Saturday, June 27, 2009

Father's Day, Scripture Stories, and B-E-D time

We celebrated Father's Day last Friday, a little early, I know, but if we tried to wait until Sunday we would have forgotten about it altogether (kind of how Andrew forgot about Mother's Day this year).

When we were getting ready for church in the morning, Rachel asked Daddy about his "blue tie." She often gets to pick out the tie he wears to church, so he thought that's what she was talking about. He went and got a blue tie and put it on, but she wasn't satisfied. So she came to ask me about Daddy's "blue tie."

I went and got the card we had made for him earlier that week and she gave it to him. We folded a big piece of paper like a shirt and used a blue paper to make a tie. She was so proud to hand him his tie.

In Primary we talked about our fathers for a little bit and decided which song we wanted to sing to them. We decided on "The Dearest Names," a song often sung on Mother's Day but rarely used on Father's Day. We also decided that we wanted to change the words a little. I couldn't really see a five year old describing her father as "noble, brave, and true."

I had the kids suggest adjectives for their fathers. Some very good words were suggested; my favorite ones, though, were suggested by Sarah, an almost-five-year-old girl in our primary. After her brother suggested several great words like patient and caring and smart, Sarah started reaching her hand so unnaturally high in the air that I thought she was about to get abducted by aliens. She was doing all she could to stay in her seat, but her waving arm told me she had a really, really great suggestion.

"Ummmm, let's see...Sarah. Do you have a wor...?" I started to ask.

"Helpish!" she blurted out before I could finish, "Because my dad likes to help me do things! Like, he's helping me learn to read stories! You know! He's helpish!"

"Okay, great! Helpish isn't really a word, but helpful is. Is it alright if I write that word down instead?"

She's too young to be embarrassed about using a nonexistant word. Personally, I love nonexistant words, but I didn't think it would be a good idea to encourage elementary students to use the word helpish. Elementary teachers are particularly anal prescriptivists for the most part, from my experience, anyway.

Later her older sister asked the funny be added to the list, since her dad is funny. I wrote funny down.

Sarah's arm started being yanked out of the solar system again.

"Sarah, do you have another wor...?"

"Weird! My dad is weird!"

"Hey!" Elisabeth inerjected, "I already said funny! Weird and funny are the same thing! I think having funny on the list counts as having weird on the list! They mean the same thing!"

Not quite. But I didn't want to get up in front of the entire branch and sing to all the men that we find them weird, either.

"Let's write down weird, anyway," I said, "But we probably don't want to put weird in our song because sometimes weird is a mean word and we want to say only nice words today."

After much deliberation we chose the best words on the list (by way of votes--they weren't necessarily my top picks) and went downstairs to sing to the men. It was supposed to be only the men since Father's Day was on an odd Friday, which meant it was a Priesthood/Relief Society Friday, but it ended up that we sang to the entire branch since Priesthood, Relief Society, Young Men and Young Women all ended up being combined for lack of teachers.

We walked into the chapel and the kids lined up in the front so they could see their fathers. I sat down in front of them to lead them. Rachel sat with me because she was too scared to stand with the kids in front of all those people. That worked out well since Andrew was teaching that week and escaped to the stand to sit behind the kids who were singing instead of walking down to sit in the congregational seating. So Rachel and I go to sing to our Daddy while the rest of the primary sang to theirs. We sang:

I know a name, a glorious name,
Dearer than any other.
Listen, I'll whisper the name to you.
It is the name of father.
Father so honest and nice and true,
I love you, I love you!
Father so patient and strong and true,
I love you!

I didn't want to bother trying to come up with a word to replace true and rhyme with you (we only had 10 minutes to prepare this song, including rewriting the lyrics) so we just left in true. And I think that's alright. Fathers are true, and honest, and nice, and patient, and strong. They are also noble and brave. And helpish and weird. Fathers are a lot of things! We're so glad to have such a wonderful father in our home!

He is so smart and works so hard at what he does. And on top of going to school fulltime and fulfilling his part-time committment on campus (doing the department website), he tutors and does programming and design work on the side to make sure that we can provide for his family. He's so supportive of my needs to do things besides play with Rachel all day and makes sure that I have the time I need to write or do whatever it is I want to do (I'm making a baby blanket right now). He's a good priesthood leader, too.

Usually he ends up reading the scriptures while I sit and cuddle Rachel. Sometimes I get to read, too, but she's started throwing fits when we read the scriptures so I can't really hold the book. We might need to switch from evening scripture study to morning scripture study so she stops associating scriptures with bedtime. She'll sit still as long as I'm holding her and shushing her.

It always amazes me when I realize that through all her fussing and thrashing, a little part of her brain is actually paying attention to what's being read.

We were reading in D&C section 58 a while ago (I don't remember how long ago, but not too long since we're only in section 64 now) and Andrew read verse 10:

First, the rich and the learned, the wise and the noble;

Rachel was goofing off so badly that I was hardly computing what he read. She, however, started singing "The Wise Man and the Foolish Man."

She tapped her head and said, "Wise man!"

She hammered her fists together and made a rooftop with her hands, "Build house!"

She clasped her hands to gether and said, "Rock!"

Then she went back to tapping her head and demanding, "Sing! Wise man! Sing wise man, sing wise man, sing wise man!" from me.

"Honey, what is she talking about?" I asked, "Did you say anything about a wise man?"

He couldn't remember, either. Rachel is very good at being distracting. He went back and found that he had said the word wise. And she heard him...despite all her shenaniganning.

A few days later when Andrew and I were both doing a better job at focusing on the scriptures, but Rachel was still not behaving ideally, she surprised us again. Andrew was reading section 60, which lists the names of Sidney Rigdon, Joseph Smith, and Oliver Cowdery twice. Both times, after Andrew said Joseph Smith's name, Rachel would stop whatever she was doing and instead start repeating, "Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith, Joseph Smith."

At least this time we didn't have to wonder where she picked it up, but it was still hard to believe that she could be listening while simultaneously behaving so badly.

Bedtime certainly has become more of a challenge. We fight and fight and fight until she decides she's ready for bed and then she'll climb right on in, demand kisses, music, water, and "light off." Once she makes up her mind that she's going to bed nothing can stop her. Before that point, nothing can make her. She kicks against the pricks every step of the way.

"No not brush teeth!"

"No not potty!"

"No not diaper!"

"No not jammies!"

"No not scriptures!"

"No not fold arms!"

"No not pray!"

"No not story!"

"No not music!"

"No not B-E-D!"

That last one surprised us last night. We're going to have to come up with a new secret code because spelling isn't working anymore. She can spell bed just as well as we can. It was bound to happen some day.


  1. i have found that switching the routine around, so it's not so this happens, then this happens, then bed, helps them not realize the timing. Also I have "shut down" the house. Mom and Dad did that. Let us stay up, but no tv, computer, I think mom read by a lamp, and everything else was off.....

  2. I can remember when that happened to Kelli when she was about Rachel's age. We were visiting at my mom's house, and I said to Bruce that it was time for B-E-D, and Kelli said "But I don't want to go to bed!"

  3. Nancy, I didn't know that you're the primary chorister. So am I! That's awesome. We'll have to swap some stories sometime. :)

  4. Well...I'm not exactly the chorister. I'm the secretary, but everyone is gone for the summer so right now I'm the president, counselors, secretary, choristor, everything. At least we have a few teachers in town or I'd be doing that, too. :)

    But we can still talk ideas.