November 1, 2009
So, apparently sometime last night or this morning, I popped a hemorrhoid. One time in a Magnum P.I. episode, Thomas Magnum taught me that if you were scared of something-say being circled by a shark while treading water in the middle of the Pacific Ocean-and you gave it a silly name, it will swim away and leave you alone. Well, I would love for this thing to leave me alone, so I have started calling it an asteroid. Seems both appropriate and silly enough. Now if it will only swim away.
I just got finished raking the leaves after emptying the dishwasher. Beth asked me why I did these chores as it is football day. I had said earlier that my plan was to lay on the couch and watch football. However, I decided that to take my mind off of my asteroid, I needed some activity. It worked. The reason I decided this was the best course of action, was that the only other time I wasn't thinking about my asteroid today was when Beth and I were doing our volunteer shift at Kid's Club. This is the day care at our church. We take care of 3 year olds whilst there parents attend service. We chose the 11:45 shift today so we could sleep in, go to the 10:00 service, and then do day care. The original schedule showed them short-handed for this time slot, so volunteer we did.
At first it looked like we were not going to be too busy as kids were slow to arrive. Kid's Club has an electronic check-in system, so you have a screen that tells you who to expect. Then you use the touch screen to move them from "on-the-way", to "checked in". The supervisor said that with the time change, this service may not be too busy since most people had an extra hour to get to the 10:00 service. Then, they started to come. And come they did.
When the kid shows up, you check them in, give them a sticker to designate what room they are in (we are the snake room), and put a sticker on their jacket with their name to facilitate the parent pick up. All was going well. Kids were getting checked in and were joining in some activity. There are toys to play with, coloring to do, puzzles to build, and all kinds of things for a 3-year old to do. Then...the 8th kids came, followed by 9 and 10. The touch screen wasn't working to change the status from OTW to checked in. Then numbers 11 and 12, and 13 came. On the screen we could see 5 more kids were on the way. One of the new arrivals was crying for mom, and then number 14 started to cry as she was checked in. Beth called the front desk using the same tone I remember her using when I was fixing a faucet in the house and the water started to spew everywhere. It was if she were yelling to the front desk "TURN IT OFF, TURN IT OFF!!" This was not actually what she said, nor did she yell, but from my side of the phone, I could tell she wanted to.
Anyway, it was just Beth and I in this room, but they sent another volunteer down to help us out. We were outnumbered 18-2, so another helper would reduce the odds some. That is, if the other person could actually live up to the name "helper". Kid's Club has a system in place that you can alert the parents in the service by flashing a 4 digit number on the screen that corresponds to their child. The parent then leaves the service to retrieve their child. We did this with one of the girls who would not stop crying, and thought it would be a good idea to do the same with the other. However, our "helper" decided that she had calmed down enough to stay. She was wrong unfortunately, but Beth and I were involved in the large group activity already, and taking care of the other 17 kids, so the opportunity was lost. As those of you in child care know, two adults taking care of 17 3-year olds, is very similar to herding cats. You may be able to get them where you want them to go, but food better be involved. So we get them back for snack time, and our "helper" has prepared 17 Dixie cups full of pretzels for the kids.
The choices are pretzels, Goldfish, and Cheerios. Given these choices, which would you prepare? One other time, a "helper" had said that we could not mix the cups. I have heard about not crossing the streams when it comes to bustin' ghosts or peeing in a men's trough style urinal, but who thinks it's a bad idea to mix Goldfish with Cheerios?
So we sit 17 kids down in front of Dixie cups full of pretzels, two kids are now sobbing, and 10/15 kids are saying they want fish, not pretzels. Well, yeah, me too. So we started to switch things out. A calm came over the room for awhile. Our "helper" got a phone call and had to leave. However, the worst was hopefully over. We then took to having them make crowns for themselves as this was today's small group activity. It went surprisingly well as they stuck stars onto their "King David" crowns. Beth and I were holding our own. The one girl was sobbing, but doing so quietly while eating. The other girl was sobbing and crying for mom, so we took turns holding her. Yes, this made the odds 16-1 for kids to the other parent, but they really were doing okay. The room isn't that big, you have to get one down off a step stool or table every once in awhile, and only a couple of them had to go potty. We survived. God tested our mettle, and we survived the storm. We even got to appreciate how cute some of the kids were, and we even memorized most of the names.
Fortunately, today's parents have decided that naming any child Michael, Stephen, John, or Mary, is against the law. We had a room full of Devon, Justice, Jenesis (yes, with a J), Goddess, Shomfe, Grayson (2 of them), Marcus, and a Brenner. For some reason, I am blanking on the two girls names who sobbed the most.
Anyway, about 3 weeks ago, the church had an event for the volunteers of the parish that was free and rather extravagant. Food, entertainment, drinks, etc. Beth and I felt a little guilty for attending since we had only volunteered a couple of times each. We looked at each other after today's Kid's Club, and said we did not feel any guilt anymore for attending the event.
Thank you God for the opportunity, and for helping us help them. We will be back as we know that we love these kids and Your guidance will see us through. AAAmen.