My daughter Ally started talking at a very early age. We always joked that she came out of the womb, looked around the delivery room and said, “Wassup?” Then she proceeded to talk pretty much nonstop until she was about 12. Interestingly, she is now relatively reticent as an adult.
I recall a friend of mine asking Ally her name when she was very tiny and she replied (I’m fairly certain without taking any breaths), “Well, my name is Amy Allison Hogsett, but they don’t call me Amy because that’s my mommy’s name and they don’t call me Amy Allison, except for when I’m in trouble, because that’s my cousin Elizabeth’s Cabbage Patch doll’s name, who(m) by the way I am named after, so sometimes they call me Allison but usually it’s just Ally which is spelled like a famous movie star who was in The Breakfast Club…” and on and on and on. I’m sure my friend was sorry he asked.
I posted a previous blog that alluded to being embarrassed by something one of my children said. All parents can relate to this, especially when it involves toddlers, as they have not yet developed a verbal filter. All my children were occasionally guilty of this, but Ally probably provided the most memorable bloopers, I suppose due to the sheer volume of words spoken.
Unfortunately for me, many of Ally’s classic quotes were at my expense. Once in the middle of a church service, a very young Ally exclaimed in her finest drill sergeant voice, “Dad, wake up!” I must have had at least 10 people walk up afterward and tease me about staying up late on Saturday night. Around the same time, during the quiet portion of a communion service and while sitting on my lap, she announced, “I gotta (something ‘Everyone’ does, according to a popular children’s book)!” Thankfully she wasn’t talking about me this time, but I admit I was a little uncomfortable carrying her out to the nursery through the gauntlet of quiet snickers. Another time, our entire family went to visit my mother when Ally was about two and she ran inside the house and broadcasted, “Daddy’s been yelling at Mommy!”
I couldn’t get away with anything around Ally. One evening I walked in the front door from work and was greeted at the top of the steps by my glaring wife, Amy.
Me (meekly): “What?”
Amy: “Ally cursed again today.”
Me (slightly bolder): “What’s that got to do with me?”
Amy: “Nice try.”
Needless to say, I quickly learned to be on my best behavior whenever toddler Ally was around. Heaven forbid she would snitch me out to my wife, or even worse, my mother! But what about all the times when I wasn’t with this vociferous little cutie? I have heard the definition of integrity is to do the right thing even when nobody is watching. By extension, I believe the same could be said about Christianity. But we, as Christians, know there is never a time nobody is watching, because our God is a living, omnipresent God. Shouldn’t we always live our lives as if we are under the watchful, peering eyes of a chatty child?
“Out of the mouth of babes…” (Psalm 8:2).