Both Lisa and Maria are working today, so it’s double the playtime for me. I give Tommy (three years old) and Tina (four) their choice of alphabet or spiral macaroni for lunch. They both choose the literary variety. Our lunchtime conversation is pretty standard for consumers of alphabet macaroni until . . .
“What’s this?” asks Tommy.
That’s easy. “It’s a T. T is for Tommy.”
Then the inevitable happens. Tina finds a T. “What’s this?” she asks.
“It’s a T. T is for Tina.”
“No,” Tommy corrects me. “T is for Tommy.”
I try to be reasonable. “T is for Tommy, and Tina, and toys and tomatoes . . . .”
“But not for Cousin Tina!”
He never calls her “Cousin Tina.” He inserted the “C” word so he wouldn’t have to share his letter!
Tommy, Tina and I are playing store. They pay me with imaginary money, and I count out their imaginary change. “5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30,” I count for Tommy. He stares at me uncomprehendingly. “What you’ve said doesn’t make any sense to him,” Lisa explains. I try again. “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.” “I want 11.” I give him another bill. “I want 12” follows, then “I want 13.” Lisa speaks Tommy’s language, just as Maria speaks Tina’s. One of my favorite things about watching Lisa and Maria care for their children is how they UNDERSTAND them. Busy as they are, these moms take the time to really listen to their little ones.
“My dear friends, you should be quick to listen and slow to speak or get angry.” James 1:19 (Contemporary English Version)