15 January 2008

Speaking in Tongues

Olivia has a really amazing memory. She picked up sign language really quickly when we first began teaching it to her. She learned to count to ten by listening to me count and fold the cloth diapers we receive every week from our diaper service. And She remembers the names of birds that we see while watching Winged Migration.

So when we started saying prayers with her every day, she really picked up the words quickly. Of course, she adds her own flavor and accents to the words. Here are a few of the more popular ones:

O-GAY-MEE - "O God, guide me...

"...protect me, make of me a shining lamp and a brilliant star. Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful."

BESSED-TIS-POT - "Blessed is the spot,...
AN-NEN-NA-HOUSE - "and the house,...

"...and the place, and the city, and the heart, and the mountain, and the refuge, and the cave, and the valley, and the land, and the sea, and the island, and the meadow, where mention of God hath been made and His praise glorified."

O-KAT-EE-CHIL-DRN - "O God! Educate these children.

"These children are the plants of Thine orchard, the flowers of Thy meadow,
the roses of Thy garden. Let Thy rain fall upon them; let the Sun of Reality shine upon them with Thy love. Let Thy breeze refresh them in order that they may be trained, grow and develop, and appear in the utmost beauty. Thou art the Giver. Thou art the Compassionate."


We are blessed to have a number of children's prayer books, all of which are proportioned for tiny hands. We even have a copy of my old prayer book, which has one of my favorite prayers in it. So I always get a little giddy when Olivia picks up any small book/pamphlet/tag on a toy, opens it and says:

OHMAI-LORD-OHMAI-LORD - "O my Lord! O my Lord!...

"I am a child of tender years. Nourish me from the breast of Thy mercy, train me in the bosom of Thy love, educate me in the school of Thy guidance and develop me under the shadow of Thy bounty. Deliver me from darkness, make me a brilliant light; free me from unhappiness, make me a flower of the rose garden; suffer me to become a servant of Thy threshold and confer upon me the disposition and nature of the righteous; make me a cause of bounty to the human world, and crown my head with the diadem of eternal life.

"Verily, Thou art the Powerful, the Mighty, the Seer, the Hearer."

Baha'i Prayers are really beautiful. If you want to read more of them, you can do so at the Baha'i International Community's online reference library.

14 January 2008

Don't Get Me Children

Olivia's language has really exploded recently. I suppose maybe that's what I'm always saying, but really it seems like it's been happening a LOT! Sort of like fireworks, but with a longer lag time than your average Fourth of July celebration, so that when the next explosion comes, you've almost forgotten that you were watching fireworks in the first place.

Or, and I may over-do myself here, a more apt example, albeit obscure, is the similarity to language development and a Wesley Willis song. The song opens with a loud repetitive verse, which sinks into the background during a long synthesizer interlude, and then you are suddenly awakened to the fact that you are listening to a song when another profound yet strange closing verse comes in.

And, along those same lines, Miss Olivia has been saying some pretty strange things recently. This afternoon, I've been regaled with a repeated "don't get me children" and just now, she's started into "don't get me mama."

Here are a few phrases which she has been trying out recently:

"Color dis" - What color is this? Usually repeated for a minimum of five minutes, often at the site of the same color, so I think that perhaps she is testing me on my chromatic skills.

"Daw kitty" - Draw kitty. Whenever she sees a pencil/pen/quill, she demands that this action be taken.

"Fowler seeds" - Please give me sunflower seeds. After slyly eating all of her Grampa's sunflower seeds during a visit in Ohio, we found out that she had a new favorite food.

"Can carry you" - Will you please carry me? This probably developed out of "Can I carry you?" which she was often asked when we are in a hurry.

"By self" - I will do it all by myself. In other words, keep your hands off. Usually used in pairing with car seats & child restraints in high chairs & shopping carts.

"Watch birdies pease" - A request to watch "Winged Migration," a movie about birds migrating.

"Nuss chair" - Nurse in the chair. Can also be rendered as "nuss bed," "nuss couch," and, occasionally, "nuss floor." Clearly, we are beginning to wean.

"Don't get me children" - as noted above, I have no idea what this means.