This morning in church, I got a humbling, amazing, wonderful surprise. We have been helping our son, hand over hand, to make the sign of the cross since the day he came home from the hospital (literally, because there was a church service we went to the evening of the day he came home). He's gotten to where he will lift his hand to his head if you tell him to cross himself, but nothing further, and of course you don't expect someone not yet two to know when to do that during the service WITHOUT prompting.
This morning, however, when Father said "Thoxa Patri ke Io ke Ayiou Pnevmati" (Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, in Greek) Kittyboy immediately looked up from his book and moved his hand from his forehead to his waist, twice. He did it again the next time. And the next. And for even more shock value, he did it when Father said that in English, too. He even did it a couple times at other points where you're supposed to cross yourself that aren't as obvious - the benefit of a service that repeats things again and again. So he IS already aware somewhat of the pattern of what happens when. Father says this, this, and this, and then we do THIS.
On the one hand, he's been in church almost every Sunday since he was three months old, and of course the basic service never changes - on the other hand, he's not yet two. NOT - YET - TWO.
So not only does he have the up-down part covered, he knows when we do it! All we have to teach him now is the right-left. It IS a rather complicated sign when most baby-signs are one motion.
What a very aware little boy we have. This is the latest in a long list of things inspiring awe and gratitude:
He couldn't drink without thickener when he came home, but has taken Communion all this time without any issues whatsoever.
Church was the first place he slept happily and without trouble - and sometimes even without weight on top of him.
Church was the first place he would be quietly and calmly awake (when he first came home, THE ONLY place - many Sundays I wanted to move into the basement).
It was also the first place he signed something spontaneously - "More".
And icons are his friends. He waves hello at them.
Sometime last year, a visiting priest's wife complimented me on how quiet my baby was in church. Without going into details about how NOT-quiet and UN-calm he was at home, I just said that church was always where he was most relaxed, and she said without hesitation, "That is because he feels the angels!"
Never underestimate the ability of children to comprehend, experience and appreciate that which is unseen. They know far more than we do.