At Pre-sanctified Liturgy it can be hard to keep children in one place since there are a lot of prostrations. Because our church doesn’t have pews, one or two of the more unruly children might use the opportunity of a prostration to giggle, poke, peep, or crawl away from their mother or caregiver. It might take the responsible adult two or three prostrations to discover a seemingly quiet child is actually licking the bottom of her sister’s bare foot during a prostration.
So one needs to be diligent and lay out the boundaries before the situations occur--but of course there are some situations one can't usually foresee (foot-licking, I think, is one).
Anyway, I usually I try to keep Little Mark right in front of me so I can tell him to cross himself or bow or whatever. If he tries to walk off, I hold onto his earlobe(s) and he doesn’t get very far. But tonight, every time we would go down for a prostration, he would get up and trot away before my creaky bones could stand up to grab him. I’m not sure where he was trying to go, but he was attempting to assert some misguided notion of freedom which, in my little government we suppress with an iron fist.
I’m just kidding. We use a plastic switch.
Anyway, tonight I decided to explain to LMark what I wanted him to do. He was standing with his back at my legs, and I tilted his head up to me (using the earlobes). I bent over and whispered to him, “Little Mark, you have to stay with Mama. You’re not allowed to go wherever you want in church. You can’t just walk off. You have to ask Mama permission if you want to go somewhere. Ok?”
So he replied in the same whisper: “Ok.” Then he tilted his head back up at me: “Mama, I wanna walk off…Ok?”