Along with several family members, Josh and I took the kids to see a holiday children’s play on Friday night. Linnea sat between me and Josh, perched atop a booster seat in a red Santa-inspired velvet dress that her great-grandmother had bought for her. As the production started, I stole a glance at her sweet face, eyes shining wide in the dark, taking in the costumes, the song and dance. Heart swelling with holiday-inspired joy, my gaze went back to the stage.
The next time I looked her way, I caught Linnea nibbling on her ticket stub—enough that large chunks were missing. My hushed attempts at correcting her paper-ingesting behavior were met with enthusiastic speech that exceeded theater-going limits. Stub confiscation was necessary, but thankfully, she was interested enough in the bear on stage that a more elaborate power struggle was avoided.
This afternoon, Linnea asked me to take a bath with her.
“Sure,” I thought. “That will do my aching body some good.”
When I was pregnant with Linus, Linnea and I bathed together almost every night. I just floated like a giant pink balloon while she poured water on my head and drove her Thomas the Tank Engine boat around me. We also had some pretty great conversations. Today was no different.
“You know,” I said, “I think your teeth are going to start looking like this [making buck-teeth gesture] if you don’t give up your boppy [pacifier] soon.”
She looked at me quietly, unimpressed.
“Like a bunny,” I said. “You teeth will do this [more gestures].”
“Like a bunny?” she said with delight. “A bunny!”
“Is that what you want?” I asked.
She thought about that for a minute.
“Well, why do you look like a grasshopper?” she asked.
“Like a grasshopper? Do I?”
“You do,” she said, matter-of-factly.
Nobody said parenting would be good for the old self-esteem.
I was in a foul mood earlier—truly the worst in a long time. A long walk—typically my cure-all—hadn’t helped, and I was doing a lot of muttering, as crabby mothers are wont to do.
As I scurried around the kitchen with a rain cloud atop my head, a small girl in a gown more appropriate for a summer wedding than a snowy Sunday at home had something to say.
“Can we pray now, Mommy?”
I was stunned. We’re not prone to praying in the kitchen. Recently, I’ve tried to get back into a bedtime prayer routine after a long hiatus. I’m not sure how that happened—one night, were recited “Now I lay me,” and the next, we dove right into the hugs-squeezes-kisses routine after Hop on Pop.
“Yes,” I said. “Now is the perfect time to pray.”
In case I’ve just gone a little too “Family Circus” for you, you may be comforted to know that she proceeded to hit me in the head with a toy teapot within the hour.
I Want to Know
What have you learned from a kid recently?