Kittyboy has been fascinated by icons about as long as we've been pointing them out to him. (Icons = sacred art in Orthodox churches and homes, depicting saints and events of Christ's life). His patron, St. Patrick of Ireland, has teethmarks on one corner, and got flipped off of his nail a couple times before we decided that while above the crib was a nice location in theory, it was time for the icon to move further out of reach. Icons on low shelves in the hallway are not safe either - more than once I have come out of the family room to find Kittyboy sitting on the floor surrounded by 2-D friends, perhaps petting one affectionately. And we don't have anywhere SAFE to store them. Sigh. Well, he's got the right idea, in so far as a toddler can.
He just recently began kissing things - it started with his reflection in windows (he would kiss every window he passed), then walls (who knows why), stuffed animals and dolls, and now icons and anything like them.
I should explain that Orthodox Christians kiss a LOT of things - icons, crosses, priests' hands, etc. It's how we honor them. So as we enter church, we cross ourselves and venerate the icons in the entry way, and the Gospel book if it's out there. Kittyboy was lifted so that he could kiss the icons, and the Gospel book (which he also likes because it's covered with brass), and then we went in. But as I said in my last post - we went in and out and in and out a LOT this morning. And of all the times to pick up on something - every time I tried to get him back in, he ran over to the stand with the icons. He kissed the wood he could reach below the shelf, then looked at me. I told him okay, we're going in now, and he reached and pointed at the Gospel. I said "Yes, that's the Gospel, let's go inside." He kept pointing, and started into the "Mm mm mm!" and "Mrrrrrrr..." noises. Those get louder if unaddressed. So every single time we went back into church, he had to be lifted to kiss the Gospel at least. It was time-consuming, but SO CUTE. "Mommy, I can't go in yet, I have to kiss the shiny book! And perhaps St. Anthony too!" And next time, same thing. And again. He takes kissing things very seriously. Not of three-dimensional PEOPLE, but of everything else!
I think his favorite icons in church (on our side of it at least) are the Annunciation in front, St. George (who has a cool white horse!) in back, and Ss. Cosmas and Damian in the middle. They were the Holy Unmercenaries, basically they were doctors who treated people for free, and I've pointed them out several times as the Patron Saints of Early Intervention! Our therapists do get paid, eventually, by someone, but it's sporadic and slow sometimes, and insurance especially drags its heels a LOT. But they keep coming anyway! So I decided Ss. Cosmas and Damian were their patrons. And since I began pointing them out to him and talking about them, now he wants to go look at them at least once a service. He likes his shiny picture-friends. He often waves at them. "Hello St. George! Hello horsie!" etc.