Friday, May 26, 2006

Laying Hands on Baby Bug

As part of our religious beliefs, we adhere to the practice of laying on hands for blessings when people are sick or in need of extra divine help. Hands are placed on the recipient's head and a blessing is pronounced. This has not gone unnoticed by our daughters, who began asking for blessings when they were very small.

Our youngest daughter Mercie has big problems with chronic constipation, poor thing. If I don't zealously moniter her fruit juice intake (making sure she gets at least double what the other girls drink), she winds up straining and crying and laboring hard to move anything through down there.

The whole family knows all the signs--Mercie goes into her tell-tale pooping position, her face gets red, her whole body goes tense and she starts shaking, and heart-wrenching wails and crocodile tears appear. It seems to help a little when Mom or Dad hold her, so we try to rub her back and snuggle her till the moment (or the "movement") passes.

Mercie is in such obvious distress that her older sisters come running. They pat her and say, "It's okay, Mercie?" "You pooping, Mercie?" and other sisterly comments. One day Grace was patting Mercie and was obviously becoming quite worried about her. She snuggled her head in right next to Mercie's screaming head, put an arm around her, and began praying that Mercie would be able to poop and "have no more hurting in her bum-bum." Of course we thought it was adorable. Mercie promptly pooped, we thanked and praised Gracie, and a new protocol was established for Mercie's pooping problem.

I should have seen what was coming.

Yesterday the familiar signs began. I gathered Mercie in my arms and started singing in her ear. Grace and Mia gathered on either side of her. Mercie is already learning that her family will support and help her in EVERYTHING--even bowel movements.

Grace's eyes lit up with a flash of three-year old brilliance. " I give her a blessing, Mom!" She put her hands on Mercie's butt, where Mia promptly added her chubby little hands for added benefit. Over Mercie's crying Grace loudly gave her a blessing:

"Dear Heavenly Father, please help Mercie feel better. Please help her poop. Her bum-bum is hurting, poor little baby bug. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen."

Okay, it's kind of silly and cute. But I'm glad that when Mercie is in a "tight spot" (I promise--no more dumb pooping puns), her sisters are gathered around, going through it with her. And I'm even happy to see them joining their fledgling religious beliefs with profound childlike practicality--after all, if the problem is in your bum-bum, why on earth would you lay hands on your head? And I am oh so glad that my girls are learning already that they can take ANY problem to the Lord, and He will help with anything, even Baby Bug's pooping problems.

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