Noah’s Ark: A Lesson in Power

Sep 10 2010

My husband and I teach a class to 3- and 4-year-olds at our church on Sundays.

This is more an act of desperation on the part of the church than it is a statement about our teaching abilities.

This summer, we had a rare, warm, sunny Sunday morning.  We took the kids outside to play.  Being the excellent and dedicated teachers that we are, we didn’t want to go back inside for the planned lesson.  So we didn’t.

We punted.

Me: Hey, kids!  Let’s play a Bible game.

Kids: Yay! Yay! Yay!

Me: Um, we’re going to play a game called… ummmm… Noah’s Ark.  And this play structure is our ark.  And this will be fun because… ummmm… you can be animals!

Kids:  Yay! Yay! Yay!

At this point, I kind of figured this would be easy peasey.  There’s nothing like the unbridled enthusiasm of preschoolers for all things ridiculous.

We played the game six times.  Each time, a different child got to be Noah and build the Ark.  I played the role of God, instructing Noah to build the play structure.  Noah in turn instructed all of the debras and ephalants and why-ons to get on board.

Kids:  I want to be Noah!  No, me!  I want to be Noah!

Me: No worries.  You can all have a turn to be Noah, OK?

Kids: Yay! Yay! Yay!

My brilliant child, Cael, was easily able to tell us the moral of the story.  For those of you who aren’t as familiar with your Bible stories, Cael can tell you that the rainbow is God’s promise to never flush the earth again.

But even my brilliant children couldn’t outshine Kate, my favorite for the day.  Kate’s a woman who catches on quick, who understands power, who knows what she wants.

The final time we reenacted Noah’s Ark, I assigned roles just like I had every time.  We had Cael playing Noah.  We had a tigow, a bode (bird), a mouse and a dog.

Then I asked Kate, What animal do you want to be?

Kate, without hesitation: I don’t want to be an aminal.

Me: Okaaay… what do you want to be?

Kate:  I want to be GOD… turning to Cael and pointing at his nose… Now go build me an ark!

Ahhh.  A girl after my own heart.

Drugs, Sex, and Jesus

Aug 6 2010

Lately my kids have wanted to talk to me about the topic of my choice.

Which is weird.

Like they don’t know what they want to talk about?  Like they really want to open the door to allow me to lecture to them?  About anything?

Sounds good to me.  I’ll pick.  After all, opportunities like this don’t come along every day.

I was driving with my kids on a prolonged trip. My 12-year-old daughter exhausted all of her usual conversational topics, including:

  • Why I won’t buy her a laptop
  • Why I won’t buy her a new cell phone
  • Why I won’t buy her an iPod
  • Why I’m budgeting way too small an amount for back-to-school clothes
  • What I’m buying her for her birthday

So she asked me to pick our next topic.

I recently heard a story about a parent who, at the beginning of any car trip with her teenaged kids, immediately locks the doors and says, “So, kids, want to talk about sex or drugs?”

I assume she locks the doors so they won’t bail at 60 mph, no matter how uncomfortable the conversation gets.  Or maybe so she won’t.

Either way, I took a page straight out of her playbook.

“Sex or drugs.  Pick one.”

My daughter declined.

So I picked.  And then when I was done talking about sex, I picked again and talked about drugs.


One of those fabulous moments when I get to be a good, communicative mom with a huge heaping side of revenge for all that pre-teen angst.

A couple of days ago, one of my three-year-olds, Cai, said, “Whatcha wanna talk about, Mom?”

I caught myself before I said, “Sex or drugs. Pick one.”

I thought fast and hard about an appropriate topic.

“Let’s talk about Jesus.”

Oh, yes.  I am that inspired.

“Yeah!” Cai responded, which was way better than my daughter’s response to my choice of topics for her.  Maybe next time I’ll choose Jesus.

I asked, “What’s your favorite thing about Jesus, Cai?”

After much thought, Cai said, “She gots magic powers.”

In case you’re curious about what Jesus does with her magic powers, Cai has the answer to that, too.

“She opens things.”

Maybe she can get that dang jam jar open.  Or maybe I’m missing the point.

Maybe she opens conversational opportunities with my kids.

I dig Cai’s Jesus.  She’s cool.

You’re both winners!

Aug 4 2010

When I was a child, my mother had the most irritating habit of ending any competition between my brother and me by exclaiming enthusiastically, “You’re both winners!”  Jeff and I are intensely competitive, even now – perhaps because we could never settle who’d won anything.

Parenting is often a series of extremes, picking and choosing which things our own parents did that we embrace and which things they did that we patently reject.  We tease my mom all the time about her “two winners” philosophy, but, still…

I reject the notion of two winners.

Aden, age 8, recently informed me that she’ll be marrying her brother Ian, age 10, when they grow up.

I told her this isn’t a good idea.

“Do you know why, Aden?  Why is it a bad idea to marry Ian?”

After some time to consider, Aden replied, “Because he’s mean and he has a girlfriend.”

Hmmm, interesting.

I was going to go with the whole incest thing.

But her focus on non-abuse and faithfulness has merit.

So, as much as I hate to give in, Mom, I’ll suck it up and say it.

Aden, we’re both winners.

Making a Baby

Jul 26 2010

We have a new cousin who’s six weeks old.  He came to visit on Saturday, prompting a few questions from Cai, one of our three-year-olds.

Cai: Mom, is that a baby?

Me: Yes, Cai. That’s a baby.

Cai: Can I have him?

Me: You want to have the baby?

Cai: Yes.

Me: What will you do with him?

Cai: I no know.

Me: Will you feed him?

Cai: No.

Me: Will you change his diapers?

Cai: No.

Me: Will you hold him?

Cai: YES!

Me: Babies need a lot of care, Cai.  They need to be fed and changed. So let’s let the baby’s mommy and daddy do all that work, OK?

Cai, pointing to the baby’s mom and dad: Did them make the baby, mom?

Me: Yes, they made the baby.  Didn’t they do a good job?

Cai: With screws?

Me: Did they make the baby with screws?

Cai: Yes. Did them make that baby with screws?

Me: Well… yes.  I guess they did.  But I think it just took one big screw.

And there’s another counseling session I’m going to owe my kid.

Bathing: The Musical

Jul 13 2010

There are things I didn’t know I’d have to do when I became a parent.

Like teaching children how to bathe.

Or, rather, I knew I’d have to teach them.  Just not how specifically I’d have to do it.

I knew I’d teach kids how to wash their hair and how often to wash in general.

I even knew I’d have to tell kids to wash their private parts.

What I didn’t understand was that there is no room for nuanced instructions during bathing lessons.

For example, I really thought that “OK, now you need to wash your private parts with soap” would be adequate information.  And, in my defense, it worked with my eldest.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case with my next two children.

When Kids 2 & 3 were about preschool age, we moved toward more self-sufficient bathing.

Following the successful bathing model we’d used with our oldest child, we taught hair-washing.  We taught neck, behind-the-ears and knee washing.  We taught leg, elbow, arm and belly washing.  Heck, we even taught between-the-toes washing.

And, for obvious reasons, we told Kids 2 & 3 to wash their private parts.

The thing is, we didn’t monitor this part too closely.  We opted instead to politely turn our backs to model modesty.  We thought we ought to not give our children memories of their parents being way too focused on their… ahem… personal moments.

So imagine my surprise when I noticed that my children were rather odoriferous.

And, by odoriferous, I mean that they stunk.

Like stale pee and residual poo… that most gentle of port-a-potty smells.

Clearly, it was time to go back to the drawing board and be a tad more specific about our training.

So, with our guinea-pig older children well-trained with the knowledge that washing your butt does not, in fact, mean butt cheeks, but instead all the way down the crack-ola and around the poo-hole, we felt equipped to teach our newest trainees to wash themselves.

Cael and Cai, age 3, have taken to this training like…

like fish to water

like dirt to three-year-old twin boys

like slippery to soap

…you get the idea.  They like it.

Cai, in fact, likes it so much that he’s put his new skills to music in an original song that you can listen to here.

In case you missed them, the lyrics are as follows:

I washing my HAY-er.

I washing my HAY-er.

I washing my HAY-er.

I washing my HAY-er.

I washing my HAY-er.

I washing my HAY-er.

I washing my ARM-pit.

I washing my NUDDER arm-pit.

I washing my PEE-nis.

I washing my BUTT-ho-oh-ole.

I washing my HAY-er.

And there you have it.  Bathing: An Original Musical by Cai.

Next step: teach Cai not to go back to the hair after the butthole.

A parent’s job is never done.

My Mom Didn’t Allow Barbies

Jul 13 2010

My mom didn’t allow me to have Barbies while I was growing up.

I bet this is why.

That’s the toy bin beside our bathtub.

I didn’t move any of the toys.

So, yep, that’s pretty much some inappropriate group Barbie action going on.

Here’s a closer view.

Hey – don’t blame me when you’re the one still reading.

I’m not sure if I’m more disturbed by the image of Ken on the left or the fact that Barbie on the right feels the need to explain things to the dog.


Apr 5 2010

Three year old twin boys.

Guess which part of the following sentence bothered me the most?

Cael, yelling from the bathroom:  “Mommm!  Cai peed on my butt again!”

Yep, it was the word “again.”