Category Archives: Precious Little Boy

From Songster to Flag Girl


No longer so reluctant to turn in for the night, two-year-old May often goes to bed happily with bursts of song.

But on Sunday she became a flag dancer as well as a nightingale. Tommy, May and I sit at the front during the worship service. There’s a lot going on–people and instruments on the platform, words on the screen, and often flag dancers as well. Today there was one flag dancer, and she came over and offered us flags. I chose shimmering turquoise for May and me, and May waved her flag during the entire worship service.

During Meet and Greet time, May and I shook hands with others nearby. Tommy caught sight of his older friend and raced up to the balcony to greet him.

How can I describe my feelings?  I rejoiced that my little granddaughter was so utterly cherished as the flag lady told her Jesus loved to see her flagging.

And Tommy? Tommy knows he belongs. He belongs with his Sunday School teacher and pastor, with his older friend, with the others who welcome him on Sunday mornings, and with his uncle, whom he sometimes helps in the sound booth.

… Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and don’t try to stop them! People who are like these children belong to God’s kingdom.” Matthew 19:14 (Contemporary English Version) 




This Doctor Thought She’d Seen It All

Parents today are probably the most informed and involved generation in history. And, yet, in the company of their children, they often act as though they’d rather be someplace else. That’s what they’re saying when they break eye contact to glance at their push notifications or check Facebook when they think their child’s distracted. The parents are present, their attention is not.

In my practice, I see evidence every day of how such inattention affects kids. ~Pediatrician Jane Scott

Disturbing indeed: a pediatrician who thought she’d seen it all reports a two-year-old with infected ears turning to Siri on his cell phone–rather than his dad beside him–for info. Although, I gather it didn’t bother Dad too much–he was busy on his phone as well.


Eight-year-old Tommy loves electronics (and his mother wisely restricts his time on them). Nine-year-old Tina uses, rather than loves, gadgets. But both of them are also highly responsive and aware of the needs and feelings of others. They have solid relationships with the people around them. So does two-year-old May.

kindness flowers

On the other hand, I recently heard of a young man whose hands are permanently disfigured from using joysticks (he’s still playing).


And I remember reading of a kind of detox program in another country. Although the prognosis for a cure to game addiction was poor, therapists were using physical action figures to try to wean addicts away from the screen.

playing games

And that gets me thinking. It appears that electronics are here to stay. Some groups prohibit their use altogether.


Tommy’s and Tina’s moms have opted for teaching sensible use, like watching these French stories on YouTube.


Rosa Goes to the City

It looks like parents and other caregivers need to decide on a plan before vulnerable children become socially impaired and/or addicted.

What do you think? Do you agree that this is a cause for concern? If so, do you have suggestions?

April 13, 2015: The First Day of May

2015-04-13 tulips

Tommy chooses–and pays for–a bouquet of tulips for Tricia. Lisa picks up a case of toiletries sure to please their honored guest. She and Tommy clean up his bedroom, where Tricia will be sleeping. Perhaps Tommy’s giant panda wonders what’s going on.

May’s bedroom, pretty in pink, is ready. This room, however, has not been prepared  for a guest. Two-year-old May is coming to live with her forever family.

2015-04-13 May tea set

We are so thankful for Tricia, May’s foster mom. She began visiting May in the hospital when the little girl was a premie, and the two developed a strong bond. Now May, utterly secure in the love of Tricia and her family, is settling in very nicely with her new mom and dad, and big brother Tommy.

2015-04-13 G and A stairs-cropped

Welcome home, little one!

2015-04-13 shoes

Destructomania–and a Lesson for Us

destroyed iphone

Tommy  has some special videos to show me–a young man destroying iPhones on YouTube (no link here!).

I marvel. This well-spoken young man immerses one iPhone in a specially made lava lamp, and tackles others with a blow torch, a hammer . . . .

“They’re experiments,” I say, trying to be encouraging, and telling myself that at least the videographer uses clean language. But I must admit to being baffled as to the point of it all.

Tommy watches in admiration as this “scientist” immerses, burns and hammers, but he takes good care of his own collection of ancient (to an eight-year-old) and modern cell phones.

When he was little, Tommy cheerfully (and with permission) destroyed his mother’s and my Fiddlestix™ creations, and checked to make sure he wasn’t allowed to wreck the grasshopper.

From whence comes this urge to destroy? A normal need for some degree of power and control, no doubt. And does it matter?

Perhaps. And this might be the takeaway point. Tommy understood animate vs. inanimate (and I’m including plants with inanimate objects here) at a very young age. But it appears that some children–and adults–do not.

And therein lies the lesson. As parents and grandparents, can we help little ones– who have a totally normal urge to control their environment–to learn that kittens, babies and other children have feelings, while dandelions and block towers do not?

boy with kitten


Deviceomania: A Case Study

phone charger

I’ve got Tommy figured!

Actually, I’ve got him labelled–Tommy’s a deviceomaniac (someone please alert Webster!).

Let me explain:

6-ish a.m. yesterday: Tommy calls to thank me for letting him take my old Samsung flip phone home to play with.

Last night (during a company-wide meeting): He calls to play me my old ringtone.

6:30-ish this morning: Tommy calls and thanks me again.

Noon: I leave the charger with Lisa, Tommy’s mom. I’d hoped to give it to Tommy in person, but then found out I had to work. I ask Lisa to give him my regrets. Not to worry, she says. “When he sees the charger, he’ll forget about you,” she reassures me.

Not so, Lisa.

After work: Tommy calls to thank me for the charger.

Later:  Tommy calls again, still thankful, and artfully hinting. He could the change the wallpaper and the ringtones. Of course that wouldn’t be right . . . . “Why don’t you go ahead?” I ask him.

Tommy’s thankful.

So am I.

Tommy’s eight now, and the time will come when he and I no longer walk these sweet and pleasant paths together. I hope we’ll walk others, but these mornings and these paths are for today.

“Nobody on his deathbed ever said, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.”

~ Paul Tsongas

A 6:15 AM Call from the Mayor

Saturday!! 6:15 a.m.

I am awakened by a call on my cell: “You haven’t paid your bills for a whole year,” declares Mayor Tommy. He’s going to turn off my power. It’s mid-winter, and I will be without heat as well.

I protest that I’ve been paying my bills, but that I haven’t received any receipts for a year, and suggest the problem is with his office.

That afternoon he calls back, and I suggest he contact my bank, which will confirm that the money has been taken out of my account. He does so, and now the mailman is the chief suspect. Whew!

Some of the happiest memories of my childhood are of playing pretend games with my friends. We changed rules and roles at will, as Tommy and Tina do. I even had a lovely set of dishes–real china–that my mother had played with when she was a little girl.

Does this kind of play have any useful function?

I had known much of this (quoted from from “The Importance of Pretend Play”)

When your child engages in pretend (or dramatic) play, he is actively experimenting with the social and emotional roles of life. Through cooperative play, he learns how to take turns, share responsibility, and creatively problem-solve. When your child pretends to be different characters, he has the experience of “walking in someone else’s shoes,” which helps teach the important moral development skill of empathy.

But I had not even imagined this:

According to the Early Childhood Research & Practice Journal (Doris Bergen, Volume 4, Number 1),

Although not specifically focused on pretense, a longitudinal study in which preschool children were rated on the complexity of their block play (which has a high symbolic component) and then were followed into their high school years found (controlling for IQ and gender) positive relationships with seventh-grade mathematical test scores and high school measures of math grades, number of math courses, and number of honors courses (Wolfgang, Stannard, & Jones, 2001).

Pretty impressive! Mayor Tommy can call me anytime.

Tommy on a Cold Case

Tommy has been analyzing a REALLY cold case: my bicycle was stolen some 30+ years ago. (One of the wheels had stopped turning, and I’d left the bike outside a building and gone in to look for someone to fix it. When I came out, the bike was gone.)

He calls with the news: “I think I know what happened,” he says. The person carried my bike away and fixed it later. We discuss the case. It was unlikely, we decide, that the perpetrator had had the tools to fix the bike on the spot, hence it must have been carried away. But with no bike, DNA or tire tracks . . . .

What most intrigues me is that Tommy is reading a letter I wrote to him in 2012, probably a response to his concern that something of his had disappeared at school. According to Lisa he keeps all my letters, and clearly he keeps them easily accessible.

I find this encouraging. They say that children hear us even when they don’t appear to be listening; Tommy thinks about what I say and what I write to him, and returns to them later for analysis and discussion.

I’d best watch my words!

“Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3 NKJV)