Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Delighting in Toddlerhood

We have had some pretty wonderful "firsts" around here lately, along with some not so enjoyable new experiences (teething those molars and the ensuing misery of the experience, missing Daddy when he was out of town for three days, and experimenting in tantrums) but in an effort to focus on the joy and not get bogged down in the exhaustion of disciplining and navigating the push and pull of our alternating independent/ needy little girl I want to share the joys. If you're a Mama, have fun reminiscing, or anticipating and if you're enjoying a different season of your life, just enjoy the mental imagery. =)

The first discovery of a rolly-polly bug went something like this: Oh look Caiden, this is a rolly polly! Watch! (I picked it up and induced it to curl into it's protective position. Caiden: OOH! Ball! (she looks into my eyes happily) Me: Yes, it IS like a ball, but watch...(we stand there quietly for a few seconds and the bug cautiously begins to unfurl. Caiden gasps, grabs my hand and pulls it close to her to watch, nose almost touching my hand. When the bug crawls onto her hand she squealed in surprise, flung it across the yard and crawled up me like a little monkey. As soon as she was safely tucked into my arms she grinned ear to ear and signed and said, "MORE!"

She has discovered running now and almost cannot be coaxed to enjoy sitting in her stroller. Yesterday she terrorized half a dozen pigeons who were trying to peck up the bread being liberally flung at them by another toddler. She chased them around for a good 30 minutes. Finally she found 2 slower ones and targeted them. Several times she ALMOST touched them. Once she got frustrated and implored me with big eyes and an attempt to sign "help". I couldn't help but laugh...she had a better chance of catching one without me!

We went searching for ripened blackberries in our "back yard" (the slope past our yard toward the creek) this weekend, and were delighted to find a few. Blackberry vines are very thorny, so I would just point them out to her and watch her eyes widen with wonder and excitement. I gave her a few and then ate half of one. The next time I handed her a berry, she generously "offered" it to me by thrusting it into my mouth and grinning proudly. In the end both of us were covered in the sweet purple juice and smiling. (Lemon juice and vinegar got out the stains!)

While I was helping Jeff with the silent auction preparations, I let Caiden entertain herself by drawing on a paper with a pen (the only thing I could find that would keep her in my sight for a few minutes at a time). I stripped her down and let her go to town. Apparently her stroke was strongest when it was closest to her body, and I looked up to find a very tatooed daughter and an almost clean sheet of paper. I had to stifle a full blown laugh at the look of complete intrigue on her face. What a fun new experience! Don't worry, we did talk about the better places for writing (paper!!!).

On a different note: can anyone share some creative ideas for teaching a toddler about Jesus? Where did you start? We talk to Jesus together during the day, we say "who loves Caiden? Mama loves Caiden, (Daddy and Jesus) to which she always replies with a happy sigh. But I am curious to hear how others have introduced this non-concrete concept to such concrete thinkers.


LindzML said...

My mom taught 2-year-olds for several years (and, you know, raised Emily and myself), and would often go about teaching about Christ by presenting a situation where there's a definite human (sinful) reaction, and then a Christ-centered reaction. She'd ask us what we would do in whatever the situation was. 90% of the time, we'd answer with the human reaction. Then she'd explain what Jesus would do. Our insatiable curiosity would always present the "Why" or "How come?", and she'd be able to delve in deeper about who He was and why He was so good. It sounds like you have your hands full with Caiden, and I hope you're loving it!

Mrs said...

Joy, joy, joy! What fun! I still have the same reaction to rolly poly bugs myself. :-)

I bought a book from Mr. & Mrs. Lisech that's so wonderful, creation to the cross. The pictures are amazing and would capture any toddler, but they'll really grasp it from preschool up. It's called "The Lamb" and it's by John R. Cross.

We started, as I'm sure you have done, with crediting God for everything. "Look what God made! God made Mommy, God made Daddy" etc. Then when "good" was happening, it was "God loves you! That makes Him so happy!" and when sin crept in it was, "God loves you, but that makes Him sad." Simple, simple concepts.

Phyllis said...

I love it! Toddlers are so wonderful, and it makes me even happier when someone enjoys them. (Of course, you would.)

As far as teaching about Jesus, I think He's much more concrete to them than you might guess. Yes, abstract theology is too much for a toddler, but Jesus is a Person who they can LOVE. :-) I think you're doing just right. Keep talking about Him, pray together, read stories about Jesus, sing to and about Him, etc.

I haven't seen "The Lamb" yet, but I'm sure it would be good. Mrs, I got to hear John Cross teach and spend a good bit of time with him, back when I went to PNG. :-)