Marguerite is three years old. We have to start being more conscious of the values we are exposing her to. I have very little confidence in lectures when it comes to matters of principles and values. What gets inculcated in little children's hearts and minds is what they observe or live out somehow. Some of the things I hope we'll be able to show her are compassion and empathy. Now, I tell her about Haiti. I'm a Fox News junkie (with frequent visits to CNN for glimpses of Anderson Cooper, hee!) and unless the Haiti news images get too graphic, I keep the TV on while Marguerite is in the room. I try to explain about what we see in the simplest possible way I can. She has seen me many times crying over the news. She has learned to pray for Haiti by repeating the quick utterances she has heard from me ("Lord, please help Haiti." or "More miracles please, Lord."). I don't really know how much sinks in. She doesn't seem scared by any of it, so perhaps she's still too young to process what she sees on TV although she does say "poor little kids" or "poor babies". Anyway, I do know things register and when her mind is ready she'll know what to do with the information. For instance, like the too excited dork that I am, I started signing to her when she was but a newborn and when she was 7-8 months old, she just surprised us by signing milk to say she was hungry. Or like potty training. After spending a seeming eternity cleaning up after accidents, things just clicked. At least, that's how things happen here. Enough of this digression. Most of the time kids surprise us with their capacity for understanding anyway. The point of all this is that the other night as I was leading us in a bedtime prayer, when I got to the point of praying for Haiti, Marguerite interrupted and started asking for water (that was surprising since she knows now how prayer time goes - she even gets upset with me when I pray with my eyes open, lol). Anyway, I told her I'd get her some water after praying and the little one became the picture of frustration. She cried, "No, no! They're firsty (thirsty). Pray for water." She does understand and retain the things I tell her! I found that pretty amazing. And gratifying actually.
And when I get too full of the idea that I'm doing things right, something like the following happens. As I've not been able to fully eradicate my enfant terrible tendencies, I still have moments of juvenile humor. For instance, every time I send Husband off to work with a packed lunch including beans, I chant the infamous "Beans, Beans" song. Sometime this week, I started teasing Husband about his bean-rich lunch. I said, "Beans, beans, the musical fruit," and stopped, satisfied that I had already made my point. Suddenly we heard this little voice continuing the chant. We thought Marguerite was busy with her toys on the floor and wasn't paying attention.Obviously, we were wrong.
Sigh. Little pitchers, sponges, and all that. We should be on our guard more, more conscious of the things we are exposing her too. Like I'm not convinced that it's entirely a good things that Marguerite knows everybody in New Directions - and I mean EVERYBODY, including Mike Ching and Matt Rutherford. And if you're wondering, no, I didn't add that because I'm on Glee withdrawal. That's so obviously part of the point. ;-p