My husband Chris was recently called to be a counselor in the Bishopric of our church ward (in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) and with this calling you are expected to sit on the stand with the other counselor and the bishop. Most of you, knowing the number of children we have, can therefore imagine what my days at church will be like now - in particular, Sacrament meeting. Yes, 5 children and not just any 5 children, but two 2 1/2 year old girls, one 7 year old boy, and two 11 year old boys and one lonely control-top-panty-hosed me. It’s actually kind of hard not to find panty hose that are not control top which must mean there are a lot of out of control… Anyway, it’s 5 to 1.
In the old days, like up till two weeks ago, Chris and I played the roles of buffers, me on one end and him on the other, keeping runners, crawlers, and rollers contained in a single row of chairs. With that other buffer now on the stand, I find that I have turned into an ineffective tyrant whose loudly whispered vocabulary has been honed down to, “SHHHH!”, “that’s another time-out for you!”, and “Stop ____________ (fill in the blank)!” Actually, the lines have always been about the same, but now there is no supportive masculine echo and no, “obey your mother, or else” ‘s. Today, I realized that I need a new plan for coping in church. Here’s how that realization came to be:
Today’s meeting started with the boys loudly playing Rock-Paper-Scissors. Next came the “he’s poking me” complaints, soon to be harmonized by a duet of high notes singing praises about cell phones and marshmallows, then a soft descant of long, “ahhhhhs!” in Italian of course. The repeat was taken 3 times and the coda was ignored; to be replaced by waving to the familiar handsome man in the suit up on the stand while yelling “Daddy, that’s Daddy!”. At this point the Italian started up again but with some “eeeees!” and giggles (those ones are in German).
There was, at last, an intermission of about two minutes where the sacrament bread and water was being passed. Next to us was a kind girl who was acting, unbeknownst to her, as an imaginary, yet uneducated buffer. As she passed the bread to me, she kindly put it in front of Miriam who, instead of seeing symbolism saw lunch and grabbed a large handful before the girl could hand me the tray. What do you do? The same thing almost happened with the water but thankfully I have long arms and was able to hold it high above their reaching paws.
The intermission having ended, the final straw, marshmallow, or squeal happened when one girl (E) ran full speed up to their dad while a lady was giving a talk. E peeked out at everyone over the railing, and went up and down the stairs. After a few minutes, the other girl decided to join the fun, and ran up to sit on dad’s lap. The boys were too embarrassed to grab their sisters, so I ended up having to delicately gallop, shod in high heals, up to the stand to grab them and bring them down (with Chris’s help). Only, as I said, that was the last straw. So, instead of going back to our seats, I dragged them all out to the car and drove home in a shaky huff, changed two poopy diapers and popped open a diet coke with a side of chocolate. Next week will be better, right? I’ll kick off the heals before the gallop next time.