The Dear Sweet Little Girl

Today is Sunday. As on most every Sunday, we piled in the van and headed off to church. Today was different. Daddy wasn’t along because he was out of town. Ok. So this should really be no big deal. Before Daddy was an assistant pastor, I wrestled with 3 small children for about 6 years by myself in the pew every Sunday.

However, number 4 was never around in those days. Number 4 is cute. She is also the BABY, and she knows it. There is great indignation when I correct her. So today, whe was super wiggly and just a tad loud while playing with her little doll during the sermon. So I took the doll away and made her big sister put away her dolls, too. No dolls to play with or make noise with, that’s ok. Number 4 is resourceful. She can make a ruckus by moving from one seat to another or throwing her head into my chest when she sits on my lap. Then I thought, “I’ll give her the nice quiet Teddy Bear. She’ll hold it quietly and sit nicely on my lap while she cuddles with it.” What kind of drugs was I on when that thought went through my mind? Did she sit nicely on my lap and cuddle sweetly with the Teddy Bear? Oh no. She started tossing it in the air. Before I could get control of the situation, the bear landed in the lap of the girl behind us. Thankfully, that girl was our senior pastor’s teenage daughter, and their whole family thought this antic was funny.

After another 10 minutes or so of her wiggling around and moving from place to place, the sermon finally ended. I breathed a big sigh of relief, and we headed to the fellowship hall where wiggling and giggling and talking are acceptable behaviors.

6 thoughts on “The Dear Sweet Little Girl”

  1. The baby, oh I know too well how they manipulate their cuteness. I tried the threatening death grip on the leg of my toddler to keep him from spinning like a pig on a spit in my lap and it totally back fired into a scream of pain. Did you notice the trail of smoke coming from the corner of the sanctuary as I exited? ergh!

  2. Parental Church Torture, ah! Yes, how well Scott and I know this, too. Scott, especially, seems to be the object of Public Dismemberment in church, the perfect victim. When all of the carefully planned activities do not work out…

    In New England, long ago, most churches closed in the summer. Can you imagine? A budget cut idea. Here and now, though, churches change in summer to accommodate vacationing parishioners, so summer services offer no children’s education or choir.

    Scott and I decided, back when we had infants, to give children “the summer off,” hoping we are not scarring them for life. Scott attends the eight o’clock service and then comes home to fix breakfast, while I attend the ten o’clock service. We look forward to church in summer, with the opportunity to sit quietly and absorb, like we used to.

    I do worry, a little, what I may be subtly communicating to children. I’m reminding myself that they get to witness Scott and I each loving church and thrilled to be in church. And I remind myself that they love church school, which coincides with the school year. Meanwhile, attending church alone feels like a decadent pleasure.

    Safe travels to Mark, good transitions to you this next few weeks.

  3. One thing I love about our church is that EVERYONE’s kids are squirming around. Coming from churches where the children were either expected to be shut off in the nursery to keep from being distracting or expected to sit straight and still and quiet or be spanked, I am very glad to be somewhere where children are loved and accepted in worship and also not expected to behave better than even I can! It does make it hard for us parents to really “tune in,” but I assure you, no one noticed your child because they were dealing with their own!!! We are talking about a two year old too right? I don’t think I sat still until I was 18 or so, so don’t give up! 🙂

  4. I am so sorry to have missed the flying bear episode. The sermon was about Winnie the Pooh–right? I watch the kids and get easily distracted even now in church. Joanie

  5. April,
    I appreciate the empathy. Of course, our anonymous commenter is right . . . I didn’t notice the smoke coming from your ears as you exited because I was too busy fuming myself.

    Thanks for stopping by. I think that New England churches must have cancelled church in the summers because farming was so prevalent at the time and there was no AC. It’s true that our congregation encourages families to have their children in worship from and early age, so I am probably more self-conscious than I need to be. However, I do like the idea of attending worship solo once in a while. It does indeed sound decadent.

    I actually thought of you while I was writing this post. I saw you smiling at Charis’s antics out of the corner of my eye. You’re right that the flying bear episode was particularly apropriate considering all the Pooh illustrations!

  6. That is funny. I saw you leave a few times, but never hear all that comotion over on my side of the aisle. Probably because I was thinking that my kids were so amazingly vocal and that Dr. C wasn’t going to know what to do with himself due to my children.

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