Remember back in January when I got my trash kicked by a group of 3-year-olds at church? Well, the following week Dan and I had a planning meeting, aimed at finding a way to take the power back… in love, of course.
And with a few changes, things got better quickly.
Each week we do a camp-song-style roll call at the beginning of class, putting magnets on the board with each of the kids’ pictures. We also put their pictures on the backs of their chairs so there’s no need to wrestle for position, climbing over the chairs or picking them up and smacking each other over the head with them, in pro wrestler fashion.
We also let them choose the agenda. We put pictures on the board of all the activities we can do during our hour together and then they decide as a class what order we’ll do them in. They always choose to have snack first. And then they always choose to never have a lesson. So when “Lesson” is the only card left, Dan and I slip it in near the top and teach them while they’re eating and any other chance we get. You could call it sneak teaching.
Well things have started to go so well that this Sunday I was bragging to a friend, snapping my fingers around like a diva, “Oh, Sunbeams? We’ve got Sunbeams down.”
Even if there’s not a reality TV camera following you around, never snap your fingers like a diva and say, “I got this” regarding something that’s fully dependent on a gaggle of preschoolers cooperating with you in any way.
Cue the worst week we’ve had since week one. During sharing time, one little boy pulled up my skirt and nestled himself underneath it like a tent. As I awkwardly extracted him from my nether regions, attempting not to flash the entire room, he pulled back with a huff and then slammed his head forward, crashing it into my knee.
I pulled him up onto my lap and comforted him while the rest of the kids melted down all around us. He kept saying, “I need to go talk to my dad. I just have to tell him one thing. Please let me go talk to my dad and tell him one thing.” Well, his dad was busy and I figured he could wait and tell him after class. Eventually I asked, “What do you need to go tell your dad?”
“I need to tell him how you hit me in the face.”
Yes you do.
So, the day continued with much crying, screaming, jumping, tattling, refusal to participate, refusal to NOT participate even though it wasn’t their turn, and even a moment where my own personal 3-year-old was fake crying so loudly, I turned to my husband and said, “We should take her to her parents.”
We made it through and we still loved them, more in a You-Are-All-Children-Of-God kind of way, than a I-Wish-You-All-Lived-At-My-House kind of way.
That was yesterday. But then this morning, we had a last minute shift in our non-church-related play group that consists of essentially the same group of kids and subsequently four of them did end up playing at my house all morning.
Things went fine until about five minutes before parent pickup, when they suddenly got way too quiet in the other room. I entered to find them gathered around the fish bowls, where our Bettas “live”.
One was missing.
“Where did the fish go, you guys?”
I looked all around. There was water on the sofa table and on the couch. That’s when I noticed that the red fish had magically migrated to the bowl with the blue fish. They hadn’t discovered each other yet, at least not enough to start devouring each other, so I grabbed the net and spent 5 minutes chasing them around until I could move them back into separate living quarters.
“How did the fish get into the other bowl?” I asked.
They all said a name, the name of the tiniest kid in the group, a kid who isn’t nearly strong enough to pick up one of those bowls full of water and pour the fish into the other bowl.
“How did you do it?” I asked him.
“I just grabbed it with my hand,” he grinned.
At least now I know who I’d want to be stranded on a desert island with. The fish grabbing kid. Have you ever watched Survivor, where they swim around with full fishing gear, harpoons, masks, nets, and traps and can’t catch a piece of seafood to save their lives? I am like those losers. Five minutes it takes me to nab one of my fish with a net. This kid? 30 seconds alone and BAM! He grabs the fish like Danielson chopsticking a fly.
Two weeks ago, our lesson in church was “I am Thankful for Fish,” and we took our little fish in a jar and learned about Jonah and sushi and loaves and fishes. We passed around the jar until they started shaking it like Darla. They LOVED THE FISHY! I guess this little boy really took the lesson to heart. He wanted the fish to be free to play with its cannibalistic friend. At least my little friend didn’t eat the fish, or put it on land to see if it was amphibious.
According to our class, Jesus is amphibious. He is amphibious because he can go on land and on water. He is also amphibious because I asked them to name some amphibious creatures and, odds are, if I ask them a question at church, nine times out of ten, Jesus is the right answer.
I love that you can reference “Karate Kid,” “Finding Nemo” and “Survivor” all in one makes-sense post—and that I caught all of it. Thank you for teaching the babies about Jesus, and his amphibiousness.
I love it. Seriously laughing out loud. Not at you of course, but in a ‘oh, its so real, I get it” kind of way.
Start wearing slacks to church. No, really. I started a few weeks ago. It makes riding my bike much easier (no need to hold the skirt down with one hand while steering with the other), and when I have to pick up a gagging Sunbeam and run for the trashcan, there is no chance of an accidental skirt-caught-and-underpants-showing.
The Daring One says
I have yet to find a pair of slacks that makes me feel as “Sunday bestish” as my dresses and skirts do. I have a friend who totally pulls it off. I should ask her to be my personal shopper in this time of Sunbeam need.
I taught that age group, too. Nursery school and Sunday school. Wonderful some days. Not so wonderful other days. You tell the stories so well. Thanks for the memories.
The Daring One says
Any time Janet. It’s nice to know there are others who’ve been there.
Little kids are crazy fast when you don’t necessarily think they should be. At that age my older boys would catch flies and bees with their bare hands. It was astounding that they could nab them so fast but otherwise had terrible hand eye coordination.
and… i teach sunbeams here in CO and this makes me laugh so hard. Sunburnt was probably the single greatest post ever written, but this is a close follow up. Thanks for helping me see the “glory” of it ALL!
“We should take her to her parents.” Love it! This was me and my husband’s first calling together after we were married and he joined the church. I was so scared he would stop coming (he didn’t).
We are moving to Seattle. I want to be in your ward, DYM!
I randomly came across your blog when I some how searched Seattle and Mom. What a delightful read! (The hubs and I are moving to Seattle next month with our two year old son.) I loved your thoughtful yet spunky writing. I’ll look forward to following your future posts!
I loved this post, of course I love them all. When I read the title I thought it was either going to be about real goldfish, or goldfish crackers. (You can see where my K1 teacher mind is). I’m just finishing up a writing class, and I think you could have been a guest teacher 🙂 I love your words!
Jennifer B. says
Oh how I needed this! I was recently released from YW and am now teaching Sunbeams. I completely identify with your thoughts here and in your January post. Thank you for the laughs and also for your great ideas. It sure is an adventure 🙂
I don’t understand why it seems that parents of little ones are always put in primary WITH their little ones. It seems to me that those kids have a harder time behaving than the other kids who are having a hard time being ‘have. I speak from experience, of course. I was called as primary president about 6 months before my youngest at the time was to be a sunbeam. Things went alright, until January. My son and my 1st counselor’s son were both new sunbeams. They could Not stay seated or follow directions if their little souls depended on it. Of course the teacher was little to no help because we were right there.
Here’s hoping your own darling sunbeam won’t give you that much trouble. But I hear girls are different. Maybe you should just send her to her parents…