Monday, October 24, 2011
Raising Hoppy Toad: The Great Escape
I was in the gym of our church in the interim time between Sunday school and the service. During that time, I get myself a cup of coffee and settle down to watch Bug burn some energy off with other children. It's a good deal for me because Toadie and Bundle are both in their classrooms being watched by their teachers from the start of Sunday school until the end of service. Thirty minutes of coffee-laden, child-free time each Sunday makes me very grateful for the patient souls who help out with the childrens' ministry. Though I confess, the coffee is terrible, but isn't church coffee always terrible?
The director of childrens' ministry came bustling into the room and begins marching towards me. This particular woman is the type who would make the officers of Jay's military days learn a thing or two about having a commanding presence. I snapped to attention. Once she reached me, she briskly stated, "We are having a problem with Toadie."
"He escaped from his class room and zoomed down the hallway before anyone could stop him. He's now near the library entrance and is refusing to listen to the teachers. Could you help in this situation? Perhaps because you are his mother..."
Oh, yes. She trailed off. I could see the look in her eyes. It was no secret that Toadie was willful and I'm pretty sure everyone at church has seen me at one time or another carry him out of a room sideways while he screamed at the injustice of the world and his mother in particular. She didn't want a scene. Could I talk Toadie into rejoining class or at the very least deal with him?
After asking one of the fellow parents present to keep an eye on Bug, I hurried off to the library. There I saw a sight I couldn't help laughing at under my breath. Toadie had found a niche just next to the door of the library. He had plastered himself into this nook with his face to the wall and his arms tucked firmly against his chest. He was casting glances over his shoulders at the three young ladies who I recognized as the ones who had worked as his Sunday school teachers. They were very sweetly trying to coax him out and back to the class room. As I approached, Toadie caught sight of me and turned slightly towards me, yelling out in an overjoyed voice, "I found Momma! Here she is, there Momma! I found you!"
"Toad, what are you doing?" I tried hard to sound firm but gentle, yet I can't completely smother the smile that's on my face. He had been looking for me and as far as he was concerned these girls had prevented him from looking for me and so he found a safe corner and defended himself.
"Oh. Uh. I run out. Uh." His light blue eyes darted around. He had turned completely toward me now and taken a step out of his niche. He doesn't meet my eyes. He knows he did something wrong. "I play basketball?"
"Thank you, girls," I said to the hovering young ladies. "I'll take it from here." They drift back, but I notice they don't leave entirely. I don't think we're making a scene yet we are obviously attracting attention. I kneel down to my small boy and he puts his hands on my shoulders. "Momma, I love you."
"I love you too, baby. But why aren't you in your class?"
"I listen music. Come with you?"
Ah, now we're at the crux of it. Toadie loves music and I have sometimes taken him into the service during the singing which he thoroughly enjoys yet he lacks the self-control to keep from shouting and dancing. (A fact that our pastor has shown approval of if for no other reason than to smother the stodgy attitudes of some of the older set in our congregation.) He's been paying attention and he knows that the music will start soon. He gave the Sunday school workers the slip and figured he would just find me and join us for the worship. I gather him up in my arms and as I walk back to collect Bug, I whisper in his ear,"Toad, you're a caution."
He joined us for worship and thoroughly enjoys clapping and singing along. The people in the row in front of us only turn around twice to glare at me. I hold him up with his feet standing on the back of the bench in front of us so he can see the instruments being played. Once the older children are dismissed for childrens' church I take him back to his classroom. He is now a satisfied little boy who happily joins two other children rolling out log shapes in molding dough. As I leave to go back to service, I thank God he didn't escape the building and that he was noticed by the workers. The church is huge with many rooms he would have been happy to explore for hours had he discovered them.
Crisis averted. For now.