2.08.2018

the ABC mutiny

We went back to Bible Study.

Gracie told me all week that she didn't want to go back. Every time I reminded her that she had fun, she would say "but I cried for mommy!" And then I told her mommy is right across the hall and she can be brave, but she said "no, I want to cry instead."

I'm here to say that she was true to her word. This is, of course, a good quality to have in just about any other scenario. She screamed as soon as I let go of her hand. A woman scooped her up and prayed with us that she'll be calm and happy and shooed me out of the room. I walked out in tears. And then I walked into my new group, tears still welling in my eyes, and immediately locked eyes with a girl I graduated high school with.

These things only happen to me, I swear.

She's a perfectly sweet person so it was ok, but I was a hot mess juggling my coat, Gracie's coat, I realized I forgot my Bible and a notebook, and I noticed a large coffee stain on my sweater. All while the leader was explaining that I may have to leave at any time because the screaming they could all hear was my daughter. I had also woken up feeling like I'm on the brink of a cold, so my head was fuzzy and I felt more out of sorts than I usually do in these sorts of situations. And I always feel out of sorts in these situations.

Things went well and the crying quickly died down. I started to feel a little more comfortable, mostly because I was able to fade in the background while everyone else talked. The group ended, and then everyone meets together for a lecture, but I was quickly intercepted by a children's leader and told Gracie was having a hard time. She wasn't screaming, but she was whimpering and sniffling, and they thought it might help her transition to have me stay in there with her for the rest of the time so she has positive memories of it.

This is probably not something I should admit, but I do not like kids. AT ALL. I love my own child, I like my friends' kids, I adored the girls I babysat in college. But just general kids that belong to strangers (other than little tiny babies)? No thank you. Children are a blessing, but I do not have the gift of interacting with kids well. I'm a pro with my own child, but I'm clueless with all others. The nursery or a kids' class is the last place I would ever want to volunteer. I'm just not a kid person. So the thought of being stuck with a group of 15 2-4 year olds for an hour instead of sitting by myself listening to a lecture made me want to start sniffling and whimpering too.

I walked in, and Gracie started smothering me with kisses. It was the sweetest thing in the world. I sat through snack time, song time, and game time. Gracie wanted no part in it. She said she wanted to play with the toys instead. I know the leaders wanted me to act everything out and walk like an elephant and soar like an eagle too, but I just couldn't do it. I'd had enough awkwardness for one day already. I tried to do hand motions for a song, and Gracie grabbed my hands so I would stop. Normally I don't accept that kind of behavior from her, but this time I was actually thankful for it. I think she has the same aversion to kiddie things that I do.

Then it was quiet time. This is the time last week that she got scared and they had to come get me. They passed out blankets, and the rule was that the kids had to lay down and be quiet for a minute before they could all get up. As you can imagine, that never actually happened. I cradled Gracie in my lap, because I knew that would keep her quiet and content. Most kids obeyed, but there were a few kids who had no interest in settling down and being quiet. Eventually, all kids settled down except for one little boy.

He was in the middle of all the other kids, and he would stand up and triumphantly sing the ABCs while the FOUR teachers tried to hush him and make him lay down. He did not care. He had a message to get out. He would lay down afterward, just to slowly sit back up and quietly sing, and every time he ended shouting "Q R S T U V W X Y POOP!" The kids had just learned about missionaries taking the gospel to other countries, and this was his gospel he felt compelled to share.

The teachers were exasperated. I was zero help. I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe. I was trying to be discreet, but I'm sure I wasn't. The other kids were ignoring him, but I saw a twinkle in Gracie's eye. All day long she sings her own remix of Twinkle Twinkle and the ABCs. She often ends with "Now I know my BBCs, next time won't you sing with me," and I appreciate that because I know my BBCs too. I know Sherlock, Victoria, Downtown Abbey, etc. But we're probably talking about different BBCs.

As we walked in the building, a woman who watched Gracie in childcare last week stopped us.  She was very concerned. "Is she verbal? Because she didn't say a word at all last week until she asked for you." This was a very loud/in your face kind of person, the kind I've always had to contend with as a shy, introverted person. No, there's nothing wrong me. No, I'm not trying to be rude. I'm just nervous/scared/tongue-tied/not in the mood to talk. "Yes, she's extremely verbal," I said, laughing because no one has ever asked this, and I've never met another kid her age who talks as much and as well as she does as long as she's in a setting where she's comfortable. If you think I'm trying to brag, just remember she didn't walk until she was almost 2.

During this kid's 4th or 5th time through the ABCs, Gracie suddenly shot up and sang with him. "H I J K L M N O P!" She sang through the rest of the song with him, grinning the whole time. I was SHOCKED. Before I knew it, all the other kids had joined in. The leaders had given up. There was a rousing rendition of the ABCs, and I was sitting in the corner laughing so hard I was crying. It was the cutest little mutiny I'd ever seen.

It is, as they say, always the quiet ones you have to look out for. They're the ones who will start an alphabetical uprising.

5 comments:

  1. What a story for the memory.
    Yep... there's no controling kids & their little impulsive singing :) Let them sing... raise up respectable kids, but ones that aren't afraid to SING when their hearts want them too.
    Praying for you & your sweet girl & that she starts finding comfort in her little class - it'll come - I guarantee it. :)

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  2. Brave souls, trying to implement quiet time for a bunch of toddlers. Are they crazy??

    That’s the cutest story, though. I hope it helped G break out of her shell a little bit so maybe next week won’t be so bad!

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  3. That alphabet uprising had me laughing so hard! And the BBC comment...that's just great :)
    I like little kids, but the thought of being in a room with 15 toddlers for an hour is kind of terrifying! I've always admired people who are able to teach preschool and work in daycares. They have a special calling from God for that, and as St. Paul wrote, there are many parts in the body-so I think it's fine that there are those of us who would not want to be in that situation!

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  4. Hahahaha- Gracie is throwing her hat in with the rebels! Go Gracie!
    It sounds like things went a little better this time? Maybe Gracie will have a bond with this little boy now!
    I'm with you on the kid thing... I don't like kids. I love my BFF's two babies and I know I'll love my own when we have one, but kids overwhelm me and I don't flock to them like so many people do. My husband is actually a kid-person. Not me.

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  5. This is so interesting to me because I would a million times rather be volunteering in nursery than going to a women's Bible study. I'm sooo much more comfortable around kids than adults. Even with all the tears. We joke that the day isn't over until somebody's cried, for reasons ranging from "he stepped on my toe" to "My mom made me kimbab for lunch two days in a row." Rough.

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