According to the usual rules of church seating distribution, all the older folk in our church, after a leisurely breakfast at Bob Evans and a drive ten mph below the speed limit, mosey in fifteen minutes before the service starts and secure the seats in the back. Then the younger families, who have spent the entire morning in a whirlwind of diaper changes, smeared egg yolk, and missing socks, and after following the old folk from other churches who start even later, sneak in during the third hymn and take seats front and center, where everyone can observe their disciplinary techniques and number of trips to the restroom. In our church it makes more sense than in most, because the nursery can only be reached by crossing the podium behind the pastor, so at least one is centrally located to deal with whatever age of child happens to be having the issue.
This Sunday it was D1 who was having the issue. Usually D1 is one of those model children who makes us look far better than we deserve in church--well, except for an unprecedented interest in the ladies' room which is not reflected during times when using it would be less disruptive. Yesterday, she was not. She wiggled. She writhed. She made pathetic little moans. No position was comfortable, not even for a split second. At last the expression of distress on her face grew so great that I took her downstairs to try to diagnose the problem.
We tried a trip to the ladies' room. No help. Next on the suspect list was hunger. I found some stale potato chips and offered them to her, suspecting that her unaccountable lack of interest in pot roast the night before might have something to do with it. She ate them cheerfully enough, but not with the attitude of one famished. Her distress remained evident.
By this time D2 was getting noisy enough that DOB came downstairs with him. We traded children and DOB took over the diagnostic work. We asked her if it hurt, and if so where.
"Beybutton," she said. (A favorite word.)
With an expression of deep concern, DOB laid her down and begin prodding her central regions, checking for symptoms of appendicitis and the like. None of it seemed to bother her.
Not being able to diagnose the pain, DOB decided to try distraction. He started playing with her feet. She burst into tears. A light began to dawn on DOB's face. He took her shoes off. She relaxed. He took her stockings off.
Sure enough, she had managed to outgrow her shoes midway through the service.