It summer season here in Baku. For those of you not in embassy communities, summer season means that a lot of people get out of town. Either people are moving (this year about two-thirds are leaving) or taking vacations or haven't moved in yet to replace the people who have left. When the ambassador made a tour of the embassy this past week, Brandon and one other colleague were there to welcome him to the economic section. Everything gets a little thin this time of year.
Since at least half of our branch members work that the embassy, the summer slump also affects church. Our church meetings are already short (I won't deny I see it as a perk of living overseas) and in the summer they get shorter. Since our branch present, primary president, and counselor were gone all last summer, we only met for sacrament meeting until everyone came back in the fall (don't be jealous). Another sister and I decided to hold our own primary after sacrament meeting so that we could justify getting everyone ready for more than thirty minutes of church. Everyone got a little wiggly by the end (Kathleen and Sophia were the only girls), but it worked out well.
This year primary has held out a little longer, but last week the primary president left on vacation, and the other counselor moves from Baku on Tuesday, so primary is taking a break again.
With only six months left in our tour, I've started thinking about the next place we'll be, skipping over the language training part because I already done that before. But after that - a ward with nursery and separate primary classes for the children and maybe even time for me and Brandon to sit and hold hands during Sunday School - we'll be completely on our own. There is an LDS family currently in Dushanbe, but they're leaving before we get there, so Brandon will get to be branch president-elder's quorum president-sunday school president and I'll be relief society president-primary president-nursery leader. Or, as Brandon likes to put it - dad and mom.
So Sunday after we walked home from sacrament meeting, I suggested we have primary at our house. You know, so we could have some fun with them and let them not miss out on primary for the next few weeks. And it would be good practice for when we have to do it every single Sunday for three years.
We decided to start with singing time. Brandon had to run back to church for something, so I got out the Primary Songbook to set the tone. A few measures into "Reverently Quietly" I looked over to see Edwin trying to shuck his pants. He had already gotten off the shoes and socks and was trying for the pants next. Luckily he wears a belt so the pants weren't budging. But when I suggested that he pull his pants back up and sit on the couch, he began wailing in pain while running around the room.
That set Sophia off, "Why can't we change our clothes?!? My dress is so hot! I'm tired of being in it! I don't want to do Primary!! Why are you so mean?!?" [fade into wail].
Brandon walked back in about this time. I was trying to struggle along with "In the Leafy Treetops," hoping that I could drown out the wailing and everyone would eventually give up and realize I wasn't kidding about primary. Kathleen, conscious of being in the right, sat primly on the couch as Sophia wailed next to her and Edwin wailed around the couches, satellite-style. I should look int utilizing self-righteousness to get things done more often.
"What is going on?!" Brandon shouted across the din to me. I shrugged my shoulders and kept playing. "Hopefully they'll calm down soon......?"
Not being an optimist, he snagged Edwin as he sailed by and dropped him on the couch. Unfazed, Edwin hopped back up, still wailing, and ran for the stairs. Luckily Brandon has longer legs than Edwin (it's a good thing children start small), so he intercepted Edwin and plopped him back on the couch. Sophia, not seeing any attention directed at her, started crying louder. Edwin hopped back up without missing a wail. Brandon, patience growing thinner by the second, grabbed him and may or may not have applied his hand to some disciplinary action and set him down again, this time sitting next to him just in case Edwin decided to run for it.
"Everyone, shut up!! We are going to have primary and Mom is going to play the piano and all of you are going to sing!" Nothing changed. Joseph started crying, startled by daddy yelling.
Kathleen raised her hand while Sophia continued to cry unabated, "What about Joseph? He can't talk yet. Is it okay if he doesn't sing?"
I kept playing the piano, switching to "Love at Home."
Brandon shot me dagger-eyes. Sometimes knowing what your spouse is thinking isn't such a good idea.
Eventually we got everyone settled down, or at least located on or near a couch. I led singing time, followed by Brandon's lesson about Eli's wicked sons being killed because their father hadn't disciplined them. I'm not sure if that counts as wresting the scriptures.
Hopefully things will get better when we have to do this for real, or it's going to be a really long three years.