Sunday, January 25, 2009

Church and Babies

Who decided babies should stay with their parents during church until they are 18 months old and can finally go to nursery? I propose a pre-nursery that starts at 6-months old or an 18-month maternity leave from callings.

Now, Bill and I actually have some of the best callings possible for dealing with a baby that still has 11 whole months to go before she can be shipped off to nursery. Bill is ward clerk and therefore mostly free to take the baby during priesthood and sunday school. Of course, Sandy always seems to need to eat during those 2 hours so I usually have her for one hour and he has her for the other. Bill even has a calling that lets him sit with us during Sacrament meeting so there are two of us to contain a wriggling and almost mobile baby. I am a counselor in the Primary Presidency, which must be the most superfluous calling in the church. I teach a 20 minute sharing time once a month and conduct three months out of the year. There are plenty of primary teachers/leaders and even older primary kids willing and even eager to hold a baby for a few minutes while I get my calling done. Then Bill stays after church to do his clerk duties while I take the baby home.

It seems like it should work very smoothly. But today was an example of why it really is not smooth at all.

First, it was a Villa Sunday. Every third month our ward helps with the church services at a nearby nursing home (the Villa). This means that the Elders Quorum spends 2 1/2 hours at the Villa, arriving back at our ward halfway through sacrament meeting (if they come back at all).

So while Bill was pushing old people in wheelchairs I packed Sandy up to Primary with me. I fed her right before we left. But church is at 9:00 which also happens to be her preferred nap time. And of course she can't sleep in a room full of kids. So I spread a blanket in one corner of the room and surrounded her with toys. She did a good job of playing by herself for about 20 minutes. Then she spent the next hour fussing because she was so tired.

Then I fed her and she fell asleep in my arms. So then I needed assistance getting all of my stuff into the chapel for Sacrament meeting because of course I bring more stuff with me to church than would be necessary for a 2-week hike up Mt. Everest.

So Sandy slept through the first third of Sacrament meeting, waking up ready for a diaper change and playtime. I'll save my opinions about Sacrament meeting being last for another blog entry.

I was the only Primary person left in the chapel (delayed by the previously described amount of stuff) when I was cornered by our ward missionary who wanted someone to go with her to teach a new member discussion to one of the boys in Primary that was recently baptized.

So Sandy and I went home for an hour, I fed her and played with her, and then I went out again - in the snow - to the new member discussion. Since Bill was at the church counting tithing, I packed Sandy (now ready for another nap) with me.

So we went to the new member discussion. The kid had forgotten about the appointment and was at a cousin's house. We visited with the mom for an hour while we waited for his dad to pick him up. (If we'd known it would take so long we wouldn't have waited.) About the time the kid showed up, I heard some rumblings from Sandy's bottom. Just as I was about to ask if I could change Sandy's diaper, I felt something very warm and very wet on my leg. Yes, she had a blowout on my leg. So I changed her diaper and wiped off my skirt with a diaper wipe. Luckily I carry plastic bags in my diaper bag so I could stuff everything back in my diaper bag. Then I tried to help the ward missionary wrap up the discussion as quickly as possible so we could go home. It wasn't hard since she didn't seem to have a lesson prepared, so she kept saying things like, "Now we'll talk about the Plan of Salvation. Sister Buhler, could you talk about that?" The third time she did that, I thanked them for letting us come and stood up to leave. The ward missionary quickly arranged a follow-up appointment, and lucky for me she said the Bishop suggested she take different people with her each time. So I gave her the name and number of the kid's primary teacher.


Sherri said...

When you and Sam were babies I spent all my church time in the hall. One day I was so discouraged I was about in tears and ran into a former bishop. He told me that even though it would be easier to be home, it was so important to have the babies in church. He said they can feel the Spirit (even in the hallways) and it has a great influence on them. It never seemed so hard after that--and I never had a calling again that I could stay in the hallway. Either way, it got better.

Jen said...

Megan, I am right there with you. We were lucky with Joseph. Stephen and I got called into the nursery when Joseph was 14 months so he got to go in early. But Aaron just wants to move and really isn't into the whole sitting and playing thing. We also have 1pm church which is in the middle of both boys nap times. Joseph has fallen asleep during sharing time twice so far.

HeRoosSheRoos said...

Girl, I hear you loud & clear! Sundays with a baby are a BIG challenge. I would love a pre-nursery.

Jaydene said...

Oh, Megan, I so remember having the same feelings you do about nursery policies. It was pretty difficult sometimes. I remember wishing they would let 16 months old be the starting time because at that point in our children’s development they were very interested in going into the nursery. By 18 months they had entered another phase of development and had become afraid. Then it would take several weeks of our being with them in nursery to help them get adjusted. I really like what your mother said about church. I was thinking about my younger years and I do remember feeling the Spirit when my parents took me to church. There are many benefits for them being there. Establishing in their minds how much you love our Savior and Heavenly Father is just one. And thankfully it does get easier. You will be blessed for your diligence.