The only way today could have been a more perfect summer day is if it had involved ice cream, and I’m about to take care of that omission. I think I spent about eight hours of quality time with the girls today, including a long walk this morning and an hour at the playground this afternoon. Everyone – even me! – was in a good mood, and both girls were in excellent form: being silly, trying new things, helping each other out, refusing to fuss… Here they are, attired in their finest, during the morning walk. I don’t recall, but I’ll bet Julia is telling me that she’s Mary and that Vivi is Jesus. With these killer outfits, who could argue?
Vivi, imitating her big sister, has lately been making a point of sitting, diapered or not, on the potty chair before her bath. Until tonight, it was just an exercise. Tonight, though, she actually went! She grinned up at me as I attended to any of another half-dozen pre-bath activities and shouted, “Potty! Potty!” I haven’t been happier to wipe a bottom since about this time last summer, when her sister was trying to get into the potty habit. At this rate, Vivi will be toilet trained by the time Julia heads back to preschool in September. That won’t happen, but a dad can dream. All that diaper money…
As promised the other day, I found a couple Playmobil nativity scene sets on eBay last week. They arrived earlier this week, and Julia’s been playing with them ever since. After setting everything up and playing with them for a while each evening – including a full recitation of the YouTube video, right down to the sound effects and the background music – she asks me move to the entire sacred diorama to a safe haven at the edge of the dining table, where (she thinks) Vivi can’t get at it. Tonight, all this play also entailed creating a backdrop for the stable: brown hills, green trees, a night-blue sky, and of course the Star of Bethlehem. (Click through for notes on Flickr.)
As I hurriedly made this backdrop and Julia excitedly played with the various figures this evening, I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony. I’ve spent almost exactly half my life – since taking Cal Roetzel’s “Intro to the New Testament” class at Macalester in 1992 – rejecting Christianity with more or less vehemence, and this is what it’s got me: a little girl who can recite big chunks of the Nativity story and a fun evening fabricating a diorama for her Bible toys.