adventures with little kids

the first night of teaching small group is always insane.  the kids test the rules that have been in place for forever and my helper emily and i try to get our bearings straight once more.  in a small basement, you think that our job would be easy.  it’s not.  we’ve got over 15 kids, three of which are babies and like to put things in their mouths, a few older boys that like to wrestle and be loud, little girls who fight over princess outfits, a 2 year old that has a mind of her own and tattle tails all over the place.  it’s crazy, but i love each and every one of them.  last night though, i wanted to throttle a few.

they decorated cookies, with a lot of whining.  “i want the green icing.  stacie, where’s the green one?”  “tanner has it.”  “well i want it.”  “you need to ask tanner nicely.  NO, do not take it from his hand!  ASK him NICELY.”  they had fun though.  and i totally increased their sugar high.

i had 2, technically 3, but i’ve never seen a kid scream that much for his daddy, new kids.  the little girl did great, for the most part.  she and her brother constantly ran up and down the steps and leaped over the crib that emily and i put up as a barrier.  i nixed that in the butt.  i gave them a break, but learned their personalities real quick.  the little boy is demanding and apparently can do no wrong.  he’s got a bit of an attitude, but he has no idea who he’s going up against. 

they made bracelets and necklaces.  one of my little girls made me a bracelet that has BFF letters on it.  i’m totally wearing it right now.  but this is when the night got really testy.  the basement was already a disaster, so i made everyone stop and clean up a bit and then they could play again.  that’s when i noticed that 4 of my kids were really quiet…..and no where to be found.  one of my kids tells me they went into the back bedroom.  i asked how, it was locked.  then i saw the light on underneath the door, knowing for sure they got in there somehow.  i banged on the door, they wouldn’t open it.  i looked at my helper in a pissed and frantic mode.  one of my older boys, braden, tells me there’s a key and i ask him to show me.  he points to a nail on top of the door and emily gets it down (i’m too short) and we try to pick it.  i was holding trent and making all the other kids stay on the other side of the room.  emily couldn’t get it so we, legit, let an 8 year old pick the lock for us.  emily got the 4 girls who were playing in a storage room to come out.  oh.  oh boy.  they finally learned what happens when i get angry.  sometimes i yell, but that’s to get over the loudness that’s already happening to tell them to calm it down a bit. that’s not how i handled this one.  i was livid.  they know the rules, and they broke them, big time.  i made all four girls sit in a different corner and i didn’t yell, which scared them even more.  no, i was cold and stern.

“you will sit here for the rest of the night.  you are done.  you are to be perfectly quiet.  you will not say a word unless i ask you a question.  do you understand?” they nod. “do you know why you are in time out?”  they nod.  “do you understand that i will be telling your mommies and daddies and i can almost guarantee your punishment will continue?” they hang their heads and nod again.  “i am very disappointed in each one of you.  you knew that room was locked for a reason.  you did not open the door when i knocked and asked you to, which makes this worse.  what if you got hurt?  i wasn’t able to get to you.  i want you to sit here and think about why your choices were wrong.”

i walked away for a few minutes and came back.  i asked them who’s idea it was.

“it was mine,” haleigh tells me.  she’s 5. 
“thank you for being honest.  i appreciate that.  how did you get in there?”
“i found a straw and we got in.”  she holds up a plastic coffee stirring straw.  i had to keep my face neutral. 
“you picked the lock with the straw?”  she nodded.  i walked away and tried oh so very hard to not be impressed.  i explained to my helper that she needed to keep her face neutral when i told her what happened.  her eyes bugged out of her head.

a 5 year old picked a lock.  with a straw.  DANG.

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