June 17, 2009

VBS: Today’s theme word is SCREEEEEEE!

I am running recreation at VBS this year. (That’s Vacation Bible School, for non-Southern, non-Christians, and every southern Christian family, from the devout to the Holly-Lilies who drive through church on Christmas and Easter, send their kids to one. It’s like SUPER cheap day camp with Jesus, and we are ALL about it in the South.

There was something in the job description about nurturing young somethings and infusing them with...something, but I feel like my ACTUAL job is “get the mulligans out.” That means that I sit in my church’s gym sporting a sweaty pigtail, and every 30 minutes a large group of children comes to me directly after snack, all sugared up on pudding and vanilla wafers. I tell them some rules for a game, and the rules are different, but the game is VERY VERY similar.

Every game I have chosen or invented involves RUNNGINGRUNNINGRUNNING up and down the gym and SCREAMINGSCREAMINGSCREAMING as they run. In fact, If I had had NO planning time, I could have ditched all the team choosing and shenanigans with bean bags and hula hoops and simply said “LETS PLAY RUN UP AND DOWN THE GYM WHILE SCREAMING! GO!” They churn the air until it is as thick as butter, and they leave my station sweaty and grinning and with a little of the edge off, ready to maybe sit and maybe even LISTEN to the next teacher.

Most jobs in VBS involve helping group after group of hyper kids who have NOT been to gym yet glue macaroni to paper (and the walls, and each other) and then you sing the MARCH IN THE INFANTRY song and send them on. The last 4 VBS’s I did, I ran the nursery, with its attendant grumpy babies and DIAPERS, which, once you get PAST diapers you really do not want to go BACK...

I never really liked VBS before. It was a thing I did because, you know, I had kids, and they LOVE it, and if you don’t get enough volunteers, it does not go. In fact, last year, it coincided with my beach vacation, and I tried to look sad about missing it while my eyes gleamed with unquenchable mirth. BUT THIS? Recreation? I REALLY like this job. I am having SUPER fun. Seriously. I want this job every year. I am trying to pee around it in a circle and mark it as my territory.

The stories I will take away from here, plus the extra calories I am burning, make it PERFECT for me. My favorite story so far? The one I am going to be telling in bars for the next ten years?

Yesterday, with the second graders, I was trying to explain the rules to “Have you eve asked a _____ for a _____” (You put kids sitting in a circle on tape exes, with one less X than you have kids. Each kid asks a question in that form – Have you ever asked your mom for a trip to Six Flags?, for example, --- any kid who answers yes has run around the gym. Screaming. And try to get to a new tape X. The last kid standing, the one with no tape X, asks the next question.)

While I was trying to explain the rules, the big-eyed, muppet-headed, floppy-haired darling boy child started tugging at my sleeve.
“Just a sec,” I told him. I kept on explaining rules, or trying to, when he tugged again.
“Hold on,” I said,” and soldiered on.
I was almost done, when he tugged a third time, and when I glanced at him, his big eyes were shining with desperation. He REALLY needed to tell me something. I suddenly realized this might involve a toilet and a genuine emergency, so I told the other 26 kids to hang on, turned to him, and gave him my full attention.
“What do you need?” I said, softly and kindly, and he fairly GLOWED with relief to have my attention focused on his important message.
“Your nose is big!’ he said. “Like Pinocchio’s!”

There was a brief pause, during which SEVERAL responses RACED through my head and were rejected. My favorite ---the ONLY one I had a hard time NOT saying, was to shake my head in a sorrowful manner and intone in a low, grave voice, “Sometimes bears come up from hell and eat little rude children. It’s in the Bible”*

In the end I said, “Okay! I need to finish the rules now!” and moved on. HEE! It did make me pause and wonder what my own loud and overshare-y little children were saying to THEIR teachers.

*Yes, yes, I know the bears in Second Kings did not COME UP FROM HELL to eat the naughty little children, but...it would be a better story if they DID.

Posted by joshilyn at June 17, 2009 6:29 AM

You never fail to crack me up!

Posted by: lynn henderson at June 17, 2009 7:03 AM

"I am trying to pee around it in a circle and mark it as my territory." Heeee! You are so funny! We don't have VBS at our church, but I know if I say anything, I will suddenly be running an entire VBS program! EEk!

Posted by: Melody at June 17, 2009 7:21 AM

Oh, but I LOVE having those bears come up from hell! Please? PLEASE??? I will even shave myself bald to make little children ridicule me if we can get bears to come up from hell and then redirect them to those who really, really need eating...

Posted by: rams at June 17, 2009 7:25 AM

Your nose is not big! Which makes it all funnier.

Posted by: Melissa D at June 17, 2009 9:21 AM

LOL @ bears coming up from hell. I'll have to remember that one in August when our VBS starts.

My favorite place to be is in the kitchen during VBS. I've commanded the kitchen the last 3 years and this year I'm turning over the reigns.

Posted by: Tammy at June 17, 2009 10:16 AM

HA! That's awesome. Although I must ask, is that child from a family full of people with preternaturally tiny noses? Because I don't think yours is large at all.

Posted by: Aimee at June 17, 2009 10:42 AM

love, love, love it. But I'm so glad you restrained yourself and didn't tell the little darling about the bears. (so is his mother)

Posted by: Michelle M. at June 17, 2009 11:01 AM

ha! It wouldn't be wrong to say that to OUR OWN rude little children, would it?

Posted by: Alison at June 17, 2009 11:03 AM

What the heck does that passage mean anyway??? They tore the kids forth from the she-bears? The she-bears tore 42 kids a new hole...???

Posted by: JulieB at June 17, 2009 11:15 AM

Most importantly--for a person on a restricted-fat, restricted-calorie, healthy! healthy! healthy! diet--was there any porridge involved????

(Some smart-alecky part of me wants to comment that the forty-two who got torn by the she-bears were the ones who ran the slowest in Recreation at VBS, but that's just NOT FUNNY.)

You, however, are funny. And you DO NOT EITHER have a big nose. Kids are just odd creatures.


Posted by: JMixx at June 17, 2009 1:37 PM

BWAHAHAHAHA!!! VBS is hell anyway, so what you're saying is that she-bears came out of the nursery? With paws full of diapers and covered in macaroni?

Thank you for this. I needed that laugh. For the record? I would not have been able to resist scaring the little guy. WOULD. NOT.

Posted by: tuney at June 17, 2009 2:02 PM

That does sound like fun. I bet the teachers in the sessions after you love you dearly for "getting the mulligans out".

Posted by: Holly at June 17, 2009 2:07 PM

JMixx, it is TOO funny!

Posted by: rams at June 17, 2009 2:14 PM

I have not even gotten past THIS line yet. . ."It’s like SUPER cheap day camp with Jesus,". . .this is gonna be good.

Posted by: Roxanne at June 17, 2009 5:49 PM

When I did after-school daycare, we actually did play a game called "Running and Screaming", which is, well, exactly what it sounds like. This one little girl nearly broke my eardrums every time :P

Posted by: Heather at June 17, 2009 6:56 PM

OH. MY. WORD. This story is only made funnier by the fact that you do not have a big nose and that you refrained from responding with the TOO FUNNY comment. If you had said that to someone's kid, it would equal NOT FUNNY, just WEIRD.

Posted by: Cindy Ericsson at June 17, 2009 10:19 PM

I love that you call Christmas, Easter families Holly-Lilies...that's so much nicer than the term my family uses...twotimers! I am stealing the holly-lilies for all Canadians.

Anette, an Alberta Baptist

Posted by: Anette at June 18, 2009 1:17 AM

Next week is our VBS and I decided to volunteer. I'll be one of the ones herding kids towards their next goal in an effort to get them to MAKE and LEARN and RUNRUNRUN. I'm glad you're having such a good time. I kinda can't wait for my "your nose is big" story.

Keep up the good GoRed! work!

Posted by: Nikki at June 18, 2009 1:34 AM

I can't say anything about VBS but when I was little, I attended went to summer camp at a Catholic high school that was run by a resident order of nuns. The grounds were on the side of one of the biggest hills in the area and it always seemed like activities were scheduled to ensure the most trekking up and down the hill on the part of the campers. Methinks that is the Salesian version of RUNRUNRUNSCREAMSCREAM.

Posted by: Dani at June 18, 2009 11:15 AM

This sounds so good. We didn't have anything like that; the nearest equivalent was going on a CAYA march (Catholic Association for Young Adults) and finding that the team behind us had made their banner too wide to get through the church doors, and instead of proudly proclaiming their diocese as HARTLEPOOL as intended, they had to roll up and process as ARTLEPOO instead.

We were not too old to find this hilarious.

Posted by: Liz at June 18, 2009 4:48 PM

Do the hell bears eat rude, mean adults too? If so, then bring them on and I'll bring you a list of mean, evil, deserve to be eaten by hell bears adults.

Posted by: Debra at June 18, 2009 8:46 PM

So, I'm a teacher. One of my kids was going through my recycling bin, looking for something he'd tossed the day before and now realized he still needed, and found something another kid had done. He interrupted a conversation I was having to tell me about it.

"Um, Ms. Teachin'?"

“What’s up?”

“We just found a picture of you in here and it says on it that Ms. Teachin’ is a big fat meanie.”

I laughed. “Well, you know, I AM a meanie.”

He looked at me and very earnestly said, “Yeah, but you’re not FAT."

AWESOME. I smiled and thanked him (and frankly, I"m proud that I'm enough of a recycling zealot that whoever wrote the message at least thought about the future of the trees in disposing of it).

Kids rock.

Posted by: teachin' at June 19, 2009 8:08 PM