Monthly Archives: May 2009

"I'm Scared"

At two and a half, Tina’s going through a scary time.

We look at her big Bible story book, the one Auntie gave her for Christmas, and talk about the pictures of the people in the dark. There’s Abraham looking up at the stars. “It’s dark,” I say, “but he’s not scared because God is there.” Page after page, we find the nighttime pictures and I tell her, “It’s dark, but __________ isn’t scared because God is there.” I sing, “Jesus loves me in the dark, and He loves me when it’s light. In the dark and in the light, Jesus loves me all the time.”

After awhile she says, “I’m not scared.”

Sometimes she’s not scared, but her toys and balls are. One day the cans of baby food in the cupboard are scared. I hold them in my arms and sing Jesus Loves Me.

“I sought the LORD, and He heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

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Treasure from a Tiny Girl

Young children, at least most of them, are inherently kind. Tina gave me a simple yet beautiful example of this well before she turned two.

We were chatting with Marsha, a friend from church, after the service. Marsha was suffering from a nasty cold. “It hurts!” she groaned after a particularly brutal cough.

What did Tina do? She held out her pretty toy for Marsha, a colorful pencil case filled with tiny treasures.

“. . . such as I have give I thee . . . .” Acts 3:6

Outside the Box

Tommy’s mom, Lisa, and a friend are drinking coffee—from MUGS. Tommy’s still a baby, not talking much, but he knows what he wants and he’s making it very clear. He wants a mug, too.

Mom is also clear. The answer is no. Grown-ups get mugs, babies get bottles.

What to do now? Throw a tantrum, perhaps? Give up? How about think outside the bottle, er box?

Tommy gets a mug for himself, puts his bottle in it, and settles down for a drink.

Creative solution, no?

Perhaps Tommy has a role to play in labor negotiations. Can you see him at the table now, where bitter, angry workers stare down intractable owners? Teeth gnash, tempers flare. Take your bottle out of your diaper bag, Tommy, and get that union boss to pass you his mug. Show these big boys how it’s done!

Engineer

I hand the blocks to the three-year-old architect/engineer/builder and she piles them up. “This is the roof,” Tina explains, laying a large red block on the floor. Blue blocks, then green, then blue again as the square structure takes shape.

Oh no!  There are two blue blocks left over! She can’t put them on top—that will spoil the symmetry.

What to do?

At this point, my extensive experience in applied mathematics and building design come to the fore. I have a pretty good idea that if there were two blue blocks left over the first time, there will be two blue blocks left over the second time. Just my opinion, of course.

We demolish the house.

Aha! Tina has the answer!

She lays the large red block on the floor again.

She’s working feverishly now. Adrenalin, fueled by inspiration, courses through her veins.

“Each, each, each, each,” she announces, laying the blue blocks CROSSWISE rather than LENGTHWISE on the red one. Surely this will do it.

Again, she builds her square house . . . but what’s this I see? Two errant blue blocks with nowhere to go!

Tina demolishes the offending structure and prepares to rebuild.

“Let’s build it funny,” I suggest, standing a block on its edge. Will the originality of design distract Tina from the house’s glaring lack of mathematical proportions?

It does. We build and then demolish a “funny” house, and all is once again well in Toddlerdom.

The Man Who Walks Alone

scared sabre-tooth-tiger

Can you hear them, dear reader? Saber-toothed tigers’ fangs chatter, woolly mastodons whimper, T-Rex cowers in a dark cave, his massive heart thundering in terror, his brain reeling at the mortal danger . . .  for The Man Who Walks Alone stalks the primeval forest.

From whence comes The Man Who Walks Alone? From day care, of course.

I pick up two-year-old Tommy after work. “Do you want to go to the big park?” I ask.

“Yay! Big park, big park!” he shouts.

We arrive at the Place of Transformation. “Bye!” Tommy calls and curls his fingers. He wants to explore—alone. I follow at a respectful distance as the intrepid, solitary explorer blazes trails through towering trees and almost, but not quite, too close to the creek.

Then, suddenly, “Grandma, come!”

Tommy stretches out his hand. I take it and my little grandson and I walk together, enjoying the birds, the people and the dogs in this large urban park. Together we run across the bridge, listening to the thump of our footsteps on the wooden planks. We hear the swish of the water below the bridge, and call “Hi” to the friendly people walking their dogs. Until . . .

“Bye!” and The Man Who Walks Alone once again blazes trails, striking terror into the hearts of man and beast alike.

jungle

Eons from now, as the warriors gather round the campfire, will they not speak in hushed tones of The Man Who Walks Alone?

Strong Man

Two-year-old Tommy’s cold, really cold. He’s shivering violently and his lips and nails are blue. Does he want to get out of the water? Of course not!

But it’s time. We take the life jacket off him and put it on his three-year-old cousin, Tina. Then Tommy’s mom takes Tina across the pool. Poor Tommy! His heart breaks as he watches HIS mom take his cousin across the pool with HIS life jacket. He weeps.

In the sauna, I wrap the shaking child in a towel and rock him. I pray for him, with him. “Dear Jesus, thank You that the sauna is warm. Thank You that I’m getting warm now. Please help me to stop crying now. Please help me to be a strong boy.”

Tommy stops crying and I dress him. “You’re so strong,” I tell him. “You stopped crying.”

I take him back out to the pool and we again watch his cousin swimming with his mom, this time without tears.

In the days and weeks that follow, this incident becomes a part of Tommy’s psyche. “I share Tina,” he announces out of the blue. “I share jacket. I stop crying.”

It’s become a part of who he is.

“Train up a child in the way he should go” Proverbs 22:6

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

. . .  when Tina was born.

The call came about 1:30 a.m. Maria had gone into labor, but didn’t think I needed to come right away. RIGHT! Richard packed me a snack and I left in a blinding January blizzard. My original plan to drive on the right side of the highway (a plan probably shared by many drivers in the West) quickly gave way to Plan B—stay between the ditches. Under 10 miles an hour, eyes straining to see even a foot in front of the car, on guard for slanting pavement that would indicate I was inches from either ditch . . . I crawled.

Thankfully, there were no one else (go figure!) on the worst stretch of road. 

I was so pleased that I’d been invited to join my daughter’s labor party, consisting of her husband, sister and friends. A little weather wasn’t going to hold me back!

And it didn’t. The storm abated as I approached the city, and I arrived at the hospital before Tina made her entrance.

I was so excited when the nurse brought her into the room, but I was also afraid. Perhaps I wouldn’t qualify. “Could somebody hold her?” I ventured timidly.

“And could that somebody be Grandma?” Maria’s sister laughed.

Awestruck, I held my featherweight, peaceful, already very much loved baby granddaughter.

Welcome to my blog. I have kept baby books since Tommy’s and Tina’s births, and have many stories to share with you. They won’t necessarily be in chronological order, as I’m most excited about what’s happening now. Tommy’s two and his cousin Tina is three, and I’ve been recording their adventures in “Grandma” baby books since Day One.