Learning About Christmas

“[Christmas] will be SO much fun!” Mara exclaimed the week before Thanksgiving. “We’ll set up the Christmas tree–and God will set the snow–and we’ll go out and throw snowballs!”

Now that Mara and Micah are (almost) four and two-and-a-half, they are old enough to remember last Christmas and look forward to this year.

What do they remember?

  • Decorating the tree
  • Presents
  • Snow
  • Christmas music

As they begin to comprehend more, I want them at a young age to begin to understand the real meaning of Christmas.

From my Time-Life Christmas CDs, the kids already know the “Christmas oldies”: “Jingle Bells,” “Sleigh Ride,” “White Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”  . . .  Yesterday I decided we would start learning some Christmas carols. So I sang for them and Mara asked lots of questions about what words meant. . .

  • “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing” – What amazing life-changing truth is contained in that song! (Peace on earth = God and sinners–me–reconciled! Christ came to earth as a baby to die for me on the cross to pay for my sin and bring peace to my life!) What blessed reminders of God’s grace and goodness to me, as I explained the song to my toddlers!
  • “Silent Night.”
  • “O Come All Ye Faithful.”

At that point, Micah was done singing. Mara wanted to keep going. It was so precious how she tried to sing along, without knowing the words–or the music, just singing a couple beats behind me the whole way through the song!

Earlier this week I told Mara we were going to read the story of Christmas from the Bible in Luke chapter 2:1-21.

She loves to listen–she loves for me to read to her. Apparently, she wasn’t anticipating the birth of Christ, because she seemed so genuinely surprised, when I read, “And this will be a sign for you: you will find the baby, wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”

She gasped and exclaimed, “I know about the manger! I know this one!”

And in verse 21, I read, “At the end of eight days. . . he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel. . .” and she exclaimed, “I love Jesus! I wish I could tell God what we’re doing right now!”

“Sure, you can tell Him,” I told her. All the time I tell Mara that God is real, that He hears us, that He cares about everything in our lives. And she believes.

She shouted, “Guess what we’re doing, God?! We’re reading about your Son when he was a little baby!”

I want God to be as real in my life, as He is in hers. That I would thrill to tell Him when I’m reading about His son.

We finished the passage.

Mara loved reading Luke 2. And she asked to read it again when the other kids were napping, so of course we did.

Mara drew a picture of what we read in Luke 2. (You may have to click on the picture to be able to read my explanations of the drawing. The things I wrote in quotes are Mara’s descriptions.) On the back, she wrote something about “God loves you. Run to him.” But she doesn’t know how to actually write words yet, so she had to translate for me, since it was just a bunch of random letters. Still precious. 🙂

I love it!

Checking in With Tosta

Here’s an update, for those of you who know and love Mara’s imaginary friend, Tosta.

“Why do you always call Tosta my ‘maginary friend’?” Mara asked. “She’s not ‘maginary any more. She’s real.”

Soooo now that we’ve settled that. . .

Poor Tosta was apparently hit by a car earlier this week, so Mara says of her real (imaginary) friend. It sounded rather brutal–the car hit her and then she went under the car! “And that’s why she has a bruise on her forehead,” Mara explained.

This morning, Mara announced: “Tosta is going to the eye dentist today.”

“That would be the eye doctor,” I corrected. “Eye doctors look at your eyes. Dentists look at your teeth.”

Without missing a beat, she replied, “Actually? . . . it is the eye dentist, because he looks at her eyes and her teeth.”

THIS made my day

Last night Mara and I did a pretty thorough “straightening” of the girls’ bedroom. We found (in the closet, under the bed, under the crib, under the changing table, on shelves, and in drawers) all sorts of toys and “friends”: Pink Bear; Ballerina; various well-loved books; her little pink Bible; random legos; dollhouse pieces; missing shoes; Polly Pocket-size Princess clothes; even a sippy cup. . .

This morning Mara came downstairs and said, “Mom, I tied a ribbon around your lotion in your room to say ‘thank you’ for finding all my long-lost toys. I tied it on the pink one. Wanna come see it?!”

My little sweetie. . .

“You Can Call Me ‘Mara Apple Picker’!”

Columbus Day found us apple-picking in an orchard southwest of the city. Daniel had to work, so it was just me and the kids. We absolutely loved it!

Mara is at the perfect age to really enjoy it. She was super excited and quickly became an “expert” at eliminating bad apples and spotting the “perfect” ones (which were much more rare than I had hoped). She also “policed” the apples Micah put into the basket, which was a good thing, since we found him picking up a half-rotten ones off the ground.

In her mind, the goal was getting apples to put in Daniel’s lunch. She kept saying things like, “Daddy will be soo thankful we got all these apples for his lunch!”

My favorite comment of the day was “You can call me ‘Mara Apple Picker’!” So we did. She loved being “Mara Apple Picker”!

In the pictures you will see that her nose is still scraped up from when she jumped off the park bench last weekend. (Poor girl.)

Here are a few of the moments I captured:

Moving Up . . . and Moving Out

Moving Up!

This week we were given a twin bed (gotta love FreeCycle!), so Mara has officially moved out of her toddler bed.

I’ll admit feeling a bit sentimentally nostalgic about my little Mara moving up. But with Carissa learning to roll over and nearly stretching from end to end of the cradle, she really needs the crib (and Mara’s mattress) very soon. So it’s really a matter of practicality.

For Mara, however, this took a little convincing. Initially, she told me she wasn’t old enough for the big bed. “I’m not four yet!” she said, and then she lay down to demonstrate that her feet only went halfway down her toddler bed. So I lay down on the big bed and showed her that my feet only went halfway too. (Occasionally being short comes in handy.)

Ironically, then she began wondering out loud, what she would do when she grew out of her twin bed, and immediately decided, “I guess I will just have to sleep in Mommy and Daddy’s bed when I grow out of this one!”

I assured her it would be a long time, if ever, before she grew out of this bed.

We put the toddler mattress on the floor in front of her bed, just in case she fell off. She didn’t.

We talked about working towards keeping her Easy-Ups dry and going all night. And Friday night she did it. She was so excited Saturday morning when she came in our room and announced, “My Pull-Ups are dry! because I got up and went potty four times!”

I’m proud of her. She’s growing up!

Moving Out?

Over the past few months, Scary Things have appeared in Mara’s room after dark. She never gets out of bed at night to tell us about them, but she will tell us in the morning.

So I will go with her into her room and ask her: “What things in your room are scary?”

“Well,” she’ll begin. “Like this basket.”

“That’s not a scary thing,” I’ll say. “See? Just a basket with some cute little [stuffed] animals in it.”

“Nooooo,” she’ll say (as if I just don’t get it). “They’re not scary now. They turn into scary things!”

But good news! Those scary things may be on their way out! On Monday night she slept in the big girl bed for the first time.

Tuesday morning, she reported: “You know what?! There were NO scary things in my room last night! . . . I think the scary things knowed I had a new bed, so they ran away outside!”

The power of a new bed!