Freedom from Blog

Don't call it a comeback . . . .

Monday, November 23, 2009

How Religious Fanatics Are Formed

As you may have noticed, I try not to overload you guys with kid stories, lest our little debating page get too bogged down in my boundless paternal pride. But I thought this story might entertain.

Lang recently turned three. She is quite proud of this and reminds us on a regular basis. From my standpoint, one of the perks of this age is that she's entered an imaginative phase, one marked by her new favorite phrase, "I'm pretending!" This line works equally well for playacting and for getting caught saying something untrue, such as "Mommy said I could do XYZ." From her standpoint, one of the perks of this age is that she finally gets to go to Sunday school rather than hanging out in the nursery when we go to church. I shit ye not. Me girl gets stoked at the prospect, and then it's all she can talk about. She has now been exactly twice, so there's a good chance that the novelty will wear off soon, but for now she's all over this.

So, tonight, as usual, we went up to read stories before bedtime. Lang, after choosing one blanket, one burpy (a burp cloth), and one "friend" (a stuffed animal), gets to pick three stories. For the last week or so, she's decided that when picking her stories she's "going to the bookstore." She carefully picks her choices, places them in her blanket and then sits for several seconds looking at the wall. "Honey, are you ready to read?" I ask. "Wait, Daddy, I'm still paying." "OK, tell me when you're done." Then she gets situated, positioning each article in its proper place on the bed. Tonight, however, before the stories she had selected, she tells me we have to "read burpy." "Fine, go ahead." Grinning with that characteristic TMcD shit-eater, she picks up her pink burpy and begins to "read" it. "This is the burpy of GOD!" she proclaims. "That's God's burpy?" "Yes. When God was a little boy he had this burpy, and it was white." "God's burpy was white?" "YES!" she chortles. "And then it got old, and he get a new one and it was red, and then it got old, and he got a new one and it was green!"

The actual stories that followed had a hard time competing with that, even as she insisted she read them herself and then half remembered, half made-up the stories as she thumbed through page after page. She's also obsessed with "spelling" the titles, which she does quite well, except that she doesn't really read what the words say so much as remember what the titles were and so what the letters must have been spelling. Notably, Click, Clack, Moo, which, for the uninitiated, is basically the barnyard Lysistrata. Which is quite a ways from the "burpy of GOD." One day, when we're wondering how my eldest daughter came to found her own feminist fundamentalist cult, we'll know how it all started. Everything she ever needed to know she learned by the second week of Sunday school. And I'll be sitting there, looking for the shit-eating grin, wondering if she is pretending.