During our first church service with the twins we sat behind a family with two boys and a girl who appeared to span the ages of about 2 to 7. The girl’s age was about midway between her two brothers, and during the service she could not leave her younger brother alone. She was picking him up, pulling out his pacifier and generally manhandling him, though he was pretty agreeable for most of it. The parents did not intervene until it was getting close to time for communion, at which point the girl pretended to fall asleep across the seats. It was clear to everyone that she wasn’t really sleeping, and the parents tried a variety of techniques to get her moving, ranging from gentle encouragement to stern insistence using a muted but serious voice that is acceptable for church. But eventually they gave up – she stayed behind and immediately “woke up” after communion.

These kinds of experiences are amusing to watch as long as they involve someone else’s children. If it were our children acting this way I think we would have been pretty upset. However, it’s also becoming clear that there are some things we just need to get used to. We have learned from watching Everett and from talking with other parents that younger siblings get manhandled a lot by their older siblings, and as a parent you just need to let it go. Everett loves to get right in the faces of his brother and sister. It feels like too much to us and drives us crazy sometimes, but the babies don’t seem to mind. We also recognize (and have heard from other parents) that one of the worst things we can do is make Everett feel like his siblings are on some elevated status relative to him. We draw the line at times when he wakes the babies up and then informs us that they are crying.

During this church service we made an important discovery: there is a secret room for families and nursing mothers. The door to this room is literally right off the side of the main chapel. And it’s pretty deluxe: audio from the service is provided via a sound system; there are two rooms with couches and chairs; there is a family bathroom with a changing table. We spent about half the service in there. Now that we know about it, Chris would prefer that we attend all services from that room so that he is spared from sitting still for an hour.

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