This week, I am volunteering at my kids’ Vacation Bible School. I try to do this every year. In years past, I was in charge of ten kids, ages five and six. (HEADACHE!) This year, I’m working the arts and crafts room for the older kids. This means that I see a different group of kids every 20 minutes.
I like volunteering for stuff with my kids. I like for my kids’ friends to know me. I like to see how my kids interact with their peers. I like to be involved.
What I hate about volunteering is the inevitable encounter with “THAT” kid. You know, that annoying kid who either won’t sit still, won’t stop talking, won’t follow instructions or just generally finds the need to be difficult. “THAT” kid drives me insane. I can spot “THAT” kid within seconds. When I do, I roll my eyes (in my mind, of course), take a deep breath and ask myself why I volunteered for this gig in the first place.
Back to this week’s gig — VBS. So, in the crafts room, I see four groups of kids throughout the morning in this order: 5th/6th graders, 3rd graders, 2nd graders, 4th graders. Yesterday in the crafts room, my charge was to help the kids make beaded bracelets (sounds girly. It’s really not, I assure you).
It started out fine. One of the kids in the first group (no, not “THAT” kid, we’ll get to him in a bit) politely asked if he could make his a little longer and wear it as a necklace instead of a bracelet. Sure! Why not? There was enough string. There were enough beads.
In the next group, a sweet, soft-spoken girl asked if she could wear her’s as an anklet. Hmmmm… even better. Good thinking, girl. How fun! So, I fitted some of the kids (mostly girls) for their little beaded anklets. By now, I was becoming impressed with the creativity of some of these kids and how they found other ways to wear their beaded jewels.
It was moving along fine. With each group that came in, I seemed to have new alternatives to offer them. And they happily went about their business, making bracelets, anklets or necklaces.
Then last group came in. My nine-year old came in. ”THAT” kid came in. Yes, that’s right, my kid was “THAT” kid. He was fidgety, hyper, asking questions that were off topic, messing around with his friends and just generally pushing the envelope.
Trying to maintain my composure, I calmly explained to the group how to do the activity. I gave them the three options for what they could do with their craft. All the kids were seemingly content with those options. All but one.
“Mom, can I turn mine into a ninja headband?”
“No, child, you cannot turn your “COURAGE” Bible School bracelet into a ninja headband! How about a necklace. That’s what your brother did.”
“No way! That’s for girls. Ninja headband, please.”
“Nope. Sorry. Give me your wrist.”
That smart little sucker then tried to dupe me.
“Mom, okay, I’ll wear it as a necklace.”
“Yeah right. What do you take me for? You think I don’t know you’re just gonna slip that thing up over your ears to wear it like a ninja headband?”
forcefully ever so lovingly grabbed his wrist, tied the knot and snipped the ends.
“There. End of story. It’s a bracelet. Now run along little boy before I yell and embarrass you.”
Was he acting this way because his mom was leading the charge? Perhaps. That’s what the other volunteer moms tried to tell me. But knowing my very sweet, very lovable but very antsy 9-year old, I tend to think not. It’s a good thing he’s a damn nice kid. It’s a good thing I love him so much!
I wonder what today will bring. We’re making tie die shirts. Crap.
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