Church services are not designed with little kids in mind. Nor are they designed with the parents of littles in mind.
Yes, they have Sunday school and nurseries and cry rooms, but I’m talking about the timing. Services typically start from 9:30-10:30, then by the time it’s over, kids are collected, we buckle up and head home, everyone is tired, cranky and ready for a nap. Or chocolate.
For us, like most Sundays when we attempt church, it happened exactly this way. (We did get to see my nieces perform in a play and that was awesome!) Trying to shush a 2-year-old during an hour-long performance, take her to the potty 47 times, while simultaneously entertaining the 4-year-old, however, was a feat not even Superman could do. Carrying said 2-year-old in the “football hold” out of church into the car to head home was extra spectacular. Perhaps it was because she’d been up since 5 am and was ready for a nap. Then the drive home was, shall we say – loud. For 25 minutes I heard nothing but complaints and cries that she threw her baby on the floor and could not retrieve it. (This was of course after the 2nd time I’d reached around and handed the doll back, informing her that we don’t play “Mommy Fetch” in the car.)
Then I realize I am a poor planner and was in need of a “quick” stop at the store if I was to remedy the hunger situation. (Cue doom music here.)
In the shopping cart.
The. Entire. Time.
Luckily we only needed about 5 things, but the looks we got were typical. (Which is why I LOATHE the grocery store with kids in tow.) Condescending “why can’t she shut that kid up?” type of looks. Ugh.
We make it home, we eat, (I realize why some animals eat their young) and then we are all starting to feel like ourselves. At this point (and everyday at this time) I’m calculating what activity twill keep them entertained, yet sufficiently wear them out, thus ensuring a reasonable (read: EARLY) bedtime. The minions decide they would like to try the “bike 3 miles to the trail” again. Okay – that’ll work!
My bike has somehow gotten jacked up and is in need of tune up (beyond my scope of repair expertise). The kids are all ready so I decide to run instead while they bike – I’ll get a run in, they wear themselves out – win/win, right?
Jake’s training wheel falls off – after we are a mile in to this “adventure”. So I am pushing a missing-one-training-wheel-now-lopsided-Lightening-McQueen-bike, Hannah is riding happily screaming “WHHHHHEEEEE!”, while Jake is shuffling along scuffing his giant winter snow boots that he insisted he wear. To his credit, he did not complain once. (He probably knew better!)
We throw rocks in the water at the trail. Hannah tries to strip and swim in Puget Sound. I tell her 687 times not to go in the water, it’s too cold. She doesn’t listen so we head back.
We make it home, the kids are BEYOND tired. They play a bit more, we eat dinner, baths, and now – now they are asleep.
For 7 blessed hours it will be quiet in my house.
I love my kids. On days like today, I love these 7 hours almost as much.
Eric – I’m done – you may come home now!