The fun thing about being in Nursery is the crafts we get to do. I am amazed at how excited the little people get about glue and scraps of paper. They are less interested in crayons, and obviously have no respect for staying in the lines, but glue is like sugar. Or cheese dust. They can’t get enough of it. A few times we have had nothing but blank scraps of paper, and they will go to town gluing them together.
This last week was the lesson on birds and bugs, and although I spent most of my time telling stories and showing pictures to one or two of the ten children while the rest of the adults tried in vain to pull the other kids off the chair of death (which remains rocking and spinning in the corner of the room, despite numerous requests to have it removed after it has fallen down while the kids have been playing on it), as soon as I pulled out the secret weapon–glue–the kids were suddenly attentive. We spent a good ten minutes (which translate to approximately five hours in adult time) gluing bugs into our bug jars. But a child who cannot comprehend that crayon goes on paper, not tables, can hardly be expected to know how much glue is needed to keep the spider on the twig. So we try our best to keep the glue out of the kids hands, unless it is a glue stick, which isn’t nearly as messy. Craft time largely consists of us asking, “Okay, where do you want the glue?” and waiting for them to point to the spot, even while we try and hold the Elmer’s out of their grasp.
Last week included an interesting little incident, which I thought was provoked by glue-envy, but was actually provoked by Liz-envy. But first a little background info: Loren is my favorite little Fijian boy. He has long curly black hair, bright eyes, and is much more advanced than most of the other kids. He was born three weeks after the year started and has to stick around with the babies, even though he is far more developed than any of them. We bonded from the first day of my calling, and whenever he sees me he tries to climb me like I’m a tree. Mugz (real name: Margaret, and I don’t know why they spell it with a ‘z’ but they do) is a darling little brown child who is attached to her older sister, probably in much the same way I was attached to Becca. Only instead of Mugz going with Ashley to Sunbeams, Ashley comes to Nursery with Mugz.
Back to our previously scheduled story. I believe we were gluing bugs in jars. I was in charge of Loren, Mugz, and Ashley’s table. I trust Ashley with the glue, so I only had to divide my attention between Mugz and Loren. Loren was happy to show me where he wanted the glue and then put his spiders on the daubs I put down. But Mugz wanted to do it herself and I had a hard time keeping the glue out of her reach. Luckily we had a glue stick, so I gave it to her. She used it like an ink stamp, and I tried to keep up with her exuberant gluing by sliding a bug on top of all of her daubs before they dried. It was a big job and took almost all of my attention. And it was rather amusing to watch. And I thought Loren was finished and didn’t need my help.
But while I’m helping Mugz, Loren starts getting sadder and sadder. Pretty soon he starts ripping the spiders off his paper. Then he crawls under the table. I take the glue stick away from Mugz and pull Loren out from under the table and sit him on my lap. I try to get him to talk about what is wrong, but he won’t. He just points at Mugz. Then I pull out the glue stick and ask him if he wants to use it like Mugz did. He takes it and starts pounding his paper worse than Mugz. And I cover his glue with more bugs and try to teach him to smear it nicely. I couldn’t figure out what had put Loren in a such a sad mood, since he is such a happy child. But after all the parents had come and picked up their kids, one of the other leaders said she had been watching it all unfold. She could see Loren getting more and more envious that I was helping Mugz and not him. Apparently he wanted my undivided attention. What’s a girl to do?