Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Help Wanted!

Our 1 year old is very mobile; she's been walking for two months. She does NOT want to stay in my arms during church.

She's so fussy that our priest asked if we feed her before church, making sure we weren't trying to make her fast! (yes, we feed her)

Holy Week wasn't so hard with My Little Builder as a baby. Wait - Maybe that's because when he was 1, I didn't bring him to Holy Week (except of course we did Pascha!). When he was 2 years old, his Papa made him a little silent censer and he would walk up and down the side isle, over and over, sensing. For 2 hours!

But this precious little girl will not stay in one area to walk - she waits until my attention is turned on her brother, then starts sprinting toward the alter! Sometimes she turns around to look at me and laugh, as I try to reach her before she starts climbing the steps.

Then I struggle with her for the rest of the service, trying to force her to stay in my arms.

I've considered asking other parishioners to corale her, but don't want to disrupt their worship by giving them baby-guard-duty. I figured they would already be stopping her if they cared to take up that duty. Maybe they don't think they have permission to swoop her up. I take that for granted, coming from a previous parish in which any number of people would deal a swift thump on the head to any kids getting out of line.

My dear baby's God mother suggested that I try holding her hand and walking with her near the back - which I plan on trying tonight.

So, you other experienced mothers out there: ANY SUGGESTIONS OF WHAT'S WORKED FOR YOU?

Thanks, in advance!


  1. Well, I remember leaving them at home at times, sitting outside for a lot of the service sometimes, I agree - asking others to help corral will work, and your Godmother's advice is good too.

    It is such a short phase, but it is so hard to get through. hugs.

  2. Did you receive my email? I talked about this a little bit... it is just hard sometimes!! My 8 month old crawls-- so fast, so it is insane at times trying to corral her and my 2 1/2 year old son.

  3. This is the hardest age to deal with! My last one gave me such a workout through every liturgy because she never stopped moving in my arms, I was always sore. Only helps I can offer are - at some point when you are with a group of the ladies in church, just let them know "hey, I welcome help any time someone wants to hold this one for me :)" I know in my church there were lots of older women willing to do this, but they were usually hesitant to do it unless a young mom expressed her openness (since some young moms take help personally - deciding that the helper does not thing she can control her kids). Once I told them I was grateful anytime someone wanted to help, I got much more help (that year my husband only made it to 2 sevices for all of Lent). Another idea is to pack a special bag of books and pictures and quiet toys that are only brought out during liturgy. My older ones now have a special icon coloring book they get to color in during Holy Week services. Finally, try a small carpet square. I know it sounds crazy, but if you can get a small carpet remnant or even a scrap of fabric, and work with the child at home, practice staying on the rug. Then take the rug to church and let the child use it to define borders (kind of like preschool - everyone sit on your square). Mostly my advice is to not let their feet hit the ground in church until almost 2! As exhausting as it is, teaching them that they have to stay with you helps a great deal, and then when they are a bit older you can begin to keep them close on the ground. We also make sure we stand in a row that allows us to block the kids in so they cannot sneak out too easily. For us, letting them roam too much around the church now makes it much harder later to make them understand why they now must stay in one spot!

  4. I have spent countless hours nursing our babies and toddlers through church. Also sitting just outside there door where I could still hear. We took quiet toys and books and let them play between us, but not walk around.

  5. As a parent of 5 (8, 6, 5, 3, 1) I can relate. Of the things that work...

    1. Yes, having others hold her can be helpful if she doesn't get stranger anxiety.

    2. Try a sling. Standing up with a sling properly worn (try facing out even) can help a lot.

    3. Find something she'll play with that she can't keep dropping to make a game out of you picking it up.

    4. A bottle will work for difficult times.

    5. Use the narthex when you need to - though your child can take this as a reward for bad behavior so she can go crawl around if she makes a big enough noise (more common around 2-3).

    6. I agree with she who must be obeyed. Don't let her down too often or she'll be scooting under chairs, pews, or people all service long.

    7. The more you go the easier it gets. We started going every Wed and Sun and the behavior of all the kids has improved quite a bit.

  6. Something that works with my three year old son is playing "I Spy" in church. He gets so busy looking around that he forgets he was squirming. It teaches him to pay attention to what's going on in the service too!

  7. Deep gratitude in my heart for such great offers of help!