Monday, January 2, 2012


Sandy went to Sunbeams yesterday! She was so excited. We practiced singing Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam all week. I glued pictures of her, her teacher, and the other two kids in her class on popsicle sticks and we practiced going to Primary all week.

Abby was sad that Sandy wasn’t in Nursery with her anymore. I’m glad they had two months in there together.

I didn’t take a single picture yesterday. In fact, I didn’t even think about it until I saw a friend blogging about her cute 3-year-old’s first time in Sunbeams.

The girls were extra tired yesterday, which might explain why we had the WORST. SACRAMENT.MEETING.EVER. We battle with the girls every week trying to keep some semblance of order, so it might seem hard to tell which week is really the worst. This one had the added embarrassment of a wardrobe malfunction. Near the end of the meeting, Bill stood up to take Sandy out for making noise. Abby started to cry so I stood up to take her out. My heel got caught in my skirt and when I stood up, my skirt ended up on the floor around my ankles. I sat back down and Abby screamed through most of the closing hymn, but I wasn’t standing back up again after that. I did manage to pull my skirt back up. Someone came up to me afterward and commented on what a rough day it looked like I was having and I burst into tears.

New Year’s Day is a hard day for church. We got the girls into bed at 8:30 (just an hour later than usual), but the fireworks in our neighborhood woke up Sandy. She came running out of her room demanding to know why someone was banging on our door.

I wish I knew what to do about Sacrament Meeting. I found this post online yesterday and laughed and cried while I read it.

Seriously, though, getting to church on time isn’t usually a problem. We sit in our bench a few minutes before Sacrament Meeting starts. The girls can look at a Gospel Art Picture or an issue of the Friend until after the Sacrament. We usually make it through that first half hour okay – not to say it doesn’t take a fair amount of effort and reminders to keep the kids quiet, but we manage. It’s the remaining 40 minutes of the meeting that are impossible. It doesn’t help that Bill stands up after the Sacrament to go count attendance and I’m left wrestling two girls that don’t understand why daddy gets to walk around when they have to sit still.

I bring them each a sippy cup of water. That does seem to help. We’ve gotten rid of snacks. I’ve gone back and forth on that, but I’ve decided the mess, noise, and fights over the snacks outweigh any benefit. I give them a snack right before church.

I try to bring a couple of quiet toys. Fewer toys seems to work better than lots of toys. I have boxes and boxes of  quiet toys to choose from– books, quiet books, dry erase books, magnet dolls, finger puppets…. However, Sandy can turn any quiet toy into a noisy toy. For example, we brought lacing cards a couple of times. She laced the string through three or four times so it would stay, then cast it like a fishing pole onto the bench in front of us (no one was sitting there). When she got in trouble for that, she dangled it over the bench, but swung it into the bench in front of us. Then it got taken away. After a talk about how to play with them correctly, we tried it again another week, but the temptation was too great and it got taken away again and hasn’t been back to church since.

Coloring doesn’t entertain my kids for long, and our chapel is sloped so if I bring crayons or colored pencils, they all seem to get dropped and roll to the front.  I’ve tried giving Sandy just one pencil and that works, but she gets bored really fast. That reminds me that one of my sister-in-laws got her daughter to color longer by having her make a picture for her teacher or friend. Sandy was a little young when I heard that, but maybe I should try that for next week.

It seems like it always becomes a battle of wills between Sandy and I. For example, on Sunday, she was singing…”All around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel. The monkey thought twas all in fun, then pop! goes the weasel.” She was singing quietly, but she was singing. in church. when everyone else was trying to listen to the speaker. So I told her to stop. She looked right at me and sang louder. So, I picked her up under one arm, Abby under the other and out in the hall we went. Into a chair she went with strict instructions that she wasn’t to move off the chair until she could show me she could go 1 minute without making a sound and then we could go back in. So what does she do? Sit on her chair and sing. I ignored her, she eventually got bored and gave me the one minute of silence and promised to be good and back in we went.

Abby takes every opportunity to dive under the bench. If I can focus on Abby, I can keep her pretty under control but it takes a lot of effort. But then Sandy seems to get jealous of the attention Abby’s getting and starts acting out.

If I felt good about giving the girls my phone to play games with the sound turned down, thing would go a lot more smoothly, but letting my kids play electronic games during church makes me feel like a horrible mother.  Bill’s not sure about it, but he doesn’t seem to have the same amount of guilt either way. Of course, having disruptive children in church makes me feel like a horrible mother, too. I can’t believe how much guilt and frustration comes in this one hour. As a friend of mine says, “It’s the worst hour of my week. Isn’t it supposed to be the best?”


AJ said...

I am so sorry it is so difficult. About the only thing I can think of get someone to come sit with you. I had one of the young women come and sit with me when Justin was in the Bishopric. I don't know if it helped, everytime I left with the Hannah, Sam came anyway. We seem to have moved past that and my girls could color forever! Now Sam watches the clock because he has to sit and "listen" until 45 minutes is up, slowly extending to the whole meeting. I wish you luck!

Jessica Bair said...

When Sam was the clerk, he also had to do the counting. He usually let one of the kids go with him. They felt proud to be with dad and never gave him any problem.

I agree that electronics should NOT be played with in church. I get really annoyed when I see kids playing video games...even worse is when I see ADULTS doing it. If you let them do it now, they'll want to keep doing it when they get older. We still bring snacks for sacrament meeting (not eaten until after the sacrament in passed). Bianca who is 11 still gets one. Each child gets their OWN ziploc baggie and all baggies have the SAME snack. Gretel loves to pass each baggie out to the kids. I get hungry and irritable during church so I'm sure it's even worse for growing childeren. I can't say that my kids are perfect in church but we've been working hard on it and these things seem to work for us. The kids rarely get taken out anymore and I find that I'm able to help attend to other people's unruly kids. Sometimes they just listen better to someone who isn't their parent, and the parents are greatful!

Janean Justham said...

I'm so sorry, but I couldn't help giggling all through your post. I know it must seem absolutely AWFUL now, but, later, at least, you'll laugh about it, too. Just keep working on it. You are doing all the right things. It is important for them to learn to behave during sacrament meeting, so just keep working at it. THIS TOO SHALL PASS! We had one child who loved to run up onto the stand every time he got a chance, which was at least once per meeting. Then one of us had to go all the way up to the stand to retrieve him--no way to be discreet doing that! It didn't help when a dear family friend told me he was always rooting for the child over us. But, it's honestly been several years since we had this problem, and you'll get there with your problems, as well.