Sunday morning is one of the most stressful times of the week. There is just no way around it. For some reason getting kids up, fed, and out for door for church seems drastically more difficult than doing basically the same thing for a school day. The next Sunday morning that goes smoothly at the Sharp house will be the first one. With this in mind I thought it might be time for a brief diary of what a typical Sunday morning is like at our house.
7:00 – The alarm goes off and I realize I haven’t heard any kids yet. Thinking this must be a magical day I reset the alarm for 7:30 and drift back off to sleep.
7:06 – I am awakened by screaming. Nobody’s hurt, there is no emergency, but some sort of controversy has erupted involving lovies or something. This happens an inordinate amount at my house. It’s like staying at a hotel whose wake up call is a violation of the Geneva Convention. After threatening a few lives, of both children and lovies, I head back to the bedroom hoping to get a few more minutes of sleep. It was not to be.
7:20 – With the lovie controversy still going and children repeatedly coming into our room I decide I might as well get up and get a shower.
7:42 – I tell the kids that while I am getting ready and preparing breakfast they are supposed to clean their room. This begins a negotiation whose intensity has not seen since the Paris Peace Accords.
7:54 – With breakfast on the table I get the three older kids eating, after a brief dust-up about who got what kind of cereal, and head to get the one-year-old Jedi up. When I arrive in the Jedi’s room I quickly make two observations. First, he overflowed his diaper last night. Poor kid has my bladder. Second, he somehow managed to get his elbow stuck in the crib. I have no idea how long he was stuck, but he seemed to take it in stride, not something he is well known for.
8:20 – The clothes negotiations begin. The seven-year-old Zoologist picks out the same thing he wore last Sunday, and that is fine by me. If he wants to make it his Sunday uniform I’m ok with it, as long as it puts an end to the constant meltdowns about how uncomfortable jeans are and how could anyone subject a young boy such as himself to such cruel and unusual punishment. The five-year-old Ballerina and her mother come to a quick agreement on an outfit, and now we are down to the Demolitions Expert. Dressing the Demolitions Expert is like wrestling an alligator if the alligator kept alternating between trying to eat you and trying to give you a hug. Even when it was hugging you you would be pretty sure it was still going to eat you. We managed to come to an agreement about which dress she would wear and then she insisted on doing it herself, until she demanded help, before she wanted to do it herself, which was just previous to her being inconsolable because she needed help.
8:43 – We begin loading the van. This results in several meltdowns. The children, however, handle loading up well.
8:50 – The van pulls out of the driveway.
9:10 – We drop off the Jedi, and he fusses for a good 5-10 seconds. Now it is time to drop the Demo Expert and the whole family holds its breath. Some Sundays this goes well, some Sundays it results in an incident just short of a physical altercation. This is one of the good Sundays, she walks in her class calmly and the rest of us sprint from the children’s area like we just threw a live grenade in a class room, which we kind of did.
9:13 – Before the service starts I ask the Zoologist if he needs to go to the bathroom. He says yes, and then the Ballerina decides she needs to go too. The Ballerina assures me she can go to the women’s restroom by herself, so I decided why not.
9:14 – The Zoologist looks around the men's restroom and realizes his sister is not in the bathroom with us. He wants to know where she is. I respond, “She said she could go by herself, and I decided to live dangerously.” A guy doing his business at a urinal chortles at this. Must be another dad.
9:17 – I wait in the hallway for the Ballerina. She comes out of the bathroom holding her jacket and asks me to unzip it for her. From what I could gather she couldn’t get it unzipped completely so she had to pull it down and step out of it. As I was processing what must have gone done in the women’s restroom a lady came out of the restroom and as she walked by she said, “She is so cute.” I still have no idea what went down in there, but I guess she was making friends, which is one of the most Ballerina things ever.
9:32 – It is time to stand up and shake hands in church. As is typical the Zoologist attempts to make eye contact with absolutely in an effort to keep from having to shake hands. The Ballerina decides that this was an opportunity to make friends with as many people as possible. She made it to half a dozen before we started singing again.
9:48 – It is a baptism Sunday. During the baptisms I look down at the
Zoologist’s notepad and become concerned that my son has drawn a picture of Satan. I casually ask him, “Hey Bud, what’s that?” concerned that he is depicting the Prince of Darkness in his art. I breathed a sigh of relief when he tells me it is Bugs Bunny. The good news is his theology is sound, but the bad news is he can kiss a career in art goodbye. Technically the kids notepads are supposed to be for things related to the sermon, but I'm so relieved that this isn't a picture of Lucifer that I let him draw whatever he wants.
10:04 – The kids are taking notes in church. For at least the 5th Sunday in a row the Ballerina’s notebook is upside down. I’m pretty sure they will get to which direction is up on the notebook later in kindergarten.
10:22 – It is time for communion. There isn’t enough consideration to how nerve-wracking communion can be for the parents of small children. For some reason our church seems intent on filling all of the little plastic cups to the brim. This can be dangerous if the cup is in the hands of an adult, but put it in the hands of a seven-year-old boy and you are just asking for a grape juice decorated sanctuary. Just before communion the Zoologist had gone to the bathroom again. After they handed out the bread and juice he realized that he had forgotten to zip up his pants, so he tried took the hand that held the juice and while still holding the almost overflowing cup of juice also grabbed his pants so he could pull the zipper up with his free hand. I haven’t panicked that much in church since that time in college when we had a speaker that like to call people out and say, “May God have mercy on your backslidden soul.” Come to think of it that didn’t make me this nervous because that guy was obviously off his rocker. Anyway, I took the cup so he could zip his pants without getting a purple stain on his crotch. Finally, we got to the point where we actually ate the bread and drank the juice and we were able to breathe a sigh of relief. By the time we have more kids taking communion I’m gonna need our church to offer a real wine option.
10:39 – Church lets out, and we walk out of the building with two of the Zoologist and Ballerina’s favorite people, their swimming instructors who go to our church. They couldn’t be happier. I try to convince the very nice couple to take a kid or three to their house to swim for the afternoon, but they don’t bite.
11:04 – We stop by the grocery store to pick up our order. Grocery store pickup is one of the greatest innovations of the last few years, especially for parents. Anyway, the sacker who brought out our groceries was told, “Thank you for the chocolate milk,” no less than a dozen times by our kids.
11:13 – We arrive at home. All of the kids are supposed to go inside, go to the bathroom, and change into a pair of pajamas (that’s how we roll on Sunday afternoon at our house), and put their church clothes on the couch. The Wonder Woman focuses on wrangling kids while I focus on getting the groceries inside. At one point I grab some groceries and turn to head inside only to see a naked child in the doorway.
Yep, these are my kids.