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Smart Boy

Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise? (Matthew 21:16, in reference to Psalm 8:2)

He sat happily between his Nana, who was knitting, and his dad, who was attempting to write a prayer for worship the next morning. The afternoon sunlight fell in slants through the window behind his head, lighting up his red hair, and illuminating the soft yarn ball which Nana was transforming into a blanket for another little boy. The red-headed one between them promptly reaches forward, grabs the yarn, and stuffs in his mouth.

“Is that tasty?” His dad asks, quite bemused and utterly distracted from his task.

As if in response, the little boy, nine-months-old just yesterday, takes the yarn out of his mouth and “offers” to Daddy, his arm outstretched up and towards the bigger mouth.

“Yum, yum, yum!” He replies, delighting his son so much that he promptly does the same to his Nana.

“Mmm, mmm,” she smiles, “Thank you for sharing!” This evokes a grin from her grandson, a big one which shows all six and a half of his teeth.

This game goes on for a few minutes, back-and-forth, again and again, until, suddenly, there is a whirling noise in the kitchen. Mommy is making key-lime tarts, a new recipe which requires a blender – a rare sound in this particular household. The kind of noise that is sure to draw the attention of the curious.

He is willing carried into the next room by Nana, where he watches from the counter-top, completely transfixed by the magic of baking. Mommy, whose face is shining in the same afternoon sun, offers her firstborn the wooden spoon used to guide the batter into the blades of the blender.

The spoon goes into his mouth.

A little while later, prayer finally written, Dad comes into the kitchen.

“Is that tasty?” He repeats.

Only this time, upon apparent reflection, his son puts the spoon back into his own mouth.

“Smart boy,” his Nana says, smiling even wider, as this nine-month-and-one-day-old boy continues to slurp away at the residue of sugar, butter, and flour; an act which was (as Nana recognized in her wisdom) a sign of his intelligence; and also, as his dad later reflected when the sun had set and he was returning thanks for his family, its own perfect prayer of praise.

About Andrew Taylor-Troutman

I am a pastor and a preacher, a writer, a husband and a father. My professional and personal lives are deeply involved with story-telling: stories that are silly and poignant or profound and commonplace. Stories that are tear-jerkers and belly-shakers. Stories about my son, Sam, and the congregation I serve, New Dublin Presbyterian Church. Each in its own way, these personal narratives shed light on the great story that God is writing with humankind and all of creation.


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