Thursday, March 10, 2011

Blowing on Bananas (& Other Strange Toddler Habits)

For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
Jeremiah 29:11

As I sit here in my quiet family room, I see evidence of my little "rental toddler" still remaining on my floor. While Kaelin (my part-time nannying gig) is a rather helpful little boy (especially for a two-year-old), I always find a few small items strewn about after he leaves. Looking at the jingle bell shaker half-hidden beneath the couch, the bouncy ball under my piano bench and the plush turtle resting on the scanner, I think of the day's adventures and smile. What fun we have, my little "K-Bug" and I!

Call me crazy, but I LOVE toddlers-- especially two-year-olds! Yes, I am fully aware of the tantrums, power struggles and food fiascoes notorious with this age. Those, I admittedly don't do cartwheels about. But putting those aside (a task which is much easier to accomplish when someone has the child for limited hours, is not pregnant with the little darling's baby brother, sleeps all night and is paid!), toddlerhood is an incredible age of discovery! They are in a constant state of wonder concerning the world around them.

You can almost see the little gears turning in those little heads, trying to figure out just how the world works: "How do I get what I need? How do I get what I want? Is there a difference? How does physics work? Does gravity apply to me? How about my green beans? The cat licks her fur constantly; is it because she tastes good? Where are my limits? Are they still there? How about now? Has my name been changed to 'No-No?"

It's interesting to watch Kaelin attempt to apply absolutes to a world that simply will not accommodate them. This morning, I was making muffins. Kaelin wanted to partake of the gloppy dough sitting in the stoneware wells. I told him it wasn't ready yet, we needed to bake the muffins. He leaned over and blew on them proudly, as if to say, "Hey, when mom tells me I have to wait for my food, she does this and suddenly, I can eat it! I bet this will work for me in any food situation ..."

Seeing that my poor little buddy was hungry, I offered him a banana at the table. He climbed into his booster seat, sat down at the table and blew on his banana! When I told him it wasn't hot, he held up his hands to sign "wait" and continued blowing his 62 degree banana.

After an eternity (or twenty-five minutes to the non-toddler), the muffins were ready to come out of the oven. Kaelin heard the oven door creak open and said, "Mmmmmmmmm! *chomping sound, gulping sound* Mmmmmmm!" I told him to stay back, that the muffins were VERY HOT. Keeping him at arm's length, I attempted to avoid dropping the oven-fresh goodies on my foot while laughing. With all his might, Kaelin was blowing in the general direction of the muffins! Even from three feet away, Kaelin was determined to get those muffins into his mouth ASAP!

Oh, how I wish I could say I've matured past this stage in my walk with God. There are times when I can begin to see wonderful blessings approaching my horizon. It is ridiculously hard for me to wait on God's timing! I want to bring it about faster! I need it (or I want it-- I'm still confusing those two, it seems) now! Delusional in how the universe works, my actions proclaim: "Here God, I'll fix it. I saw you do it this way one time, so I'm sure that will work here, too! I can do it just like you, see?" Yep, I probably look as cosmically aware as a toddler blowing on muffin dough.

Ever the compassionate and loving Father, He often brings unexpected blessings to help me through those painful waiting periods. While there are times when I eagerly accept these gifts, but I am also known to hop right into toddler mode once more.

The God of the universe has all but written in the sky, "Here-- this is to help you wait. I love you, and I know you don't understand my plans." He all but plops some of them into my lap, and I sit there asking for a sign, clarification or the knowledge of His will. My snack is room temperature, but I'm just a blowin' away ...

The other action I tend to take (and I'm really not proud of this) is just a full-on tantrum. "I didn't want this, Lord! You seem to be pointing me in this wonderful direction, and now I'm stuck with THIS?" Yup, I minus well kick, scream and throw something on the floor in defiance.

Why do I second-guess God so much (considering His track record) and put faith in my plans (considering my track record)? God is never wrong. I may be made in his image, but I'm certainly not anywhere close to perfect yet! He put the stars in the heavens. I forget to buy dishwasher soap. Is this really a question in my mind?

I am so blessed to serve a God who doesn't take my narrow view of life personally. I'm not going to say that He's never put me in my own little "time out" for throwing a diva fit, but He knows how limited my understanding is. He looks at me with love and compassion (and, I am certain, a heavy dose of laughter), guiding me as I grow. He is constantly reassuring me that His plans have my very best interest at heart. Even when I doubt His goodness, God has unfathomable mercy upon me.

I have no doubt in my mind that He takes great joy in watching me partake in the great blessings which, in my foolishness, I was certain would never arrive. I hope I give God the kind of gratitude Kaelin gave me when he was able to eat his highly anticipated muffin (which, of course, he insisted on eating with a fork)!

In Lenten Love and Friendship,

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