Sunday, June 05, 2016

Knock, knock. Who's there? Boo. Boo who?

This morning was my second week getting all the children off to church by myself. I'm sure that as it becomes the norm I'll stop writing about it every week. But I'll go ahead and indulge myself for the second week in a row because this morning all the kids cried and I wrote about it on facebook and now everyone wants to know why all the kids cried. And by everyone I mean all two of their probably 50% of my readership.

Benjamin was probably the first to cry, but he cries over everything so I expect him to cry over everything. He cried (for the first time) when I told him to get out of my bed because he was being too wild. He likes to snuggle in bed with me and Zoë in the morning, but snuggling only lasts for three seconds or so before he starts body slamming us. And then I usually say something like, "Get out of my bed!" and then he says something like, "I'm just snuggling!" and bursts into tears.

The next person to cry was Rachel.

"Is it fast Sunday?" she asked.

"It is," I said and then, seemingly out of nowhere, she erupted at me with all this emotion.

See, Benjamin got a box of "birthday cereal," the kind of cereal that's more fit for dessert than for breakfast and which we only buy for birthdays not everyday use. This year he got a box of Star-Wars-themed Lucky Charms (or something like that; it has cereal and marshmallows). He opened it on Saturday morning when she was having breakfast at a friend's house instead of at home, ergo she missed feasting on the usually-verboten cereal.

"Now I'll never get any of it!" she wailed at the end of her rant.

We talked about the importance of making choices once and how that's easier than making the choice over and over again. For example, if you decide you're going to fast once a month, then when fast Sunday rolls around you simply know you'll be fasting and it's easy to wake up happy to start fasting than it is if you make yourself debate it every single month. Will I fast or won't I fast?

Develop the habit and worry about exceptions (for illness or whatever) later.

"Can I at least pack a snack for after church?" she asked.

Fasting is hard. It's good to start with something simple. Rachel's only eight, so she's only fasting for one meal, but since our church block falls right in the middle of lunch it's a little longer than simply eating breakfast. And now she's hanging out for choir, too, so that makes the stretch between mealtimes even longer.

"Sure," I said.

"Thanks," she said, and started shovelling handfuls of Star-Wars-themed Lucky Charms into a baggie. "Why is this wet?"

Oh. That.

So, Benjamin got a bowl of cereal for himself without asking anyone to help him. He started hollering about needing help from the kitchen and I hollered back at him from my bedroom to wait a second (because I was lolling around feeding the baby). That's about when he ran in to snuggle body slam me. Having thoroughly distracted Zoë, what with all the body slamming, her nursing session came to a close, which freed me up to pour milk for Benjamin.

He had a huge bowl, filled to the brim with the coveted Star-Wars-themed Lucky Charms.

"I got too much cereal," he observed.

"You did," I agreed. "We can put some back."

So I picked up his bowl and began dumping it back into the cereal bag, quite surprised by a wet splattering, rather than the crunchy cascade of cereal.

"What?" I wondered aloud.

"I started pouring my own milk," Benjamin explained. "But it was too heavy."

The gallon milk jug was almost full. A gallon weighs nearly nine pounds, which is nearly a third of Benjamin's body weight. No wonder he was having trouble pouring it for himself! I saw it sitting on the table but assumed that he hadn't even tried. But unfortunately he did, and even more unfortunately I then dumped his noble efforts into a once dry, now soggy, bag of perfectly good Star-Wars-themed Lucky Charms.

"I don't even care," Rachel said.

Soggy or not, she was going to have some of those Star-Wars-themed Lucky Charms!

Next on the list of tears was...Rachel again! She showered in the morning so her hair was wet while she was trying to brush it and it was so tangled that she didn't seem to be making any progress, so I finished the task for her and then braided her hair.

Miriam asked if I would do her hair next, so I said I would. She brought me a brush and a ribbon and a hair elastic but didn't ask me to do anything specific so I asked Benjamin to fetch two smaller elastics and put half her hair into a braid with a pretty little ribbon woven into the braid.

"All done," I said.

"WHAT?!" she wailed. "This isn't what I wanted!"

"But you didn't ask me to do anything specific," I said. "I thought I had free reign."

"I gave you a big hair elastic," she fumed. "I wanted one braid with all my hair."

"I'm sorry. I didn't know because you didn't say that."

"You should have known!"

If I had a penny for every thing I should have known, I'd be a rich woman.

She asked me to redo it but I refused since I still had to get myself and the little ones ready to go and I'd been doing hair long enough that morning. She pouted for a while, but then decided she could live with her hair if I would clip the part I left down away from her face. She brought some barrettes in her church bag and made me put up them in her hair when we got to the chapel. She just wanted her hair "away from her face," which I get (but then say as much; I'm no mindreader)!

As for Zoë, she followed me around crying the entire morning because the poor baby feels like it's a tragedy to ever be put down.

All in all, it wasn't a terrible morning, and we managed to make it to church—early!—once again. I'll probably prove myself wrong by the end of the year but I think getting four kids to church by myself early is easier than getting four kids to the church late by myself because although I'm left with all the "doing" by myself, I'm also highly motivated to get them out the door...

They can't fight with each other once we're in the pews!

( the very least they fight with decorum in the chapel, silently slugging each other rather than screaming at each other like they do at home).

Also! Happy Ramadan! What a fitting topic for Ramadan...


  1. Great job to get everyone to church early! Executive Secretary was the hardest calling to support (and I only had 3 kids then, but Aaron was only a month old). I have a special place in my heart for the wives of Executive Secretaries everywhere. You should be proud of every Sunday you do life solo!

  2. I've been getting kids ready for church alone mostly for the last 12 years with a few little breaks here and there. I can say that for the most part we are less late without Jason then with him, go figure ;)

  3. Love The Book of Mormon story songs, that you wrote!! I LOVE THEM!! Can I use them in my family? My mind is constantly thinking about the changes that these youth had in a stake south of us - Thanks for the post!!