And we still think it's a good idea to become as a little child?

I have a few hours right now in between jobs. I'm keeping about 8 hours each week at the Cutting-Out-Paper job in addition to the 30 hours at my New Real Bossy Librarian job. The Paper-Cutting job is supporting the One Day Have a Baby and Quit Working If Ovaries Haven't Detached and Gone Wandering Through Body like Shriveled Raisins By Then fund. It's good times. And with these precious hours of free time, the very first thing I did was to sit down and blog for you, friends. (Okay, actually the very first first thing was to eat chocolate chip cookies. Because it's called priorities, people. And now I'm all yours.)

If anyone out there wants a good date idea but is low on cash, I have a venue for you: Head to your nearest LDS chapel on the Primary Presentation day. That's the day the Primary is in charge of the main meeting, so all the little kiddies aged 3-11 get up there to impress/embarrass their parents and provide loads of free entertainment for the rest of us.

Here was just a sampling of what we were treated to yesterday:

7-year old girls in princess dresses, upswept hair, and, in one case, elbow-length satin gloves. Because I think their moms somehow mistook the Primary Presentation for My Daughter's First Pageant.

The tone-deaf front-row sing-screamer. This time it was a little girl and MAN could she sing-scream. It was funny too because you could tell when she didn't know the words--it was like tuning in and out to a radio station.

The 7-yr-old and 3-year-old boys who got into a shoving match during the song "I Hope They Call Me On a Mission."

Only having the boys sing "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission." Nice one, sexists.

The 7-yr-old lecturing the 3-yr-old with pointed finger about how he'd "Better Stop Hitting [Him] or Else." And then lecturing him again when the 3-yr-old took a swipe at him the next time he passed by. That toddler has moxie.

All the kids waving frantically to the grandmas in the audiences.

Dancing girls.

Kids in close proximity to the sing-screamers covering their ears during all the songs.

The twisty calisthenics kid who kept touching himself. Eventually he started putting his hands in his pockets first, which was less distracting.

A 12-yr-old boy in the audience getting fed up with the obnoxious way his brother was singing and so he yelled "Be Quiet!" in the middle of a song, causing both parents to launch themselves at him with Mom's hands going for the mouth and Dad's for the throat.

I wrote a note to myself in my journal: Do whatever it takes to never, never in life be put in charge of one of these things.


Janssen said... [reply]

Ah yes, I just got called to be primary chorister and thus I am now spending my waking hours stressing about the program and how I'll be the one in the audience mouthing the words and waving my arms around like a fool. It shall be fun.

Except not at all.

Lady Susan said... [reply]

"I wrote a note to myself in my journal: Do whatever it takes to never, never in life be put in charge of one of these things."

I think you might have just jinxed yourself with that. But I understand your sentiments completely.

Melanie said... [reply]

Primary Presentation Day: quite possibly the funniest and most entertaining Sunday of the whole year. Hmm, I wonder if I'll feel the same way when it's my kid up there hanging off of the stand?

There is always, ALWAYS one kid that is completely tone deaf yet has the lungs of a woolly mammoth (I'm assuming here that woolly mammoths have huge lungs).

And yes, someone needs to have a frank little chat with whoever decided to have only the boys sing "I Hope They Call Me on a Mission."

Cicada said... [reply]

There would have been words if my primary had tried to have the boys only sing I Hope They Call Me on a Mission...

I think as the sunbeams teacher, the primary program was the most stressful and physically taxing Sunday of my life.

I should start singing, I hope they release me from the Primary... when I have birthed a kid or two...

Nemesis said... [reply]

Okay, only here's my question. If you're the Primary chorister do you HAVE to do a Primary program? What if you just "forgot" to do it? Would the world end, or would any of the Primary teachers rat you out? (Note: if I were a Primary teacher I would Not. Say. A Word.) I mean, if the whole point is that it's this stressful thing, couldn't you just simplify by skipping or by doing it every other year?

Kelly said... [reply]

Oh, Nemesis, as a 2nd Counselor in the Primary, I have to respond that OF COURSE you have to do the Primary Program. It's in the MANUAL.

We had ours on the 19th. At the beginning of Sacrament we had 4 kids and 2 members of the presidency there. On a good day there are 20 kids in our Primary (all with ADD and other various issues that makes it impossible for them to sit still and not talk ever). I sat in between 2 of the biggest talkers (who also hate each other) during the first 20 minutes and had to fend off some name-calling and hitting all in front of the entire ward. By the time the program rolled around, we had about 12 kids there. They all sang, there were no major speaking mishaps. We dubbed it a success.

Anonymous said... [reply]

I had a joyous time at my primary program yesterday too. What was funny to me was the 6 year old little girl who thought it was HILARIOUS to hear her own voice through the mic. So every time she had something to say or sing and was anywhere near it... she'd laugh so hard that you couldn't hear anything else that was going on but her shrieking jovial voice. Wow.

amyjane said... [reply]

Yep, I'm in charge of one of those things in two weeks. Yipee for me.

Bridget said... [reply]

I was (partially) in charge of our primary program this year. The idea to have only the boys sing “Called to Serve” came up at one of our planning meetings, but we shot it down pretty quickly.

And I tried not to, but I couldn’t help but die just a little bit inside every time we sang “Home is where there’s father/with strength and wisdom true. Home is where there’s mother/and all the children, too.” There’s the dad, who is strong and smart. Oh yeah, and there’s also a mom and kids and stuff.

I don’t know. I guess you sing any song a million times and you start to see messages that maybe aren’t really there.

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

You have primary president written all over you. Just wait. (The pres is in charge, not the chorister, though she ends up doing a LOT of the work.)

My favorite was the kid who flipped the bird at the congregation for a solid hour.

Pie said... [reply]

I don't know Bridget, that song always bugged me too- maybe the writer was trying to rhyme and the chauvinist came out a little bit on accident.

The very best in our ward was a girl who sang 'I love to see the temple' as a solo and took the opportunity to embellish a bit. I love to seeee-EEEEE the temple!

C. said... [reply]

For the first time in many years I got to watch the Primary program instead of being part of it. Much more enjoyable. And I won the bet on who would scream into the microphone the loudest. Too bad we didn't think betting for money on Sunday was kosher.

Lady Steed said... [reply]

I have now decided that I need to write a post about my experience with the Primary Presentation. I was in charge of the whole thing this year, something I never thought would happen to me.

Nerd Goddess said... [reply]

"Tune in for next week's installment of Voice of Reason to watch Miss (Oh dang, or is it Ms or Mrs now?) Nemesis get called to be Primary President!"

Please don't voodoo me if this comes true.

Also, isn't "shriveled raisins" pretty redundant? Aren't raisins already shriveled?

And also again, thanks for making a crappy day a lot better.

taturner said... [reply]

No one really cares about the program itself. They just love to watch the kids do funny and cute stuff. Hence, your post.

Even if you were put in charge, if you were to remember that, and not stress over it, you'd be fine.

Dave said... [reply]

I have so many good ideas! As someone banned from ever helping in the primary again I'm something of an authority. Hint- when you do decide to hog-tie a child with his shoelaces for misbehavior, make sure it's on a day when said child has the talk for sharing time. Works like a charm.

abby said... [reply]

I talked to a friend's aunt after the primary program, and had this conversation.

Me: "Your son gave a good talk during sacrament."

Her response, "I paid him a dollar if he'd sing and another dollar if he gave the talk."

There's the secret people for having your kid actively participate in the primary program. Bribery! I don't necessarily agree with her tactics but it got the job done.

skye said... [reply]

This last Sunday was my Primary Presentation and as the one in charge, I knew the key was to not worry about the kids behavior. Our adult members know that some kids are spastic and there's nothing we can do about it. But I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at how well the kids did.

I'm just grateful that nothing at all happened like you described. That would have changed my tolerance level considerably.

Jessica Stegelmeier said... [reply]

Ours is in two weeks. I get to try to keep five five-year-olds and my 7-month old under control(the hubby is working)for an hour and a half. Should be a party. And Bridget, I'm so glad I'm not the only one who was bugged by that song. I thought maybe I was just being oversensitive. Grrr...

daltongirl said... [reply]

I've done about ten of these now, both as chorister and the counselor in charge of the thing, and I must say every one became more enjoyable than the last. Honestly. I got rid of extra rehearsals, relaxed about people not coming to the microphone on time, or showing up at all, or standing there breathing loud into the microphone and saying nothing, or standing there breathing loud into the microphone and then breaking everyone's eardrums with a great yell, and just enjoyed their cute little-kidness. But last year I admit I didn't have any scream-singers--mostly because we worked with those kids ahead of time. And hardly any of the girls dressed up in their pageant gear. So maybe it's just the group that makes it fun. Or painful. But I want to bare you my testimony that I know with every (natural, organic) fibre of my being that it can be a good experience. Spirichal even. No kidding.

Kelly said... [reply]

Bridget, that explains why our Psychology PhD Primary President only had us learn verses 1 and 3 of "Home".

coolmom said... [reply]

I wish I had seen this post sooner. I almost died laughing at your first comment about the pagent-wear. As one who has viewed about 50 of these in the last few years, I can tell you that they are a reflection of the ward and the primary presidency. Some are awesome and brought me to tears and some were pretty painful. So think about that for a minute or two.

Nice calls on the gender singing and family stereotying.

kristenhcubed said... [reply]

That's a fantastic description! I've beent trying to figure out how to describe our program last sunday but I think I'll just reprint your apt observations word for word. (No worries, I'll give you credit. Anyone who knows me knows: I no speak that good.)

jeri said... [reply]

I totally forgot to put D's first Primary program on our blog. Thanks for the reminder. My kid was the one mouthing a few of the words to the songs and waving frantically at her brother the entire time.

chosha said... [reply]

We had our presentation recently. The Primary President actually sat tucked in behind the pulpit with a script so she could prompt any unsure younger kids. I was amused by the fact that from the congregation it would have looked like the kid were occasionally referring to an imaginary friend. :)

april said... [reply]

no offense, but i have to admit that this post totally reeks of "i live in utah (or arizona or california or any other place where you have high percentage of mormons)". i can't believe that the girls wore pagent like clothes; you don't see that in the good ol'northeast (we're just glad that when kids who have key parts remember to show up). i'm on my third program as the chorister and i pretty much adore my calling. the program does give me stress, but the kids always seem to pull it off. i find singing songs throughout two hours of church is much nicer than sitting through gospel doctrine and relief society lessons (which i no longer have the attention span for - i also can no longer remember my multiplication tables without thinking about it after being home with kids for 12 years. pathetic, but true). i will agree that i HATE that line in the home song too. let's talk about dad, but mom just gets grouped in with the kids. yes, you're right, having just boys sing "hope they call me on a misison" is sexist. oh yeah, being the sunbeam teacher + primary program is pretty horrible (that i know too well from experience).

Audra & Levi said... [reply]

I agree with Cicada that the Sunbeam teacher has it the WORST!

Picture this: Me, Sunbeam teacher, 8 months pregnant, and I don't like other people's kids in the first place. The chapel had been arsoned earlier that year and they were just getting it back together, but the wood up on the stand wasn't there yet, but they had a temportary rented curtain thing that you would put on a stage(so you don't accidentally flash the audience). Someone had the bright idea to let the Sunbeams stand right up at the curtain. Which was not nailed in. I had twins in my class (boy/girl) that got into a shoving match during one of the songs and almost pushed each other through the curtain. I made them sit down and a little while later they look at each other and decide to try to "lick" each other... simultaneously... on the mouth...in other words... ok... ick. So, what do I do? Let them do something icky gross and will never live it down in front of the congregation or seperate them? I seperated them... they pouted the rest of the time... I hope their parents dont hate me. This year my barely-able-to-speak English kids and my gets-more-ADHD-by-the-minute son all have parts... this should be interesting.

Oh, and my ET kids love to sing primary songs... LOUD! But they don't know the words AT ALL... they just sing babble. So, I am the mom to "one of those" I guess.

Nadia said... [reply]

I read this entry right before we had our primary program...I laughed so hard. I'm in the primary presidency and our nightmare was that we wrote the program, planned out the seating chart (on a stand that isn't all that large even though our building is supposed to be the Stake building) and the very next week 11 new kids moved in. ??? It's October...who moves in October? And my 4 year old son DEFINITELY qualified as the scream-singer of the group. His comment after the program, "Mom, I beat all the other kids screaming, didn't I?"

(I'm a friend of one of your old roommates and I love your blog. I always read it when I'm having a bad day. Oh, and I love your red shoes on your wedding day.)

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