The New Oliver Twist

Since Sean was an itty bitty guy, we have always kept him with us in church during services rather than put him in the nursery. And it’s hard work. Letting him play in the nursery would be much much easier. Little boys are naturally noisy and busy, but our philosophy is that learning to sit still is a life skill that requires practice and example. And so largely due to the efforts of Antique Daddy, Sean does fairly well on Sunday mornings. Occasionally someone will take the time to compliment us on his good behavior and it reminds us that it’s worth the effort. We’ve never once had to take him out of the service. Until Sunday.

I don’t know if it was the time change or the fact that the jasmine was in bloom, but that little boy was as wild as March hare. The usual distraction tactics of coloring and eating Goldfish simply were not working. After several admonitions, he just would not quit squirming or keep his voice down, so Antique Daddy picked him up and carried him out of the assembly hall to threaten have a strong word with him.

Unlike me, Antique Daddy never loses his cool, so Sean knew immediately that he’d gone too far and that being whisked away wasn’t going to be good.

On the way out the door, just as the assembly grew quiet for a prayer, Sean dramatically shouts, “Please Daddy! Don’t spank me! I’m just so very hungry!”

Depending upon which parent you were, this was either highly amusing or highly embarrassing.

40 thoughts on “The New Oliver Twist

  1. I don’t know your kid like you do, but I used to get spanked all the time after church, so if it was a legitimate, if poorly timed plea, can’t fault the child for that. I remember that it was really, really hard to stay still for a whole hour, especially when I was really young. I’m 20 now, and I still hate sitting still for very long periods of time.


  2. I did something like this to my folks.

    THe minister had said what must have been quite a long prayer. When he said “Amen” I asked VERY LOUDLY if that was the end of church.

    And got a response – “Not yet Tara” – from the minister.



  3. One Sunday a friend of mine got up to take her misbehaving child out and as they got up he accidentally hit his head on a beam that was beside the pew. A few weeks later, he was misbehaving again and when she got up this time the child screamed, “Just don’t hit me in the head Mommy. Just don’t hit me in the head.”


  4. We try to keep the girls in church with us for the same reason. They do pretty well but occasionally…
    My folks tell a story about me at that age. I was pretty noisy and clacking my dress shoes on the wooden floor. I then bonked my head on the pew, so my father took my loudly crying self out. I must have known I had been naughty because, I cried out, please Daddy, don’t spank me! My father felt awful because he just was taking me out since I had hit my head and was crying. I did probably deserve a spanking for earlier behavior though.


  5. Well, this wasn’t in church, but along the same lines of public embarrasment. My mom was shopping with my younger sister and I, and scolded my sister (then about 3 years old) for something or other, and she yelled out “Don’t BEAT me, Mommy!” We’re not sure where she got her concept of “beating” from, but it sure didn’t go over well with the other customers!

    My oldest is going to be 3 on Saturday, and let me tell you, I’m shakin’ in my boots. We may not be leaving the house for the next couple of years.


  6. ROFL! I would be embarrassed but I would laugh too. I’m impressed that was the first time you’ve had to take him out. My oldest is in nursery and when she’s sick and I can’t take her, it’s more of a nightmare to keep her to sit still. But I keep trying. Way to go on your hard work!


  7. Okay, I am laughing so very hard at this!!!!

    We haven’t really been back to church in a while— we finally threw the towel in a while back, vowing never to return until the twins turn 3 and are old enough for Sunday school.


  8. I’m pretty sure that my little guy wonders why Mommy insists on periodically going to that big building that just BEGS to be run around and hollered in, then won’t let him and demands that he go sit in the ladies’ lounge with her, since we have no nursery.

    But I figure hey, he and I spent a lot of time in there on the wonderful couch when I was pregnant, and more when he was nursing, and he figured out how to push himself up to sitting on the floor in there, and who knows, maybe he’ll figure out the potty thing in there one day. Now if I could just figure out how to move the portable speakers they have in the classroom into the ladies’ room so I can hear the sermon, I’ll be happy!

    But why is it that he instinctively knows that going to Cradle Roll is the torment of the damned? It sure looks like fun to me….


  9. When my youngest daughter was about 3 1/2, we had a similar experience. She had tried the Wonder Husband’s patience to the breaking point, so he picked her up and headed for the bathrooms. Now, our church is a very lively, worshipping church, but it just so happened that they were headed to the back just at the very moment that the pastor was getting ready to say something, so of course it was quiet. Jessica looked over her dad’s shoulder and shouted “Ya’ll pray for me!” Yep, she certainly did need prayer, and lots of it. However, that was the only time that happened–point was made!!!


  10. I can’t believe it. As I was reading this I thought “I’ve got to share with her what my daughter said when I took her out of a service under similar circumstances.” Imagine my delight when I read Sean’s plaintive cry – for it echoed hers. “Please don’t spank me Mommy.” she said in a rather loud voice as we walked up the church aisle. However, Sean gets the prize for being much more creative. She never mentioned being hungry!!
    I loved this one – oh well, I love them all!!


  11. I was glad I wasn’t the one carrying him out, but one time we were in Wal-Mart and he was misbehaving and I got onto him. He then hollered, “Mom are you going to spank me?” and I said “Sean, when do I ever spank you?” and he said, “On Fridays!” Yup. I spank on Fridays whether he needs it or not.


  12. Now, if you were in California, we’d have something to say about spanking. No, wait, the legislature finally got taken out back to the woodshed and stopped considering a bill to make spanking your child illegal.

    You must have been so darn happy to not be the one carrying him out!


  13. Ahhhh… reminds me of the time that my two-year-old screamed “NO PRAY! MORE EAT!” during the prayer at a Sunday School luncheon, loud enough for many, many people to hear (and snicker). It’s funny now, but it wasn’t so funny then. ha


  14. My kid used that too, specially at big crowded shopping malls, and i never laid a hand on him before. Beats me why he said that.


  15. Been there! I used to battle to keep them in with me, and they were all very good kids, we got lots of compliments, but now I’m getting old, so I don’t fight it as much, I use the nursery once in awhile. I haven’t heard the sermon more than 4 times in the last 15 months.


  16. When I was a kid, the parents took kids to the boiler room to spank them. Sometimes we met other parents there. One time, my mother was taking my brother out of the service when he wailed, “I don’t want to go to the boiler room!” Then, noticing that he had every person’s eye, he called out, “Pray! Pray!”


  17. Our 6th child was unruly one Sunday in our 2nd row seat so my husband, a tall and commanding man, picked him up and took him out. As they went up the aisle our little angel started whacking my husband on the back. You could actually hear the thumps. He seemed to think it would be a good day to die; some people still chuckle about it 8 years later!


  18. Which just goes to show that you should never think “my child would never do that thing” because “that thing” is about to come rolling out the door at ya =) Been there. I think it is great you are teaching him to sit – you are right about it being something taught. Have a nice day!


  19. OHH! I love the “ya’ll pray for me!” line. My mom took me out once, all the way behind the church…right beneath the air duct. The way I’ve heard it, she was so embarassed, I only got spankings at home from then on!


  20. My niece, when she was about 3 years old, was unusally rambunctious during The Mass. Her parents thought it was a good idea to sit on the front row of The Mass, with the two children. Well, during The Consecration, a particularly holy moment of The Mass, she started singing. Her dad picked her up like a football, and carried her down the long aisle of the filled to the brim sanctuary. Along the way, she began screaming “Please Daddy, don’t hit me again.” I can tell you, that he had NEVER laid a finger on her before.

    Personally, I’m a big fan of The Nursery.


  21. Classic!

    I have an aunt who similarly blessed her parents. Her dad (Grandpa) was preaching, and Grandma carried her out. She wiggled so that grandma was holding her by her waist, with her head facing back to the sanctuary she was leaving. She shouted, “Ya’ll pray for me!”


  22. This reminds me of ME.

    My mother loves to tell the story of partaking in the Lord’s Supper. I, of course, could not partake and I was furious that they were eating crackers and drinking grape juice and not sharing.

    She also likes to tell of the time I slid away from her and popped up about 6 pews ahead and waved at her.

    And I’d dare say 1/2 of my spankings happened right there in the church foyer!

    I’m better now…Todd rarely has to hush me.

    Jack will not even know there’s a sanctuary until he’s 8. You are soooo very blessed that Sean behaves! Jack would have every goldfish eaten 5 minutes after the singing started, and maybe have eaten a few crayons for good measure.

    He is his mother’s son.

    Thank you for the laugh…this post was precious and very close to home.


  23. I keep my two girls with me in church too. It can be really challenging, but I’m glad they are learning. So far disctractions are working for us… quiet toys like felts, crayons, and books. Goldfish work great (teddy grahams too).

    When I was a kid, I always knew if my parents had to take me out of the service I would be spanked. Just the threat of spanking made me toe the line and I never once had to be taken out.

    Maybe I need to threaten spanking to keep my own girls in line???!!!


  24. My mom used to love to tell the story about me, age 2 or 3, kicking the pew. She’d tell me to stop, I’d do it again. Thump, thump, thump. Finally she whisked me away, with me hollering all the way out, “I’ll be good, I’ll be good!”


  25. We keep Harry in the service with us as well – he doesn’t do well in the nursery. I think they end up paging us in the first ten minutes of the service everytime we try to leave him because he cries inconsolably.

    This has resulted in some alteration of our service attendance at our Methodist church. Rather than the “traditional” service (which both my husband and I are used to), we have started attending the “contemporary” service, which is more like a Christian Rock concert with the sermon in the middle (telecast from the main service). It has a double benefit. First Harry loves the music, and is more likely to be quiet. Second, even if he isn’t, everyone is too busy singing and clapping to notice.

    Being baptised Methodist, but raised somber Presbyterian, all this emoting has taken some getting used to.


  26. how cute and what a great picture! I remember when mine was that little…they grow up too fast.

    Maybe he wasn’t having fun because those little fish were smiling back until he bit their heads off.

    Hello?! I have always been a little freaked out by the Goldfish commercials and that sadistic little song!


  27. Oh my, that brings back memories! I think the only time my little brother and I ever spent in a church nursery was the Sundays our mother worked in there. Our parents believed the only way a child would learn to behave properly in “big church” was to be there from the beginning. I don’t have recollection of ever being taken out, but that could just be my selective memory taking over. 😉 My brother, however, got removed from the sanctuary a time or two, and one time in particular will always stick with me and my mom — Dad took him out, but unfortunately, he only took him as far as the foyer, when he should have gone all the way outside if he was going to apply the board of knowledge to my brother’s seat of education, so to speak. As with Sean, it was prayer time, and from out in the foyer came the distinct sounds of a little butt being whooped. The two ladies sitting in the pew in front of me and my mother just snickered all over themselves, while we tried to figure out if we could both fit under our pews. *g*

    I’m pretty sure that was the last time he had to be taken out, so maybe Sean has been cured, too. 😉


  28. Aaahhhh yes…the, “Don’t beat me, please!” routine. Love it. Especially since mine have past that stage and someone else is getting to enjoy it.

    We always preferred to keep the boys with us in church too.


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