Chatting with friends this week, I was reminded that some children sit still. Sit still, you ask? You have to be reminded that children sit still? Yes, because my children never.stop.moving. They are continuously moving, wiggling, and making noise. Lots of noise.
I've seen children sit still in restaurants, so I know it's possible. Just not mine.
I've seen children sit still in church, again, it happens but mine don't do it.
I've seen children sit and watch a movie. Mine don't, unless they're strapped into car seats.
If you have one of those children, you're probably smirking and blaming my parenting skills right now. And while I won't claim to be perfect, we do make a concerted effort to have our children act appropriately in public.
We practice sitting at the table for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Strapped into his high chair, Chester wiggles around left and right, forward and back, hanging off the side. The only way he can't go is up and down, since he's strapped in, but he makes use of every available centimeter of wiggle room in his chair. In fact, just last week, he wiggled so violently that he tipped over his high chair. Pete may technically be on his chair, but he's wiggling all over too. Sitting, up on his knees, sitting again, leaning on the table, leaning over the side of the chair. Pete has tipped over a high chair and his booster chair too.
We go to church as a family, sitting right up front so that Pete can see all the action (great tip by the way!). Sitting on my lap, I narrate every move "Now Father Joe is going to read you a story from the Bible" and "Now it's time for everyone to sing a song together" and "Watch everyone, we're going to fold our hands and pray together". We tried toys, snacks, binkies, etc. and we just ended with toys thrown during the Homily, and cheerios ground into the pew. I get little old ladies (yes, it's the CHILDREN'S MASS) telling me I have my hands full. But, Pete can recognize a Cross and tell you that's like Church, so we keep trying.
At three, Pete is sometimes able to sit and watch a 30 minute show. An entire movie is out of the question. He's off the couch and into the toys. Chester can't even make a 30 minute show before he's grabbing the remote, eating the tissues and my grocery list. It would be nice to pop them in front of Sesame Street so I could shower, but instead they come in the bathroom with me and brush their teeth while I get a super-fast shower. The only time they've watched an entire movie is when we road trip 12 hours to Ohio and Michigan, and the boys are strapped into their car seats.
To top it off, they don't even stop wiggling when they sleep. Many people extol the virtues of co-sleeping as a way for Mom and Baby to get more sleep. Part of the theory is that Baby doesn't fight sleep because he's happy and comfortable drifting off to sleep right next to Mom. My kids aren't happy and comfortable next to Mom. They roll and kick and grope all night. Pete prefers to sleep with his feet ON Ryan. Chester likes to sleep between me and Ryan, his head on Ryan and his feet on me.
<insert 10 minute break here> I just had to snuggle Chester back to sleep because he managed to fall out of his bed. He never.stops.moving.
I'm so thankful I have friends with children just as "spirited" as mine, because when I spend time with the well-behaved calm chilren, I just want to crawl under a rock. But they would probably crawl under there with me and have a tickling and screaming match. My kids are nutcases, but they're my nutcases and I love them, even if it means we won't go out to dinner as a family for the next 5 years or so.