28 November 2011

baby jesus is naughty

I don't remember how I broke baby Jesus.

Most likely, I was playing with him. There was a lack of toys at Grandma and Grandpa Walker's house, and my options were: wooden blocks or paper for drawing/hat making/confetti making.

Baby Jesus, as I called the statue when I was a 3ish-year-old, was always out in the living room, looking a lot like a little porcelain doll and therefore a lot like a toy. He wasn't actually Jesus as a baby—more Jesus as an angelic-looking toddler, which may be why my grandma kept him out when I was over: to give me an example of a good little child.

I may have been only 3, but I'd already provided my family with enough stories of "the time Kamiah showed off her strong will and intense personality" to last a lifetime. Certainly enough to last my lifetime, seeing as these stories are still brought up at many a family gathering:
  • The time Kamiah screamed every five minutes for no apparent reason on a several hour car ride—aka, the time the family wanted to attach me to the roof of the car
  • The time Kamiah threw a temper tantrum at a soccer match at the 1984 Olympics because her dad wouldn't buy her—little 2-year-old her—a king-size Snickers bar all for herself
  • The time(s) Kamiah screamed without stopping for a breath—and then passed out, only to wake up a few minutes later the picture of contrition, a cuddly little thing who rivaled Beth from Little Women for sweetness
Most of these stories end with the summary: "My gosh..."

{This usually said in the very Iowan accent of "My gaish"}

"My gosh, she was a little hellion."

As a 3-year-old, I already had a bit too much of the hell-raiser in me, so my grandma probably encouraged me to play with baby Jesus; perhaps his general heavenly character would rub off on me.

Or maybe I'd want to start imitating his sweetly innocent face—smiling as if he had never thought he deserved a candy bar that was bigger than his head—and then for once in my life, I'd have my mouth shut and I wouldn't be screaming.

So I was playing with baby Jesus. Given my obsession with cheerleading and gymnastics at that time, I was probably making him do triple back flips with a double twist. This meant I was throwing him in the air and then hoping my chubby little fingers would catch him, iffy hand-eye coordination notwithstanding.

Or maybe I was making him be the top of the pyramid during the cheerleaders' big halftime routine. Maybe his teammates were St. Francis of Assisi and the Holy Mother, and they, I'm sorry to say, let him down, not supporting baby Jesus well enough while he gave a big "GO, TEAM!"

Down down down our Lord and Savior tumbled because his cheerleading squad didn't have very good spotters, people positioned to catch Jesus, should he ever fall. Peter was probably his spotter, but it maybe would've been smart to make Mary the spotter, seeing as she did stay at the foot of the cross until they lowered his body. She totally would've caught baby Jesus the cheerleader who took a tumble from the top of the pyramid.

Regardless of how it happened, I broke baby Jesus. His head came right off, and my grandma walked into the living room to see me standing there with his body in one hand and his head in another.

I looked up at her and then hid baby Jesus' head and body behind my back. If she couldn't see him, then he didn't exist, right?

"Kamiah! You broke baby Jesus! You are a very naughty girl!" My grandmother stood with her hands on her hips, the time-honored posture for angry grandmothers. A finger-wagging may have also been involved.

I glared right back at her and snapped, "Baby Jesus is broke; baby Jesus is naughty!"

At that, I'm sure my very, very Catholic grandmother crossed herself and started going through the rosary in an attempt to make God forget what her next-door-to-a-heathen granddaughter had just said.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, and I'm sorry that girl is being raised Pentecostal and not Catholic and that she just said your son is naughty after she decapitated him.
Blessed art thou among women, and if you forgive her, I promise I'll try to make her become Catholic, especially in about 20 years when she starts to attend an Anglican church.
And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus, who, just for the record, I don't think is naughty.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, but mostly for that little hellion who just killed your son.



  1. As a mother to one little hellion (whom I love dearly), I take great comfort this post. Thank you for being a living example that her strong will be an asset one day.

    ****Taking deeeeeeeeeep breaths*****

  2. Oh, yes, a strong will can be an asset in the later years, and bonus, her strong will now will give you things to talk about and laugh about for years.

    This is how I'm consoling myself, thinking about what I put my parents through...!

    On a flight yesterday, there was a little toddler who would not stop screaming, no matter what her parents did. I wanted to immediately call my mother and apologize for all temper tantrums ever thrown in public places, but seeing as I was flying, I couldn't :)

    Yes, very, very deeeeeeeeep breaths is probably how my mother got through my childhood: keep breathing!

  3. I often said "if this child sees her 5th birthday it will be a miracle of God". We both made it to your 5th birthday & now quite a few more. It was amazing to see you mature & gain control of your fire. Hang in there, Mrs Smith! Your reward will come.

  4. When I see children having meltdowns I usually think to myself... I feel so sorry for the parents and it helps alleviate the anger/annoyance in the situations.

    That being said Mia, I do think that you and your parents glisten a lot from the stories of youth because through all experiences and stories we tell we know how it shapes us into who we are now.

    Be it the humorous deflection onto baby Jesus showing that you still want to please others and will take the sentence structure around claims to help you... even at three you were an editor looking for a way to please those you loved.



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