Bright and early this morning, I wake up to Charlie tugging on me. I asked Dowlan why in the world Charlie was roaming the house. Apparently, Dowlan's attempt to co-sleep when Charlie awoke in the wee hours had failed. Back to the crib.
Then I wake up to Melody telling me, "Mommy, it's morning! It's time to open your present and share!" She pulls back the curtain to show me the dawn's early light. So I open up my chocolates, share, have Dowlan put the rest up high, and send everyone back to bed.
Forty-five minutes later, I wake up to Charlie shoving toffee in my mouth. See, he'd been able to reach the box of chocolates and had been steadily working on it when he sucked this one down to the toffee and didn't have strong enough of a bite to break it. So he thought he'd share.
About 30 minutes after sharing my toffee with Charlie, I woke up a third time to realize that it was 8:55 and we needed to leave for church at, well, 8:55.
Did I mention waking up with a nasty headache and my feet throbbing? Yeah, that.
We get ready, we go out the door. At church, it was New Baby Dedication day. I've kinda been grumpy about the whole thing for a few weeks because no one ever thought to have a dedication for Dixie, but I just pushed it aside. Well, I walk into the new mother's brunch, my dear friend Judy looks at me, sees the look on my face, and asks me if I'm okay. I lose it. I explain everything.
Judy, being Mrs. Awesome and all, talks to the guy in charge and adds us to the list. Brunch goes well.
Then it is time to collect children and go to the sanctuary. Well, in theory, it is a sanctuary, but today it was a pit of torture. Because today, for the dedication, the whole family needs to be there. Charlie has never sat through church and it was only last week that we began to have the girls in church through the entire service. On the front row. With all the other small children. Yee-haw.
As an added bonus, the air conditioner in the church is not working. I estimated it to be about 85º.
I'm thinking, 'We'll be fine. We'll make it to the dedication, then we'll take Charlie back to the nursery and maybe just take the girls to the side foyer to listen to the rest.'
The dedication is not at the beginning, nor at the end (when we could wait until after the sermon to go fetch Mister. It is part of the sermon, smack in the middle. We are the last family to go, as ours is slightly different from the rest.
I won't torture you with the details of the hour spent trying to entertain and quiet children as we sweated. The one highlight was when the song leader stood up to welcome everyone and said, "Good Morning!" and Melody answered, "Good Morning!" right back at him.
So our time finally comes. Melody doesn't want to leave her food, Dixie doesn't want to wear her shoes, and Charlie is getting hungrier, thirstier, sleepier, sweatier and crankier by the second. We stand up, walk up, turn to face the few hundred people gathered there and Charlie goes insane. Screaming, thrashing, kicking. Dowlan's holding him, trying to figure it out. Dixie is climbing up his leg, wanting to be held. Melody is hiding behind Daddy, then she sits on the step, leans back, and flashes her panties to the congregation. I feel so helpless, and all I can do is laugh.
Thank God these people know us. Because everyone is laughing and smiling with us. I see my friend Brian and his fianceé, and they both have their heads tossed back, enjoying a good hearty laugh. The grandmothers are all shaking their heads with that knowing look that says, "Oh, thank God mine are grown!" and the pregnant women are rubbing their bellies thinking, "Wow, I'm going to have one of THOSE." Several people told me later that they were praying for us.
It really was hysterical. After awhile, Charlie takes off running. Dowlan starts to go after him, but the day is saved by Mr. Awesome--Darren, husband of Judy. He takes Charlie to the back, where Charlie is not being stared at, and is no longer freaked out.
The girls take turns being held, standing, clinging, switching parents. Kevin, the children's minister, asks us, "Will you raise this child in a house that is a, 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord' house?"
Our answer is supposed to be: Yes, with the help of the Lord.
I'm laughing so hard that I have tears as I answer, "Yes, with MUCH help from the Lord."
Then he asks the congregation if they will help us raise this child in a house that is a, 'As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord' house and they laugh as they answer as I did.
I guess the fact that no one said, "Hell to the NO" was encouraging. But I think that, if you asked any of the pregnant or childless couples in the audience today what they might have learned from church it was most likely this important, no, VITAL lesson: Space your children out as far as possible.