Sundays are supposed to be a day of rest, but anymore, they have turned into a day of stress... at least for me. Sundays are prime meltdown time for the kiddos...
You see, on a normal day, Simon (21 months old) and Jonas (5 months old) get up between 6:30 and 7:00 in the morning. Simon eats lunch at 11:00 and goes down for a nap at noon (this is when Mama naps, too, since it's also Jonas' 2nd nap time). This is a pretty set schedule and is what I found to cause the least amount of crankiness throughout the week. But Sunday is a whole other monster...
Simon has the Sunday radar. It all starts Saturday night. He fusses in his sleep. Then his radar goes off no later than 5:30 in the morning telling him, "Get up! It's SUNDAY!" and he will not fall back asleep. He's cranky from getting up earlier than usual and because both Mommy & Daddy are trying to get ready for church while getting him and Jonas ready, too.
But we can't start getting ready too early, otherwise we risk having to change clothes due to a Jonas spit-up asplosion and if you've had babies who are eating solids, you should know better than to dress them before they've eaten their breakfast. Also, if we get Simon ready too early, he'll just cry "Buh-BYE?" over and over again until we leave. Usually that last part only happens once his shoes are on. Oh and shoes? We can't set them out or Simon will move them to line them up with something or just hide them for fun and then we won't be able to find them when we need to leave.
Once we're in the car, Simon's usually fine, but then it's Jonas' turn. If he hasn't already started fussing because it's his nap time (usually about 9:00) he starts screaming. At least that doesn't last long and he falls asleep. But he might wake up when we get there.
When we get to church, both kids are usually pretty content. Simon is super pumped to go to his classroom because there is a big wooden train set (Grandparents: do NOT get Simon a train set! If he has one, the one at church will be much less appealing, and we don't have anywhere to put it anyway.). He does his craft, snack, Bible story and songs with his teacher, and he stays in that room and plays during the service. Thankfully, Jonas now takes a bottle and can be left in the nursery during Sunday school and will probably nap there.
But there is no one in the nursery during service, so Jonas sits with me. Chase plays in the worship band and Jonas is pretty good during the music, but standing up with him is hard because this 5 month-old weighs at least 20 pounds! When it's time to sit down, it's time for Jonas to fuss. He's not really a fussy baby, but he likes to be entertained. At home, he has Simon for entertainment, but when the music stops at church his entertainment is gone. He's not content to just sit on my or Chase's or anyone else's lap. Jonas wants you to help him to stand or for you to stand up with him (did I mention the kid weighs at least 20 pounds?). So it's pacing with him in the back of the worship center, walking him in the hallway or just off to hang out in the nursery with whoever else has a distracting baby.
Then service is over and I usually don't know what the message was, but I do know that we need to get home ASAP because it's already after 12:00 and Simon has not lunched. I go to get Simon out of the toddler/pre-K room and then some older kids who love Simon (and he loves them) come to grab him and have him run around with them. Every Sunday I say that he can't but every Sunday they try to grab him. I pull him away, gather up his things, try to hold his hand and then the meltdown begins...
I can usually postpone it by getting Simon to "find Daddy" in the worship center. Usually he runs up to Chase and then spots the steps to the stage. Oh steps, why must you be so enticing to my toddler? I let Chase deal with the Sime at this point while I get Jonas in his seat. Oh, yeah, this whole time I've had Jonas on my hip in the sling. Did I mention he's at least 20 pounds?
Usually a friend will take Simon to the steps and lets him play while Chase chats. While this is a nice gesture and Simon loves playing on the steps and will be best friends with whoever will take him, it only multiplies the meltdown when we pull him away from those steps. So we're ripping Simon from the steps and trying to get his coat on while attempting to keep up with a conversation. Oh, and by this point Jonas is mad because he doesn't want to be strapped down in his seat, he's hungry for some baby food, and he's getting hot in his coat & hat because he's fussing.
So now I'm dragging a tired, hungry, screaming toddler out to the car and Chase is carrying the 20 pound infant in the carseat. Someone is usually trying to tell us something (and by us I mean Chase because the only conversation I've been able to have is during Sunday School or in the nursery during the service) but it's now a race against Simon's sleepiness to get home. If he falls asleep in the car and we have to wake him up, the meltdown is worse.
We get home, we lunch and Simon gets a second wind. It's usually 2:00 before he naps. Two o'clock is the time he wakes up from a nap on a regular day. If we're lucky, Jonas' schedule will also be off enough that he, too, will nap then so we all can nap...
After all of that, going to a Sunday evening community group (or anything else on a Sunday evening for that matter) is entirely out of the question.
Don't get me wrong, I love, love being these boys' mama. And they're not fuss buckets all the time, just when their routine is significantly off (or when Simon wants to watch TV and we tell him no, but that's another story). We believe it's important to gather with our local church family weekly and worth the stress, otherwise we'd skip it, believe me! Just know that if you're at my church on Sunday and I seem like I'm ignoring you, I'm not trying to be rude, I'm just futilely attempting to minimize the inevitable Sunday meltdowns.