Sunday, July 25, 2010

Did Ma Ingalls have to deal with energetic kids at church?

Reading the copious "I'll nevers' as a parent from Mommyland and Pregnant Chicken had me rolling.
I'm new to the mommy world so I haven't experienced some of the listed items yet but I'm sure it will happen some day.
The one that had me off my seat though was the one about church. The writer mentioned that she cannot remember a lick of any sermon since her children were born.
Since our child was born, we have moved away from ushering and even eucharistic ministry. We rarely have time to volunteer and we can barely continue lectoring. Oh and forget about the weekly meditations I used to do on the readings. I'm lucky to be able to read it the night before, do minimal research on the passages and practice my pronounciations.
Let's start with getting there on time. I'll be honest, we don't get to church on time anymore. Ok, we do when one of us has to read. Even then, the other one is late. I'm not embarrassed by this and in fact have come to the conclusion this is for the bettermint of the community and for myself.
The sad truth is you cannot expect a 2 year old to sit through an hour long service without having to expel some energy. When TG was an infant, she would sit in her Ergo and chill for the entire service. DH would strap her on his back and usher without issues. Then they become babies and discover they have these appendages that can grab things and attempt to move. Even then it's ok. You grab a pew in the back, throw a blanket or two on the floor and pew and let them sort of snake themselves here and there.
Then they start making noises. All of a sudden their voice and the particular way it resonates in a church is astounding. Our child found it particularly thrilling to 'comment' during the sermon.
Participation in the mass only continues as they get older. All of a sudden, our child applauded whenever the music stopped. Ok, this one was cute.
Personally the 1 year was fine. It was when she turned 1 when I started completely losing concentration on anything that was said during the service. See at 1, she started walking which meant we moved to the quiet room. I have no idea why they call it the quiet room because it's nothing but quiet and in our particular instance, it actually amplified the noises from the tots.
If it was just me and TG, I would start mass in the pew and when the energy started boiling over like a soda bottle ready to blow, I'd quietly move us to the quiet room and let her practicing walking and climbing the steps to the choir loft.
Well, while in the quiet room, you may hear the entire service but there is no way you are concentrating on it or for that matter watching it.
Because of the movement and added attention I need to pay, I found it easier for us to show up a little later to the service. Actually, I read somewhere that most parents do this as well. It's not ideal but no one can expect a young toddler to sit for 60 minutes in church without getting antsy.
Now, we are at the age of two where climbing up stairs isn't enough.
Now, I bring breakfast, markers, paper, stickers, water, a stuffed animal, a toy car, an airplane, anything quiet that she can play with.
DH and I take shifts. If one of us isn't assisting with the service, we take turns watching TG while the other tries to concentrate on the service.
I was actually thinking about how long it would take before we could all sit at the pew again for the entire service.
I'm guessing not anytime soon but I am trying to remind TG that church is quiet time but rationalizing with a two year old can be futile.