Today I came stockpiled to sacrament meeting. I had hoarded the cupboards. I had hunted and gathered whatever morsels of goodness that I could find to keep a two year old content for one hour. Cathi had gone to church early for a meeting, so I stuffed the diaper bag with all manner of delicious fruit snacks.
We weren't even sitting down before Calder asked for his first snack. He calls out "SNAA...Snaa...I want snaa mom." Having been overly prepared, I excitedly handed Cathi the first bag of "Fruit Gushers" I had found this morning. Unfortunately, Calder eats treats like a gorilla eats bugs. As soon as he finds one, it is in his mouth. And if there is more than one, they are all in his mouth. The Gushers lasted about 49.62 seconds.
Knowing that there were more treats to be had, Calder immediately howls out, in his best anti-church tone, "snaaaa...want more snaaa!" I leaned over and grabbed what I call "Inner City Trail Mix". It is a mix of marshmallows, Fruity Cheerios, fish crackers and Corn Pops. Calder wanted none of this nonsense. "Snaa" means fruit snacks. Nothing more, nothing less.
After offering the mix of discarded food dreck several times, my patience began to run thin. Calder was now in one of his signature "back board braces" in which he lays on your lap, arches his back and either moans or cries. Most parents know this maneuver. It is a fairly common practice for 2-3 year olds. It is nearly impossible to pull a screaming child from this stiffened pose. Desperate, I grabbed the diaper bag and pulled out fruit snack number two. Pirates of the Caribbean this time.
Things went well for the next 55.6 seconds. Calder then noticed that the fruit snacks were shaped like skeletons. He thinks skeletons signify pirates and every time he sees one he says, "Yo Ho Ho". The next stop on his Sacrament Meeting itinerary was shoving fruit snacks in his parents closed mouths while yelling "Yo Ho Ho" at a high decibel. Strike 2.
Calder did, however, finish the fruit snacks and wanted more. (We were still singing the opening hymn.) This time Calder went scuba diving for his own treasures under the pews. It took him 3 seconds to find the diaper bag, pull out a fruit roll up and say, "Guw-o-A Baw!" Very cute, but not so funny.
I allowed him to eat the roll up, which he promptly rolled into a small ball and shoved the entire thing in his mouth. It took him all of 8 seconds to eat the Guw-O-A baw. Blasted!
In between snacks, I tried to entertain him with some books that we have had in the diaper/treat bag for several weeks. His main objective in every book he reads is to find Dumbo. Even if the story has nothing to do with an elephant, he will find pictures or clouds or anything, point to it and yell, "DUMBO!" He did this to about 4 books and then I decided to find a different treat.
Aha! Perfect! I pulled my small bowl of Inner City Trail Mix out. He had to be in the mood for this now. The trail mix proved to be more of a sorting activity than an eating one. He calmly picked out every marshmallow in the cup and rammed them down his tiny esophagus. Following the marshmallows, he went for the fish crackers. He left the rest for the poor and needy.
After the trail mix excursion, Cathi made an attempt at holding the squirly scalawag. He crawled all over her, stuck his fingers in her mouth and yelled," BITE ME" and made an escape attempt over the back row. Strike 3.
I took Calder out at about 11:35. As I wrangled him out of the service, he shrieked, "MORE TREE, MORE TREE!" I took him to a side room and held him firmly on my lap. I thought, "Leaving Sacrament meeting should not be fun and this kid is going to as miserable as he has made us for the next 15 minutes!"
For the next 15 minutes, Calder glanced up at me and smile his big, tomfoolery grin. He would softly pinch my nose and say, "Got-cher-no, daddy". He would smile and plead, "Tree, daddy, tree?" It was so perplexingly tough to stay mad at him. Why couldn't he be this good in the meeting? He was just tormenting me. I finally relented and we went back as the closing prayer was being said.
So how many treats does it take to get a two year old through sacrament meeting? The same as the number of licks in a Tootsie Pop. The world will never know.