Sunday, November 20, 2016

Sundays of A Nursery Leader

Ever since I graduated from high school and entered into Relief Society, I've volunteered to be in the nursery. The herds of toddlers, the chaos, the animal crackers, singing time and the random hugs make church so enjoyable for me.

However, it is now November. And for anyone who's served in nursery before, you know this is a tough time. Nursery has a sort of open enrollment policy throughout the year, so as soon as a little one turns 18 months they enter nursery. Which means that even though you started with 7 toddlers, by the end of the year you have 20. TWEEENTY. That is a healthy group of semi-socialized children.

And it is crazy. Fun, but crazy. I've never had a class this big before so I wanted to write a post remembering the extent of the energy every Sunday.  

The morning starts and you face your closet with a selective eye, breezing over anything that does not go a healthy distance below your knees. All your shorter skirts look back at you in sadness, remembering the days before you were a nursery leader and weren't required to crawl all over the floor playing with a bundle of toddlers every Sunday. Jewelry and necklaces also get passed over ever since the time 2 yr old Ellie reached up and gave your earring a healthy yank.

During Sacrament meeting you keep count of how many of your pupils get escorted out by their parents and use that to approximate the emotional level of nursery for that day.  

The closing prayer finishes, and you rush to the classroom so you can be there for the parents to drop their kiddos off.

One by one the toddlers filter in and beeline towards their favorite corner. Blocks are dumped out, dolls are retrieved, the book box is tipped over and in ten seconds flat the floor of the classroom is a minefield.

One wants you to read them a story, three want to sit on your lap, and ones driving a firetruck over your head. Meanwhile, plate after plate of play food is brought to you and you pretend eat it to the delight of the little chef. "Cupcakes with ketchup on them?! My favorite!"

The lover of reading-typically a well behaved, calm kid-is also uncannily observant and always catches you trying to skip pages. In your defense, the book is 50 pages long and you remind yourself to hide it next time.

There's a distinct language barrier that some of the 2 year olds are unaware of. Without the finesse and interpretation skills of their parents, you literally have no idea what they are trying to tell you but the urgency in their tone and frustration in their eyes tells you you're missing something important. Rather than ignite the exasperation of a misunderstood toddler, you reply with "Really?!" with big eyes and enthusiasm. Repeat at least 15 times throughout the day.

Snack time ensues to the cheers of the throng, and a variety of crackers are dropped into coffee filter bowls. It's a happy, quietish time while everyone munches cheerfully. This is also typically family betrayal time, when the toddlers reveal harmless and humorous secrets about the inner workings of their family. Unless someone's fingers wander into their neighbor's bowl, it's overall a relaxing time. It ends with crumbs on the floor and inevitable mashed up goldfish on your dress somewhere.

Then it's on to Singing Time. And it doesn't matter what season it is, Once There Was A Snowman is a legitimate option.

You get nervous when they demand the Sunbeam song because you're 80% sure you'll disrupt the whole building when you let them sing (read: scream) it. But the enthusiasm is very endearing. 

In a blur that flew by but also lasted forever, the two hours are up and the parents begin to retrieve their little guys.

I know there's a popular joke in the church that nursery is an effective birth control method for newlywed couples, but Tayler and I feel the opposite! Why wouldn't you want to be around 2 1/2 foot people who sporadically give you hugs, always want to snuggle on your lap, and think that Jesus is the answer to every question you ask?

We sure love our little (huge) nursery class.

The above photo is a stock photo, not a picture of a child in our class.


  1. I loved this article! I am also in the nursery and can definitely relate too this๐Ÿ˜ It is definitely crazy but its a good crazy. the kind I prefer over Relief Society. My favorite is seeing if I can get the new comers to love nursery too.

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