Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sabbath musings

Magdalena is officially at the age where I have to suppress a tired shudder before gathering my courage and entering the church building with her. Mormon kids don't go into the nursery class until they are 18 months old, so we're still a long three months out from any kind of relief.

Once we're inside the church building, Magdalena turns into a little hellian. She wiggles, she squawks, she scatters her snacks all over the seats and floor, she escapes from the pew and makes a break for the front of the chapel, or the back.

Even outside of the chapel, she makes a beeline for forbidden, dangerous areas like the wobbly stool perched in front of the drinking fountain, or the trash can in the hallway. Today Jeremy and I took turns wrangling her (that is the verb we use), so he got about half a church meeting's worth, and I got the other half. The rest of the time was spent in the hallway...with all the other parents of ambulatory younger-than-18-month kids.

The best part is that all this wrangling is done in my Sunday best: high heels, a skirt that is long at best (but with a slit), or knee-length at worst, and a blouse that somehow seems to constantly need adjusting. If I haven't flashed anyone by the end of church, I consider it a success. Because it doesn't matter how much care you take to put on an outfit that is toddler-proof. They always find a way.

I really wish they could make the strict 18-month age rule for the nursery a little more flexible. I wonder if the powers that be chose 18 months because by then, most of the kids have caught up to each other developmentally, especially in skills like walking. So maybe they could have some kind of a walking test and once your kid passes it, she's in...?

I guess I'm just desperate (and I only have one 15-month-old. Imagine what it would be like with TWO). I do appreciate having my kids with me during the first hour of church because I think it's a good opportunity to teach them proper behavior for that kind of setting that I don't think they would learn anywhere else. But after that hour, I'm ready to pass them off to a more child-friendly environment.

Not that roaming the halls, rummaging through trash cans, and getting a drink from the big-girl drinking fountain aren't child-friendly activities, but there's got to be something better out there.

It's called the nursery. And Magdalena won't be in it for three more long months.


  1. I've got 4 months to go! And let me just say, that my little guy, Chase, was aptly named. I spent the day today trying to prevent him from grabbing other peoples baby bottles and falling off of the stage. The sunday school lesson was great. It was about .... oh, that's right, Chase only lasted through the opening prayer. THe countdown begins ...

  2. Time crawls so slowly when you're counting the months, then the days until nursery. They they're in, and all of a sudden it's Sunbeams, and time keeps moving along so much quicker.

    I try not to one-up on somebody else but here goes. Pre-1980 when the block meetings began, Primary was held on a weekday afternoon. On Sunday there was Junior Sunday School for age three and up. If your child(ren) was/were under age three, guess what, you took care of them all during adult Sunday School. Since we had two within 19 months, it was along haul before we got any relief. Craig took care of one boy, me the other, and neither of us got much out of the meetings. So we were pleased with the adoption of the new-and-improved version of Sunday meetings.

  3. I really love having our kids be just a few weeks apart, because it seems that we share the same frustrations and milestones. I AM SO SICK OF CHURCH THESE DAYS. Nathan is the same way, and I CANNOT WAIT until he goes to nursery in January. I am counting down the minutes, man.

    I've heard of wards that have held a Sunday School class for parents and children too young for nursery. They rotate giving the lesson every week, and there are a few toys (and lots of snacks) for the kids. I really wish this would become an official part of the church for those wards with tons of <18 mo. kids. We have at least a dozen kids that age, and all of us parents could use something like that.

  4. We have just one month left, but we've been counting down for about 4 months now...we canNOT wait for "church to be fun again"--as my husband asks every week "when will it?"--and by fun he means enjoyable.

    We also have a challenge of 3rd hour where he is in the EQ presidency & I am either teaching in RS or in YW, so we flip a coin to see who gets the BIG DISTRACTION for 3rd hr every week.


    counting down...

  5. dang I was hoping it was going to be easier with the second. like maybe the first child would entertain the second? huh no luck. well if our church wasnt run by revelation i would have us join together and sign some sort of petition.

  6. AMEN, Sister! I have 6 long months left. I'm all for signing a petition to either start a pre-nursery class for 12-18 months, or lowering the age to 15 months at least! I do like the idea of a Sunday school for parents with pre-nursery age kids. I'm going to suggest that to our bishopric!

  7. I feel for you. It is hard between 12-18 months at church. Luckily Dylan is in the nursery now, but then again, so are mommy and daddy now too.:) And I have to tell you how fun(not) it was having twins at that age. Dave and I would both be in the halls with each of them the entire church. It got to the ridiculous point where neither one of us was getting ANYTHING out of church. We then decided to both stick it out through sacrament meeting, just to set the example for them, and then we took turns taking them home, so one of us could at least attend other meetings. Fun times, let me tell you.:) I always thought they should make a pre nursery as well, where the moms could all go with the kids, stay with them, and at least let them play. Better then roaming the halls at church.

  8. Oh man. Good luck. And to think I get tired of walking the halls with a fussy (i.e. sometimes SCREAMING) two month old. Apparently the "best" is yet to come.

  9. Ah, the joys of grandparenthood. I loved it when I visited last June and was able to spend one-on-one time with Magdalena out in the foyer and halls during church.

  10. Interesting! I had no idea you all didn't have nursery for younger children. Our church has it from infant through children's church. I would find it distracting having young children do all that you described. :-/

  11. Yeah, Mormons are kind the odd one out. I know a lot of churches provide a nursery for the whole service. I'm not sure what the reasoning is behind that. It might have been distracting a long time ago, but now we're all used to the low din of kids slightly misbehaving in the pews.

    The special pre-nursery Sunday School is a fabulous idea. We used to have a Relief Society like that in Tucson. It just makes so much sense.

  12. I mean I'm not sure what the reasoning is behind NOT providing a nursery. The reasoning behind providing one is pretty obvious.

  13. I TOTALLY relate, and Owen is only 12 Months!!! EEEEEK. I really think they need a 1-2 year old nursery, then 2-3 year olds. And they could even say the kid has to be one and "walking." Eli didn't walk til 15 months, so this second child is a whole new ball game to me... and now Brad is in Primary so I'm stuck wrangling him alone the entire time. ...

    That being said I'm sure that as for reasoning behind NOT having one for younger kids is probably logistics and liability. Some wards can have large numbers of babies at any give time, so that's a whole bunch more people to call, plus babies are more work (bottles/nursing/diapers) and more liability - keep in mind most other churches PAY people to work in their nurseries....

  14. I've taught Nursery and have been Stake Nursery Leader. I also was the Nursery leader in the days when RS met during the week, and then we took children as young as a year; that was much more unwieldy, trying to blend 12-months with older children.

    Go to and locate "Behold Your Little Ones" which is the newest Nursery manual, and read the introduction. The purpose of the class is to teach children the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Further down the page it lists how this is to be done, and therein lies the clue of why children enter the class at age 18 months.

    If you have toddlers please do read that section and the program will make more sense. It is carefully thought out and designed by inspiration.

  15. Not to brag...but Rachel started nursery at 13 months. Yup.

    I've heard of wards who do crawling nurseries and walking nurseries. but that's unusual...

    I hardly ever wear heels. A) I'm tall enough and b) flats are simply easier for chasing kidlets.

  16. As the primary president I'm glad there is some type of cut off. We already have three nursery classes. Our moonbeam class has fourteen kids in and the other two nursery classes are at a small nine apiece, but will both be at 13 by the end of the year (we are the ward people move into pregnant with their first kid and quickly follow with their 2, 3rd, and 4th). In what may be a bizarre attempt to even out taxes in the future lots of people in our ward try and get as many "free babies" as they can during their five years of grad school, spacing their kids somewhere between 16-20 months. The positive for them is they can have them all on medicaid. The negative for me is in five years quite a few of those kids end up in nursery while the moms who are in a perpetual state of pregnancy or nursing get put on a no primary or nursery list...meaning I have a very small pool from which to call teachers (our bishops rule). This rule does not apply to the presidency. Within a year we've all had or will have a baby. We force our children to nurse during sacrament and then take turns watching our babies in the back of the room depending on who is doing sharing time, is helping with rowdy kids or is subbing for teachers who didn't find a sub. Why don't our husbands watch our kids? Jason teaches nursery (out of desperation I offered him up...making it a ridiculously hard task when we have a sick kid), one teaches Sunday school, one isn't a member, and the other is our go to sub and pianist). If we opened the doors to every child who was ready to be out of their parents arms I'd have to open a new class and believe me I don't have a classroom or the teachers :) One positive is there is the kids class and the non kid class for Sunday School. Your kid can scream and you don't mind because other kids are screaming. I guess it is easy for me to dismiss the parents request because I haven't ever actually had to experience it. With Ezra we were called to serve in a little branch with one other nursery kid. He went to nursery his first week at 10 months old to give the other kid company and continued because I got called to be the primary president the next week. Jason had Grace. She was a wicked little beast with her dad during Young Men's. (I was again the primary president in our bigger original ward). She was so bad that when she finally turned eighteen months the young men had a party to celebrate getting rid of her. And now we have Sadie...who sits in the back of primary. On the good days she sleeps. On the bad days I hold her in my arms while doing sharing time. I have to say that since having kids Sundays are exhausting :) Anyway good luck! Hopefully we will make it out of toddlerhood and be able to love church again!

  17. Nancy, you were covered under the foreign country exemption. Miriam sat in on the nursery in Jordan in 2006 sometimes when she was not even a year old, but there were some big kids in there so it didn't really work out.

    Lucky you, though.

    Crys, thanks for your point of view. I guess an extra nursery (or two) would work in wards only with a certain demographic, i.e., not the one your ward has right now. Sheesh.


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