Vacation Bible School

This week was VBS at our church. For those of you who don’t know, VBS stands for ‘vacation Bible school’. Next to Christmas, this is one of the most anticipated four days of the year to a lot of kiddos. Not to brag, but our church pretty much blows it out when it comes to fun, and I hope they learn a little about Jesus while we’re at it.

Anyway, this year I taught the Bible lesson to four groups of kids ages 1st-4th grades each day. Because I didn’t want to be the schmuck who totally blows it and makes the kids dread Bible time each day (and consequently be eaten alive by 4th grade boys who are bored), it took a little time to study and prepare. And this is generally how it went each evening…

First item to understand about my week: my husband was out of town for most of it. He was hard at work visiting agents and handling the details of his job. This left me solely responsible for everything regarding the children and the dog and the home.

Second item to understand: I have an almost 3-year-old living in my home. She is beautiful. She is hilarious. She is energetic and sweet and entertaining. And as I believe I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, she is a maniac. I really, truly believe that something happens to children around their third birthday. I don’t want to go so far as to say demon possession occurs, but sometimes it seems pretty close. It’s as if kids become self-appointed dictators and we exist merely to please them in their every whim and desire, no matter how small and no matter how quickly they change their minds.

So anyway, back to the week of VBS. I failed to grasp how observant a 2-yr-old can be. I chose not to order her the $10 lime green t-shirt her sisters and I would be wearing each day. She won’t notice, I thought, and really, how often are we ever going to wear a lime green t-shirt after this?

This was a mistake of gargantuan proportions.

The moment Leighanne entered the kitchen for breakfast and saw all of us in there, she began crying. And not just crying, sobbing. And not just sobbing, wailing. Commence rolling around on the floor, angrily and pitifully at the same time, making her indignation known.

Fade in to frantic mommy making a beeline for the registration table at church as soon as we arrive, desperate for the last extra small t-shirt they had for sale. And that was Monday.

Let’s pick up at Tuesday morning. I got up an hour earlier than the girls so I could do some last minute studying, get ready in peace, and get the house in some kind of working order so I wouldn’t have to return to a disaster. I get the older two up and ready and marvel at how easy some days with them are becoming. Then, because I cannot put it off any longer, it is time to awaken the more “spirited” child.

Some would say this was mistake #2.

I’m telling you, it was like a scene out of nanny 911. The instant Leighanne opened her eyes she commenced screaming angrily about anything and everything. I let her choose her underwear and shorts (throwing fashion rules to the wind…but really, there’s not a whole lot that actually looks good with lime green anyway) and helped her put them on. However, the instant we finished she threw herself on the floor and began screaming and ripping them off. Keep in mind these clothes were HER choice.

We went through this about three times before I gave up. Because I could not be late and have 50 kids waiting on me to teach, Leighanne rode to church with no pants. I finally convinced her, rather reluctantly, to put on her shorts in the parking lot.

Tuesday night. 8pm. Glorious bedtime. I bathe her, read to her, sing to her, pray with her, kiss her, get her a drink, arrange her pillow pet so it’s facing just so, snuggle and love on her, and say good night.

9pm. My husband receives a call from me and all he hears on the other end is, “TALK TO YOUR CHILD.” For the last 60 minutes, Leighanne and I have been engaged in a major battle of wills, in part due to the fact that I cannot find this blanket ANYWHERE

. It was not unlike the sword fighting scene in Monty Python, where the guy is injured and without arms and still ready to fight to the death. We are both exhausted, frustrated, and slightly less than happy, shall we say.

Eventually she collapses in exhaustion and I head back to my room. I find it rather difficult to switch gears and study about Elijah and the prophets of Baal and quickly give up and call it a night.

Wednesday morning. I am actually fairly certain we have done the impossible and are running AHEAD of schedule. Kids are fed, dressed, tantrums over having to wear clothing are over, hair is brushed, and all feet have shoes on them. Smiling triumphantly at my watch, I relish the feeling of not being in a hurry.

Ha. In swoops Murphy’s Law.

Just as Leighanne announces she needs to use the restroom and begins getting down from her bar chair, Olivia explodes into the kitchen from outside, red-faced, crying, and panic striken.

“Hank’s gone forever!” she yells. “He ran past the stop sign (which the girls know is forbidden with the threat of spending the next year in their room if they’re caught beyond that point).”

At that very moment I look back to find that Leighanne has not exactly made it to the bathroom in time. There is a less than pleasant substance making itself at home on my kitchen floor.

So much for running ahead of schedule.

There were moments this week where I really almost yelled to my kids, “STOP IT! DON’T YOU REALIZE I HAVE TO TEACH KIDS ABOUT JESUS THIS WEEK? FOR PETE’S SAKE!” I wondered if I would disqualify myself as a VBS teacher if I walked in with all three on a leash.

And so, that was most of our week; fantastic, fun, exciting, and busy. Also a little exasperating at times, but isn’t that what motherhood is all about? The good with the bad, the fun with the frenzy, the sweet with the sour. VBS comes but once a year….and it’s a good thing because mothers might not make it thru any more than that.


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