Monday, May 29, 2006

I Like To Look For Rainbows

Wrangling my Sunbeam class these past two Sundays was so vexing that I had no other choice but to write a song about it.

As I approached the Primary room yesterday, a small figure streaked past me, going a hundred miles an hour in the opposite direction. Evidently, his father had not consulted him as to whether he actually wanted to attend Primary, but had merely deposited him and then quickly departed (with a small sigh of relief, perhaps?) to a classroom unknown. My little friend was having none of it. I gave chase, pausing for the end of the opening prayer in a chapel-held Gospel Doctrine class as my Sunbeam dashed between rows of benches and out the far door, his cry of "NOOOOOOOO!" echoing behind him. When I finally caught up with him, he was in no mood for my sweet-talking, nor my reasoning. At long last, the promise of a "special surprise" got him headed back to the classroom, but he was obviously very skeptical. (And with good reason. I didn't think a crumpled sticker from the bottom of my Primary bag was all that special, either, though it would be surprising to find one there.)

As I wrestled to persuade my escapee to remain seated, my littlest class member was dropped off by her mother, and I turned to say hello. She, who usually springs onto my lap and fights off other would-be lap sitters with surprising ferocity for one so small, looked up and gave me the biggest scowl I've ever seen on such a sweet little face. Somehow, in the first five seconds of our interaction, I had fallen from her good graces, and remained so throughout the rest of our time together. Perhaps it was just as well, as last week it was only after she'd been sitting on my lap that I realized she hadn't been forthcoming about her urgent need to take a trip to the ladies' room. At least I'd been wearing my black skirt.

As I kept a watchful eye throughout Sharing Time on the two aforementioned Sunbeams (who, while the rest of the Primary sweetly sang "I Like To Look For Rainbows," had thrice attempted escape), I felt a curious warmth on my chest. Looking down, I saw a little arm, and the little hand attached to it squeezing my right breast. Evidently, the Sunbeam sitting next to me, a visitor whose name I'd not yet learned, was not going to let a lack of formal introduction keep him from making himself as comfortable as possible.

When at last the time came to separate for classes, my two scowling friends, fresh from their latest botched escape attempt, exclaimed loudly (and, impressively, almost in unison):

"BUT I DON'T WANT TO GO WITH HER!!!"

"Funny," said the Primary President, "They loved you last week."

"Yeah. Funny."

Once inside the classroom, things went even more rapidly downhill. The friendly visitor had a meltdown, and kicked (accidentally?) my gimpy knee. They didn't want to color. They didn't want to sing. A story? How dare I even suggest it! It was the most acute case of Preschooler PMS I'd ever seen.

They did, however, all want to go to the bathroom. At least that much they agreed upon. I'd only opened the door a crack when one of the boys pushed through and took off down the hall at lightning speed. I caught up with him just in time to see the men's room door swing shut; "I CAN DO IT MYSELF!" echoing from within. When he emerged a minute later, the front of his pants appeared to disprove his earlier exclamation.

It was at this point that I started to compose my song. Its tune is a simple one, and perhaps someday I will post the accompaniment, but for now:

I Do Not Ever Want To Go To Church Again

I do not ever want to go to church again
I'd rather stay at home
I'd rather be alone

I do not ever want to go to church again
I'm not a jungle gym
I'd rather sing a hymn

All alone
In my home

I do not ever want to go
'Til in hell there is some snow
I do not ever want to go to church again!


I hummed my song as I searched for a parent to help restore the pants to their former state, and as I wrestled my unwieldy group back into their classroom.

Once inside, a miraculous change occurred. Had they said they hadn't wanted to color? Ridiculous! That's what they wanted to do more than anything in the world! A story? They thought I'd never ask! Songs? Why, they knew all the lyrics, and then some!

Except for the lyrics to my song. But I think I'll keep those to myself.

7 comments:

Geo said...

1. Just imagine the coping songs written daily by an all-seeing, all-coping God.

2. When I worked in Primary, we had a wild Sunbeam named Olivia who was my special friend. Among other opening exercises pasttimes, she liked unhooking a certain dress of mine; stripping herself down quick as a flash on the front row; and singing (belting), with her arms flung out wide, not "I am a child of God" but "I AM GOD!" Ah, the memories. What saved her was her Louise Brooks bob.

3. You are fantastically funny.

Kiki said...

This is one of the most fantastic things I've read all month.

I'm not gonna lie; I'm not a fan of kids. Sure, I like some of them one at a time (e.g., my little friend Davis is the most fantastic toddler I've ever met and he worships me), but groups of them make me well up with stress and inner confusion and fear. On Mother's Day, the Young Men and Women took over all Primary responsibilities so that the mother's could go to adult class. Because I'm a YW counselor, I had to go. I stood over in the corner silently, but all of my insides were screaming and crying and rocking back and forth. I could only last one hour in there before the other leaders could see that I was about to have a real breakdown and said I could go if I wanted to. They didn't have to say that twice. I couldn't even go to Relief Society after that. I went home a took a very long, peaceful nap in the dark, childless quiet.

I don't know how you do it, Emmie and anyone else with Primary callings. I really don't.

Emmie said...

Geo,
LOVE the story about Olivia. Fantastic, indeed!

The thing is, I know most mothers go through much more than this on a daily basis. And when I'm with my very own nephews, my patience and joy levels increase exponentially!

Not to say I don't find joy in my calling. But yesterday? Not so much.

AzĂșcar said...

I have been there, only they were deacons (except for the bathroom part and the getting to second base.)

julie said...

Actually makes me glad I'm the Gospel Doctrine teacher - even though we're studying the Old Testament and I'm a bit intimidated.

Anonymous said...

Em,

I miss you soooooo much! Thanks for blogging so's I can hear you so often. 'Cause in your prose, there's you. (Loved the song.)

All My Love, from One Who Knows that You Were Once A Sunbeam, Too! (Em, age 3, arms out, palms front, waving, entering the Relief Society Nursery: "Hold it, everybody! Hold it! Here's what we're going to do ....")

Emmie said...

Anonymous,

Ditto on the missing!

28 years later, I enter a room full of small children with the same tactic.

This time, they don't listen.

P.S. I love you!