Friday, January 21, 2011

Nursery Duty

I mentioned in my last post about my inexperience with children, so you might see the irony in my being asked to serve as a nursery worker at the church we used to attend in another city about 30 miles away. After they assured me that there would always be another nursery worker in there with me, I agreed.

I must have had a temporary memory lapse about another time I served in a church nursery, when an 18-month-old little girl cried so hard that she wet all over me. And I don't mean with tears.

Anyway, things were going along pretty well for my periodic nursery assignments. My co-laborers seemed always willing to do the dirty work (if you know what I mean), and my duties pretty much consisted of keeping the little ones from hurting themselves or each other. (We had some very active children in the nursery. It seemed like 50 or so; but it was, in reality, only about a half-dozen.)

We had one little boy who was usually pretty quiet. He would sit and watch the goings on of the others, as if mesmerized, but rarely participated in the action. One day, he came over and stood beside my chair, not saying a word, just standing there.

I said, "J, do you want me to get you a toy?"

J shook his head no.

"Do you want to sit on my lap?"

Another head shake.

"Do you want a cracker?"

I thought I was onto something with that one, but J again shook his head.

"Do you have to go to the bathroom?"

Bingo! A nod in the affirmative.

"Do you need help?"

Another nod.

Oh dear. Don't show fear. They sense fear, you know.

It's not necessary to get specific about this experience. Suffice it to say that there was more involved than just pointing the child at the toilet. My co-laborer that day was a 15-year-old girl who, fortunately, knew much more about taking care of children than I did. With her counsel, J and I managed to get the bathroom emergency handled, if not efficiently, at least adequately.

Later, when I told his mother that J had initiated me into a new experience, she had a good laugh and told me that J was perfectly capable of going potty all by himself and never asks for help at home.

The little turkey.


  1. Awe.... That little guy was 'christening' you!!!!! Ha ha ha... I worked for the church for 25 years (Director of Christian Education) ---so I know about getting good nursery workers.. It wasn't always easy even though they did get paid...


  2. Betsy - Our nursery workers were all volunteers, and they were all good, with the one exception set forth in this post. :) That was a great group of women, and I miss them. But I don't miss nursery duty.

  3. This made me laugh. Kids, like cats, are quite aware of the inexperienced and more than willing to initiate your cooperation. Gotta love that. :)

  4. Hilary - I'm glad my trauma could give you a chuckle. :)

  5. I'm so glad you started blogging. It's so fun to read stories like this that I recognize, but get to enjoy all over again. :)

  6. Sandra - Thanks for the blogging encouragement. Those pictures of me awkwardly holding Baby LuLu prompted the memories of nursery duty. I know there was more to this 15-year-old helper explaining to me how to remove the necessary parts of J's clothing, for instance...but those details are lost in my memory.

  7. Great story Linda. Had me laughing out loud.

  8. Then my mission is accomplished, Keith. :)

  9. Ha! Cute story, Linda, told very well indeed. :)

  10. Thanks, Frank. I'm glad you enjoyed it.

  11. You've gotta love a kid who helps you accomplish things you never could have dreamed up on your own! Did I ever tell you about the frosty he got after church that day... just kidding!

  12. Tina - I'm glad you finally figured out how to get to this post. Sorry about the typo in the link I sent you. Just think what your next two, Z and S, could have taught me if I'd stuck around long enough. :)


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