For a variety of reasons, Mary attends a parochial preschool a few days a week. We wanted something full-day because she missed the Kindergarten cutoff by about three weeks and the child was ready for a bit more school than the two hour, two day a week program we'd had her in. By the time I realized that the readiness test that used to allow Kindergarten admittance to those with later birthdays had been completely abolished in our city, it was June or so and the only preschools that didn't laugh us out of the coatroom were religious schools.
We're not Catholic, but I went to a great Catholic high school and loved it, so when a Catholic school fit our scheduling needs and budget constraints, I didn't hesitate. It's March now and for the most part I've been very happy with things. Mary has apparently gotten her father's love for all things church (not that I don't have faith, but this child actually begs to go to church when it's not Sunday, whereas when the Seventh Day rolls around, I am picking out tights and dresses and hair bows but longingly eying the cozy bed) and has embraced the Catholic rituals with open arms.
There was a school-wide Mass in December, and out of hundreds of kids through eighth grade, when the priest asked, my five year old is the one who knew the answer to the question. I found out when I went to pick her up and one of her teachers accosted me in the cubby room.
"And Father asked who knew what the pink candle meant, and Mary is the only one who had the answer!" she crowed, watching my face for the joy she was waiting for.
"That's great!" I said enthusiastically, frantically trying to recall my religion classes from high school and failing. "I don't know how she knows that, because I sure don't."
Wrong answer, Mommy.
"Joy!" the teacher and Mary answered in perfect unison.
Well, joy to the world!
Then there was the time at dinner when Mary asked if she could say grace. Of course we said she could, and she promptly taught her three year old sister how to properly do the sign of the cross.
"Bless us O Lord, and these thy gifts..." she sang. It's cool, we'd already heard her cantoring one night when she was supposed to be asleep, so it wasn't *that* impressive. (Sarcasm doesn't translate well in the blogosphere, so insert a little winking smiley here or something so you know I'm not a bad mother.)
But nothing beats this afternoon. I picked Mary up and we came home, at which point the girls settled down to color at the table. All was well until Mary and Anna got into a knock down verbal war over who got to use the yellow crayon at which point, culminating in Mary being quite rude to her sister and getting sent to her room.
"I DON'T LIKE MY ROOM!" she yelled from her prison down the hall. "Can I come out now?"
"You still have three minutes," I said, checking the clock.
"I don't want three minutes more! I want it shorter!"
"You're five, you get five minutes," I replied in as neutral a tone as possible.
"Well God made me and God made me to want less time SO YOU HAVE TO LET ME OUT."
Ave Maria, she'll either be a nun or a lawyer at this rate.