Cheerios and Quiet Books

January 4, 2009

In church this past Sunday, we sat nearby a father doing his best to keep his rambunctious kid in line while the sermon was being given. I watched and couldn’t believe the chaos. Kids always have a healthy level of activity during services, but the action coming from this family’s pew seemed more than normal. Not only that, but the child just didn’t look right.

It wasn’t the regular disheveled look where you could see that things had once been put together and the child had simply wriggled out of his Sunday combo. Something was off. His pants seemed to tight, his shirt was too loose, and his hair was far from it’s regular “bouncin’ and behavin’.” In fact, his hair looked kind of like his Dad’s–all slicked back, with a perfect part.

It was then that I realized what was different. The mother was home sick. All of the sudden I was enthralled with the show that unfolded before me. The dad struggled to keep his little boy in tow. He was juggling baggies filled with Cheerios and so-called “Quiet Books” working to keep the congregation’s attention off his little boy and on the pulpit.

His kid was having nothing of it. It was as if this mouse knew full well that the cat was away and he was going to relish every moment. The boy was all over the place. It became clear that his endgame was escape from his father’s clutches and he seemed exceedingly good at accomplishing his goal. I watched as he wiggled out of his dad’s arms and made more than one break for freedom. The only time the father seemed ahead of the game is when his son would make his break for the aisle and the dad would put his leg down blocking the route at the last second.

In mid-chuckle, watching the comedy unfurl before me, I realized in the coming months that could be me. My mood changed from frivolity to fear as I watched and wondered how I would deal with the same situation.

I wondered how I would handle a Sabbath “sick day.” I wondered how I (who have to have assistance getting dressed in the morning myself) would help my boy to get ready for church. I wondered if there was a word to describe something between disheveled and disrobed.

The fathers “go to’s” were closed Ziploc bags of Cheerios and “Quiet Books” that were filled with buttons, snaps, and zippers which, because I can’t move my hands, are all of my league–and they seemed to be the only things keeping this dad in the game.

I pictured Cole making his break for freedom and since I can’t use my leg as a blockade, I wondered if he would be two or three blocks away before I actually caught him.

I’m sure it will be an adventure. There’s not much in life that isn’t. I’m sure there will be Sundays when Kolette won’t feel well and Cole and I will be on our own, what I’m not exactly sure of is how it’ll all work out.

Maybe they make Sunday clothes for kids that use Velcro instead of buttons, snaps, or zippers–I can handle Velcro. Maybe I can hang a “feed bag” of Cheerios off the side of my chair, and when Coleman is good he can just stick his head in the bag. Maybe iPhone has a “Quiet Book” app. Who knows? But, I have to admit that that’s part of what I’m excited to figure out.

Let’s just pray Kolette doesn’t get sick that often.



  1. thanks for the post, jason. i’m excited for you and kolette to have Cole in your lives. although little boys can be wild, I believe you will be sent an angel.

  2. note to self… do not read this at work! I stand by my previous statement that boys are the best (okay I only have the 1 son), and I know you will be great parents! much love… melissa

  3. Every dad has his strengths and weakness as a parent, accept yours, and your little kiddo will be fine.

    Your descritpion was funny though reminded me of the stories my daycare provider told me about my DD’s outfits when she was 9 months old, I was deployed to Haiti, and her dad was in charge for 45 days!

  4. Jason,I loved reading this post. I have a feeling that one of the reasons this little fellow got by with so much is because his Mom is usually the disciplinarian and dad isn’t involved as much. One way to get in that game is to make sure that you teach Cole early on to respond to YOUR voice and YOUR no as well as Kolette’s. I learned early on that just a look from my dad or my mom was all it took. With your “go get um” attitude I know that you will quickly find the way to control Cole’s exuberance without having to chase him down. It’s amazing what a dad can do when he gets in there and shares the discipline as well as everything else with mom. I can’t see you not being in there 100%. You just have it in you. It shows form everything else you do.

  5. I agree with Deb’s comment above. As long as you are both in it as disciplinarians from the beginning, then Cole will react to a look from you just as well as he will react to a look from his mom. It’s so easy to want to be the parent who is the fun parent, the one who plays and doesn’t have to be the bad guy, but that makes it harder for the parent who does have to hand out the stern NO.

    I’m sure that you’ll do fine and find your way with or without velcro.

  6. Jason, your insight sure brings back memories. James (my late husband, a paraplegic and btk amputee) and I raised our grandson when he was little. Believe it or not, James was better at controlling our little one than I was. He seemed to understand in his heart that James had limitations, and that he needed to allow for those limitations with his behavior. He was so good for James, he could go to the store with James and ride on his lap and be so good. For me he would try to break and run around. Embrace your life as a parent and your child will adapt to all of your situations. Just a little experience talking. Oh, by the way, when we lost James, our grandson was 6. He was so lost without his Pappy. He still talks about him daily and will always be a guiding presence in his life. You are a very special blessing to everyone whose life you touch and I am so grateful for your musings and observations on a daily basis. Kinda keeps my life with James in the forefront of my mind. Love Kolette and you both, and your life together. Thank you so much for sharing your journeys through life with all of us so that we may be enlightened!

  7. I had such a giggle at my visions of your Cole with his head in the feed bag! Love reading your blogs (I am a Jason & Kolette newbie) =)

  8. Just this past Sunday as we sat in Church, my daughter pointed to a purple Fruit Loop that was on the ground. That darn Fruit Loop brought a smile and a moment of sadness as I can vividly remember both of them, now 12 and 8, throwing them in Church. I wondered if that Fruit Loop had just been dropped or tossed. I knew that somewhere in our congregation a parent had sat earlier wondering what others may have thought. I looked at that purple Fruit Loop for a while and looked over at my two and smiled. One day that dad will look back and be grateful that he had the chance to experience the mayhem that our children so willingly bless our lives with.

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