two sets of windchimes, and I love them. But I treasure even more the little message on Nicolas’ package, which was an “ode” of sorts to his Mommy, spoken only as a little 3 year old could. Some of it is true, other parts are pure fiction. I’ll leave you to determine which is which. Here is what he said:
“My mommy’s name is Tricia. She is 45 years old. When I am at school, she goes home and sleeps. She gets me vanilla yogurt.”
And those are Nicolas’ thoughts on Mommy.
We started putting up the Christmas tree tonight. The kids were very excited… and very underfoot. As Tricia felt little hands pushing and prodding on her back yet once again, the following ultra-brief conversation took place.
Tricia: Alright! If anyone hits me or bumps into me again I am going to scream!
Nicolas: Like a little girl?
Last night marked a turning point in our youngest’s life. Nicolas finally moved out of the nursery, after almost 3 years in his crib. Truthfully, he’s been sleeping with the bar down in the crib for many months now, so perhaps it was more like a toddler bed, but nonetheless, he sensed the importance of his transition to a real bed, perhaps even more so because it means he now gets to share a room with his big brother.
Jonathan was only too thrilled to make room for Nicolas, and both boys shouted and danced and basically carried on with much craziness last night as Jay assembled the bed frame, moved furniture around, etc.
Here is the result: two happy little boys ensconced on their matching beds, with many an admonition to wake up quietly in the morning, and sit in bed to read their books rather than arouse the other from his sleep.
They did very well for their first night together and it is fun to see them enjoying one another so much! And now our nursery is practically ready for its newest occupant, to hopefully take up residence in another few months.
Monday night as I was finishing up preparations for our spaghetti supper, Abigail ran in from the backyard saying, “Nicolas is hurt!” I quickly rushed outside where I found little Nicolas lying on the ground near our little playfort (Dallas Morning News Classified Section special find!), wailing. Nicolas is pretty brave for two, so when he cries hard, I know he’s really hurt.
I scooped him up in my arms and held him. He kept cradling his arm and sobbing, “Mommy, I hurt!” Poor fellow. As he began to calm down, I asked him, “What happened?”. Pointing to the 2nd level of the playfort he explained, “I was twying to fwy!” Abigail confirmed that he had indeed jumped from the 2nd level. She hadn’t understood why until he explained it for us in his own way. I don’t think he’ll try flying again anytime soon!
We have been helping our two year old, Nicolas, learn to attend church worship with us. He is actually very enthusiastic about being at worship, sings lustily during songs, and likes to try to “respond” along with the rest of the congregation to the liturgy. Despite his enthusiasm, at times his behavior is admittedly, very much like that of an active, not-so-quiet two year old, and not always appropriate for church!
Throughout the process of teaching our three kids about being in church with us and worshipping God, I often think I learn more than they, and today was one of those times. One element of our church service is a rather long pastoral prayer about 1/2 hour into the order of worship. Only recently has Nicolas even stayed with us during this prayer because, quite frankly, it is very long, and he gets pretty wiggly and tends to make noise after 8 minutes of Pastor Dave praying.
Well, today during the long prayer in the service, Nicolas excitedly whispered to me, “Flowers!”. I began to try to silence him and then realized he was keying into what Pastor Dave was praying about. Dave was talking about God clothing the flowers of the field. (from Matthew 6: 25-33). He then mentioned God feeding the birds of the air, after which Nicolas even more excitedly told me, “Birds!”. I whispered to him that yes, God takes care of the flowers and birds and we are even more important than they are, and He always takes care of us. He asked me, very earnestly, “God takes care me?” to which I smiled and replied, “Yes!”. “Yeah,” he affirmed, “God take care me!”.
He went on to repeat a couple more words/phrases in Pastor’s prayer and I was pretty surprised, I have to admit, that my little guy was actually, on a level very appropriate for a two year old, LISTENING to the words being offered to God in prayer, and at his tender age, assimilating the words being spoken into a simple truth about God’s care for him. It was a sweet reminder to me to not assume I always have a handle on just what a young child might (or might not!) understand of worship, and of how precious it is to have my children in church with me, and indeed, an encouragement to continue to patiently instruct them in this oh so important element of our lives as part of God’s church.
Those of you who know our children well can attest to the fact that like many children, they are fairly picky eaters. I wrote about this last summer in Suppertime At the Hornes’.
Our youngest, Nicolas, has thus far held the honor in our family for pickiest eater. However, tonight, his enthusiasm for his supper almost brought tears to my eyes. He ate grilled chicken, long grain wild rice, and steamed green beans with vigor. While the chicken wasn’t too surprising, I was floored by his delight with the side dishes. He’s never allowed a green bean (other than the mushed-up infant variety served in a jar) past his sweet lips. Tonight he ate two without complaining! In addition, he had three nice-sized helpings of the rice, plus another three helpings of chicken. And indeed, his Mommy was smiling and pleased throughout the supper hour.
“It’s the little things, like green beans, that may yield some of the greatest feelings of contentment and gratitude at the end of the day.” ~Patricia Ann Horne