Saturday, September 09, 2006

Preschooler Theology

This is not the weekend's "main" post, just something I wanted to commemorate before I forgot it, because it's right up there with my cousin, Zach, who when asked at age 2-3, what he wanted to be when he grew up, answered, "a black policeman." You pretty much HAVE to love their little minds which know no limitations.

(ed. note: Zach is now all grown up, with a beautiful, smart new wife, and I feel obligated to report that he is not involved in law enforcement at all, but is, rather, a, um...well, due to my complete lack of understanding of what it is that he ACTUALLY does, because it involves computers in a much more intense capacity than my comfort zone of "turn it on and blather your inane thoughts all over it," I'm going to call him a "video editor," working for such television outlets as The National Geographic Channel and ESPN. It's a totally cool job. And to complete the non-fulfillment of his childhood dreams, his is still disappointingly white. But he's happy. My sister, who is a high-school English teacher, and not "a singer on T.V.," I think is also pretty content with the unexpected turn her life took from her preschool expectations. How about the rest of you? Has ANYONE actually "grown up" to become what you wanted to when you were 5 or younger?)

I think most of you will recall that Bella recently began attending a private, Christian preschool, where she will go until such time as she is old enough to start at the local public kindergarten, and that I had my small concerns beforehand, which have turned out to be mostly baseless. In addition to learning the basics of phonics and numbers (and honestly? I've been impressed so far), she and the other children learn many good manners, a lot of Bible verses, and Christian children's songs--which, as this is our own faith, and she does the same thing at our church, is fine with us. The thing is, lots of the songs they learn at school are not familiar to me, and she's always wanting me to sing them with her at home. "Jesus Loves Me?" Yeah, I got that one. Also familiar with "God is so Good," and "Jesus Loves the Little Children," etc. I can even, if I REALLY concentrate, come up with most of "Zaccheus Was a Wee Little Man."

But "Get On the Ark?" Nope, sorry, kid. I'll be needing a copy of that one. (Another aside to note that I asked for just that, and the school provided me with all the songs they'll be singing for the next TWO MONTHS, and now I feel responsible for making sure that my child can belt them all out like a little VonTrappe!) After convincing her recently that I did NOT know any of the "Get on the Ark" song, no, not even the "oink, oink, moo, moo," part, as a diversionary tactic, I asked her what ELSE they sang at school that day, at which point, instead of launching into a hearty rendition of "Michael Rowed the Boat Ashore," or something else from the Olden Days of Sunday school when I was a kid, she starting in on a new one.

I'm really hoping that this particular number is included in the paperwork that came home with Bella, because it has some major dramatic potential. All I've gotten out of Bella so far, is a loudly tuneful, "God is so GREAT and so strong and so MIGH-TY... mumblemumblemumblemumble Him...all things can I DO!" In an attempt to coax the rest of the lyrics out of her memory, my mother and I were asking prompting questions such as, "And what ELSE can God do?" This responded in a verbatim repeat of the above quoted passage, as well as the "DUH" response, "EVERYTHING," complete with eye-roll. Hmmm.

So, coming from another angle, I tried the question, "Is that all God is, just STRONG and MIGHTY?"

Which garnered me the prized answer, and the reason for me rushing here to journal it on a Saturday afternoon:

"No, Mommy. She is also really pretty."

I love this child. Do you hear me, God? When I talk about how she is driving me crazy, what I am really saying is, "THANK YOU."(Oh, and please don't anyone bother giving me any crap about the Disney princesses nightgown--which was a gift, anyway, so pbbbbllllttt. It's NOT about Disney with this child. It's not even REALLY about "princesses." It's about being GIRLY. And fancy dresses. And ballerinas. And tea parties. And a precocious shoe-obsession. And "fixing" your hair. And watching your skirt twirl around you. And I'll be darned if I'm going to quash it, because she also loves her toy cars and wooden blocks and superhero comics, and I like who she's becoming, all by herself, without being pushed in one direction or another. So there. That was my pre-emptive flame-dousing statement of the day.)


  1. I teach Kindergarten at my church on Sunday nights and for song time the different children get to pick a song and help me lead it. Most of the time it is a song we all know, but sometimes they pull one out of their hat and want to sing it. I usually let them sing it through once and then we will try it, most of the time they only remember one or two sentences and continue to repeat.

    I might know that song that Bella was singing? I have to go sing it a couple times so I can remember all the words.

    What a fun age!!

    My word verification WBMOM

  2. I love this post!! Bella's theology sounds good to me. I guess I am behind the times with pre-school Christian songs, too, but I knew all the ones you said you knew! I did Tie Me Kangaroo Down with my 4th grade classes all week so that is the song that is still rocking around in my head.

  3. You so taught your child that God is a woman. I know you did. hehe

    I wanted to be a trashman and ride on the back of the trucks. I think I'm gonna remained un-fulfilled on that one.

  4. "My God is so GREAt, so STRONG and so mighty, there's nothing my God cannot do." Repeat, again and again until the end. That's the way my kid's preschool used to sing it.

    And,I once told my mother that I wanted to be a nun or a go go dancer. Disappointingly, I am neither.

  5. Carmen, you and Kim agree on the lyrics, and Kim provided a "bridge" verse, so now all I need is the tune! And oh, dear, if you could ONLY have been a Go-Go dancing NUN. That would have been AWESOME. (And please don't tell your mom I said that.) ;-)

    Melissa--while I tend, in my own meditations, to think of God as...I don't know..."non-gendered?" Beyond gender? Too perfect for gender? So complete as to encompass all notions of gender? Or whatever...I do always say "He," is she obviously is being taught in those songs, so I thought her saying that "She" was "pretty" all on her own was fairly awesome. Because that "created in my image" thing I think applies to ALL of us, and speaks more to nature than appearance. And do you know, I think I REMEMBER that deal about the garbage man? I always thought the riding on the back gig looked pretty good--it seems like there's one guy who jumps down and loads the garbage, and one who just rides. Wonder if they swap out?

    songbird--I wish Bella could come to your class when she's old enough! I'd love her to be singing that song, and I don't know the whole thing! And on the week that Steve Irwin died...

    Kim, you nailed it in your email! Hopefully, they included the MUSIC part in the stack of songs they gave me. I will definitely learn them all and teach them--I looked through the stack, and fortunately, at least SOME of them ARE "oldies but goodies." Do you remember the "Zaccheus" song? I can't find anyone that does. It started, "Zaccheus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he...somethingsomethingsomething about climbing "up in a sycamore tree."

  6. I wanted to be a highway engineer or road construction foreman. I would put Barbie in a Tonka truck and send her to the dirt pile in the back yard, where she would boss Ken around all day, telling him where she wanted the road. Of course, Barbie would always look great in her evening gown and heels.
    I did grow up to be an electrical engineer who is known for always matching her shoes and earrings to her clothing. Of course, it's not too challenging to be the most fashionable person in a group of engineers!
    What Carmen said was funny, because my Barbie did have a night job as a go-go dancer. Of course, I never told Momma because she would have drug me to the preacher for an exorcism.

  7. Oh, Marsha, you take me back. I LOVED my Tonka trucks! My favorite, all-time, was the backhoe. Good heavens, I loved that Tonka backhoe. It even had tiny little levers that allowed the "digger" to be operated just like one of the big boys. Alex laughs at me because even now, when we pass an earth-moving or excavation job, my eyes get all misty and I start daydreaming of being a backhoe operator...

  8. Know why I still prefer dresses with wide skirts? 'Cause I still love to watch my skirt twirl.

    I hope I get to be an old lady that still loves girly stuff. I want to wear twirly skirts and have tea parties and watch football on TV at the same time.

  9. I have boys... and I am loving it!!!
    Thats all I have to say..

  10. Zacchaeus was a wee little man

    Zacchaeus was a wee little man, and a wee little man was he.
    He climbed up in a sycamore tree, for the Lord he wanted to see.
    And as the Savior passed him by, He looked up in the tree,
    And he said, �Zacchaeus, you come down from there;
    For I'm going to your house today, for I'm going to your house today.

    Zacchaeus came down from that tree, as happy as he could be,
    He gave his money to the poor, and said: "What a better man I'll be."

    Is that it?

  11. Check out: for more oldies but goodies like: Be careful little eyes what you see, and Oh the B-I-B-L-E. Haven't thought about those in YEARS!

  12. I wish I could be Bella's music teacher, too. I just love little Divas!! I am guessing you know the Tie Me Kangaroo Down refrain so here are some of the verses:

    Watch me wallabys feed, mate.
    Watch me wallabys feed.
    They're a dangerous breed, mate.
    So watch me wallabys feed.

    Keep me cockatoo cool, Curl.
    Keep me cockatoo cool.
    Don't go acting the fool, Curl.
    Just keep me cockatoos cool.

    Take me koala back, Jack.
    Take me koala back.
    He lives somewhere on the track, Jack.
    So take me koala back.

    Mind me platypus duck, Bill.
    Mind me platypus duck.
    Don't let him go running amok, Bill.
    Just mind me platypus duck.

    Oh, and you say, "All together now!" each time before singing the refrain.

    And, yes, we remembered The Crocodile Hunter in every class.

  13. I, for one, would like a little sampling of one Miss Bella Beautiful Voice on this here blog. Does she take requests from online bloggers who adore her mother and want to be her best friend? Because I would go with the song about Zaccheus since it is an old favorite of mine.

    I'm going to hum it incessantly until Kennimus picks up on that and says, "Why is the Zaccheus song stuck in my head?" to which I will innocently reply, "Hmmm... what are you talking about?"

  14. Belinda~ Gotta love a girl who just KNOWS that a woman rules the entire world!!! My daughter, to this day at 22 still secretly tries on skirts and dresses and rates their "flare" factor. The further out they twirl, the quicker the purchase. Some things never change.
    As for me, my aspirations as a kid were to be a cashier or a pizza maker. Wasn't thinkin' big back then, and I rue the day that bar codes and scanners were invented. I do love the ch-ching noise of the old push-button machines.

  15. Sounds like Bella has the whole God thing down to a science. Er, wait, that's not right. Well, you know what I mean. ;)

  16. I wanted to be a biologist. I'd gone to college with my dad as a kid until I started kindergarten, and my favorite was the biology class, because they had real, live sea lions in a tank and cows with windows into their stomachs. Pretty awe insipring thing for a four year old.

    As for the Zaccheus song - Ian's been singing it all weekend! His mom is the choir instructor at his church, so he got roped into being in the choir as a kid.

  17. Natalie also has come home from preschool with new fangled Christian Songs...the "no, no song" we actually got on video.
    I had to ask her teacher for cheat sheets on sign language last year too.
    And, girly as well. My friend was telling me all about how her husband was doing his Natalie imitation of her description of her bday party "and we will have PINK balloons and PINK strawberrry shortcake and PINK cake..."etc. She used to only wear dresses or skirts but after our summer off, she seems to be open to shorts and jeans nowadays. She still is an outdoorsy nature girl who likes trucks and bikes and basketball--I'm not about to crush her spirit on ANYTHING that relates to her diverse interests, girly or not.:)

  18. She is amazing. Give her a big squeeze!