Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Pocketful of Courage M&Ms


She looks so sweet and innocent, doesn't she? Most of the time she is. But when she isn't? Well, she can throw a princess tantrum fit for a queen. She threw one of these on our first Wednesday visit to our new church. Before we got there, she assured me with her typical charming smiles that she would be more than happy to walk into her class without a fuss.

But when I got to the door of the classroom, she wrapped her little arms and legs around me so tightly, I couldn't pry them off. When I had finally freed her legs, they started kicking (me) in true tantrum fashion. I managed to pass her off to the nursery worker who, through fake smiles and above the screaming, assured me it would be "just fine" if I left the little monster with her.

What my little princess needed was a trip out to the woodshed, but truth be told, I was just as stressed out as she was. It was a disorganized first night, and I didn't know where I was to go nor where my children should be dropped off. I'm sure my frustration had worn off on her.

So, taking the nursery worker at her word, I turned to try to find my way, all the while hearing her screams echoing down the halls of the church. When I went to pick her up, she was cheery as ever. I thanked the nursery worker profusely and apologized several hundred times on behalf of my little girl. I was told that, "She sure does have a set of lungs of her!" which is polite for, "Please don't ever bring your cute little bundle of terror back to my classroom!"

All week, I dreaded this return to church, but I knew for the sake of my other 3 kids I would return. Not to mention I had already paid for all of us to participate in Wednesday nights. Not to mention I enjoy some adult interaction myself. But I dreaded doing the tantrum all over again. Clearly the nursery worker dreaded it too because when I walked in with Audrey, I heard her exclaim to her fellow worker, "Oh no!" which at first really ticked me off because this is my sweet, little princess and how dare you! But then I remembered what it is like to be a volunteer in a church's children's program. And I remembered all of the little monsters who, over the years, made me exclaim, "Oh no!" when I would see them walk through the doors.

Lucky for the nursery workers, I was armed with a brilliant plan. I built her anticipation early afternoon by telling her I had a special surprise for her. Then, right before we got to her class, I pulled out a little baggie of M&Ms. "These are Courage M&Ms," I told her. "I want you to put them in your pocket, and everytime you feel like crying, you just pop one in your mouth. OK?" She nodded.

We walked in. I knelt down to hug her and got the tight death grip around my neck. "Do you need one of your M&Ms?" I whispered in her ear. The little hands around my neck loosened and she reached in for a candy. She popped it in her mouth, kissed my cheek, and I walked out.

When I picked her up, the nursery worker was all smiles--and not a fake smile this time. She greeting me enthusiastically. "Not a tear this time!"


13 comments:

Mominin said...

You are such a creative Mom! What a great idea. I'll have to keep that one in the Mommy arsenal for future use.

Melissa said...

Brilliant!

5thsister said...

Ding ding ding ding ding! You win the clever mommy award!

CrossView said...

Very creative! Glad it worked out!

BUT....

I wish you were dropping her off in my class. I would NOT have said or felt "Oh no" because I know how hard it is for both parent and child. And I don't mean to sound so obnoxious but that just kinda ticks me off. I used to look at it like a game - to see if I could get the child distracted and busy and happy. We would both win that way. And if you can't handle that kind of normal reaction from a child then you don't need to be working with them!

I actually worried more about the little ones who didn't care if a parent was there or not. A well-loved child will often have a problem disengaging when they're young.

Sorry. Rant over.

And I'm glad the hurdle has been cleared. ;o)

Sanna said...

Simply. brilliant!

Peachuvamom said...

I'm a nursery worker at our church, and I do have a few "Oh no!" kids....but I don't say "Oh no!" I, too, look at them as a challenge to me and my skills. My favorite story is one little girl who cried and cried every single time her folks brought her. 18 months old....cried for three hours of a bible study her parents attended. I honestly had a headache after that shift. My coworker wanted to buzz the parents every week. I kept saying, "No. They need to be in bible study. Let's just deal with it." We kept trying. We tried everything. Finally, the little girl came around.

Now, she is three years old, and she runs to me every time she sees me, and she gives me huge hugs!! I have her picture on my fridge--actually I have three pix of her on my fridge! ;o)

So, that worker may have said, "Oh no" out loud, but if she's worth her salt, she'll work with your precious darling and good things will happen. The M&Ms are a great idea, too!

tsinclair said...

Very clever indeed :-)

Bunch of Barrons said...

Great idea! My 2 year old son took a swing at me when I dropped him off at the childcare at our gym the other day. One second he was clinging to me and the next he was trying to punch me. ;) I guess he thought if I was set on working out he was going to make me pay for it. :)

Mrs Soup said...

Oh what a great idea! So cute!

Brownie said...

You do indeed win the creative mommy award! Great idea!

But I must confess that my little Red is one of those "oh no!" kids. Not for crying but for sheer energy!

@crossview... my darling Red could care less if I drop him off someplace. He cheerfully waves good bye. I prefer to think that I'm just raising a very secure child, right? right? I love him really I do!! ROFL!!!

dclouser said...

What a great idea! Absolutely LOVE the pic of Audrey!

Linda said...

ah... if only all of life's problems could be solved with a handful of m&m's. Oh, wait, maybe they can!

@nnie said...

I would act nice for some M&M's too!!  that Audrey is soooo cute. Great pic and fun post. Mommies can be so clever.