Sunday, October 10, 2010


Friends, I need your opinion on something.

I can't tell if I am overreacting to a situation or not.

My "rational compass" is way off these days, and especially today since my daughter thought 4:20am was a fine time to start our day today. Sunday mornings are particularly stressful around here because David leaves early to set up the sound for the Praise Team, and I get myself and both babies fed, dressed and out the door. (My hats off to those of you that work full time and do this every single day... I couldn't imagine!). This morning it was pouring down rain, to boot, so why I even bothered to do anything to my hair is beyond me. By the time I had both babies loaded in the van (we don't have a garage) I was drenched.


I got to Church and Dave and I took the babies down stairs to the nursery. This is their 3rd time in there. The first time I stayed with them the whole Sunday, just to see how they would do. They did great, and didn't seem to care at all when I came and went from their sight in the room. So the next Sunday I just dropped them off and went upstairs. When I came down to get them after Church, Abbey was asleep in the swing and Luke in one of the worker's arms.

Cue this Sunday. We brought the babies down in their carseats, and I said to one of the workers "they fell asleep on the ride here, so they are kind of out of it..." and started to take them out of their seats. She said "well, why don't you leave them in there, and we can kind of rock them and see if they fall back to sleep?"

Sure, I thought. I doubted they would fall back asleep in a fully lit room full of toys and babies, but hey, why not give it a shot?

I went upstairs and sat through the service.

When I went downstairs after, I walked in to find Lucas still in his carseat - still even buckled in- and crying.

Not hysterical crying, but crying.

I went over and got him out and picked him up, and he calmed right down.

My initial reaction was to be really, really upset. I was pretty furious to find my son still buckled into his carseat, exactly the way I had left him almost an hour and a half prior.

But I didn't say anything. Why? Because for the last few months I have been instituting a 5 minute rule. I tend to fly off the handle pretty easily, and my mouth has gotten me in trouble more times than I can count. I have been known to feel strongly about something and fire off an email, phone call, or conversation in the heat of the moment, and then 5 minutes later realize perhaps I was being a little too passionate about whatever it was. Perhaps I should have taken a moment to mull things over a bit before I spouted off.

So I said nothing because I didn't trust what might come out.

I looked around for Abbey, and saw her in a teenagers arms. I said "how'd she do?" to which the girl replied "she did fine until a few minutes ago, she started fussing so we had to take her out of her seat".

So Abbey had spent the entire morning in her carseat too.


I had the girl hand me Abbey and I started to walk out with both babies in my arms. One of the workers said "boy that Lucas, he just couldn't decide if he wanted to sleep or stay awake all morning! He never did fall asleep!", to which I just smiled and then said I would send David back down for the carseats and diaper bag.

Then I walked upstairs with a baby in each arm, and chatted with people, sent Dave down for the seats, loaded the babies up,and came home.

And it's been more than 5 minutes, and I am still upset.

Am I overreacting?'

I know Lucas wasn't in any danger. I realize I don't know how long he had been crying. But seriously, is it too much to expect that I find my 6 month olds in a different spot then the exact one I left them in???

Now let me just say that we LOVE our Church. Love it. And the nursery is usually really well run, with pretty much the same rotating volunteers. I really do like all the women that work in there -or at least the ones that I know. It's a large room that is set up really well for babies of all ages, and there is copious amounts of bouncers, swings, exersaucers, jumperoos, bumbos, etc.

I will also say that there were lots of babies in there today. Probably 3 or 4 toddlers, and 4 babies. One of those babies was only 6 weeks old. That is more than a handful for 2 adults...but I also saw 2 teenagers in there helping too.

But I feel like if they were so overwhelmed that they couldn't even get babies out of their carseats to play (or, ya know, comfort the crying ones. I know, I don't know how long he was crying for...but I do know he was crying when I walked in. And no one was tending to him), they should have either figured out a way to get more help, or paged some Momma's back down to help with their own babies.

I always, always, ALWAYS say before I leave "please don't hesitate to page me if my babies get fussy or if you need me for anything, I really don't mind". (Our Church has one of those number paging systems where your number flashes on a screen during the service so you know if your kids are needing you).

So, friends, help me out here. Do you think I am just being a fussy new Momma here? Or do I have a right to be frustrated at the state in which I found my child(ren)? I really feel like I do.

I know the bottom line is if I am not comfortable -whether I am overreacting or not- then I should just keep them upstairs with me, or stay down in the nursery with them.

But I need some feedback here so I can determine how I want to handle it.



Bobbi said...

I think you have EVERY right to be upset. I know I would be!

Emily said...

Does your church have a children's pastor or director that you could possibly talk to? I would definitely voice your concerns, especially since a visiting family might not take it as kindly as you did to have their children left in their car seats for so long. I know that when we had some concerns regarding the nursery at our church I emailed the children's pastor (who happens to be a friend of mine who I used to work with but who would have been open to hearing from me even if I hadn't known her previously...though I might have been more hesitant if I didn't already know her) and explained my concerns and then asked questions about their policies. Turned out that there were things in place for some of our concerns and that the volunteers just needed reminders (from the pastor, not us :)) and she gave me some tips for how to prompt the teachers to put Elise down (which was one of our issues...she was being held the entire time but was old enough that we wanted her to get used to playing with the other kids and knew that she just needed them to put her down for a minute or so because she would stop crying after that period of time and go play).

If the person in charge is someone you feel comfortable talking with, I would definitely go that route as it's much less confrontational and awkward. It puts the onus on the person it should be on to make sure things are running smoothly rather than possibly hampering your relationship with the teachers.

Julia said...

I think your concerns are completely valid. Our attachment parenting ways have us attending to our children when they cry--we would expect nothing less of anyone else who would care for our children. If that was too large a task, then they should have paged you to attend to them yourself. I can't imagine my girls lasting that long awake in any one place. I think it warrants a conversation with someone in charge.

Keri said...

I fly off the handle too....maybe I should try the 5 minute rule!

I think I would be pretty upset about the car seat situation as well. It is very hard to believe that two 6 month old would be happy ::awake:: after 15 minutes. If babies would do this, all moms could shower!!!

The other side of me, however, does wonder how they would handle listening to screaming babies the whole time. That sounds stressful. It they are volunteers I would think they would have a desire to be working with children.

If you have the gut feeling, however, that they are only there because they feel obligated to be, I might say something to the children's director. Some volunteers get burned out and the director should be the one to handle situations like this--without any drama!

Good luck:) Lucas and Abbey are very blessed to have a momma that worries about them.

Kaycee said...

I agree that this is a situation I would not be happy with. The babies are not super tiny (where they can happily sleep in a carseat for an hour and a half no matter what the light and noise) and if they were not sleeping - there is no reason they should not have been moved to a different location. Even if they are dozing in and out for awhile, obviously they are not comfortable enough to sleep so they should be moved.

Of course the only way you can have full control of the situation is like you said, to keep them with you. But that doesn't mean you should have to. That doesn't mean you should not be able to expect a reasonable amount of care from the nursery. Of course they cannot always attend to the babies the moment they are fussy, but since you have a number paging system they should use that if they are not able to get to a baby in a reasonable response time. Especially when you are so willing to come and help!

I would be upset too. I don't think I would be upset enough to never put them in the nursery again, but I might check on them halfway through the service for a week or two to make sure I think the care is reasonable. I would talk to the caregivers the next week and make it clear I do not want my children in their carseats the whole time nor do I want them fussing/crying for longer than (insert amount of time you are comfortable with here) before they call me. I hope you find a resolution you are happy with - but in my (long-winded) opinion it is not overreacting to be upset/unhappy with this situation.

Jill said...

As the Children's Ministries Director at my church, I don't think it's unreasonable to expect that both kids would be taken out of their car seats. We've had babies arrive sleeping in their carriers, but are always taken out when the wake up or fuss. There have been a few times when a baby would just lay their happily, and if all the other babies were demanding attention, then they might stay in a little longer. But in the end, the workers are there to care for and love the babies and give the mommy a break. The nursery helps shape a baby's perspective of church, so the happier the experience, the better. I have spoken with many moms about their questions or concerns about the nursery (we expect this... more questions come for this area than any other age group as it's a mom's first introduction to dropping her kids off at church). Each time, expressing their concerns/questions helps them settle their emotions. This is something that is going to weigh on you each time you drop your kids off. So talk about it, get some feedback from whoever runs the nursery. Maybe other parents have had concerns about it, haven't spoken up, and aren't even returning to the church because they don't know what to do about their baby. If you bring it up, you may hear some good feedback about why they choose to leave a baby in their carrier, or you might be helping point out an issue the director/coordinator wasn't aware of. I would just suggest you contact the person in charge mid week. Sunday morning can be so busy that it's hard to really focus quality attention on a conversation like this.
And then, when you drop your babies off in the future, don't hesitate to walk in and just take them out of their carriers right away. Or if someone suggest to leave them in for the same reason as today, just say something like, "Oh, my babies are so social, they'd rather be out and play." or, "We haven't had much luck with that in the past, they seem prefer to be cuddled at church."
Hope that helps!

Robin said...

Well, I would absolutely be upset but it is a good thing you didn't say anything then and there that you may regret now (especially at church)!! Does you church have someone that directs or coordinates the nursery area? I may just shoot a really sweet (!) email to them and gently let them know you are concerned. I think it would be easier to be "gentle" in an email message than face to face. And at the end of the email, be sure to offer your help anytime if they have too many kids to handle!

Stephanie said...

My daughter will be 8 months in a few days. I agree that you ave the right to be angry about that. unless my daughter was asleep, I would be upset if she was left in her car seat for that long of an amount of time! I would let the pople in the nursery know how you fell and help them understand that they are at an age where they are happiest interacting with each other, and other babies. I know my daughter has been happy as a clam playing on the floor with some toys since she was about 5 months old. I would be even more upset if I found my baby crying, like you did with Luke. To me, if i am leaving my baby in your care, i expect her to be tend to and if they are unable I expet some one to come get me!

Lori said...

That just breaks my heart. That was the first thought that came into my head. So I will go with it. If that were my child I would be so mad!! That is way to long to have them in there ESPECIALLY when they are not asleep. I would say your reaction was spot on.

Stephanie said...

You are not overreacting.

I am not one to over-react most of the time, and even reading that I was thinking, "WHAT?!"

A church nursery exists as a ministry to mothers, to know your children are loved and safe while you worship, and to provide a foundation for babies/ toddlers that going to church is a positive experience. It doesn't sound like either of those things happened this morning.

However, I would be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you can't trust the nursery with them, it's going to be increasingly harder for you to attend church at all, and that's not good either. I would call whoever is over the nursery and talk to her about it. I am certain that is not what she has in mind for the volunteers to do with babies - otherwise they wouldn't have a room full of bouncy seats and toys - and is probably just not aware of what happened. And if they were overwhelmed today, they should have contacted the person in charge to ask for back-up (I say this as a former children's minister and a long-time nursery volunteer).

My two cents, for what it's worth.

Guy and Julie said...

I would be upset too. I would be really upset if this happened to my baby, for sure. I would probably say something to the nursery coordinator (of course in a calm, loving, non-confrontational way) and tell her your concerns. Also, what if you just carried them in instead of bringing them in in their carseats? If you just carry them in, then it's a non-issue in the future.

Ashley said...

I dont' think you're overreacting, especially since at 6 months old, they could have put them in an excersaucer or swing and let them play, if they were content, but to leave them in their carseats the entire time... neglectful in my opinion.

Vanessa's Dad said...

I don't think you are over reacting. But, I'm glad you didn't unload on the nursery care folks. THAT would have been over-reacting. They weren't guilty of child neglect. They just solved their problem by giving poor child care to your children. Not terrible, but poor.

If and when you can calmly look the nursery folks in the eye and talk about this, give them this information...

"In the future, I don't want the Twins left in a car seat when they are awake, especially for 1.5 hours. If they're crying, and you are too busy to comfort them, page me... Are we clear?" Smile, but keep eye contact, and wait for their affirmative response that they understand. Don't leave until you get that affirmative response. And, when they acknowledge your request, and/or apologize... don't let 'em off the hook and say, "That's OK." 'Cause it's not OK.

You're a great mom. The kids were not in danger. But, you need to bring out the best in the nursery folks by making sure they know... that's not OK.

That's my thought.


The Tylers said...

Well, as someone who is a pretty laid-back mom (and have been told so by other people), I would be upset if my baby was left in the car seat the entire hour and half (unless she was sleeping, of course). I mean, it sounds like he wasn't sleeping the whole time. I'm curious how long he had been crying. But no, I don't think you are overreacting.

Anonymous said...

I would definitely let whomever runs the nursery be made aware of the situation. I have to give you credit- if I found my son in his carseat an HOUR AND A HALF LATER I probably would've cried, that just makes me sad! Surely they can do better than that, that is PITIFUL. You are not overreacting, an email or phone call needs to take place, in my opinion. Sorry to hear this:(!

lklomicka said...

I would agree with the above comments. My baby is just a week or two behind your babies and something similar happened to me about a month ago. I was also upset. I have from then on told the nursery workers "If she cries for 10 minutes, you are to page me. I appreciate that you want me to enjoy the service, however, my primary concern is my daughter. I do not want her to cry longer than 10 minutes. Thank you."
I know you got a lot of "advice" from people about the situation. I guess you'll have to kind of feel out what works for you. I hope you feel validated about your frustration. Good luck! Your babies are lucky to have such a loving and concerned Mommy :)
Lisa in Fort Wayne

The Writer Chic said...

This is a tough one, and here's why:

Your babies are going to be utilizing the childcare facilities as long as you're at the church, so part of you doesn't want to ruffle feathers.

On the other hand, this situation clearly needs addressing. It is uacceptable that L and A weren't tended to. As you said, they should either have found more volunteer help or paged some parents back.

I would contact the person in charge of the nursery workers/volunteers/scheduling -- by phone, rather than email if possible -- we all know how things (tone) can be "misread" via the written word -- and explain your concerns, and hesitation to utilize the nursery again, in the event that, in essence, your babies were to be ignored again. (Let's call a spade a spade -- if they were in their carseats that whole time -- they were ignored.)

You are their advocate, Kendra. I applaud you for stepping back from the situation in order to eveluate apart from the knee jerk emotion, but your gut is right.

Address it. I know you'll handle it well.

Good job, momma.

Aunt Carol said...

Kendra, you have great instincts. I'm glad you didn't fly into the nursery staff right then because I'm sure they weren't deliberately doing something wrong, but I think you and David can use this incident as a teaching tool so that everyone who works or volunteers in the nursery (and the rest of the childcare areas) have very clear guidelines on when to reach out for more help if needed, etc.

Love, Aunt Carol

debra said...

I have had that same problem with the church I was going to, I did not think to talk to anyone about it I just ended up not going there anymore. But everytime I did go to the church I would stay in there with arielle since I did not feel confedent in the people that were cairing for the children.

Linda Lee Brown Ayers said...

Kendra. I admit I have not read the valuable input from the other readers but here goes:

Yes, you do have a right to be upset. Your children were not given the care they deserved. I spent many a Sunday in the nursery at church because I felt the nursery was an afterthought of the planning for service. It was often frustrating because it was "my" time.

Yes, you did handle it as you should have. You did not have all the facts and sometimes things aren't always as they appear.

My suggestion at this point is to be sure to be VERY CLEAR about your expectations next Sunday before you leave the kids. If you go back next Sunday and things are not right, then you need to speak up to whoever is in charge.

I know you will be able to work this out! Remember everyone there loves Jesus, just like you do!

Anonymous said...

No, you are not overreacting. That is just wrong! At least move them to a bouncer or a swing or a play area with toys, that is NOT too much to ask! Oh my goodness, that happening gets me heated just thinking about it and I don't even know you ha! That just makes me sad for your babies, even though, they weren't in danger they are so dependent on people right now and helpless, and thought of them not being moved out of their carseats just makes me want to cry! I do think it was a wise choice to step back from the situation and evaluate how you wanted to handle it, something I need to do more often! I do hope someone is alerted so that this won't happen again, but you do what you feel needs to be done as their mommy, of course. Would love to hear how you ended up deciding to handle the situation. Good luck!

amy (metz) walker said...

You were DEFINITELY not over reacting. I would have been ticked.