God's mysteries are revealed daily through the development of a child.
The other day, I was holding Ian while getting something out of the refrigerator. Suddenly, Ian started barking (he's been into telling us what the dog says these days, even though we don't own one). At first, I had no idea why he was barking. Then, in the midst of the calendars and dominos coupons and alphabet magnets that look like someone spilled their scrabble game on the front of our refrigerator door, I noticed a picture. It was a picture of me sitting on the couch holding Elliott when he was just a baby. And looking over my shoulder was what was formerly our yellow lab - and Ian was barking at him. The dog didn't bark back.
That same morning, we were eating breakfast. And again, out of the blue, Ian started barking while looking at a picture of Elliott on the wall. At first, I began to wonder if he somehow thought Elliott was a dog. Then I realized the picture he was looking at was of Elliott looking out the window at our neighbor's dogs. Ian knows that's what he is doing in the picture because he has looked out that same window at the same dogs. I couldn't help but marvel at how the mind starts to make connections. Connections that we as parents don't teach it to make. It's how the mind was designed. And the creator is an engineer unlike any I've ever seen on this earth.
I do wonder what the connection is with babies and animals. Elliott could communicate to the cast of Charlotte's Web long before he could talk to us. And now Ian can tell you without hesitation what all of his favorite animals say: the cow, duck, dog (no way I was leaving out the dog), cat, chicken, and rooster. The funny thing about the rooster, when Ian gives you his rooster call, he sticks his chest out and screams the ur-ur-ur-ur-ur like he's standing on our front porch at 5:00 in the morning trying with every octave of his little voice to wake the whole block up. I guess he's developed a friendship with the rooster at grandma and grandpa's house and he feels a need to express it. It's fun to watch.
Having watched Elliott grow I know they don't talk like animals for long. And the day comes quick when you wish they were moo-ing around the house instead of communicating all their post-animal days needs and wants. I'd like to have a dollar for every time this week Elliott has said "Daddy, I need to blow my nose."
But there mind keeps making those connections. Much more important connections. This week I was working with Elliott on his numbers. I drew the number 44 on his little drawing board and asked him what number it was. His answer: "That's Goty." Goty is the nickname for Luke Harangoty, number 44 on the Notre Dame basketball team. Wanting to push my luck a little, I drew the number 7 on the board and asked him what number that was. "That's Jimmy," he said. As in Jimmy Clausen, number 7 on the Notre Dame football team. And finally, I did the same with number 23, and his response, "that's number Golden Tate baby," you guessed it, number 23 on the Notre Dame football team. Bring on Kindergarten.
As much as I laugh and have fun with the way they grow and develop, I take time to thank God each day for their health and strength. He has never shown himself more clearly than he does through both of them.
Be sure to check out the new pictures in Ian and Elliott's albums.