The book was all about being grateful on Thanksgiving and thanking God for all of the good things in our life. I normally avoid overtly religious books/shows/music/events out of no good reason other than a general wariness of overly religious people. I can't explain this wariness, and this is probably not the best forum to try. I am also wary of people who have pets or use more than their fair share of coupons, so it's not like my wariness is reserved just for religion or is at all remotely reasonable.
That being said, I absolutely and totally believe in God and most main tenets of Catholicism except for the whole lent fiasco with fish on Fridays and arbitrarily having to give up something ridiculous like chocolate, coffee, or beer for forty days. (Sidenote: My brother-in-law gave up beer one lent and so it was forty days of hard alcohol only. This is my favorite What-I-Gave-Up-For-Lent story ever.) I still say nightly prayers and believe that most things written in the bible probably did happen in one form or another. So it's not faith in God that I'm wary of, just organized religion. Maybe it's the tithing that gets me, as I am pretty cheap.
But I digress. I read the baby book about thanking God and, of course, the first question out of Andy's mouth: "Who is God?"
Oh how to answer a question that has plagued philosophers, religious leaders, and wayward alter boys since the beginning of time? I closed the baby book and said, "God is... like an angel in the sky. Wait, that's not right. God is like everybody's father in the sky. He made all of the people and He watches over us every day." Satisfied, I moved on to the next baby book. "Now who wants to read about Truck Mice?"
We finished our board book, I tucked Alex in, and then Andy and I started his final bed time routine of brushing teeth, using the bathroom, and getting a couple big boy non-board books. In the bathroom, Andy looked up at me and asked again, "Who is God?"
Of all the questions my kids might ask me, this one may be one of the toughest, right up there with puberty-related ones and an explanation of why bad things happen to good people and why good things happen to people we don't like. I tried again. "God made us," I said, slowly, trying to work it out appropriately for my precocious three year old. "God made all of the people on Earth and He made the trees and the animals and He watches over us."
"But where is he?"
Come on, Andy, help me out here. "He's way up in the sky," I answered. "He's in Heaven." And then, I heard myself saying, "If you want to talk to Him, we can say a prayer to him. That's how people talk to God."
"I want to say a prayer."
Of course he did. I led my son into the loft, and we got down on our knees in front of the couch. Andy watched me very carefully and took my lead in steepling his hands. He was instantly like a Precious Moments statue in Batman pajamas. I said to Andy, "You can repeat after me." And then I composed a sort of letter for him. "Dear God. Thank you for all the good things in my life, like my family and house and food. Please protect and watch over me, my daddy, my mommy, my brother, and the rest of my family. Please help me be a good person and help me always try and do the right thing. Love, Andy."
We stood up, and Andy asked, "Can I watch Caillou now?"
|This is probably accurate.|
I must say, I like Andy's interest in this God guy. I like that he has questions and has instant faith. However, I'm nervous that I am his sole teacher on the subject. I don't know what the crap I'm talking about. I don't know the right way to answer hard questions. And to this day, I'm still not one hundred percent on the right way to do the sign of the cross. Is this something that I'm going to have to get down pat?
Or do we just send the boys off to CCD when it's time? I've been kind of assuming that their baptisms would kind of just be the end of it, but maybe little Andy's questions are a way of telling me that children really do need some sort of guidance into questions about faith and God. Guidance from someone that has access to workbooks and the correct order for the sign of the cross. Glasses, testicles, wallet, watch? Argh, I don't have any of those things.
I guess I still have a couple years to decide all that. In the mean time, I will pray with my little boys and tell them that, yeah, in a way God DID make ice cream, I suppose.
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Sometimes I feel like Alex gets ignored in this blog, because he's still so young and doesn't ask adorable questions like "Who is God?" or "Why can't I drive the car?" Classic second child syndrome, right? But my little pumpkin is seventeen months old now and is asserting himself in new ways. He is loud and bossy, even though his bossiness comes out only in the forms of "EH" and wet-noodling himself when I try to carry him away from something attractive, such as the knob to the oven.
Alex's favorite book is "Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear" in which the title character turns around, touches the ground, etc. It is one of the few books he will bring to me, climb into my lap for, and totally pay attention to, from start to end.
His favorite song is "Row Row Row Your Boat," which he sings along to by monotoning "Bow! Bow!"
His favorite animal is anything that neighs, which means mostly horses, but sometimes cows. We are still working on our animal recognition.
Alex is now super interested in trains and will push them along while calling out, "Chooooo!"
He is obsessed with pop cans and asks for pop all the time. "Pop. Pop. Pop." I'm pretty close to caving. No judgement if you see my one and a half year old downing a Dr. Pepper sometime soon. Kidding. Kind of.
He really likes going to the two gyms we go to at the two nearby park districts. He loves playing ball and often asks to be picked up so he can slam dunk a ball into the kiddie sized basketball net. Future baller, perhaps? Maybe one son will be a priest, and the other will be a Chicago Bull.
If we are in a crowd of children, Alex stays by Andy. And Andy stays by Alex. When it matters, they know that the other one is their anchor.
Alex really loves putting things on his head. Bowls, buckets, and hats. His favorite, though, is a hooded monkey blanket. He will bring me the blanket, instruct me to put it on him (Eh! EH!) and then just walk around the house like Super Monkey. He will be the only Chicago Bull to wear a helmet, I am sure.