Happy 2012 everyone! Let me start by saying that I think that the new year is completely artificial. For me, the year starts in September. The reasons for this are threefold:
1. School starts in September.
2. Summer is the best time of year, obviously.
3. I clearly have delayed development issues (Hey, 26 isn’t that old, right?).
So I was hoping to write a blog post every week, but then I realized that my life isn’t nearly that interesting. Besides that, I forget most of the funny things that happen within about 20 minutes.
There is one amusing story that I have managed to remember – thank goodness, or you guys would REALLY be in for boredom. So here goes.
Ever since my mother put up a wooden Nativity set that she bought in Jerusalem, my niece Katarina, who is 2 and a half, has been completely enamored of it. Thinking that it is a miniature toy set made just for her, she regularly rearranges it and talks to the little figurines (yes, we are considering getting her checked out). My mother, under the false impression that this is an adult artifact brought from afar to be kept in beautiful condition (when really it is a 2-year-old’s plaything), has taken great pains to make sure that Katarina plays “gently” with it.
On Christmas, she walked past and baby Jesus was missing. She called for Katarina and asked “Where is baby Jesus?” Katarina, having prepared an alibi far ahead of time, calmly said “Oh, Jesus went downstairs to watch TV.” After checking downstairs, my Mom informed Katarina that Jesus was not watching TV after all. Katarina looked up and replied “Well maybe he’s in the garage with Papou” (Papou = Greek for Grandpa). Clearly, this is one smart child we’re dealing with – either destined for politics (where her sweet talking skills will be useful) or a life of petty crime (let’s just hope for the first).
All of this talk of Nativity scenes and baby Jesus has led to some pretty interesting questions, and I suddenly realized that Christianity isn’t terribly easy to explain to a 2 year old.
We were reading a children’s book about Jesus, and he showed up about 30 with a beard. While I was trying to read, Katarina stopped me and said “That’s not Jesus.” I replied, “Yes it is,” and she turned to me like I was a half-wit and explained “Jesus is a baby.” Duh.
Likewise, we had a little feud during a church Christmas pageant, when she exuberantly cried “I want to meet baby Jesus!” after the festivities ended. I explained that the baby was just pretending to be baby Jesus, but she stood her ground, stubbornly proclaiming “No, it’s really baby Jesus.”
Religion has also come up at strange moments, like when she got a doll on Christmas eve and cried “Oh Mary!” and hugged the doll fiercely. She also likes to run around going “Aw, I look just like baby Jesus!” Once, after I tried to be a good godmother and teach her about God and Jesus, she went home to her Mom and said “Loli [my nickname] really likes Jesus!”
So far, she has established that:
1. Jesus is definitely a baby, and not an old man.
2. Jesus showed up at our church on Christmas, and is super tiny and cute.
3. She looks like Jesus.
4. Her Aunt particularly loves to talk about him.
5. Oh, and we ask this baby to bless us before eating dinner and when lighting candles.
All of this has made me realize that I simply must strategize more effectively to teach her about religion. I’d really like to tackle the age thing, explaining that he grew up eventually, but she doesn’t seem to get this whole ‘aging’ thing. Likewise with “death” and “heaven”. In the meantime, we’ll keep searching for our wooden replica of baby Jesus – and maybe buy a man-sized version for next year, too.