In our family we say we believe in praying to God, but I’m pretty sure that fairly frequently my kids pray at each other and even more often, they use their prayers as a chance to tell me off.
Magoo’s prayers are usually fairly repetitive. He says, “We thank thee for our family and friends and things and stuff,” and then closes his prayer. He figures this covers most everything important to him in his life without going into unnecessary detail and that if he keeps saying he’s thankful for what he has, there’s a good chance God will keep giving it to him. He rarely asks for anything. When he does, I’m pretty sure the request is directed at me, not The Man Upstairs. This week, for example, he prayed that he could please get to hold Wanda more tomorrow and shot me a meaningful glance.
You see, Magoo doesn’t get to hold Wanda much, and he can trace that lack in his life directly back to me, Wanda’s chief food source and bodyguard. Whenever he wants to hold her, she’s either sleeping or eating. He knows it’s not Wanda’s fault. He sees me shove my breast in her face or put her down for naps. He’s sure that if she had her way, she’d sit in his lap wide awake all day, starving to death but having all her needs filled by his tender love. His love is tender. It just has to be brief. This baby has things to do and people to eat, as I said, mainly me.
But my attempts to thwart him don’t go unchallenged. He frequently washes his hands and bursts forth out of the bathroom holding them fingers-up, elbows bent away from his body, looking like he’s just scrubbed in for surgery and is waiting to be gloved. “I washed my hands and I’m not touching anything with germs until I kin hold her,” he’ll beam. I then inform him that she just started feeding and may not be done for an hour. Discouraged he’ll sit next to me with his hands suspended in mid-air until he can’t take it anymore and then sighs and heads off to play with his germ-ridden toys.
This happens several times a day. His only recourse is to guilt me into mending my ways tomorrow through sincere and personally-directed prayer.
Laylee’s been known to pray for allowance, knowing that all that needs to happen in order for allowance to be given is for Mom to remember to hand it out…ever. She prays that she’ll get to do all of her plans as she has written them down and dreamed of them. This is in reference to the many parties, family vacations, and the elaborate clubhouses she’s detailed on paper and in repeated recitation to anyone who’ll listen, ones that I keep telling her probably won’t come to fruition.
But I’m not the only one she prays at. One of my favorites is when she says things like, “Please bless me that Magoo will stop kicking me right now,” as though God would reach down his hand and smite Magoo that very minute. When I think about it, that particular prayer may be directed to Deity (for the smiting), to me (a plea for a little parental smiting), or to Magoo to convince him to mend his ways. Either way, I think we all find it humorous.
I wonder how Dan and the kids would take it if I started using the kids’ passive aggressive prayer tactics against them. “Please bless me that Laylee will stop whining when she has to get ready for soccer. And please help me that Magoo will eat a vegetable EVER. I’m thankful that Dan made dinner for us last night and please bless him to do it every night. Please help me to get lots of sleep tonight because everyone in the family will sleep until noon and leave me alone.”