I have almost seven years of experience teaching my little kids the Sign of the Cross – and very little to show for it. Who knew that a gesture that I take for granted would be so difficult to master. I guess there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye…

The Paddy-cake
Our one-year old has just learned the word “Father”. He has also mastered Paddy-cake. In particular, he likes the “roll it and poke it!” part, where you take both hands and quickly spin them around with respect to each other, before poking someone in the tummy. His Sign of the Cross consists of putting his hand gently on his forehead and saying “Faddah,” followed by vigorously rolling both hands together. At least he doesn’t poke anyone afterwards.

The Jedi-mind trick
Our four-year old takes a minimalist attitude. She’s got all the words down pat. The gesture, not so much. She takes her hand and sweeps it vaguely from the area of her forehead in a large (yet graceful) semi-circle ending somewhere near her hip.

These are not the droids you are looking for…

Bigger is better
Our three-year old has a Go Big or Go Home kind of attitude. When she says the words, she says it loudly, with great passion. Especially when we’re out at McDonalds. The gesture starts with her hand at her forehead, followed with her hands at her knees, followed by her hands as far right (or left) as she can reach, followed by her hands as far left (or right) she can reach, finished off with an enthusiastic clap. I’m sure it counts as cardio exercise.

I’m happy to report that our seven-year old does know how to do the Sign of the Cross nicely. So there is hope for the rest of the family.