You also have to be within My Man's view from the pulpit, or he complains in a rather endearing fashion. Of course, this also has its problems sometimes. (DADDY!!! I want to sit with DAAAA-DDY!!!!!)
So I thought I'd found the perfect bench: the third row back in the middle front section. We're usually surrounded by older folks who somehow think Da Boyz's antics are adorable. Bless them. I usually get a young woman - Jennifer - to help me out, and she blocks one escape route, while Mr. Squishy's stroller blocks the other. These strategies have limited the crises to only one or two a meeting.
But last Sunday.
A new family - investigators - sat behind us, apparently oblivious to the fact that that bench BELONGS TO someone else. Oh, well - they're new, they're forgiven. They consisted of a middle-age-ish woman, her husband (who I found out later is 24 - scandal!), and two teenagers (including a young women who is getting baptized today. Yeah!)
I didn't notice the very sweet-looking girl with to-die-for curls cascading down her back. She looked like a five-year-old Keri Russell from Felicity.
I attempted to engage in a quick "hello, how are you" but was interrupted by My Man stepping up to the pulpit. I flashed an apologetic smile and turned back around. It was not encouraging that no one smiled back at me. Their blank expressions didn't change in the slightest.
An opening-song-and-prayer later, I felt a very flirtatious little 'nudge' near my feet. I look down to find myself face-to-face with mini-Felicity.
"Can I have a toy?" she asks with all the mischieviousness her face allows her.
I give her a couple finger puppets and a grin and she backed away, appeased. For about two minutes. Then she half jumps over the back of our bench and rips a book away from Ouro Branco's hands. Obviously, he was not pleased.
For the next forty-five minutes, it was all out war. The best part was when Little Prince is huddled in a corner, hunched over his remaining toys, daring mini-Felicity to even THINK about taking them, Ouro Branco is crying about a recently confiscated toy and wants ME to comfort him, not Jennifer, and I'm trying to nurse a hysteric Mr. Squishy while Demon Child tries to peek under the nursing blanket and simultaneously antagonize my other two.
At this point, I gave a slightly frantic, very pleading, eyebrow raised, help-me-for-the-love-of-all-that-is-holy smile at mini-Felicity's parents.
What I got in return was a tired-eyed, pursed-lips GLARE. The mom half-heartedly reprimended, "Leave them alone," but the dad batted her hands back and said, "Let the kid play!"
But I was sooooo good, people, I really was. I just repeated to myself over and over again that if I was entertaining their daughter, at least they'd be able to listen to the speakers and feel the Spirit. (Even though *I* had no idea what the talks were about - much less who SPOKE.) They were a new family, attending church for the first time, and should be given every benefit of the doubt conceivable.
So at the end of sacrament meeting, I turned around to make friends. I figured we'd gotten off to a bad start and it was up to me to start things over - maybe invite them over to dinner or something. I cast around in my mind for a good converstation starter and landed on mini-Felicity.
"Your daughter has just about the prettiest hair I've ever seen!" Very sweet, indulging smile.
Cold look from the dad. "He's a boy." Turns on his heel and stomps out.
Oops. Strike three.