All I want is a photograph

Here’s the song reference.

It has been a very long two weeks for all of us, complete with sick tiny people, two grandmothers landing in hospitals, and a promotion at work for Daddy which, while it will be very beneficial to our household budget in the long run, has resulted in the poor guy working a stretch of twelve-hour days trying to manage a mess that was left for him.  The kids have been troopers through Mommy being on the phone for hours and, in the boys’ case, Daddy leaving for work before they awaken and returning home after they are abed.

We’ve been working on changing all of their bedtimes, in large part because Bugaboo and Beanie are at a point where they really don’t need to sleep for twelve straight hours at night, and also because we’ve discovered that the boys sleep better if we put Baby Guy down about half an hour before Mr. Man.  Mr. Man is delighted with this turn of events, as that half-hour tends to be his special big guy storytime with Daddy.  Once he goes to bed, Beanie gets her own story or art time with Mommy and Bugaboo gets her storytime with Daddy.  It means Daddy and I eat dinner at 8:30 some nights, but the relaxation and joy we derive from the extra time with the tiny people makes a late dinner worthwhile.

Last night, Daddy was so late getting home that special storytimes were not possible, particularly since Mr. Man decided to play drums on the wall of the boys’ room instead of taking his nap.  He was a little put out by this, but he was so tired that he couldn’t keep himself from dissolving into fits of temper over things like the corner of his Cheez-It breaking off.  As I snuggled our hysterical older son and tried to kiss him goodnight, he spied a camera perched atop the toaster oven.

Mr. Man loves to push buttons, to the point that his second three-word phrase was, “I push button.”  His first three-word phrase was the classic, “No, that mine.”  Upon seeing the old Panasonic, he immediately set up a cry of, “I push button I push button I push button PEASE PEASE I want picture pease picture picture picture pease push button!”

While we are ordinarily inclined to keep breakable electronics as far away from the big guy’s clutches as possible, Daddy and I exchanged a glance, then a nod, and through a short series of questions managed to deduce that Mr. Man wished to photograph his father, then look at the picture on the viewscreen.  Daddy posed, Mr. Man pushed the button and managed to take a picture, and all was right with his world for thirty seconds or so.  It was still a wrestling match for my husband to get a tired two-year old down the steps and into his bed, where he wailed his objections to the sandman for another ten minutes, but his smile when he was allowed to push the button, succeeded in getting the camera to flash, and saw the picture he had taken of Daddy, was just fantastic to see after an hour’s worth of screaming and tears.

Today’s prayer:  Lord, sometimes the smallest, simplest attentions can bring happiness to Your blessings.  Please help me remember that sometimes, their upset is caused by having been told “no” too many times in a day over things that are really of no consequence, just because their desires are inconvenient at a particular moment.  Please grant me the wisdom to strike the proper balance between attentiveness and overindulgence, and stay me from compensating for having my attention elsewhere by overindulging them in material goods.  I would have them learn that time spent doing and teaching small kindnesses is more valuable, and more precious to You, than all the toys in the world that will keep them in a corner and quiet.  You sent me Your blessings to train up in Your ways; please grant me the wisdom to remember that while I am on the phone getting information about a family member in the hospital, it serves us all better to let them sit near me and color a picture for the afflicted than to shoo them away or hide myself behind a door.


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