Sunday, April 09, 2017

Suffer the children, suffering through children, suffering with children...

We had stake conference today, which means we had to leave for church a couple hours earlier than we're used to. Benjamin, surprisingly, was the first one dressed this morning. He had an interesting outfit on: one of Miriam's blouses (plain white, in his defence, but definitely a girlish cut), pants on backwards, and a pair of his old socks that had long-since been passed down to Zoë (size 12–24 months) squeezed onto his feet.

I let it slide because (a) he got dressed without anyone nagging him and (b) we'd mostly be sitting in the dark so what did it matter?

Stake conference, like general conference, can be hard for children. Who am I kidding? It can be hard for adults. At least, it was hard for me, especially this time. Our ward meets in an auxiliary building (which is just our regular building) and there was so much feedback in the broadcast that I could hardly focus what was being said. It was a good thing there was also an echo so everything got said at least twice.

Andrew had to leave to participate in a multi-denominational prayer service for genocide victims at Duke campus (for Passover/Palm Sunday). He got to give one of the opening prayers, along with a rabbi, an imam, and a couple of pastors from different churches. It was a great experience for him, but it meant that I was left to tough out the rest of stake conference on my own with all four kids.

Zoë was in a particular mood today. She found everything particularly annoying and wasn't shy about voicing her displeasure. I had to drag her out of the meeting, literally kicking and screaming, multiple times. It was great.

The last time I carried her out, we went into an empty classroom and she had a big ol' fit. I finally convinced her that if she could calm down, we could take a walk down the hall to get a drink before going back in.

We started down the hallway and came to the nursery door. Zoë asked if we could go in (let it be known that we have nursery in the overflow, which was open because it's stake conference, so going into "nursery" would have just been going back into conference) and I said, "No. There's no nursery today."

This sent her over the edge again. She threw herself on the floor and started screaming.

"Oh, Zoë," I sighed.

I took a few deep breaths to collect myself (and to give herself time to come to her senses) but apparently those few seconds of screaming were unwelcome. The door to the relief society room, where the Spanish translation was going on, popped open and a man began berating me.

"Sister!" he said. "We are trying to listen. We can't hear when your baby is screaming. You need to take her somewhere else. This is very inconsiderate."

"I don't know where else I'm supposed to take her..." I began, considering we were on a calm-down walk through the hallway already. She had only just begun screaming. It's not as if I purposely planned her meltdown for that exact location, nor was I planning on staying there and letting her scream forever.

"Use the mother's lounge," he snapped and then closed the door again.

Uh, last time I checked, the mother's lounge wasn't a cry-it-out room. Can you imagine how happy the nursing mommies would be with me barging in there with my screaming toddler? Oh, sorry I just woke up the five freshly fed-to-sleep infants in here but I was disturbing logical, full-grown humans, so...this is better, yes? Yeah, no.

I scooped up Zoë and headed for the nearest exit. While she finished throwing her fit on the sidewalk, I sat on the steps and had a little self-pity cry.

Word of advice, world: when you encounter a mother trying to deal with a difficult situation, show a little compassion, patience and kindness. Don't be a difficult human. She's already dealing with one of those. *sigh*

Eventually Zoë and I managed to collect ourselves and headed back inside to check on the kids.

The girls were sitting quietly, colouring together, but Benjamin wasn't with them. I quickly scanned the crowd until I spotted the Woods, who were smiling and waving at me. They had claimed Benjamin (who, let's be honest, had probably been misbehaving) and were happily keeping him entertained. This made my heart feel a little bit lighter.

Word of advice, world: That is how to treat struggling families at church.

"Put your shoulder to the wheel and pull up a child-friendly app on your iPad!"

I'm pretty sure that's how that song goes...


  1. Thank goodness for the Woods!

  2. Oh Lord, I would have left. Thank goodness for the woods.

  3. Ugh I'm sorry that happened! People are the worst sometimes. Also the best. There is a family here at church that regularly invites Sterling to go sit with them after the sacrament. Best 30 minutes of my week, no joke.