positive associations

Little O usually spends the church service in nursery.  Once he started walking, the Huz and Parakeet left him there.  He was too hard to wrangle during service and he’s never had huge stranger anxiety.  They often go the second service and that makes him one of the only children in there – he gets special attention and is happy.
Most weeks for probably the last four months he spends the entire hour at the train table. In fact, whenever they drive up to church he says, “there it is! Play Church! Choo Choo!”
Most times he gets into the car he say, “Play church?”, as if that would be the only acceptable and fun place to go.
The Parakeet has also joined the church playgroup so O gets to hang at his train table twice a week.  He LOVES it.  Whenever the Huz picks O up after church – they go straight to the treat table. Little O has very positive associations with church – choo choo trains and cookies.  So be it.
The early service, however, has a children’s message.  The Parakeet likes to keep O with them through the Children’s message if they ever attend this service.  O tries. He drives cars through the pews and is silent with awe during the singing.  After the message, mom or dad then takes him down to nursery and they finish service as adults without distraction.
This morning the Huz needed to sleep after working until 1AM.  He knew there was a sub-pastor – those two factors together made him decide to skip it.
The Parakeet decided to get to early service. O had been up for two hours anyway.  She also thought they would walk.
Well, it was very hot and humid, nearly raining by the time they got there.  She took O with her to the pew and tried to set him up with toys. He stood up on the pew to check things out.  After the Parakeet got him seated, she handed him a small cow from his fisher price farm. He chucked it nearly four rows up. Oh man…
Then, there was singing. He was fine. Then, they asked all the children to come forward.  The Parakeet started to walk him up. Quietly but consistently, Little O kept repeating, “no. no. no. no.”  She leaned down and whispered to him, “O. We are going to walk up front and sit and listen quietly to the Pastor and then we will go downstairs and play with the choo-choo”.
O sat front and center, straight-backed, patiently listening to the Pastor talk about Jesus and Creation.  Then, she finally said, “Now you can walk back with your parents”
Little O stood up and yelled, “READY. CHOO-CHOO!!”
Pretty much everyone present laughed.  The Parakeet walked him out, blushing.
Yes, O, it’s time for choo-choo.

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