We’re sitting in church, being quieter than we have been in years. That’s because the 9-year-old is out of town and the 5-year-old has taken the baby to the bathroom. Suddenly, we hear screaming. Hal and I sink lower in the pew and look at each other. The screeching continues, a full-on, total-meltdown tantrum. It gets louder. And louder. Reluctantly, we turn around. Running toward us, her arms outstretched, is the 2-year-old, yelling so loud the speaker actually stops midstream. My husband, closest to the aisle, stands up, snatches the baby and carries her out, all in one swift motion (he should have been a football player). The five-year-old saunters in, calmly sits down next to me, and informs me that the baby had entered someone’s office, taken a sucker from the desk and popped it in her mouth. Whether she was concerned about theft or the lack of fairness because she didn’t get a sucker I’ll never know. What I do know is that the five-year-old tried to take the sucker out of the baby’s mouth. What idiot came up with the saying, “Like taking candy from a baby”? He must have been blind, deaf and really, really dumb, because once my baby has candy in her mouth, ain’t no one taking it away. She gets that from her mother.
This is only the most recent incident in our church-going experience that suggests we ought to receive parenting classes, or at least an intervention.
A few weeks ago, while we stood up to sing, the baby escaped. Before I could catch her, she’d left the main room and run toward the outside door and freedom. It took an entire congregation pointing the way for me to find her. I saw her, at last, in the arms of a friend, walking back from the potty. Turns out the baby hadn’t been making a break for it; she’d only be taking care of business. Or so she claimed, once I caught her.
Last time we had “open mic” during a meeting, my 9-year-old decided to get up there. With the baby. Without passing the idea by me. So, I look up from my reverie (or my nodding-off) to find my youngest child standing at the mic in front of the whole congregation. And does she tell everyone how much she loves God? Does she say that her parents are wonderful? Does she say anything remotely intelligent? Of course not. She snorts and then laughs at herself. One of the leaders sitting behind the mic picked her up before she could start on her farting impressions.
All this, and we still haven’t been kicked out. Which is good, cause we sure could use the help.