August 15, 2010...11:39 pm

Rainbows + Diapers = Grateful

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This morning at 10:30, I began one of those mundane conversations with my two year old that ends up fascinating me with its significance. I was still in my pajama pants, staying home from church because of the toddler’s T-Rex cough and exploding nose. Despite his voice being both raspy and nasally, August had plenty of questions to ask about the bright colored deer on my Old Navy flannels. We went through every color on each deer’s cozy scarf. Then we got to the multi colored deer.

“It’s rainbow colored,” I said.

“Rainbow?” he asked.

We’ve drawn rainbows before with crayons and I’ve talked about ROYGBIV. I’ve told him about the rainbow we saw on his first birthday. All of that was months ago. He stared at me blank.

“Remember the story in the Bible of Noah and his big boat and the animals that lived with him and how after it stopped raining God sent a rainbow as a promise?” August loves stories. He listened but showed no sign of memory. Man, I was thinking, we have not being reading his Bible with him enough. The boy can list dinosaur species and names of his favorite Thomas the Tank Engine characters, but he knows so little about the simple scripture stories. I continued, “God made rainbows and he said, ‘Every time you see a rainbow, remember that I love you and that I’m going to rescue you.’”

Of course, as any mother sitting next to her laptop in 2010 would immediately do, I googled “rainbow,” clicked on images and pulled up some pictures of the real thing. I said, “We should read the Noah story in your Jesus book.”

“No Jesus book!” August yelled after me as I walked to his room. “No Jesus book!” he cried as I brought his Jesus Storybook Bible (the best kids’ Bible ever, hands down) back to our rocking chair. He wanted to read Thomas, he said. But I insisted that there was no rainbow story in his Thomas book. And he assented. Soon he was immersed enough in the story of Noah building a boat in the desert, flailing in the waves, landing on the mountain, and receiving God’s promise that he requested it again. He then remembered about Jonah and the Big Fish, which we read through a few times until we moved onto the hero of the Jesus book, our man by the same name.

We probably spent thirty minutes with the stories until he took his Jesus book and excused himself to find Daddy and force him to read Jonah and the Big Fish another four times.

This evening while I changed his stinky diaper, that boy spread his legs into a V and said, “I’m a rainbow!”

“Well, I guess you are,” I said, partly thinking, if a child can come up with an abstract concept like making his legs into the shape of a rainbow, he should be able to wipe his own butt. Then I thought, maybe he’s a poet! (I mentally composed: “As a child / my legs arched a rainbow…”

But then I thought, as I often do, What is in that little brain of yours?

How many conversations do I begin with him that will form how he sees the world, how he thinks, what he believes about goodness and God and hope in the midst of brokenness?

That’s the moment I felt grateful, wiping poop from his bottom for the 5,000th time in his life, I thought: I get to be the one who teaches him what a rainbow is.  And, even though it’s not yet Thankful Tuesday, I have to tell you, I’m grateful.

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  • Micha, I don’t have much to add about bebes or faith, but I do read all your posts. I still think you are a poet. It doesn’t matter how or where it comes out. Did you find a new place yet?
    And your child is…already making metaphors! He has a good teacher. xoxocaq

  • That is SO the Bible I keep meaning to buy Thomas. In the meantime, we have have several books that cover Noah (The Ark by Jan Brett is so gorgeously illustrated) and Baby Jesus and Jonah. He also loooooves The Little Drummer Boy (by Ezra Jack Keats, so the pictures make me want to cry, they’re so lovely) and I like that we get in another Jesus story.

    I feel a tiny bit better that August would have also choked when it comes to finding a rainbow! (Hearkening back to my own Thomas’ hearing test!) And I’d say he’s got the concept now. Maybe you should show him the Double Rainbow video? (Kidding.)

    It is such a privilege, that we get to introduce the world to our children. I really pray that I am present enough to grab the opportunities to do so…

  • “(I mentally composed: “As a child / my legs arched a rainbow…””

    Girl, you are HILARIOUS.

    We so need the Jesus Storybook. I am so ashamed we haven’t gotten it yet.

    Diapers and poets and rainbows. Good stuff.

  • I love how you can make mundane details of everyday life so amusing and full of truth. I especially appreciated your thought that “if a child can come up with an abstract concept like making his legs into the shape of a rainbow, he should be able to wipe his own butt.” Ha!

  • I was wondering how you were going to tie stinky diapers in with rainbows (some of which could be cringe-worthy), but you did it. Rather profoundly, too.

  • I totally agree about the Jesus Storybook Bible!! I cannot tell you how many times we have been reading a passage at bedtime, and I look over only to see that my husband’s face is covered in as many tears as my own! Somehow it’s simplicity breaks through our day and reminds us to rest in our our Rescuer.

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