Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sights, Sounds, and other Hand Motions

It goes without say that my house is an endless array of sights and sounds. There is always something exciting being said or being discovered. But that’s ok when the sights and sounds take place at home. When they take place in public, it’s an entirely different story.

Today’s story starts at church on Easter Sunday. The kids are actually doing a great job sitting still and being well behaved. Specifically, Boy was entertaining himself by reading the songbook. Since the print is so small, he’s following the words along with his middle finger. If you don’t have children, all young people like to point with their longest finger which, as luck would have it, just happens to be the middle finger. And we all know what an extended middle finger means. Just in case you don’t, it isn’t nice. My wife and I worked long and hard to switch his pointing finger to his index finger.

I'm not sure why he chose this particular day to revert to old habits, but Boy decided to use his middle finger to read. It was fine until he turned to me, middle finger extended towards the heavens, and said, “Where are we Dad?”

Let me remind you, it’s Easter Sunday. The pews are absolutely packed with people, and my son is saying ‘hi’ with his middle finger. That finger was fully extended and rigid as a popsicle. There wasn’t any way the little old lady behind us missed it.

So, I quietly said, “We’re on the next page. Please, put your hand down.”

Because he never misses an opportunity to question something, Boy says, “Why?” And, because he’s waiting for an answer, he freezes in position. That includes freezing his hand with the fully extended finger.

Sensing disaster, I hoped to end the situation with my Dad voice, “Just put your hand down.”

But, Boy’s curiosity was stronger than my Dad voice. It’s like he knew that I couldn’t do anything to him in the middle of church. Boy raised his extended middle finger up as high as he could so he could show me he wasn’t doing anything wrong and asked, “What’s wrong? I’m just pointing.”

Oddly enough, having a tiny little finger in your face doesn’t help your patience any. “PUT YOUR HAND DOWN.” I hissed.

“I don’t understand, is there something wrong with what I’m doing?” The little hand, with the still extended middle, is now waving in the air like a flower in a strong breeze.

When I hear the Grandmother in the pew behind us snicker, I realize that once again, I have lost the battle to small child.

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