Monday, September 22, 2014

Double Drink

I just can't bring myself to sit in the back of the chapel where the folding chairs are. I've had several friends suggest that this is the "proper" place for families with small, disruptive children but I disagree—and many families with small children also disagree since there's quite the collection of small, disruptive children near the front of the chapel. I guess I just had small wards growing up in the boonies of Canada, but we didn't even have an overflow section (at least not regularly, and at least not a section of the gym) so I always recall sitting in the chapel proper, whether we were misbehaving or not.

Rachel and Miriam behave just fine in sacrament meeting. It's Benjamin we have trouble with. He picks fights with his sisters, screams when he doesn't get his own way, and is loud in general. As my mom pointed out last night while we were skyping, he seems to like the sound of his own voice. He'll holler about this and that for no reason whatsoever. Keeping him quiet is nearly impossible, especially when he's in a room with such wonderful acoustics!

At least we always seem to come away with a few good sacrament meeting tales every week.

This week he was as excited about the sacrament as he always is—can't complain about free bread and water!—but was insistent on getting more than one serving. Once his "gink" was finished he asked for another one.

"You only need one," I said. "Remember—it's not a snack. It's to help us remember Jesus."

"Okay," he said and then turned around, stood up, and lunged over the back of the bench toward the tray being passed down the row behind us.

"Benjamin!" I whispered. "Sit down!"

"Duh-boo gink!" he said over and over again, increasing his volume each time. "Duh-boo gink! Duh-boo gink! Duh-boo gink! Duh-boo gink!"

What was he begging for? A double drink.

He loves doubles.

Double-u is his favourite letter, but he also likes double-e and double-a and double-s. Sometimes the girls like to say he could be a goose from Charlotte's Web because he's always doubling one letter or another. We didn't know until yesterday, though, that he knew double meant two of something.

He wasn't all cute, though. He was also a little menace and had to be carried out (screaming) multiple times. Usually Andrew does this but he's been making it too fun—they walk a lap around the church, get a drink, go potty. I decided I'd take him out and just stick his nose in the corner until he was ready to go back in and sit quietly. He hated this.

Benjamin hates being sent to the corner at home but he hates it at church even more because the walls all have this awful burlap-type covering.

"Scratchy, Mommy!" he kept whining while he was facing the corner.

"Do you want to stand here with your nose in the scratchy corner or do you want to go back into sacrament meeting and behave?" I asked.

"Go back," he sniffed.

"You have to behave or we'll come back and put your nose in the scratchy corner," I said and then we discussed what behaving meant on our walk back to the chapel.

No biting.
No screaming.
No throwing hymn books at your sister.
No dancing around on the stand while the choir is singing.

You know—the really hard stuff.

I promise my expectations aren't high at all. I just want him to more or less stay in our row and to not yell everything he wants to say and to not viciously attack his sisters. That's all.

I bring cars for him to zoom, puzzles for him to do, crayons for him to colour with. We have folder games, busy books, quiet books. We play no-tickle hand games (Johnny, Johnny; Here is the Church). We try sitting reverently without any distractions (nothing comes out of the church bag until the sacrament has been administered and then the kids can pour their attention into other activities).

Nothing has really worked yet.

I think time will be our answer. And patience.

With enough time and patience he'll eventually learn to behave in sacrament meeting; until that time comes I hope our congregation will continue to find his outbursts endearing.

PS. My dad says I need to find a scratchy piece of burlap to put in one of our corners at home. But I think that might be taking things a little too far...though it is good to know that that awful decor is good for something!


  1. How could anyone think the cultural hall is better for small children? Those chairs move and fall over. They bang into each other loudly. Given the right pressure they can fold up and the child being folded will scream. The floor is noisy. The children are less contained that on a bench because they can stick body parts through the chair openings. Benches are better for kids in church. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, just share this list with them.

  2. Our building is so small that only one ward at a time can fit in the parking lot or building. Our chapel is mini as well. If you don't get there at least 15 minutes early you are on the back. Unless you are the bishoprics wives. They are chronically 15-20 minutes late by their husband's save them bench space. I'd feel bad for them if it weren't for the fact I do church and getting ready for church alone every week myself and I get there 15 minutes early because trying to keep my kids on those dumb folding chairs is impossible and you can't sit in the foyer in my ward because our stake presidency refuse to have the sacrament taken out there. They want to physically lay eyes on every person who is going to take it. Speaking of the 1st counselor wife, she's the primary secretary and Tuesday I mentioned to her that J and I are worried about cheetah switching over to sunbeams. She said, "well we already have to deal with p and g, cheetah can't be worse.". And then she said " just kidding". And in my head I said a swear word, and then I said "well actually shes a lot worse so good luck with that.". And in that moment I decided I'd no longer feel bad about it and she deserves cheetah so really, good luck with that.

    1. Hahaha, Crystal! I refuse to believe your kids are all that bad, though it is hard to believe that Cheetah is old enough to be in Sunbeams (in...January, anyway).