Toddlers don’t have any tact. At least this is true for the ones that I have tries to parent. I don’t think that my sampling size is too small to make this type of statement; in addition to our 5 children, my wife and I were foster parents in the past and we had over 15 kids come through our home. Some of them were toddlers; none of the toddlers had tact. Instead, toddlers possess a natural uncouth boldness that is used whenever they need something. Mary Hope employs this attribute when her cuppy is empty.
I don’t normally call a cup a cuppy for the same reason I can’t fathom the unholy success of Barney the big, purple dinosaur (not to be confused Barney from The Andy Griffith Show–he’s still cool and always will be). My reason–I am a grown man. I realize that being a grown man doesn’t keep me from using too many emoticons or saying things like “super-duper” or “okey-dokey,” but there are a few lines that I just can’t cross. So I don’t call a cup a cuppy; this doesn’t stop MH from doing it, though. Two-year-olds are like that.
Despite our best efforts, there are occasions when her cuppy becomes empty. When this happens she rarely walks up demurely with her cup outstretched saying, “Please, Father, may I have more liquid refreshment.” Instead, she barrels in to whichever room I am in (including the bathroom if I haven’t locked the door properly), shakes her cup, and yells, “CUPPY EMPTY!” If the response is too slow she yells again, sometimes with a couple of quick-jumps to ensure that her plight is noticed. Because we try to teach our children manners, I don’t let her get away with this. I look down at her and tell her to say, “More drink, please.” She looks up at me and repeats the words, making the word please sound as sugary as possible.
I take her empty cup from her hand and walk toward the kitchen, instructing her to come along. Sometimes I glance back to see her joyful face; she knows that I love her during these moments, I think. We arrive at the refrigerator and I ask what she wants. If it is something other than what was in her cup already, I rinse the cup out and pour the requested beverage into it. After I secure the lid, I hand her cuppy back to her. She says, “Thank you” without prompting, gives me a smile as big as her face, and walks away gleefully, full cuppy in hand.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,
that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
MH doesn’t approach me with tact; she doesn’t have to. I love her and desire to provide her with what she needs. She approaches me with confidence, believing that my feelings toward her will prevent a harsh response. Her cuppy is empty and she desires it to be full. I fill it with what she desires with gladness because of my affection for her, not because she has done anything to deserve it. I derive great joy from seeing her take pleasure in what I give her, from watching her eyes grow round with reciprocated love.
What once was empty is now full; what once brought distress now brings delight. Her thirst is satisfied because she asked her daddy boldly, he heard her plea, and he provided.
Toddlers don’t have any tact. I’m fine with that.
(Have you learned similar lessons from the children in your life? How has this impacted how you view God? Go ahead a comment. It’s painless–mostly.)