Liturgy of the Toddler

14 November 2006

Lately at our house, we have had sleep wars. The Little Guy began climbing out of his crib, so it was time for a permanent and definite move to the big-boy bed. Easier said than done.

We’d tried the big-boy bed before, and it had been difficult. He doesn’t like to stay in it unless we’re in the room, and now, to make things more difficult, he can’t seem to nap in it. The Little Guy has also had a hard time staying asleep, and he’ll wake up at least once a night, sometimes more. An additional complication is that he seems to get up about an hour to an hour and a half earlier in the morning. This means that my morning prayers have taken a hit.

If I get up a little early, the Little Guy seems to wake up that much earlier. If I decide to sleep late, so will he, but if I decide to get up a little earlier to try to pull off some morning praying . . . hey, there he is!

Thus has the Liturgy of the Hours become the Liturgy of the Toddler, by order of our house’s Abbot, Abbot Little Guy. Instead of rising before dawn to wait for God in the Office of Vigils, we rise at 2 or 3, even earlier than the strictest Carthusian or most stringent Trappist, to serve the Office of First Waking. This Hour’s liturgy is composed of a customary versicle and response (V/. Maaa-Maaa; Paaa-Paaa. R/. Little Guy, you have to get back in bed), followed by prostrations upon the floor of the Little Guy’s room, concluding with quiet prayers of beseeching upon extricating ourselves from his room, hoping for a peaceful rest of the night.

Instead of welcoming the day with the Office of Lauds at dawn, at 6:30 we serve the Office of Earnest Petition (Almighty Toddler, please, please lie down for another half-hour.) followed immediately by the Office of Breakfast, consisting of several offerings of morning foodstuffs, most of which will be rejected.

The Daytime Office of Terce is omitted Monday through Friday, although on Saturdays and Sundays it is practiced under the name of the Office of Rogers, wherein 20 to 40 minutes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is viewed.

The Office of Sext has been supplanted by the frustrating and exhausting Office of Unsuccessful Napping, which is followed by the several hour long Office of Unmitigated Crankiness, which takes the place of both None and Vespers.

The Liturgy of the Toddler concludes with the Office of Readings, formerly known as Compline, which consists of reading the same three or four books or stories over and over and over again.

In contrast to typical monastic practice, which would embrace the Great Silence after Compline, after the Office of Readings adult conversation is engaged in, as is the Night Office of Relaxation, involving a beer or two, ice cream, and bad television/sports.

Thus concludes the Liturgy of the Toddler, which begins again with the Office of First Waking a few hours later.

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One Response to “Liturgy of the Toddler”


  1. […] I have also been thinking a lot about the Liturgy of the Hours lately.  Then I just read Jorge’s post about The Liturgy of the Toddler and just loved it.  I don’t even have children, but if you’ve ever struggled with distractions to prayer, you’ll get a chuckle from his words.  Definitely worth a visit. […]

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