When a friend from Sophie’s daycare came over this weekend, I told his mother that Sophie likes to recite his name in a litany of friends whom she names before falling asleep each night. It’s an adorable prayer-like ritual that she does, and it surprises me, because we don’t do prayers.

“Oh,” she said, “but they do prayers at daycare, you know. Just before naptime.” I didn’t know. Apparently, they also say grace before meals. My friend performed one of the daycare songs for me: “Open your heart to Jesus,” sung with arms high overhead, opening and closing like a door (or like an Abba YMCA singer). My friend was laughing lightly, telling me that I’m lucky I haven’t been subjected to multiple recitals of this Jesus song — or, as my friend’s son pronounces it, Deeesus.

But I’m a bit disturbed. I knew that daycare was Christian. An NPR-like talkshow of Biblical exegesis is often on in the background, and the teacher likes to read the Bible every free moment that she gets. That wasn’t a secret. I just didn’t realize how much she is teaching Christian ritual — and I’m a bit disappointed that Sophie never told me about it.

So I asked her, “Sophie, what do you say at daycare before lunch?”

Sophie looked at me for a moment, then announced, “I give thanks to my butt.”

I love my daughter. Her sassiness will preserve her from all the indoctrination of the world.


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