Sunday, December 23, 2007

Feliz Nativity

My sister, who is six-and-a-half years younger than me, was the cutest little kid. She was kind of a mischievous monkey. At age two while in day care, she discovered and adopted a little green inchworm on the playground one day. She carried the inchworm around with her all day and gave it a name, probably Sammy-Jo, because that's what she named every bug or critter she kidnapped -- er, I mean, adopted.

Her daycare had fun activities. They went on little field trips around the huge southern church that sponsored/housed her daycare, like the church recreation center that had air hockey and ski-ball. They had art activities. Sometimes they would go to the pool. On this day, they mixed and baked cornbread as a group, learning about how the cornmeal was made. As the cornbread baked and the class waited for their yummy treat, the daycare teacher experienced a disturbance in the force, a sense that something was not quite right. It must have dawned on her as she went down her mental checklist:
count the students √
closed the garage door at home when I left today √
zipper zipped √
buttons buttoned √
set timer for cornbread √
inchworm... Wait, where is the inchworm that she found on the playground?
So the teacher asked my sister where her little inchworm went. I wasn't there to witness the event first hand, but the teacher told us that my sister gave her a sly smile and responded proudly, "In the cornbread."
Ewwwwww. They baked up a new batch and tossed out the one with the inchworm carcass.

Among the thousands of quirky-cute things that little kids can get away with because they're little kids, is the reshaping of family vocabulary. In my family, anytime the golden arches appeared on the horizon, my sister would pop her head up from her car seat and proclaim, "MeMac's! Ambooger, mmmmm, good!" Thus McDonald's became MeMac's in my family's lexicon. At this time of year, I am reminded of the funny names that my little sister and Chad's little brother had for nativity scenes when they were little kids. My sister called nativity scenes the "baby Jesus farm", while Chad's brother said "activity scene". Too precious.