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Church with a baby, am I crazy?

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Church with a baby, am I crazy?

I was just sitting there feeding the baby and minding my own business when some random child came up and spat on my leg. Gross. Not cool. His mother seemed embarrassed but didn't really do anything. Corey is watching bub now while I calm down. I just feel gross. I was just trying to feed the baby, isn't that what parents rooms are for? To change and feed? Except we're not in a shopping centre, we're at church. The parents room has become more than a place to change and feed or contain a crying infant, it has become a room of fun, where kids go to play and stay out of the adults' hair. This is fine, except for if you are one of those people who just want to get in, take care of business, and get back out to hubby and listen to the sermon. Once a baby discovers such an environment it is too hard to get her out again. I made this mistake a few months ago, and was trying to avoid doing it again.

This is the first time we've made it to church in weeks. It was a bit ambitious of me to expect Alexis to sit quietly with a few toys and let mummy listen to the sermon. She used to, but a few months ago she discovered the joy that is the room with the fun noisy toys (and the fun noisy bigger kids). I had hoped that since we hadn't been there in ages she would have forgotten, but no, as soon as worship finished she wanted to go off and watch the kids. She kept looking towards the room and pointing. I held off for as long as possible. I cuddled her, she climbed me, Corey gave her a drink of water, she emptied the contents of my handbag, she did some people-watching of the people around us, but this only lasted as long as the announcements. She seemed disinterested in the toys we had taken with us (and been late to church because we were getting them all together). When she started crawling under the pew in front of us, stealing peoples water bottles and hand-held electronic toys, I thought it was time to give in. When she crawled under a few pews and I had to go retrieve her, it was definitely time to give in.

The room has a speaker so the mums can hear the sermon but it's up too high I can't reach it to turn it on or change the volume. I wacked it on with a toy. An other mum turned it down. It is next to impossible to hear over the kids playing anyway. It's happy noise, not squabbles or chaos, just kids playing, but lots of them. Some well-meaning mums try to start conversations with me. I really just want to keep listening to the pastor while making sure my baby isn't sat on, stood on, making a target of herself by stealing toys off toddlers, swallowing parts of small toys that aren't age appropriate but are there for older kids, or getting into the bottles of milk and random biscuits other children have left lying around.

Alexis is at that age now I guess I should be prepared to spend the whole time supervising her playing. I had hoped to have a bit longer yet. I enjoy my own daughter but I'm still unsure of what to do with everyone else's children. Also I'm not quite OK with Alexis putting a block in her mouth that 10 seconds ago was in the mouth of a kid who 10 minutes ago was coughing and spluttering. I must learn to get used to it, but for now it remains uncomfortable for me. I try to avoid the room at all costs but I don't want to be remembered as the woman who doesn't control her annoying offspring and lets it run riot throughout the church. Most churches have one. I don't want it to be me!

We keep going to church for many reasons, spiritual, routine, social... I don't want to stop going. It's far too easy to become isolated as a mother. I like to see other people occasionally, and it's good for Alexis and I to get out of the house. Alexis likes the attention. Everyone wants to see her before (if we can ever get there in time) and after church, but it's all up to mum during the service. That's just the way it is. One of the joys of being a parent. That responsibility thing again. I will have to get used to the kiddy room. Alexis likes it. She likes watching the others. I suppose it's a bit like daycare would be like, except if she was at daycare I wouldn't be there worrying about what bad habits she might pick up. I hope we have a while before Alexis runs around spitting on people.

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