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Eagle Mountain, Utah, United States
My name is Lauren, and I live in the bubble. I am wife to Marshall, the biggest BYU fan in the world; and mother to Carly, our big girl, and Wes, our wild man, and Calvin, our new addition. I graduated BYU with a degree in Social Work, and I went forth to serve at LDS Family Services. I like scrapbooking and going out to eat at nice restaurants. I am fascinated by new cleaning products at the grocery store, so I have to shop in wide circles around the perimeter to avoid the temptation to buy. I love chocolate.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My toddler beat me up and stole my lunch money

Okay, not really. But that's about how humiliated I was on Sunday.

It was Stake Conference Sunday, and it was also the first Sunday that Marshall is working his new shift. He used to have both Saturday and Sunday off, so going to church wasn't difficult. But now he gets home from work at 7:30am on Sunday morning, and church starts at 9:30. So the plan was that he would just stay awake, but with Stake Conference being a little later, he tried to get in a nap. Bad idea. There was no way he was going to get out of bed for church once he fell asleep. I even poured water over his head (what a nice, compassionate wife, right?) to no avail.

So off I went, the first time I have braved church on my own since Carly has been old enough to move independently.

I arrived 15 minutes early. I figured this was enough time to ensure I would get a seat on a pew. Pews are much better for toddler confinement than folding chairs are. But apparently my stake is much more active than my ward generally is. The only seats available were in the very very back of the cultural hall, the last 5 or 6 rows of folding chairs before the stage (which btw also had chairs set up, all of which were already full). So we take 2 aisle seats next to a stranger.

Carly did well through most of the opening song. But she had finished the sippy cup of milk before the song was over, and it was quickly sailing over the back of our chair at the man in the row behind us. That's what he gets for smiling at her. During the opening prayer, she was already confined on my lap, arching her back in protest with her screams being muffled by my hands. She's funny because she'll fold her arms during prayers. She's really good about it. So she was fighting her hardest to get away, all the while with her arms folded. She then did her obligatory shout of "amen" at the end, and returned to trying to escape.

I figured it was time to break out the snacks. A little early for the typical church service, but better than whatever else she had in mind. I put her back in her chair and gave her a baggy of kix cereal. She was quiet for the sustaining of the leadership, and the first 2-3 minutes of the first talk. I thought we were good. Until she decided to dump the whole baggy of kix on the gym floor. So there I kneeling on the floor, grasping my toddler's arm in one hand while scooping kix with the other. But kix are round, and gym floors are slick, and most of that cereal was far and away and under stranger's seats.

I noticed I was starting to get those glances of pity. By this point Carly was shouting "diaper! diaper!" I grabbed her, the coats, and the diaper bag and made my way to the mother's room. I figured it would be the perfect place to listen to conference over the sound system, while letting Carly roam free in a small confined room full of arm chairs. We walk in to find 5 nursing mothers and 5 peaceful newborns. I apologized as I pinned my screaming toddler down and began the process of stripping off the layers to change her diaper.

Of course, the diaper is clean and dry. Of course her shouts of "diaper" are a false alarm. Is it possible she already knows how to manipulate at 19 months? So I get her all dressed again and we cross the hall to the nursery. Lots of toys; no sound system. Carly doesn't want to leave this room. Too bad. We make our way to the only other mother's safe haven I know of- the foyer.

The foyer in the stake center is tiny. 1 couch. There are 5 men wearing usher tags sitting and standing all around this room. There are 3 doors open from this room into the chapel and cultural hall. Wide open. I try to make my best of this. The ushers let us take the couch. The second speaker is speaking now. Carly tries to jump on the couch. I make her sit down. She starts a new little trick of hers...."Ouch mommy! Hurts!" Great. Now I'm a child abuser. She jumps, I sit her down, she cries foul.

She gets off the couch and starts walking around the foyer. So far so good. Starts pointing out Jesus in all the pictures. There are 5. "Gesis mommy! Gesis! :::GASP::: Bebe Gesis!" Louder and louder. That's okay. At least she's yelling "Gesis." Then she finds the low table with pamphlets, pass along cards, and a framed picture of "Gesis." All is thrown on the ground. I apologize to anyone paying attention- the ushers and half of those within 5 feet of those open doors who are all staring- and put it all back on the table. A new game! The Jesus picture goes flying again. Worried that she'll break the glass, I grab the toddler and sit her back on the couch. "Ouch mommy! Hurt!" complete with the signs.

I sit back on the couch next to her, and she's up again. She wanders toward the large window to the running...into the chapel... I jump up and try to decide whether to chase. Chase is another game. This is all her father's fault. I see she's not stopping. I chase. I grab her going up the aisle. I grab her wrist and try to redirect. She drops to the ground like a 25 lb. sack of dog food. I drag her a few feet hissing "Up Carly! Up!" This is met by her "Hurt mommy! Hurt!" I pick her up, throw her over my shoulder, grab our stuff, and head to the car. The second speaker is just finishing their talk.

We get to the car, and I tie her into her seat. Next time I'll consider bringing her whole seat into the service. Would that make me look crazy? Would that make me look any less crazy than I already did today?

I glare at Carly and tell her she was behaving very very badly today. I tell her mommy is very very sad. Carly looks up at me, bewildered, and says "Sawyee mommy, I sawyee." I partially melt. Then "tisses." Okay. She wins. I lean down and allow her to pull me in for a big sloppy kiss. She may have won this battle. But I'll take "tisses" over stake conference any day.


Megan Miley and Chris said...

Oh man that story just made me so tired. I have been there! So many, many, many times. Church is the worst with a 1 and a half year old. That sounds JUST like Miley. And she often wins as well... After time outs she looks at my eyes and says "Savee" which is sorry. They are just so sweet, but they are little devils I tell ya.

The More the Merrier said...

That cracked me up! Nobody understands until they have a little toddler put them through it. Church loses it's spendor. Mason starts nursery next week and I am SOOO glad about it!

Mars said...

Good thing Stake Conference doesn't really count as Church. It's the yearly Sabbath "get out of jail free card.

Paige said...

That made me laugh AND cry! You wrote it perfectly. Sounds like you're in the 'trenches' of toddler-hood. It's amazing how they can make us frustrated and made one minute and then in once second they can melt our hearts. :)

Ryan and Maranda said...

Haha, Marshall's comment is what many of my friends have told me, but I have never believed it. Then again I don't have kids! You're so brave!! I don't think I would have even lasted that long. You're an awesome mom! You could consider the car seat thing.... :)

Kim and Devin said...

Oh Lauren. That is too hilarious to not comment on it. I can just see it. I will be having the same experience for sure!!

Amiee said...

that was hilarious, and so true. jase is only 15 months old and i HATE keeping him occupied at church. that is why i usually only attend sacrament meeting bc 3 hrs is too long! plus, church always overlaps his nap. and no nap= fussy baby

Karen said...

Oh my dear daughter!!! I have finally seen the fruits of my labor! There is nothing quite so comforting as reading/hearing about your child's strugglings. I always prayed (and your grandmother always said) that you would have a child just like you were. The Lord may see to it that we don't remember the pain of childbirth... But we are priviledged to always remember the joys of motherhood such as this!!! It is also the way we develop emphathy for others. You so brightened my day with this post! I love that 'lil girl beyond words (her mom too!)

Dansie Family said...

That is so funny but also so true. I think all moms have had church days like this..

peter5 said...

Lauren That was hilarious and exactly the reason I have never in all my motherhood, 12 years, taken my kids to Stake Conference. I would love to go, and my kids are actually very well behaved, but if something is going to go wrong, it will be on that day, on a hard chair, in the cavernous gym. Good for you for trying though.

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