Friday, June 4, 2010

Kid Theology

My kids have some strange religious ideas when it comes to water. I started thinking about this last weekend when Rebecca came in from a beach walk with Manuel and announced that she had done the mitzvah of saving a life. The life she saved turned out to be a mussel which inspired a long discourse about whether saving a mussel counts as saving a life if it’s going to end up on someone’s plate for dinner anyway. The next day while frolicking in the waves Jonathan announced that they really should take a moment to thank the god of the sea. He had already informed Manuel that we ought to keep a look out for Venus because “It is said that she appears rising up out of the foam”

Jump ahead to yesterday’s apocalyptic thunderstorm which literally blew me off the ground and took our power out for over 24 hours. I tried to get the big kids to sleep through the thunder in the very hot house by putting them in my bed and lying down with them. When this failed I brought them downstairs to the porch to watch the next big storm which is something my Mom used to do with Pam and I when we were little. The kids and I talked about how weird it feels to love something so scary. Somewhere in the middle of this they started to explain that rain storms like this come from God cutting his fingernails. When he cuts his fingernails he breaks through the cloud which causes rain. I took my usual tactic for those rare moments when they share some of their twin secrets and just kept quiet waiting for what would come next. We moved on to twin angels on clouds clapping their hands, and flashlights exploding lightening. We had a long hot night with Eli waking up every time there was a thunder crack and me thinking at one point that some sort of tornado had blown through. For some unknown reason both kids were up and dressed and knocking on my head at 6:30 talking about the God finger nails thing again. In a very groggy and cranky voice I tried a feminist tactic “how do you know God is a man” They just know. Upon further inquiry I learned that they had read it in a book and that he has a beard. I’ve been in Central Virginia long enough to get alarmed when my kids tell me they’ve seen pictures of God in a book so still half asleep I asked which “You know Mommy the one with the cows.” I had no clue what they were talking about. “It’s a book of cartoons with cows and a moon on the cover.” I still had no clue. Both kids lept out of bed and came running back with a book of Gary Larson’s Far Side cartoons where they very carefully showed me multiple pictures of God who was indeed a man with a beard. I’m not sure how Gary Larson would feel about this. Yesterday when they showed such early morning vigor I made one play the violin and the other clean her room but with no coffee and after such intense theology I didn’t have it in me today.

Other than the power loss which I’m sure trashed everything in our fridge it’s been a good week. After three years of trying every trick in the book to get the kids to do swim team they are doing it. I’m finally really doing my own work which I hope is a sign of good things to come. My friends and I have gotten back in the habit of a boot camp sort of situation which involves occupying tables at various coffee shops around town and pounding away at our laptops together. Somehow seeing other people producing feels motivating and it’s good after a long semester to remember that I actually really like my research.

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