Very often, the only way to get a quality in reality is to start behaving as if you had it already. That is why children's games are so important. They are always pretending to be grown-ups - playing soldiers, playing shop. But all the time, they are hardening their muscles and sharpening their wits so that the pretence of being grown-up helps them to grow up in earnest.

~C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Oh Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say

In high school and college, I studied Spanish.  I loved learning a new language.  I was fascinated by the differences and similarities in how people expressed themselves.  But I didn't learn the language naturally.  It was an effort, and it took a lot of practice and memorization.  Now that I'm seldom using Spanish, I'm slowly starting to forget things I once knew.  But, hearing how Oliver learns to talk constantly has me thinking about language.  Not just what I should and shouldn't say around him, but also how I say it.  I've noticed, for example, that Oliver not only learns a work here and there, he also learns expressions and combinations of words.  (I think if I had realized the trick of learning combinations of words to use in different situations, I would have picked up more Spanish more quickly.)

he also picks up on our speech mannerisms.  A couple weeks ago, I noticed a new habit of his.  He would tell me a story, pause, and then say "So..."  or "So, yeah" while shrugging his shoulders.  Pretty cute.  Then I realized that Seth does this too.  There have been plenty of other examples of this - like Oliver picking up the words "actually" and "fascinating" and using them a lot - something I do too.

And then, of course are all of his own cute sayings and pronunciations.  We love some of them so much that even though we realize that he needs to learn to say things correctly, we are sad to see them go.  Here is a list of some of our favorites, roughly in order of appearance.  Some of them have become common household terms.
  • Happy, happy, happy - Something to say in your carseat or when you are playing and feeling in a good mood
  • Fickis - fix it
  • Mucksick - music
  • Pack-pack - backpack
  • Gee-bees - either green beans or excuse me
  • Hot sauce/ hot saucing- exercise/exercising
  • Almos tome - almost home
  • Yum-yum - M&M
  • Vite-yum-yum - vitamin
  • "Be fun!" - A shortened version of our often said phrase "Let's do ______, it'll be fun."  Said when he wanted us to come to do something with him.
  • Mail-cycling - recycling (aka, what we do with most of the mail as soon as it is delivered)
  • Deifier - dehumidifier (no, not a god-maker)
  • Picnic truck - pickup truck
  • Ta-gore-it - Tag, your it (also simply used to refer to the game tag)
  • Bow down - Bend over or lean over, as in "Mommy, bow down and give me a kiss."
  • Feel you better - Make/help you feel better, as in, "If you get hurt, I'll give you a hug to feel you better."
This is a pretty good list for the moment, but I'm sure we'll keep thinking of more cute stuff Oliver has said and he'll keep adding more to his repertoire.

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011


    As parents, there are many things I'm not quite sure how to do, and teaching Oliver about the Bible, God's love for him, and the offer of salvation through Christ is one task I find daunting.  I feel like I am constantly stumbling forward, clumsily trying to teach him the truth without feeling like I've gotten into a theological point that is far over the head of a two-year-old.  But stumble through we do.  

    We pray together at dinner, and Oliver usually starts our prayers.  We read a couple of stories each night from his beginning level Bible story book.  We pray before bed, sometimes with Oliver leading and sometimes with us leading.  Sometimes, Oliver gets silly and won't settle down for prayers.  Other times, he thanks Jesus for all kinds of things that I don't take time to pray about - like eyes and glasses and a ceiling fan.  He gets his inspiration from looking around the room.  I know he is still learning about reverence in prayer, but his prayers do remind me to be thankful for little things and to talk to God as a father rather than a distant, omnipotent being.  In his innocent (or sometimes not so innocent) way, sometimes he gets it more "right" than we do.  

    We've been talking with Oliver lately about kids who don't have all the good things he has - toys, houses, clothes, toothbrushes, beds.  Last week Oliver and I went to the store and filled a shoe box with toys, toiletries, and small clothing items for the Operation Christmas Child Program, which sends these boxes to children all over the world as part of a ministry to them.  We talked a lot in the store about giving nice things to kids who don't have them.  Oliver seemed to be getting it, but I didn't have any idea how much he got it and was putting ideas together.

    Last week, Seth was praying with him before bed.  In the prayer, Seth thanked God for the people who take care of Oliver.  Then he prayed for kids who don't have anyone to take care of them.  Oliver stopped him, "No, Daddy!  God takes care of them!"    

    You might be thinking we must be doing something right.  And maybe we are, but I am so thankful that it isn't really up to us.  God is using our clumsy words and actions to teach Oliver about him and his love and care for everyone.  So, we'll keep doing what we can - teaching him ourselves, taking him to Bible study, and letting him listen to lots of VeggieTales and WeeSing Bible Songs in the car.  And we'll keep trying to answer his questions and teach him what we believe.  And we will hope and pray that God will keep leading him and that someday he will be able to truly claim God's love and promises for himself.