Today we tried a new church. One that is within walking distance, which is pretty cool. Its called Lake Country Baptist and has around 150 people I'd guess.
Right away we appreciated that we were noticed as newcomers and welcomed as such. Mom, you'll like this... as we were walking in, an older lady greeted us and asked about the children and such. When she found out how close E & G were, she said, "Oh, that is wonderful". Another greeter said, "My goodness your hands must be sooo busy with these three" and the lady said, "But its good, so very good". It totally reminded me of you. There was also a really good mix of old and young people, which is important to us.
We put Gwennie in her class (went in without a single look back at us), and Ethan joined us for the service until dismissal to his class after worship. This is where we need help. He was pretty bad. I had to take him out and into the bathroom for some serious discussion about his behavior. After that I tried to take him into his class and he acted much like he did last year at pre-school for the first month. Whiny, crying, pouting, dramatic and pretty much miserable. After trying to get him to warm up and play for 15 minutes, I decided to bring him back into the service. He then started acting up and talking, fake crying really loudly, pouting and being destructive. Jason took him out for a few minutes and when he returned he started kicking the chair in front of him. Needless to say, it was embarassing and stressful and I remember exactly one sentence of the entire sermon!
Its really the most I've felt like a complete dunce of a parent. Now, in all fairness, he had an allergy flare up this morning and was on Benadryl. I'm sure that didn't help. But this behavior is not abnormal. Anyone who knows Ethan has seen these things happen before. I realize he's 4, but his behavior seems immature for a 4 year old, at least to me. And worse, I feel like we don't know what to do to make it better. We punish him, especially in public, and he reacts even worse. If we try to deal with it by talking or distraction, the behavior really amplifies.
I feel like we're doing it all wrong, but I don't know how to do it right. Any advice? Post it in a comment or email me. I want to hear what others, outsiders, have to say.