I don't know what the appeal of tiny dark spaces are to children, but they are like magnets for small objects.
Three years ago, my then two-year-old came to me saying "Mcqueen is in the tunnel."
There was no tunnel among his toys.
Earlier this week disaster struck. A favorite hot wheels car was dropped down the center pole of the backyard slide. (See photo for clarification.)
All four boys came running to the house in a state of panic.
"Someone get a long stick!"
"We need a flashlight, hurry!"
The four-year-old, whom the car belong to, wandered about the kitchen wailing.
The glass door slid open and shut. Feet pounded on stairs. My hubby followed the line of kids to the backyard. The pole is buried deep in the ground to stabilize the slide. They tried a magnet on a long string but it just stuck to the sides of the pole. At the dinner table, the conversation centered around that little car.
"I think we need a fishing pole. I'm going to get my fishing pole." The six-year-old announced.
"Let's eat first. Sit back down," his mother urged.
"We need a bigger magnet." The four-year-old demonstrated the effects of a good strong magnet, holding his hands apart and bringing the right to the left while making a sound to represent the magnet sucking that car right out of the pole.
It was determined the car would not float, using a similar vehicle in a cup of water as a control. Filling the pipe with water was out. The six-year-old appeared with his fishing pole, and had to be talked out of sticking it down the tube. The boys went to bed in a state of worry.
"Mom, I really, really, really, really, really want my car." The four-year-old draped himself over his mom's legs. What could happen to the car if it was left in the dark? What if it rained?
My husband pulled up the weather on his phone and reassured him that no rain would be coming. The car would not be flooded out and washed into the ocean. (Yes, the littlest thought it would be and yes, I live in Utah.)
Every prayer uttered that night contained the words "Please help us to get the car out."
Truth be told, the adults would rather replace the ninety-nine cent car than tear apart the fancy swing set, but the kids couldn't grasp that idea at all.
"Heavenly Father, bless us that we can get the car out."
The next morning their mother went to the temple. The little's (as we call the three younger ones) followed me around.
"Can we try a fishing pole, please?"
I was ready to abandon the car to a tunnel death, but for them, all personal prayers, breakfast, and lunch prayers included the same plea for rescue. When their mom got home, inspiration hit. She taped two long poles together, stuck a huge section of tape on the bottom, and inserted it into the center of the slide. Out came the car.
It spent the afternoon on the kitchen counter and by now is probably lost again. After all this, I can tell you something. Never doubt a child's faith. And never doubt that a loving Heavenly Father will answer the prayer of a child.