Conquering Sunday

We braved going to Sacrament Meeting all together for the first time, today. We were even on time, securing ourselves a bench row. This was key for me - wrangling children is much easier on a bench row when mom can sit at the open end, essentially trapping all children (and husband, mwaha!) inside. The rows of folding chairs in the back are not only uncomfortable, they are loud (try driving a toy car on the metal seat) and crowded and are easily escaped.

Wyatt leaned wearily on Bill and drew on his Magna-doodle (11:00 church is hard on the wee ones). Daphne sat triumphant on Grandma's lap and ate the entire stash of cheerios that Grandma keeps hidden in her church bag. Henry slept, and only began to protest at the last ten minutes of the meeting.

As the closing hymn played, I couldn't help but feel that we had conquered something amazing. Sacrament Meeting - check! My face grinned. But I also knew that for me, the real challenge came next. My throat gulped.

This was to be my first time back to Primary since Henry was born, and I would be teaching alone. No biggie - except that we had a class of ten five and six year olds. That's a lot of kids to wrangle and keep entertained for two hours no matter HOW well behaved they are. But there was also that one child - the one that was most often wild beyond my ability to soothe; and wasn't just loud but was physical about it. I remembered well trudging home from church after the third-hour circus, my pregnant frame weary and frazzled and bruised.

Now I wasn't pregnant. I definitely had that going for me. But I was incredibly out of practice - and for the whole second hour of singing time, I stared around at my class - all boys, the girls were absent, again - and tried desperately to remember their names.

I have always been terrible with names. And three of the boys I teach look EXACTLY alike to me - same height/size/haircut/face shape - except for a small (but significant) difference around the eyes. So I struggle, anyway. But now I had post-pregnancy brain-dissolve and seven weeks of absence complicating things for me.

Then I had a flash of genius. They had just finished tracing their hand with crayon on a piece of paper and drawing 'something they could do to follow Christ's example' inside. (I am still not exactly sure what the traced hand had to do with the personal application of following Christ's example - but that's because I sort of missed hearing the directions. I had a certain three-year-old Sunbeam begging me for the Teddy Grahams he happened to know I had hidden in my bag.) The boys all clamored to show me their masterful crayola skills and receive my well-deserved praise, and it hit me. I looked at them all importantly and said, "did you write your name on it?"

They weren't turning them in. They didn't need to put their names on them - but they all excitedly took crayons once again from my stash and began the painstaking scrawl of the recently-learned letters of their names. I watched, and noted. Okay, so this time Brody has the blue tie and the other Dalton has the striped shirt.

By the time second hour was over and we were released to go to our classroom where I would have the privilege of teaching my class on my own for an hour, I was calling them all by name. Back in the saddle? You bet! I was feeling confident. I had this. And I had two big things going for me.

First - the Wild Child had been extremely well-behaved the entire second hour. He got out of his chair only once, retrieved a hymn book, and sat and looked through the pages of song the entire time. Sure, he wasn't paying much attention to the song we were trying to learn, but he may have been the best behaved child, there. I could have hugged him!

Second - the Primary manual came through for me. I had a killer lesson to give (they aren't always); the whole thing was basically the telling of a story - which I happen to know the kids love - and was a subject I am passionate about. This equals passionate storytelling. The last time I presented them with some passionate storytelling, they were riveted. Never mind that my graphically honest account made one girl physically ill. This time, there was no leg surgery involved. And I had Teddy Grahams in my bag.

I had this.

To Be Continued...

(don't hate me! It's too close to midnight for me to finish this post tonight and still make my deadline. It's the deadline's fault!)