The Moral of Today's Story:
Do not take your toddler to a Christmas Eve service and expect him to sit through it without embarrassing you.
So I guess you'll want to hear the story...
Last week, we got a flyer in the mail from a church nearby called The Church Next Door. (For real. That's its name.) It was advertising a Christmas Eve candlelight service for today at 4pm and 6pm. Since our church does no such thing, I thought it would be fun to go. David had to work until 9pm, like usual, so Mom and I were going to take James and go. The flyer said that they'd be giving out fun goody bags to kids, so I figured that he'd be entertained enough.
Wrong. So wrong.
First of all, he screamed for the whole five minutes that we were sitting there before the service started. He just wanted to run around and be free, but that wasn't on the agenda and he didn't approve of it. We finally got him settled down by giving him some stickers from his goody bag and some goldfish crackers that I had brought, so I thought we were good for a while.
Not for long.
While everyone was singing, James was pretty much fine. He'd sit there and enjoy his crackers in relative silence. The exact second that it went quiet, he decided that he needed to talk. Loudly. And, bonus, no one else's kid was making any noise. In a room with at least 200-300 people. (How does that even happen?!) And he wasn't just talking to say stuff. He was making very loud monkey noises, on purpose.
It pretty much went like this:
James (at the top of his voice): "Oooh, oooh, oooh, AHH, AHH, AHH! Cool monkey!"
Me (in a serious whisper): "No, James. That's not a cool monkey. You need to be quiet. Fold your arms. It's time to be reverent. We're in church."
James: "Oooh, oooh, oooh, AHH, AHH, AHH! Cool monkey!"
Me: "No! James, if you aren't quiet, we have to go home."
James: "No home!"
Me: "Then be quiet."
This exact conversation took place no fewer than seven times.
A few times, after this conversation (or a similar one) took place, James would then proceed to try to blow bubbles in his sippy cup of milk, which is impossible based on how the cup is made. Mostly, he just sounded like he was doing that "crazy lip" sound. You know, where people waggle their index finger up and down on the front of their lips? And, of course, it was very loud.
During one shining moment, James was in the middle of shouting, "No home!" again when he let out this incredibly loud, juicy burp. Think dead silence plus Buddy the Elf's soda burp. That's what it sounded like.
At the time, this was a little mortifying since we were around unfamiliar people and because the room seemed to amplify the sound of my son's impromptu vocal performance. But, to top it all off, there was a kid sitting in the row in front of us who kept giving James really dirty looks. Yes, James was being loud, but he's 2 and that's what happens with 2-year-olds. This kid was sitting with his parents and his younger brother. The kid looked to be about 7 or 8 years old. I understand that children have a much harder time controlling their annoyances, but an 8-year-old should have enough self-control by that age to not turn around and give a toddler dirty looks, right?
When I first noticed this, I saw the kid turn around and mouth the word stop at James, but James was touching the back of this kid's chair with his fingers, so I thought that maybe he'd accidently touched him. I kept James from reaching the chairs in front of us after that. It didn't matter though, because any time James would be loud, this kid would turn around and give James a really dirty look. After about the third time, I leaned forward and said, "I'm sorry," to the kid, in hopes that he'd stop. For all the response I got, I could've just apologized to the chair. He did it a few more times before one particularly pointed glare. Everyone was standing because they'd just finished singing, but I remained sitting the entire time because James was on my lap. Right on cue, once the singing stopped, James made some more noise. This kid turned his whole body around and just glared at James, as if to say, "Why on earth can't you just shut up?!" By this point, I was pretty fed up with his rudeness, so I glared back at him with my dirtiest Mom-glare. After that, every time he'd glare at James, I'd glare right back. Obviously it did no good because he kept turning around to glare, but it made me feel a little better in a childish sort of way.
And, for the record, only one other person looked at us during this whole noisy fiasco, and that was a teenage girl a few rows up who was just looking to see where the noise was coming from. Even though he was being noisy, it was obvious that Mom and I were trying to keep him as quiet as possible and no one else said anything or gave us dirty looks (that we saw). Except for the terribly rude child in front of us, whose parents were oblivious to his actions.
Man, I've never wanted to punch a kid in the head more in my entire life.
Eventually, we decided to leave because James just wouldn't settle down. We were there for a good 45 minutes, so I'm sure we didn't miss too much. However, we did miss the whole candle-lighting part, so that was a bummer. But it was probably good that we didn't tempt my child with open flames.
After leaving, we got some Taco Bell, went home to eat it, put James to bed and then Mom helped me finish putting ribbon on our Christmas presents while we watched Borrowed Hearts (one of the best Christmas movies ever made) and laughed about the monster burp and echoing monkey noises.
That was my Christmas Eve.