Finally, I thought, we're getting callings. Two months of "vacation" from church responsibilities has been nice, but we're ready to have something to do. And the pressure's off because most of the hefty leadership callings have recently been filled. Will we get our dream callings? Ed's is nursery worker, mine is Enrichment committee. Or will we be blindsided by something unexpected like ward missionaries?
Saturday night we joked about it. Ed suggested if he wants to see us together, our calling will be together. But in a ward this large couples often share callings, like primary teachers. "Or nursery leaders," Ed said.
They wouldn't, you're thinking.
And that's your first mistake. It's ok, it was mine too.
They didn't, you say.
Oh yes, they did.
When Seth said it Ed broke into a huge grin; there were almost tears in his eyes he was so happy. My expression was probably somewhere between a cringe and a grimace. Seth noticed and asked if I was concerned about the isolation factor of serving in nursery. No, I answered. There are other opportunities to meet and be around people. It's more the being-around-so-many-little-kids factor, the exact reason Ed is excited. It's a new scene for him, just more of the same for me. But what surprised me even more than the calling itself was that as we sat with Seth and he asked if we would accept, I felt really good about it, excited even, and I heard myself say yes. The Spirit is a most mysterious power. And hey, at least it's not activities committee, which the nursery leaders we're replacing got!
So after sacrament meeting we went downstairs to nursery, and instead of dropping the girls off at the cabinet barrier, we entered with them. In retrospect we should have given them warning we were staying. We were just kind of in shock and hadn't thought to tell them we were their new teachers. As a result they were both confused and ridiculously weepy, clingy and whiney for the next 2 hours; the other nursery workers said they had never acted like that before.
Nursery is for 18 month to 3 year olds (they stay until the January after they turn 3). It lasts for almost 2 hours, while everyone else is in Sunday school and then Relief Society and Priesthood classes. Our ward has approximately 25 kids in nursery, and 8 adult workers (4 couples). We have three rooms at the end of a hallway to work with, and tons of toys. The first hour is spent on free play, with different stuff set up in each room like blocks, books, cars, coloring, playdough, etc. Then we clean up and divide the kids into 3 groups, one in each room. Every 10 minutes or so they rotate rooms - lesson, activity, snack. One couple is in charge of each room on a rotating basis, with the 4th couple getting a week off to attend the adult classes. That's the plan, anyway. The bishopric has assured us that if we need more help they will get it for us. A refreshing change from Bensonhurst! Ed assured them I will take them up on that, having been on the bishopric receiving end of things when I was primary president in
I was immediately thinking, "How can I talk Katy into picking No Crying Nursery (blog) back up so I can mooch off her excellence even though she's not nursery leader anymore?" But then I learned there's a brand new nursery lesson manual called Behold Your Little Ones. Some of the lesson topics are the same, but more gospel oriented (no more "I am Thankful for Fish.") The lessons are also a little shorter, more user friendly and age appropriate, with the photographs and pictures right in the book instead of loose, and some new/updated lesson activities. Nice timing. Katy, you're off the hook.
Last night Ed and I were set apart, which is a blessing from someone in the bishopric in which you receive specific instructions/blessings/abilities pertinent to your calling. It was a remarkably spiritual experience that quelled any remaining reservations I was feeling.
In fact, there are only upsides, my setting apart blessing having addressed the perceived downside of getting burned out on kids. A few that Ed and I came up with are:
- We get to serve together, something we've never gotten to do and may not get to do again for a long time. After the
famine of barely seeing each other, even on Sunday because of callings or Ed's job, we get to be and work together, and even better, be together as a whole family. New York
- Hello, there's snack.
- It's a Sunday calling. That means no extra work during the week like meetings, activities, phone calls, etc. A little preparation in the way of lessons or activities, or occasionally finding a sub may be required, but it's not a big deal.
- Suddenly the pressure's off to dress nicely for church. I mean, yeah, still dress up, but I'll be pulling the denim skirt back out, and Ed will be wearing trousers but not his nice suits.
- Everyone shares the work. We will be in charge of the lesson every 4 weeks but even then there are two of us to do it. Everyone else in nursery is totally competent and willing to do their share.
- There is something amazing about little kids - yes, there's some crying, some fighting, and developmental stuff like that. But they are super innocent and trusting, and remarkably spiritual as well. It's really an honor to spend the time with them and be trusted with their care and instruction.
So you see, Lindsay (our nursery leader in