These days, Valentine likes to repeat everything. Words. Movements. Books. She throws up her little arms and says “gen!” (Once, as I was doing dishes, she clung to my legs just saying, “Momma. Momma. Momma. Momma…” until I had gone into some sort of trance. Suddenly, Logan appeared at my side, swung Valentine up in his arms, looked her straight in the eye and said, “Valentine, when you repeat words like that, it makes people feel crazy.” :)
Anyway, it’s reminded me of this passage from G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy:
Now, to put the matter in a popular phrase, it might be true that the sun rises regularly because he never gets tired of rising. The thing I mean can be seen, for instance, in children, when they find some game or joke that they specially enjoy. A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, “Do it again”; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, “Do it again” to the sun; and every evening, “Do it again” to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we. The repetition in Nature may not be a mere recurrence; it may be a theatrical encore.
Isn’t that a beautiful thought? I love the idea of God creating each daisy with brand-new delight. It also helps me appreciate this stage with Valentine a little better, and to see if I can’t find a new element of wonder or beauty in the 78th reading of Drummer Hoff.
What about you? Does the repetition of children wear you down? How do you handle it? What’s the balance between respecting a child’s desire for repetition and keeping yourself from exhaustion? I’d love to hear your thoughts!
(Photo by Paul Kaye)