Our church had its ‘Night in Bethlehem’ this past Sunday. It’s supposed to be a social time; a chance for the little people to make some crafts, like leather bracelets.
Even though it was beyond freezing outside, and I could think of a million (or at least two) reasons why we should stay home, I braved the negative temperatures and took my two oldest boys out for a night o’ fun.
The professor very graciously agreed to stay at home in his sweatpants, to watch over our very ‘high maintenance’ infant. Selflessness personified, that man.
Of course it’s always a bit of a mystery how the little people will react to something their parents think will be fun for them. My theory is that when parents think something will be enjoyable for their kids, it rarely is. Either that or the experience doesn’t quite unfold as intended.
It was definitely a case of the latter, last night.
Adamantly opposed to going, at first, once in ‘Bethlehem’ the Gort became a man on a mission; determined to stop at every possible craft station. His younger brother was determined to affix himself to my hip; unwilling to enter any craft station.
So there I stood. Desperately trying to have a conversation with a friend about the newest residents on my underarms: bat wings. Apparently the very second you hit your ‘mid-thirties’ the bat wings arrive. Literally overnight.
It doesn’t matter if your exercise routine is the same (as in, nothing). It doesn’t matter if you’re constantly carrying a 32 lb kid or a 15 lb baby. Or both at the same time.
You hit 35 and bam, you get your ‘wings’.
So as I was trying to learn some bat-wing-combating tips, I had a two year old tugging at my clothes, insisting I pick him up. And a five year old tugging at my purse strap, trying to steer me to the next craft station. ‘I’m getting un-patient!’ he informed me.
Several minutes later, with a leather bracelet and a decorated cardboard box and two paper crowns in our possession, we sat down for some snacks: soup, pita bread, hummus and cookies.
I started chatting with a friend. Out of the corner of my eye I could see the Gort leave the table and return. With two more cookies. To his credit, he shared one with his brother. To his discredit, he hadn’t asked if he could have another. Several minutes later, I noticed my oldest pushing past people. With two more cookies in his hand.
Talk about taking advantage of a parent who’s trying to be sociable.
Having availed ourselves to six cookies, I decided it was time to take our leave of Bethlehem.
We entered the coat rack area for my least favorite parental duty of all time: putting snowboots, jackets, hats and mittens on kids in an effort to get them to a car.
I was in the middle of another conversation when my peripheral vision was activated. I saw one kid lunging at another, smaller child; initiating revenge of some sort.
They were my kids, of course. Fighting in the middle of the coat rack area. In Bethlehem. While other adults were standing around taking it all in. With bemused/mildly concerned expressions on their faces.
The pummeling, over an injury to a cardboard box, led to screaming which could be heard all over Bethlehem. And North America too.
It was a definite ‘I love being a mom!’ moment. With gritted teeth and blazing eyes, I proceeded to re-attach snowboots and jackets and hats. All while trying to command the Hen to stop taking off his mittens.
We walked into the frozen night and returned to our home. Where I relayed the evening’s events to the professor. ‘I’m sure that’s what Bethlehem was really like,’ he attempted to reassure me.
Yes, a manger complete with shepherds lunging at each other in anger and wise men wailing because they don’t want to wear mittens. And angels running around with fistfuls of cookies. I’m sure it was just like that, back in the day.