Friday, February 18, 2011

Lucie and the Problem of Evil

Lucie has suddenly started questioning things. And by things, I mean eternal things.

It all started when she asked if I would read her a bedtime story from the Bible storybook. The book opens innocently enough with the story of creation. There are lions and tigers and bears, and naked people being created from dust. (At this point in the story you’d think questions would arise, but no, kids just seem to go along with it at face value. Which is exactly the reason I've had to work so hard to convince Lucie that turtleneck shirts are not actually made from the necks of turtles.)

Anyways ...

"Do you know why Adam and Eve are sad?" I asked, pointing at the picture of them sorrowfully leaving the garden. "I sure do, " Lucie assured me. "They are sad because they don't have any parents."  Impressive, huh? Clearly, she’d been processing and following along. "Well there is that," I prodded her, "and also they have to leave the beautiful garden because they disobeyed God."

"Of course they were bad," Lucie sighed in complete exasperation. "Remember??? There aren't any parents??"

A mere three pages into the book comes Cain and Abel, who slaughter a lamb for sacrifice and then turn their weapons on each other. Followed up by Noah who floats off in his ark while the rest of humanity drowns. This is Quentin Tarentino movie material, not the stuff sweet dreams are made of. We looked at the picture of Cain laying a lamb on the altar for a long time as Lucie tried to wrap her mind around a God who asked for death and sacrifice. I could tell it was a bit of religious whiplash for her to go from the cozy nativity story to the brutality of Genesis.

That night we got to close with the rainbow, but I know how the book ends and the lessons that lay ahead. In the meantime, I'll continue to gloss over the facts behind Baby Moses' river adventure, and leave the bigger questions to Lucie. Like whether or not it rains where God is? Or does God ever have to go potty?

Say This!

Picture by Grayson (our 9 year-old)
Last week we reached another one of those parenting milestones. At 27+ months of age, Violet said her first real words: "Mama! Me go!"  Three little words so beautiful, so stunning and unexpected, they stopped me in my tracks. Even the other kids dropped their activities and ran out to verify that, yes, Violet had spoken. We hugged and touch-down-danced and, of course, Violet got to "go." When you have a child who is the tiniest bit developmentally delayed, small accomplishments are met with big celebration. Lucie insists on accompanying me on simple errands? I need to figure out a way to sneak out the door more efficiently; Violet suddenly says that she wants to go? Hot dog! Get the video camera and your shoes on kiddo!

Therapists have been coming to the house since the first week of January, evaluating Violet's delays. At her last check in, she had about 15 simple words in her vocabulary -- about 100 words under the charts for a 2-year-old baby. Still, Rob and I had a hard time being convinced that anything was wrong; Violet has always followed along her own little curve. Not to mention the incessant noise coming out of Lucie's mouth, all at a decibel that I'm sure makes our poor dog want to run in front of a car. How's a girl supposed to compete with that?

And then, out of nowhere, a little miracle brought on by my leaving the house for chicken Mcnuggets. Now she's spewing out words faster than a speeding train, like it is some sort of talking competition. She knows most of her colors (chart THAT, Ms. Therapist!) and is obsessed with all things yellow. She loves to go, much like a dog who gets his leash when you jingle your keys. She prefers Dora over Diego, but will sit through Sesame Street in a pinch. She requests more bananas than a monkey with an allowance. She thinks every bottle of milk is delicioso! (as Dora would say).

We had our first conversation this morning over a cup of tea. It went something like this:

V: "Mama's cup of tea?"
J: "Yep, Mama's cup of tea."
V: "Tea hot."
J: "Yes, tea is very hot."
V: "Me no blow mama's tea?"
J: "No, I will blow it. It is too hot."
V: "Oh yeah. Mama blow dat hot tea."

With this kind of reasoning, I’d love to see what she could do with health care reform. Plus, it is impossible to argue with someone wearing fuzzy Minnie Mouse pajamas.