So we have 11:00 church now. My wife loves it but I prefer the early schedule. Church is a three-hour block, and the first hour and ten minutes are the most sacred meeting when reverence is expected. With little ones it can be a challenge.
Years ago when Bossy, Gym Rat, and Drama Queen were little we actually did a fairly good job at teaching them proper behavior. And then it all fell apart. You see, undiagnosed or not, a three-year-old Autistic boy is NOT going to sit quietly on a bench! Our expectation levels had to change. The problem is that once they changed, the example was broken.
We do all the things you're not supposed to do...small toys, mostly Hot Wheels, crayons... We used to do Cheerios but gave up on that because the big kids just eat them. For a long time it wasn’t that big of a deal because there were lots of young families in the ward, but now most of the ward is past the young kids stage and it's actually really quiet. Except in the back corner where Curly is making loud truck sounds lying on the floor kicking at his brother and pushing the large folding curtain so it hits unsuspecting ward members 35 feet away in the back of the head!
Back to why I hate 11:00 church. Well the last few months have been pretty good. Baby Doll is big enough that Sandy can’t just head to the nursing room with her when things start getting ugly... and it really hasn’t been that bad...the kids are mostly quiet. (Sleeping kids tend to be quiet.) So when we switched to 11:00 and they were wide awake it was like a slap of reality. I hadn’t really made any progress.
A few weeks ago Drama Queen had quieted Baby Doll down with an Ipad coloring app. So today I was prepared. It’s not as big, but my Kindle Fire could do the same thing. When Curly started acting up I coaxed him over. He reluctantly came expecting to be cussed good. Instead I told him he could color as long as he sat on my lap and was quiet. He didn't know I had a new app on the Kindle and was quickly engrossed. It worked like a charm until the others saw what was going on and all wanted a turn.
It wasn't long before attempts were made to tip him off my lap. They were moving all over the place. Finally I had had enough of anyone walking around and I made the area completely off limits. And that solved the problem until they decided they could walk behind the chairs. All they had to do was push really hard on that curtain so they had enough room.. and if they moved it fast, cool waves shot down the way. Poor unsuspecting souls on the others side of the church! By the time the meeting was over, I was exhausted.
My dad wasn’t a church-goer and he would say, "no rest for the wicked." If we stayed home from church we worked the whole time, often weeding. Man, weeding in the hot sun sure sounds restful compared to this parent stuff.