— 1 —
Our 3-year-old son is a genius. At least that’s what he thinks. The other morning at breakfast he said, “Baba, I a genius.”
“You’re a what?” John said.
“I a genius,” he said, matter-of-factly.
We just let it slide and moved on to another topic. We have no idea where he heard that word—or whether he knows what it means. I’m not saying Daniel is not intelligent, but unless a 3-year-old is composing concertos or building a working microscope out of Legos, I’m not sure he’s “a genius.”
Still, there’s something about turning 3 that gives a child a boost of confidence. For example, Daniel and I have an ongoing disagreement about clothing. He believes that a shirt with short sleeves is called “a long-sleeved shirt” and that a shirt with long sleeves is called “a short-sleeved shirt.”
So a “long-sleeved shirt” is this:
And a “short-sleeved shirt” is this:
You’d think we could talk around it, but Daniel wants to make sure I know what kind of shirt he’s picking for the day.
He has also informed us that the labels on your clothes go to the front and not the back, quoting his teacher from school. And who can argue with her?
— 2 —
I need to buy extra tissues for Leo’s upcoming “graduation” from Pre-K. I didn’t think I’d need them until he mentioned that the students were practicing songs for their graduation.
“One song is called ‘I Am a Gift,’” he told us. “It’s about how children are a gift to their parents.”
As he kept describing the song, John and I were both having trouble keeping it together. I’m tearing up just thinking about it now. I’ll let you know how it goes. If this is how I’m going to be about Pre-K, how will I handle the big milestones?
— 3 —
My sister and her four children came to town last weekend, so it was all about “The Cousins.”
My 6-year-old niece is obsessed with Kermit the Frog, so they drove down to College Park to see the statue of Jim Henson and Kermit at the University of Maryland, and then we met them at Wheaton Regional Park
. We enjoyed the carousel, the amazing playground, and the ride-on train.
But mostly we enjoyed being with the cousins. We are all counting down to our vacation with all nine of their Beyer cousins at the beach. The boys might just explode with excitement. Daniel literally did a celebratory dance when the cousins' van pulled in at the park.
— 4 —
I have been worrying and wondering how this story could end well. It’s easy to judge the mother, but in China there is no legal way for a mother to say she doesn’t feel capable of raising her baby and needs to make an adoption plan. Now it seems that the grandparents have stepped forward to help and perhaps the baby’s father will even take a role.
So what happens now? Is this child the one child this man and woman are permitted to have under China’s one-child policy? Will this make the Chinese government consider how much better it could be for children if parents had a safe way to surrender them legally to the authorities without fear of repercussions?
Mainly, though, I wonder what God has planned for this child. What a difficult, but also extraordinary, beginning for a little one in this world.
— 5 —
Yesterday at work we threw a bridal shower for our colleague who is about to get married. When she opened a set of flatware, including knives, I mentioned that there is a superstition that says you have to give a coin to someone who gives you a knife so the friendship isn’t cut. I seemed to be the only person familiar with this, prompting me to go online.
Knife photo by Treasa Matysek
I learned that it may not have Irish origins, as I had thought. This site
mentions both Chinese and Korean traditions, and it seems to be true in several other cultures, as well. This summary of gift giving superstitions
says that traditionally the person giving a knife includes a coin with the knife so the recipient can hand the coin back to the giver.
I am not actually superstitious, but I do find traditions fascinating. When we were picking gifts for our adoption trips, we had a list of gifts to avoid because of Chinese traditions and beliefs—no clocks, no umbrellas, nothing green. Gift giving can be complicated.
If I were superstitious, I would be worried about this being my 13th quick takes blog. I’d also be even more excited that my odometer just hit 77,777 miles.
— 6 —
I was going to start a novena to St. Joseph for our house sale, even though it’s not even listed yet. Then while cleaning the house last week, I found these three holy cards.
So I think I’ll turn it over to St. Anne.
— 7 —
Leo was asking the other day about Teresa.
He had noticed that we pray for her not just at home but in the intentions at Mass. (Who knew he was listening?) He wanted to talk about her heart. So we briefly discussed that she needed a new heart because hers wasn’t strong enough.
“How will she get a new heart?” Leo asked.
John and I both hesitated, and then I just said that the doctors were working on finding one for her. Leo sat and thought for a moment.
“I know where she can get a new heart,” Leo said.
“You do?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said. “God will give her one.”
We pray He does.
May 31, 2013 11:07
By Rita Buettner
Before we went to the zoo this weekend, I asked our boys which animals they were excited to see. I thought they might talk about lions and giraffes, elephants and bears, maybe even a crocodile.
“A turtle,” Leo said. Daniel—who likes birds—asked to see a duck and a goose. Somewhere during that conversation, I must also have mentioned that the zoo had a train. When one of the staff asked Leo what he had come to see when we were walking in, he was ready. “The train,” he said.
So, after impatiently stopping to see one of the iron lions near the entrance and riding the tram, we skipped the polar bears and went to find seats on the Jones Falls Zephyr.
I vaguely remember a train from my childhood visits to the zoo, but this is a different train, and none of us had ridden it. This was Leo’s third trip to the zoo, Daniel’s first—and their father’s first trip since childhood.
We happen to have a few train fans in our family, and they thoroughly enjoyed the ride. The adults may have been wondering where the animals were—you don’t see many from the train—but our boys didn’t care. They thought it was terrific to clickety-clack across a bridge, hear the conductor say “All aboard!”, and pull back into the station. Leo—who is making plans to visit a Chicago museum that houses the Burlington Zephyr—loved the train’s name. He would have been content to ride it all day.
That’s the difference between being a child who can see the wonder in the small moments and being a grown-up who wants to milk the cost of zoo admission. I wanted the boys to see the Children’s Zoo and the African exhibits. The boys would have been content to ride the train, eat lunch, ride the train again, and get dessert.
Still, they had said they wanted to see some animals. So we set off through the zoo.
We did, in fact, see a turtle—a statue Leo got to sit on.
And Daniel saw not just a duck, but a duck who even snapped at a snake who swam up to him. “That snake makes me shiver,” said Leo. Me too.
Leo climbed into the pretend nests and turtle shells and stepped across the lily pads. As I expected, Daniel was cautious and didn’t want to pretend to be an animal. He was curious, though, about many of the creatures we encountered.
There was the elephant who was munching on grass while taking a bath.
There was the female giraffe who stood aloofly looking down at us.
There were colorful birds galore for our bird-loving Daniel.
And there were goats just waiting to be petted and brushed in the zoo farmyard. “Oh, they’re so cute,” said Leo. Daniel, who likes his animals from a distance, wasn’t sure about the goats.
But he found the courage to take a plastic brush and touch the goat gently with it. I was astounded.
If you asked the boys what they remembered from our zoo trip, Leo would certainly talk about the train—and he might tell you about a tiny spider he watched crawling up a tree. Daniel—if he knew a little more English—would probably talk about his first taste of cotton candy, or perhaps the robin redbreast he saw, or maybe even the backhoe he watched digging a hole.
As for me, I’d describe the wonder of experiencing the zoo through my sons’ eyes. They make every experience—no matter how ordinary—novel and special. Whether we’re taking a walk, riding in the car, checking the mail, even answering the phone—it’s all wonderful and new. And as we watch them growing up, I feel sure of one thing. We’re in for a wild ride.
May 15, 2012 09:02
By Rita Buettner