About six or seven months ago Jeremy and I were called to be Primary teachers in our ward. Typical, I know. But we aren’t the usual Primary teachers. We only have one kid. His name is Ian and he has a few different learning/developmental disabilities so he has been siphoned out of normal Primary and has his own teachers, his own class, and his own special spot in the back of the room. You get the idea. So basically we just babysit this kid for the first two hours of church and then we go to Sacrament. As you can imagine, I have a super crappy attitude about this. Jeremy on the other hand is really, really good with Ian. He thinks the things he does are just hilarious and doesn’t get bothered like I do. I believe this is because Jeremy was a hellion as a child and so he finds wild behavior amusing.
About a month or so ago we arrived at church on a rainy day. Ian walked in a few minutes later wearing a white shirt and huge blue snow pants that were about three sizes too big and sneakers. We thought his outfit was a little comical but it didn’t really shock us. As he was getting situated in his chair I noticed a little gummy worm on the floor and I thought to myself “that’s weird, I didn’t notice that before, I wonder where it came from.” As I was contemplating this mysterious gummy worm I wasn’t really paying attention to Ian until I hear Jeremy exclaim, “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME!” Jeremy is usually never stern or shocked by anything Ian does so I was immediately startled and looked over. To my surprise I saw Ian leaning down over the shoe he had just taken off his sockless foot and was pulling out wads and wads of smooshed together gummy worms…from his shoe…where his foot had just been…where his sockless foot had just been. I looked over at Jeremy and we were so disgusted, shocked and confused all at the same time we just kind of stared at each other. Finally, Jeremy came to his senses and said “throw those away NOW” and pointed at the garbage can. Miraculously Ian listened and responded and walked over and threw them away. I think he was kind of shocked to see Jeremy be so serious so he did what he said.
We’ve had other fun adventures in the Primary. For instance, during the program it was our jobs to make sure Ian got up with the other kids to sing, stood there and try to make sure he didn’t distract the other kids, and then try to quietly get him back to his seat on the stage. This was no small feat. First of all, Ian does not sing so the Primary program was not really his thing. He also does not usually have to sit quietly through Sacrament. We made it through the first few songs okay but about half way through Ian decided he was done. The kids had finished a song and needed to return to their seats, Ian however didn’t want to move. Jeremy was trying his best to try and convince him to go back to his seat behind the piano but he wouldn’t. Jeremy kind of grabbed him to try and push him up the stairs and that’s when Ian decided he wanted Jeremy to carry him. This is no small little boy; he is 10 and a pretty big kid. So Ian is doing the whole body wimping thing that toddlers do and Jeremy is trying with all his might to lift/carry him back to his seat but Ian makes it down to the floor and just lies on the steps. So Jeremy stands over him straddling him and tries to basically drag his limping body up the stairs on the stage to his seat, while the entire ward is watching from the audience. By the time he got him back to his seat we had both decided that Ian was done being in the program and we remained in our seats for the remainder of the meeting.
Some other fun memories have been trying to keep Ian in his seat during sharing time which one week involved him standing up to run away and Jeremy and I both grabbing his arms and yanking him back in his seat. He was not a big fan of this and every time we would do it he would turn to me and scream, “DON’T TOUCH ME, DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?” That was fun.
I’ve also resorted to showing him YouTube videos from my phone on things he likes like Elephants, Harry Potter and Land Before Time. Teacher of the year, I know! Usually I only do that during class time where we can’t be judged by other Primary teachers, but one week I did use it during music time and showed him Facebook photos of us at the San Diego Zoo.
All in all, I am starting to have a much better attitude about this whole experience and have stopped dreading going to church each week. Although, if the gummy worms come back I might just up and quit.