Fonticulus Fides

Friday, March 10, 2006

Adventures in Catholic Parenting

So, for Lent this year, we decided to take the plunge and institute a family Rosary every evening after dinner. We probably should have done this long before now, but the chaos of having a toddler in the house for the last 2.5 years (!!!) has caused me pause. Well, Lola is still a toddler, but I figured, what the hey.

Long ago, Pansy or Peony or maybe both of the Two Sleepy Mommies suggested to me that we introduce the Rosary to our kids by saying an abbreviated version – not as many mysteries, certainly not as many Hail Marys in each decade, etc. So that’s what I started with – I am often leading the family Rosary since my husband doesn’t get off work until shortly before bedlam – er, bedtime.

Each of the children has a Rosary – “Rosey!” Lola calls them. Zooey’s “good one” with the tiny red wooden beads is at school, where the children pray one full decade daily with their teacher. As I hand the girls their “toddler” Rosaries, with colorful, chunky beads, he takes up his plastic one and reminds the girls that Rosaries are sacramentals, not jewelry, so you don’t wear them around your neck. He says this every time, and Edyn gets it, but Lola is too little, and he knows that I say it’s okay for now.

Then we all cram together in our big easy chair in the living room, and we start out with “In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…” The girls love to kiss the crosses on their Rosaries, and even Lola can say, “Fadder…Son…Spee-rah…AMEN!” I typically say an edited version of the Apostle’s Creed, skipping ahead when the natives start to get restless.

Edyn does very well with the Our Father and has most of the Hail Mary down pat. She likes moving her fingers along the beads and with each “Amen” asks me which bead(s) she should be holding next. For each decade, I tell them a “story about Jesus” – or sometimes Zooey says the Mystery, and quite well, too. We’re only saying two Hail Marys at each decade now, so Edyn grips a whole handful of purple or gold or green or red or brown beads at a time.

Sometimes Lola follows Edyn’s example and asks me what bead she should be holding, but she typically rejects my direction and says, “No, DISS one” and holds whatever she wants to hold. She mutters along with the Our Father, trying to get us to finish faster by interjecting AMEN here and there. “Our Fadder…hebben…name – amen!” When we keep going, she sighs and takes it up again, “Done…Hebben – aMEN!” Still no luck. “Day…Bread – AMEN! …AMEN!….AAAAAYY – MEEEEEN! AMENAMENAMENAMEN!!!” Whew, it’s finally over.

By the time we get to the third Mystery – sometimes the second – Lola is laying on my lap with her feet in the air, playing “ring toss” with her “Rosey.” She’s got a pretty good knack for pitching her Rosary up and hooking it around one foot. I gently retrieve it and put it back in her hand, trying to keep in mind which prayer we are supposed to be on. By the fourth Mystery, she’s trying to trade her Rosary for Edyn’s, which doesn’t go over well with the middle child. By the fifth, Lola has tried on her Rosary as a necklace, a bracelet, a belt, a headband, a sandal, a jacket (she gets both arms into it and has it looped around her back), and -- shudder -- a hula hoop and is back to ring toss.

And I know the Lord is smiling down on her, anyway.



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    By Blogger Toddler Blogger, at 12:01 AM  

  • I love this story. I can just see my son doing the same things. I am not as brave as you are. I am still working on the Hail Mary and Our Father with my 3 year old.

    By Blogger Kalyber, at 1:01 AM  

  • A way of praying the rosary that has worked well for us,(started when our youngest was 2 & oldest 17), is to pray one decade each evening, Monday thru Friday. This way we get through a set of mysteries during the course of the week.Monday's is a little longer due to the creed and the "warm up beads" as I call them, but it works great for us and neither the teenagers nor the toddlers get too restless. We only do this during Lent, Advent, May&October(Mary's months). If we have plenty of time, even a 3 year old can lead a decade, with a little help from a parent or older sibling. We also try to have an intention for each week's rosary, and we don't say our usual evening prayer during those weeks.May our Blessed Mother smile on your efforts!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:47 PM  

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