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.