I wouldn't say Danny and I are VERY religious people….we both grew up going to church and we feel our values and morals reflect that. We don't attend church regularly, if at all, but we are looking for a church now, as we both feel it is an important aspect we want to introduce into Emerson's life and growth. With that being said, I do feel we have tried to introduce spirituality early….we have several books that we read to Emerson that incorporate an honest and pure message and we say "our" prayers with her every night. So normally the night time routine goes something like this…Mom or Dad will give Emerson a bath, then it is off to her bedroom to get in her PJ's while Dad usually tries to distract her with a toy or song and mom gets her ready for bed. Sometimes we blow dry her hair if it is still really wet, in which case we spend time sitting on mom's vanity and Emerson laughs and talks to herself in the mirror. Then it is off to Emerson's room again where Daddy tempts Emerson with her "Ba Ba," and she promptly perks up and starts saying over and over again in a high pitched toddler delight…"Ba Ba! Ba Ba!" (sometimes she will even whisper it back to you if you whisper it to her.) We then proceed to sit in her chair and give Emerson her night time bottle (this is the last bottle we are still trying to wean from her.) While she drinks her bottle I read her several night time stories (I say "I" because usually I am the one carrying out this part of the routine, although Dan jumps in from time to time, but he lets me have this time with her because he knows how much I enjoy it.) After we have finished the bottle, we turn the light off and Emerson flips herself over and snuggles into my shoulder in the burping position, this is the same position she has ended up in since she was an infant, most of it stemming from when she got burped after bottles, but now this is just snuggle time that I look forward to all day. Once she is situated, I start our prayers….
So until last week, Emerson would then lay on my shoulder for another minute or so snuggling while I sang to her or rubbed her hair, and then I would get up, say "Nite, Nite," put her in her crib with Lovey Bear, that she would then proceed to strangle, and cover her up. Last week though I was surprised when Emerson, at the end of our prayers, promptly replied to my AMEN, with an AMEN of her own. What is this? A 15 month old can say AMEN. It was probably the cutest thing I have ever heard in my life…she was half asleep and it came from this little soft voice inside her like she was at peace (cheesy, I know!) but it seriously melted my heart and I fell more in love with her at that moment. So I finished the routine, told Danny about the AMEN and that was that…..
The next night I put Emerson in her high chair as I finished preparing her dinner…..I also usually get this responsibility because Danny isn't home from work yet, but don't worry, he usually gets to clean up the mess and load the dishwasher…I'll take my end of the bargain any day!!! So as I was bringing her food over to the highchair, Emerson clasped her hands together as if she was going to pray and then said clearly and with much enthusiasm, "AMEN." What is this new phenomenon? Where has she learned to say this and why is she, all of a sudden, doing it now? I didn't put two and two together until later that evening when I was telling Danny about the dinner Amen. We then decided that she must be learning it at school (she attends a Baptist daycare.) I confirmed on Friday with one of the teachers that all the children say their prayers before they eat lunch. We think she must have heard the word Amen before meals and then started associating it with meal time. Since, she was hearing the word a lot at school and nightly at bedtime prayers, we think she just learned to say it early….
Now AMEN is a daily word that Emerson loves to say for no apparent reason and sometimes out of the blue…..but we also now say it at the appropriate times as well…before dinner and before bed, and a toddler saying AMEN will tear at your heart strings every time!!!! AMEN!!
Moral of the story: It is never too early for AMEN!!!!