Sunday, August 3, 2008

"Are You There, God? Its me, Landon"

Introducing God to Landon on a small scale has been pretty simple. He recognizes images of Jesus and knows several prayers. He prays for me when I'm upset ("Please, Dodd, Pleeeease help Mommy feel better!") and understands that God is out there somewhere....but over the last couple of weeks, I have started seeing how confusing the whole thing can be for a little guy to grasp (and for Mom to explain).

A few days ago, Landon was talking to me about about my Grandma's old crucifix that is hanging on my bedroom wall and I said )something to the effect of, "That's Jesus. He made us." (and after a brief look of disbelief from Landon that the tiny man on our wall was this "Jesus" guy...) I went on to say, "Well THAT isn't Jesus...Jesus is in Heaven. That is just a statue of Jesus, blah, blah, ramble, blah." He kept giving me this, "Mmmhmm, yeah, sure." look and I decided to save that topic for another day.

Another day, before taking a bath in my bathroom, we passed the crucifix again and Landon said, "That's Jesus! It's a statue of Jesus." I patted him on the back for spouting the correct answer (and patted myself on the back for getting through to him) when he turned to me and asked, "What is Jesus' last name, Mommy?"

Errrr....Hmph! ;o)

Anyway, we were sitting in church today and Landon was starting to get that cheeky look on his face (the one that says, "Okay, I'm done.") His legs and arms couldn't stop wiggling--He was sticking his tongue in and out of his mouth and making little noises to amuse himself. I tried leaning across Andy to "mom-hiss" a threatening message in his direction--Didn't deter him at all. Then I tried playing Good Cop and talking sweetly to him, telling him how good I knew he could be, he's my big, big boy, big boys are good in church, etc.....He simply told me that he wasn't really that big. He was still kind of little, actually. This was no amateur I was dealing with. This was a quick and cunning three-year-old. After a few more feeble attempts to get him to calm down, I used the (dreaded and annoying) last resort tactic of bribery: "If you're so, so good, maybe we can go to the playground after church is over!" That just made him restless to go to the playground at that very moment. Not good. I looked at my son, crawling all over the pew and grinning that Dennis the Menace grin and told him that we were in God's house and that God was watching him so he better behave. His little blond head jerked up, immediately at attention. His body was completely still as curious blue eyes darted around the church. Up to the choir loft, back at the altar, behind us near the Baptismal font...I could see the wheels in his head turning. He was finally going to get a peek at this "God" character! After scouring the room for God's watchful (albeit disapproving...according to Mom) gaze for a few minutes, he looked at me like I had played a joke on him ("I don't see God anywhere!") and went back to his shenanigans. We wound up in the choir room. :o)

Teaching Spirituality: Job #4,129,863 of Motherhood. Whew!


Mandy said...

It sounds like you are describing my children in Mass!! Frack is in the nursery b/c of that type of behavior. Frick has been doing OK in Mass. Just a little wiggly. But seriously, there are some mornings I am ready to pull my hair out!

Andrea said...

I wish I knew exactly what to say... we have similar things happen. I just try to explain it as we go and know when he gets old that he'll understand better. =)

Jennifer said...

Mandy--Imagine our church....TOGETHER!!! (and we have to go to 5:30--where there is NO NURSERY!!! Muhahahaha!) :oD Don't they crack you up?

Andrea--I agree :o)...I just never thought there'd be so many questions so early! I have an "anwer all questions" policy--The hard part is coming up with age appropriate answers--LOL! AS soon as I think I have a perfect one, he gives me the "look"--you know, like he can see right through me? :o) Its so strange to think we are their spiritual guides--Makes me have more respect for my parents fo' sho'!

Sharon said...

Church is so hard with the little ones.

You know what, though? It does pay off, and they do learn even when it seems all they do is distract others from the Mass.

e were surprised this year to see Aidan doing certain things in Mass. Who knew he actually paid attention?!
Then he started Sunday School and that made a difference, too.

Hang in there. It gets better. ;)
After all, these little creatures sure make US more spiritual, don't they? All those daily (sometimes hourly) shout-outs to God..."Help me God!", or "God! Make him behave!". lol

Jennifer said...

I know what you mean about them absorbing certain things without our realizing it. On the days when Landon is calmer in church, I tell him what we're doing and warn him ahead of time when we're all going to say something out loud together so he can participate. (At least being Catholic gives us plenty of opportunities to stand, sit, kneel, walk, talk, etc ;oP)

We've seen Landon (on a good day, mind you!) bless himself with Holy Water, say the Our Father with us, shake hands with everyone, put money in the collection basket, etc--It makes me tear up sometimes to see him so proud of himself in church. I guess I could have added this to my post, huh? :o) After church, I thought about how hard he had tried to sit still and do the right thing and I told him he did a good job and that I was proud of him for trying so hard. He had a huge smile on his face and gave me a big hug in the narthex--I don't want him to think church is a place where he is constantly scolded and punished--I want him to WANT to go. There was aguy in the cry room with us who was literally pinning his kid to the seat (a kid maybe a little younger than L)--The kid was crying for his mom and saying, "Daddy, you're hurting me!" over and over while the red-faced dad looked on...Its such a fine line to walk