Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Gospel Of She-Dup

I have always heard that having kids will help you to understand things better, or to at least see them differently. I scoffed at the notion that pushing a child through un ugly portal would enlighten me. And I still do.

But I have to say that having these little people has indeed allowed me a quick glimpse of what I think God must feel like.

No, I am not having a Crazy Tom Cruise moment and claiming to be God. Let me explain further. If it doesn't make sense, go read about Tom Cruise and in comparison I'll look normal.

I have always struggled with certain portions of the Bible. I tend to zone out easily, so this doesn't really help the issue. But some passages just confuse the tar out of me. (I'm not sure who reads my blog, and therefore the strange and dorky sounding phrases are cleaner versions of what the real Tiffany would say)

Many Christians in my life belive that the Bible is true just as it appears, and is to be taken very very very literally. I absolutely believe in the literal Resurrection, etc. But I don't think that the 'trees on the fields will clap their hands' quite simply because trees do not have hands. I wish they did. It would make treeclimbing that much easier. I fell out of a pear tree once because I had the unfortunate combination of being a portly and uncoordinated child.

I hope you see the difference I'm trying to describe. If you don't, please don't think that I am creating my own planet full of many mini-gods and might jump on a couch while yelling about anti-depressants.

I think that portions of the Bible are pretty straightforward : Murder is bad. Got it. Strike that off of my list of 'How To Get Back at Exes'.

But some parts don't seem as clear to me, and I have stumbled across an example that helps me when I am frustrated about this situation.

I've told Austin to use this example in his Veritas classes, but so far he hasn't. He might just be 'sure honey' -ing me about it. Now he'll have to answer definitively about the issue, as I have thrown him naked into blogworld. Don't laugh at his freckle, he is sensitive about that.

When Moira was about 18 months old, she used a sippy cup. When all her shaking and leaning over backwards produced no juice, she would bring it to me to fill. "She-dup, Mommy!" she would say, and I would fill it up for her. I would never add Benadryl to make her sleepy, because only Bad Parents do that.

Moira has always been a fan of movies. From an outsider's perspective, it looks a bit like a moth being drawn to a flame. I really don't think she can help it, because she stands and stares, mouth slack and eyes wide-open at everything from Snow White to CNN. It might be a sign of ADD. But I'm not sure where she would get that because.....

When Moira wanted to watch a video on our shiny new state-of-the-art VCR, she would settle down with her sippy cup and blankie and wait for the movie to start. Inevitably, the gnomes that watched Blue's Clues during the night had forgotten to rewind it. So I pushed the left triangle button and told her it was coming.

Her little toddler self did not understand, and was not happy. She would cry and pout and throw her sippy cup. After calmly responding to her negative outburst in a good-behavior-reinforcing kind of way, I would attempt to explain the process of rewinding.

I showed her the black ribbon of tape and told her that we had to make the tape wind up. I would try to find a video that the gnomes had rewound, but I cannot tell just by looking; can you? I would have her chubby little finger push the button to make her part of the rewinding process.

Nothing worked. Sippy cups continued to fly.

And then an inspiration/duh moment hit me.

"Moira! I'm going to take the video and fill it up!" I said.

She looked at me uncertainly, sippy cup held high in her Cheeto covered hand.

"She-dup, Mommy?" she asked.

"Yes! I'm going to take the video for a minute, but I'm going to give it back to you the way you need it; all ready for you to enjoy!"

Fake cheesedust-covered cup slowly lowered...and Moira sat patiently, waiting for Blue to Skadoo.

And amazingly, she understood. We used this 'fill it up' phrase with her until she was old enough to understand the real words behind the concepts.

I took something she already knew and used it to explain something she didn't. Even though I wasn't literally filling up the movie, it didn't matter; we effectively communicated using mutual language.

Perhaps this seems sub-par in the intellectual realm. I admit, it isn't a groundbreaking thought. But to me, it kind of was.

Maybe, thought I, God uses similiar ideas when relating to our tiny little brains. Maybe the importance is not always in the exact verbage, but the exact idea.

So there is my little drop of thought. I call them thoughtlets, but wasn't sure that would sound ok. It does sound a bit like something Crazy Tom Cruise would say, particularly when jumping on a couch and making Mommies feel bad about their sanity-saving pill poping.

Not that I would know, of course. I just put Benadryl in my sippy cup and call it a day.

Literally and figuratively.

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