Normally, when we go to church, we find it easier to take the boys into the parent's/children's room where we can listen to the sermon while Helios reads a book or plays with a train and Hesperos drools and gurgles half syllables. But, recognizing that Helios is now three and should be able to compose himself appropriately as well as learn the liturgy and how to pray, we've started taking the children out of the "safe room" and into the pews with the adults unhampered by toys, blankets, and snacks.
While almost everything is equally interesting and chew-worthy to Hesperos, Helios is old enough to start appreciating the finer things of church attendance. If you were to take a moment to imagine yourself as a three-year-old, you'd know right away what these are: putting the envelope into the basket, yelling out "AMEN!", and fixing your hair with holy water. (Mommy knows that her hair always looks best when blessed.)
Helios has also taken a liking to kneeling and praying. Lest anyone too quickly assume that our son has a spiritual bent, consider that when kneeling he has the opportunity to move around and play with the kneelers, and when praying, he finally has the chance to talk without being reprimanded. And Helios loves to talk. In fact, Helios does in church what Mommy does during movies ... providing a running commentary about everything. Except whereas Mommy at least has the discretion to mutter sotto voce to her movie-going companions, Helios prefers to share his observations loudly with perfect timing the comments that you'd rather others not hear, like how the priest is bald or that the Jesus on the wall "is not moving, Mommy. Go wake him up and tell him to stop sleeping on the wall!"
But Helios is capable of prayerful solemnity at times. As some readers may know, one of the boys' grandfather's has been afflicted for many years with multiple sclerosis. Their other grandfather was recently diagnosed with cancer. So, every night and whenever we go to church, Helios includes his grandfathers in his prayers asking for their improved health.
Helios' prayer at church this past week was especially earnest and spoken without prompting or reminders from his parents. "God bless Grandpa Mel and God bless Grandpa Wil and make them get better soon so they won't have to take yucky medicine. And God bless Aunt Tiffany's kitty-cats. And God bless my big red wagon. It's a big red wagon and goes really fast! God bless my big red fast wagon...and my trains!"
Every little boy needs to have his priorities!