"Nursery is for babies," so says my very mature 2 1/2 year old. At least it was today. Sundays are always hit and miss with her. Either she is so excited to go to church and nursery, or she fights us on it. Today was the latter. This morning she wanted to stay home and "practice my sign language" (her exact words), then she told us she could stay home alone, when we explained that wasn't an option she told Andy that he should go to church with Jax and I would stay home with her. Hey, I gotta give it to the girl, she knows what she wants.
So, based on the pre-church negotiations, I knew we were in for a battle... quite possibly all out war while there.
Of course we arrived a few minutes late... due in large part to aforementioned negotiations with the Toddler Monarch. Now, before I go into the next part of the story I must preface it by saying Ava is usually pretty reverent during Sacrament Meeting. Sure, we have to remind her on occasion to use her "whisper voice," but honestly, she's great. She folds her arms as we walk into the chapel, and does the same while waiting for the sacrament. Today, not so much... the battle continues. Because we were late we ended up sitting in the foyer and it's a good thing. The little nut was running around like a crazy person. Stomping, twirling (see previous blog on twirling), yelling at Andy, demanding snacks... good times.
So, as the first notes of the closing hymn were played I began to mentally prepare myself for, what I was sure, was about to ensue. I was suiting up for the great "I-don't-want-to-go-to-nursery-but-honey-nursery-is-fun" battle of, well... every other week. So, you can imagine my shock and awe when following the closing prayer she said, "Time for nursery?" GASP! Did she just ask me to go to nursery. Sing the Hallelujah chorus, bust out your best bottle of sparkling apple cider, the doodlebug wants to go to nursery.
So off we marched, with a brief layover at the loo, to Room 10. The door opens, Ava hesitates, she looks at me, "If I don't cry can I have a Smartie?" Smart girl. Ahh, if only all the world's problems could be solved with a delicious sweet, but a little tart, candy treat. "Sure honey, and when I come back to get you I'll give you a big hug and kiss." "And a Smartie?" "Yes, and a Smartie." Priorities, Mom.
Now, I must say. I am not above occasionally bribing her. I know there are mothers, doctor-types and psychologist-types who would gasp at the mere mention of bribery. But hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. I did it while potty-training (one yogurt-covered raisins for #1, two for... well, you get the idea). I'll do it for nursery. Treats such as Smarties are such a rarity for Ava that she pounces on the opportunity to get one. And let's face it, I'm not giving her a cigarette.
Anyway, I gave her a hug and a kiss, walked out the door, a little in a shock-induced daze and went to my classroom. I sit, so far so good. Lesson begins, so far so good. Ten minutes into the lesson, so far so... and there she is... tears pouring down her precious little face. Brekke, the wonderfully, patient angel of a nursery leader says, "She has to go potty." Ava repeats amidst sobs, "Mommy, I have to go potty." I feel terrible that she is so sad, but laugh a little inside because she's so smart. She doesn't have to go potty. She just knows that if she says she does, she gets to see me. She duped the nursery leaders. I'm telling you, the kid is a genius! So, to humor her, I take her to the potty. She sits. And sits. And sits. "Oh Mommy, I forgot, I already went potty. But I don't want to go back to nursery." I compromise, "Can I go play with you in nursery for five minutes?" It's a deal.
And we're off. Back to room 10. We're in. Ava begins to cry, "Mommy, please don't leave. Stay with me." The sweet little thing climbs up on my lap, "Mommy, I just want to cuddle with you." How can I resist that?!
I end up taking her to Relief Society with me. No biggie. She does fine in there... not to mention we sit in the very very back.
Here's the point of this all. FINALLY! Ava loved her nursery in Prescott. Initially, the transition was tough. But once we got through the first month, we were golden. She loved the leaders, her friends, the activities... she was comfortable. Here, it's different. It's not as organized. They don't have a fun craft to bring home every week. The nursery is so huge it's split into four according to age. That's hard for Ava, she prefers kids a little older because she's so advanced. I asked Brekke if Ava plays with other kids in nursery and she said no, that she kinda goes off in a corner by herself. My heart dropped. I want her to be happy and enjoy playing with the other kids. It breaks my heart to think of her so sad in there. I know that one day she'll go to school and not everyone will like her and she won't like everyone, and it makes me sick to think someone will say something unkind, or she'll have a fight with a friend or feel left out. I never thought I'd deal with that same concern in nursery.
So, what do I do? I can't take her into Relief Society with me every week, for several reasons. Primarily because she needs to go to nursery so when it comes time to be a Sunbeam she'll be prepared (although, she already has the song down), she needs to be around other kids, but also because I need to be able to go to RS and pay attention to the lesson. I need that spiritual nourishment.
So, I brought the question to Ava. She seems to have the answer to everything else. "Honey, what do you think would help you in nursery." "I don't want to go to nursery." That's obvious, I try again. "I know you have a hard time sometimes. But your teachers and friends in nursery love you." "I want to go with you." Alright, let's go a different route. "Ava why don't you like nursery?" "Nursery is for babies." I wish I could properly describe the look on her face. But any description just wouldn't do it justice. She was so serious, so grown-up, so full of attitude. "For babies?" I say. "I'm a big girl. I want to go with the Mommies." I am obviously not going to win this battle, I mean, the look on her face told me we could go back and forth on this one for a while. So, I resort to my fool-proof weapon - food. "Ava, would you like to make a treat with Mommy to take to nursery and share with your friends next week?" She looks at me, her eyes get big, "Yeah Mommy, that would be great." And curtain.
So, there you have it. We may have a peace treaty in the works. I think she just needs a little more time. Time to get comfortable with the change, the people, the toys. It'll happen. Until then, it's treats all around for the kids in Room 10.