When we pick up Spartacus from daycare every day, his daily report lists how many times he went potty when they did a diaper change, and he gets a sticker each time. In the past few weeks, he’s had a sticker almost every day, and some days he’s even had two, which is encouraging for a diaper-free future!
When we get into the car, he asks me to “open it” – meaning peel the sticker off the paper, and affix it to his forehead. He wears this sticker with pride as long as it sticks; sometimes it stays on until the next day if we happen to skip a bath that night. If we try to take it off it is as if we are attempting to cut off an appendage (or heaven forbid, his hair or fingernails).
This means that when we get to the imposition of the ashes at our church’s evening Ash Wednesday service last week, Spartacus insisted on keeping his dinosaur sticker on, leaving the pastor to try to fit a cross on the side of his head, which Sparty promptly rubbed so it looked like the Purdue P. Baby Hermione also got a tiny cross, which she wiped into my shirt as soon as we got back to the pew.
|One of 3 family photos we have of all 4 of us.|
Our church has a nursery for kids under 4, and most Sundays it is staffed by one of several ladies who love playing with my kid. Spartacus loves it because it has a train table filled with Thomas trains, several Little Tyke climbing slide thingys, and a basketball hoop: all his favorite things in the world. He doesn’t yet see the value in the Gospel message we get during the service and instead spends most of his time at church begging to go play basketball…
Hubster and I have a few guidelines we’ve discussed about our kids in church:
1. Kids should be in church as much as possible. Not in the nursery. In the worship service.
2. Spartacus shouldn’t be rewarded with bad behavior in church with playing basketball in the nursery.
3. If Spartacus can stay in church moderately well-behaved until the sermon it’s a good day; if we can make it to communion it’s a rock-star day, and we’ve gotten into the habit of going from the communion rail to the nursery to play basketball for the last ten minutes of service.
We’ve worked with Spartacus to teach him the Lord’s Prayer and the common table prayer. Hubster is also working on the sign of the cross. We wish our toddler would sit quietly in church, but he generally narrates the whole service, as he narrates all other parts of his life. Sometimes this is annoying, but most of the time it is extremely entertaining to us and everyone plus or minus three pews, since he only has one volume. It is, however, a little distracting.
My blog title is actually misleading. We haven’t managed to make headway on the nuances of Lutheran theology with our two-year-old. He does know that “Jesus is up high. On the cross,” with the occasional additional observation, “He can’t big jump.” He sees the stained glass alpha and omega symbols and tells me there are two blue circles by Jesus. He asks if he can blow the candles out. He big jumps off the steps when we come back from communion. On some of the windows that line the sanctuary, the window cranks pop off; Spartacus knows which ones come off and enjoys taking them off and handing them to strangers.
If we enter the building from the back door we have to stop at the drinking fountain with a step-stool and big jump off each step. If we enter from the front door we have to look at the fountain by the narthex. If we enter the side door he wants to play on the playground slide on that side of the building. Spartacus pushes the elevator button to go down a floor, but because it only dings when the door opens the first time, he makes his own ding sound when he arrives at his floor. He knows which sweet ladies to con to get more cookies before Sunday School time.
So he’s not ready to join Hubster in seminary anytime soon, I guess the fact that he treats our church with the same comfort level he treats our home, then it is somewhere he likes to be and that’s a good thing! Especially as we enter the season of Lent and go to church Wednesday evenings until Easter.
|Hermione’s baptism last month; if you look closely you can see Spartacus trying to blow out her baptismal candle.|