Eliza loves to pray our family rosary. She has come a long way in learning all the prayers since I wrote this post about her earlier prayer attempts, but just like when we pray the Angelus, she does like to be the leader. However she can't possibly keep count and pray at the same time. A while ago Michael got out our rosary with giant wooden beads, but even that is too difficult because as anyone who has tried to teach a little person to use a rosary knows - if you let go of the beads you've lost your place. So the other night as I watched Eliza I thought to myself, there has to be an easier way. I thought if she had counters that she could move from one place to another, she wouldn't lose count. I tried getting out some milk caps but she wasn't really interested in them, as she associates milk caps with letters and spelling, not praying. I thought she should have something lovely and pleasant to count with, and something unique just for praying the rosary. I thought about it just a bit more and realized it had to be roses for Our Lady!
So the next day I crocheted a set of roses, ten red for the Hail Mary's and one white rose for the Our Father's. I found two similar sized handle baskets, as little ones love to carry things around, and arranged the roses in the basket. The idea is very simple - they start with all of the roses in one basket and as each prayer is said a rose is moved to the other basket. When the next decade is started the roses get moved back to the first basket and so on.
I also printed out a set of cards with pictures of the mysteries, and laminated them for durability. I put numbers on each of the cards using little squares of paper in symbolic colors: pink for joyful, purple for sorrowful, white for glorious and yellow for luminous. I think these will help the little girls to learn the mysteries, as they hold the proper card for each mystery we pray.
I thought this was a nice idea, but still I was surprised and delighted at how much the little girls love praying with these roses. Kateri is so pleased to be in charge of moving the roses from basket to basket, carefully arranging them with each decade. With something to keep her hands occupied and her mind focused, this bouncy two year old was happy to sit still for the entire rosary, and so proud to have such an important job.
She is thrilled to have the cards to hold as well, and she shows everyone the picture as each new mystery is announced. Now when someone says it's time for the rosary, the little girls gleefully run for the basket of roses for Our Lady. I trust Our Dear Blessed Mother is pleased with her bouquet from these sweet little ones who are learning to love her and to pray always for her intercession.
The pattern I used for the roses can be found here: http://www.lionbrand.com/patterns/chs-rosettes.html?noImages= I believe you have to register at the Lion Brand site to use it, but it's free. I used Red Heart Super Saver worsted weight yarn - about 5 ounces of red for the ten. I used an I hook (5.5mm) and started with a chain of 35 stitches.
If you don't crochet or know anyone who does, you could purchase faux roses from the craft store.