Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Battleground

After a nice, inspirational Sacrament Meeting, I was ready and conditioned for what the next two hours would bring--shell shock.

I stepped into the Nursery room today on this, my second week as a Nursery leader. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was the only one called to this position that would be in attendance.

With 12+ kids.

Fortunately, I had three very capable parents who stayed and assisted.

The first 20 minutes of Nursery is--pure and simple--cry control. Some children were born to be in Nursery. They are affectionately called my "no-cling kids." If there are snacks on the table, they are oblivious to the fact that their parents have left the room. They entertain themselves, are tough as nails, and never shed a tear.

Others you may call "duct-tape children." These children require some of your effort to remove from their parents. Some are simply "super glue kids;" they are not removed, and remain with mamma or daddy for the duration of adult meetings.

I especially love my "duct-tape children." I think it is because once I get them off of their parents, they are stuck on me--just like duct tape. They don't particularly care about the snacks, but can be distracted by goofy adults trying to entertain them with small toys. They may often be seen either hanging from the Nursery door handles or playing with cars while crying to themselves, "mamma... VROOM... mamma... VROOM."

The best part about duct tape children are that they simply want your attention. They love to be held. And I enjoy that, too.

Then there's the lesson. I realized that it's somewhat difficult to get a two or three-year old to understand that the Holy Ghost doesn't have a body. Picture YOURSELF as a two year old trying to grasp that something is simply invisible.

That's why lecturing this age is like talking to leaves on the tree. Nothing you simply "say" to them is going to keep them engaged. Pictures are children's best friends (aside from tangible objects, of course). But keeping children sat on the floor while attempting to show them items in my lap is practically impossible. "Look at this... oh, now go sit down or I can't show it to you. See this? No, you need to sit down. And this... NO..."

Am I sending mixed messages?

Lessons only work for 2-3 minutes TOPS. Any longer and most children are wrestling, pushing, playing, or picking noses. I learned that the hard way today. Only one girl followed my mouth until I was finished, but I'm afraid she still didn't understand my inability to speak in two-sies talk.

All the while, parents in attendance could do nothing but chuckle at this madhouse.

But my saving grace is the last 20 minutes of bubble blowing. What toys or fruit snacks can't accomplish, small spheres of goopy soap amazingly can. Children are innocently awe-struck at bubbles. There is, of course, the amusing child who sits smirking at the soap bubbles that smack into his face, but can't bring himself to trying to pop them with his hands.

At the end, it is with mixed emotion of adoration and relief that I stick the duct-tape children back on their parents. No-cling kids are simply released back into the wilds of the hallway, and super-glue kids reappear attached to parents who are peeking into the Nursery to look for other children.

After I am released from my tour of duty every Sunday, I can't help but look back and tell myself how lucky I am to work with the cutest and most adorable bunch in the church. Much better than sitting next to scruffy, smelly, ugly Elders, right?


Holly said...

Oh my gosh, I died laughing at this! This is hilarious. I can appreciate it because I've been substuting in the nursery every once in a while... I am a lucky one I have a "no-cling" child. I sort of pitty the other parents who have "duct tape" and far worse "Super glue" hahaha.

Lisa said...

I just have to say that as a mother of a "duct tape" child I'm so glad that you take time to help that those children stay in nursery. Our ward was just split and one of the saddest parts of that is the fact that my little one Holland was doing so well in nursery! I could often hear her singing the songs, and doing actions and saying Amen after prayers, all of which I know she has learned in nursery. Our new ward has two men in the nursery! I'm not saying that men can't nurture the children becuase you are obviously doing a GREAT job! But these two men give up as soon as she starts crying, which is as soon as she has noticed that I have left the room! All she needs is someone to nurture her and make her feel like it will all be alright! So again, I say "Way to go!" Thank you for loving the "duct tape" children.

Trav and Darcy said...

A very accurate description of nursery, but so creatively written. Well done, Sean