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Alethea & Athena
The Primary Challenge 
11th-Oct-2015 04:12 pm
tired
Oh my goodness, it's like everybody decided that this week was a great week to go to Disneyland. It actually wasn't, so the visitors in our ward today get lots of our sympathy. It's been ridiculously hot this week (apparently Southern California still needs to get the memo that summer ended last month, we can cool it with the triple-digit temperatures), and we're told (to no one's surprise) that the park is crowded.

Of course what that all means for us is that we had about forty kids in Primary today, and only ten of them were actually members of our ward. Three of those ten only just moved in, so they haven't been preparing for the Primary Program with us, either. I may have explained this in the past, but the Primary Program is a thing that happens once a year when sacrament meeting (the "main" worship meeting ever Sunday, which involves partaking of the sacrament, followed by a few talks and musical numbers) is presented by the Primary. Each of the kids gets a turn going up to the microphone and reading a short part, and there are usually about eight songs that they sing as part of the program.

Our program is coming up very soon, so instead of having Sunday School followed by the regular Primary meeting, we spent the whole two hours practicing the songs for this program. Normally, that sounds like a pretty great idea, because the kids in our ward need to really learn the words to these songs. But when you have a bazillion visitors, and most of them know the songs because they're from the types of families that go to all three hours of church when they're on vacation, the Primary chorister (that's Athena) has to find a way to drill the songs into our ward's kids' heads without boring the other children to death.

It was quite a challenge, but I think Athena handled it well (more on why I'm not sure later). She made sure to take breaks for wiggle songs, and she had some cards with directions on how to sing to make it more fun. One card that got pulled said to sing it all in one big breath. But we're safety-conscious in our ward, so Athena told the kids that if they start to pass out, absolutely please take another breath.

This prompted one of the children to ask, "What's 'pass out'?" Athena started to explain something about going unconscious and losing track of everything around you, and then she just said, "You'll know when it starts happening." Fortunately none of the parents who visited Primary with their children were too upset by that.

As for me, I got blind-sided by a three-year-old. The one Sunbeam in our ward actually had a pretty good time practicing singing for the first part of rehearsal, when we were in the chapel. So when we moved to the Primary room (so the other ward could have their sacrament meeting), he told me he likes singing now and he's going to sing all the songs. This was super exciting for me, because he usually clams up during the main Primary hour for everything, especially songs. He also seemed pretty sad that he didn't get to go to class with me (since we used the hour when we normally do that for rehearsal), so I let him sit at the piano with me and draw while we continued to practice songs.

That was a big mistake. I felt like it was about every two minutes he would tap me on the elbow and ask me to look at his drawings...while I was trying to play the songs. Sometimes he would even ask me to draw something for him! ...And then I would, so that probably didn't help. I just didn't feel like I had the time between songs to explain to him why I couldn't give him my undivided attention. He was mostly a good sport about it, though, and he never complained until he recognized a song as one we'd already practiced. "How many times do we have to sing the same song!?" Well, he wasn't really singing them at all, so he's not really one to talk. (Although he did hum sometimes.)

He also had the audacity to comment when I made a mistake in a song that requires an extra amount of attention to the score. The little punk. He's pretty cute, though.

So that was a pretty interesting challenge for both of us. I don't think I've ever had to divide my attention that consistently for that long before. But! all the kids seemed to have a pretty good time, so I think it all worked out in the end.

Today I'm thankful for being done with the super challenging Primary (I really hope we don't have so many visitors next week), scoring a Hershey's chocolate mousse cake at Bread Day, the thought of getting more macarons when Mom comes to visit later this week, having a very adorable Page following us around, and Athena just now relating the story of Once There Was A Snowman. There's a Primary song that goes, "Once there was a snowman, snowman, snowman. Once there was a snowman, tall, tall, tall. In the sun he melted, melted, melted. In the sun he melted, small, small, small." It's a good wiggle song, because you pretend to be the snowman while you sing, standing up on tiptoe for when he's "tall, tall, tall" and "melting" onto the floor when appropriate. Athena was telling the kids the words because some of the visitors claimed not to know it, and when she said he melted, the little class clown girls went, "He died!?"
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