Friday, November 7, 2008

helpless infants or tenacious tykes?

I volunteered to serve in hospitality at church because I believe that, 1) refreshments play a crucial role in any given situation, and 2) it's my comfort zone. I simply love to cook and host. I worked my first set-up shift last Sunday morning before the service and I conquered a new challenge: making coffee for hundreds of people. (Fun fact about me: I have never consumed a cup of coffee in my life and I have certainly never prepared it before, especially not for a crowd!)

Our church is an extremely young one. I estimate that the average age of members (adults only) falls in the late 20s or perhaps 30. As you can imagine, babies and young children prevail. The number of volunteers in childcare can't keep up with the ever increasing birthrate. After Brad and I had been members for a few months (the legal waiting period), we were quickly solicited to assist in childcare, which honestly, scares us both to death.

Brad is an only child and has spent very little time around children. He has never changed a diaper and he's probably only held a baby a handful of times in his life. While I cared for my much younger siblings, it's been 20 years since I changed a diaper. And I rarely babysat when I was younger, so I lack experience caring for non-family members' children, especially the young ones. Plus, I suspect that people are overly particular about everything having to do with their children and previous experiences with some sassy ones have scarred me.

I will work a 2.5 hour shift in childcare for the very first time this coming Sunday morning. Volunteers who arrive early get their first choice of age group, but I have no idea which room to pick. Here are the options:
  • 6-11 months (or possibly younger than six months... I'm not sure)
  • 12-17 months
  • 18-23 months
  • 2 years old
  • 3 years old
One friend at church advised me to choose the 18-23 month room because the children have moved past their parental separation anxiety by then and can entertain themselves, but aren't overly disobedient. Another friend suggested the 12-17 month room because they "can walk and are still cuddly, but they can't talk and thus can't be too sassy."

I can tell that this impending duty weighs heavily on my mind because recently I dreamed that while working in the nursery, it took me 45 minutes to change one kid's diaper because she kept rolling/crawling away!

Advice, please. A two and one-half hour shift sounds like an eternity.


Amy said...

Oh dear...this sounds hilarious! I worked in our church's nursery all through high school and some of college. We had ages 6 months to 2 all in one room which could get a little hectic. I think I would agree with the friend who suggested the 12-17 month room. They should be relatively low maintenance and easy.

Jennifer said...

I would pick 6-11 months...less overall mobility, and the diapers only get stinkier as the kids get older. My second choice would be 12-17 months. Honestly, the seperation anxiety can happen at any age. Katie is getting better now (at 18 months), but some other kids go through it later.

You guys can have Katie for practice on Saturday!

Katie said...

I would go with the three year olds. At least they can talk back to you and you can play games with them. I get so nervous around babies who can't talk.
I can't wait to hear all about it!

Smiling Mama said...

Oh this is so tough! I keep thinking of pros and cons each of the ages. I think I'd recommend the youngest set if that means there will be a higher ratio of babies to caregivers. Or, I'd go with the oldest group--they will pretty much entertain themselves or you can read to them, sing songs, etc. (I'm pretty impressed by this whole set-up, though, as my church has NO NURSERY at all--I'm trying to get one started. Maybe you can consult :)

diana onorio funk said...

Let fate decide for you! There are pros and cons to each each group... regardless, each set is a different miracle. (I'm feeling a little sappy tonight, what with my own 2-year-old asleep after a long hard day of stomach flu.) :( Let us know how it goes!