Sunday morning. Sunday is good. Church is good. Sunday morning when I know I'm watching the toddler room? Ughhhhhhhh. God, please give me strength.
I so desperately want to serve with a joyful heart. I DO! I love kids. I LOVE my kid, and I know she's not perfect (can be a big hand full, as a matter of fact). I don't expect perfection. Why is this so hard?
For starters: they are toddlers. An explanation isn't necessary, but I'm going to give an illustration. Little Boy#1 dumps large bin of a million small blocks when I'm mere centimeters from stopping him. Little Boy #2 unlocks the door to the deck and is almost out the door but how is that possible when he is was just behind my back turning on the dvd player? Boy #2 has some serious ninja skills, ya'll, he was in two places at the same time. Meanwhile, Girl #1 declares she has to go potty which convinces Lydia that she, too, simply MUST go potty. Right now.
So, I have no help, and I can't let them go by themselves or leave the others unsupervised. I look over the half door for help. No one in sight. The two ladies who oversee the 3 year olds didn't show so the coordinator is in that room and can't help. The nursery folks have taken babies over for the baby dedication, but praise be! I see one walking up, flag this person down to watch those who don't need to pee while I watch the 2 who do. Once I've the 2 girls are washing their hands, Ninja boy decides he, too, needs to use the bathroom.
Nursery worker #2 comes back with a baby and asks who wants to come out for praise and worship. All five of my little angels flock into the center area where they begin to try to slide into another class room from the central area(there is a "secret" slide), deface the big tree and uproot flowers that are part of the decor (impressive papier mache tree that is life size), run into other rooms, take off their shoes, and do anything BUT dance and sing (ok one or two at a time might have sung or danced for a few seconds).
It is pandemonium. They are wild, untamed little creatures, and I am about to lose my mind. Herding cats. Nailing JellO to a tree. These things would seem simple when compared to shepherding my little flock.
After praise and worship, it's snack time. I tell them we'll have our snack after we clean up. I call them by name, assign a clean up duty, I even have them counting objects as they clean up. Once the chaos is contained, I start handing out napkins. Then crackers and cookies. Then still more crackers. Because they were sort of still at this point and mercifully sort of quiet. You can't keep em that way forever, though, so I thought I'd let them play only with the big toys that didn't have to be taken out of bins.
And that's when things went seriously downhill. Sharing is beyond two of the children at that point. Particularly for my beloved daughter who is more or less an only child. So I had to take the beadchaser away and put it in time out. My daughter began to BAWL. She was crying real tears, and she was LOUD. What sort of evil, twisted woman makes a child cry in Sunday school?
I see my husband walking up, and a shimmering hope rises in my heart that I am nearly DONE. He sees her crying, looks at me,and I can tell he's a bit puzzled but sort of amused. I HISS, "Get her and get out of here!!!" so know one else will witness my failure as a mother and FSK volunteer. And then someone comes and takes two more away. And when I'm down to just one and I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel, Ninja boy says he needs to go pee again. So, I stand discreetly beside the door but not actually looking at him. I began to feel puzzled that he's taking so long so I peek in to see him YANKING ON THE PIPE TO THE URINAL. Holy COW. We don't need a flood to illustrate Old Testament stories, kid. At this point, I had very nearly lost my religion. My sanity was a thing of the past. I was so hot that I remembered the term "spontaneous combustion" and knew that it was only one hundreth of a degree away from happening to my face. And wouldn't that be nice at church? Cause nothing says, "I'm a Christian" quite like a flaming skull, does it?
How could this have been avoided? And that evil little demon sitting on your shoulder that whispered, "You could have stayed in bed!" Tweak that mean spirited little devil's nose. That's not the correct answer. When I went into to second service and noticed the digital box (like the "Now serving # " at the DMV) that we use to summon parents, the same little demon said, "Next time, you can just put all their kids' numbers up there when things head south." And that really was an almost funny thought, but I don't know where they hide that panic button, and it's not the right answer any way.
The right answer is that we need more volunteers, and those volunteers need to either show up when scheduled or find someone to take fill the empty spots. IF everyone who had a child volunteered, I don't think there would be a shortage. We could have two people in the toddler room so one could supervise the children using the potty while the other kept the remaining children at least in the same room.
God hasn't asked everyone to go to Africa, Asia, or South America to be a missionary. You can serve Him right here at home by being His messenger to His children right now. You don't need a passport, you probably won't catch any exotic disease, and even if you don't fit your mental image of a shepherd, you might start some little souls down the path to salvation. And if nothing else, you may save my sanity.