Learning to behave appropriately at Mass

We don’t have pictures of our kids at Mass, for (hopefully) obvious reasons. But this is kinda what we’re aiming for with our sweetsies.

If you’ve ever been to Mass at St Pius X, Melville, (or a few other places) you’ll have heard my children. When it was just Lord B is was fairly manageable, though I didn’t much enjoy waddling about after him while super pregnant. But once there were two of them it got a whole lot more difficult and noisy.

Once Sir A was born, Lord B was at his height of squawkiness and running about, so I camped out in crying rooms or foyers and tried to pretend there were no loud noises emitting from his sweet mouth. People said “oh he’s not that loud”, but I was sure they were fibbing.

By six months Sir A was mobile, flopping about like a seal, and happily joined in his brother’s antics. By this stage Lord B would sit quietly with Grandpa, mostly, but he wasn’t there that often. More pretending there was no noise, interspersed with me getting excessively frustrated and leaving early so as not to screech loudly at them during silence.

We had to start going to several different churches during the week because not all of them offered daily Mass any more. One (our official parish these days) had nowhere where you could actually safely contain children (still doesn’t), and it took me quite some time to decide I’d just shut the door and leave it unlocked despite the stupid sign saying not to do so. (I always lock it again at the end, so there.) I’d quite given up on them being quiet enough that I could stay inside the church without disturbing the entire congregation.

Despite being assured by the priest that the children could make as much noise as they liked as long as they didn’t stop him saying Mass, I didn’t like it. Before having kids I found noisy ones really distracting and, though we had just as much right to be there as anyone else (more, even, on the part of the chidders) I didn’t think it was fair that we caused disruption. Besides, I wanted my children to be quiet and reverent and pay attention, whether this was realistic for their level of development or not!

We tried all sorts of things. Alternating which child was silenced by a boob while Daddy held the other (he was able to come with us most days) (worked ok till they started thinking both at once was a good idea – something I tend to avoid in public), letting them play in the car if they were feeling really noisy (great, until Sir A learnt how to press the hooter), separating them with one in, one out, getting cross and leaving early, pretending they weren’t making that much noise, trying to get through to them that at Mass we are quiet and respectful &c. &c. The most frustrating aspect was knowing that Lord B, alone, would be silent as the grave, and even Sir A was manageable alone. But put them together and they’d go nuts. Chasing each other about, laughing uproariously, banging into things, hitting the windows to the body of the church. And licking them. Gah! (We had moved by then, and were only going to St Pius since we were actually in the parish and also other places were quite a bit further away – no more 4 churches withing 10 minutes’ drive like in Ham East.)

Then there was the phase where they both wanted Mummy, all the time, and only Mummy. Poor Daddy was left helpless while Mummy had to sit on the floor since her spindly legs couldn’t take a child each sitting on a chair. They’d elbow for more space, trying to knock the other off his perch, and sqauwk loudly to the effect that “he has more Mummy”. Can’t really remember how we resolved that one, but it passed.

We are now, finally, at a stage where we can actually hear most of what the priest says sometimes. We’ve had the new translation for what, nearly 2 years? and I still don’t really know it, thanks to my sweetsies. The bits the priest says, that is. Some days, like today, we don’t even bother going into the church cos we know we’ll be back and forth if we do. Sometimes the boys play quietly out the back, other times not so much. But there are days, once or twice a week, where we actually sit inside for the majority of it! Sir A can’t always contain himself so I usually end up having to take him out for a bit (mostly me, cos if Daddy does he wails plaintively for me which rather defeats the purpose of taking him out to be quiet – cos he usually is once you take him out, only to be noisy again as soon as we go back in). He also likes to quietly shush and and whisper for a second only to go back to full volume moments later, get upset about his trains not coupling properly, bang his head on pews and kneelers. Not to mention stage-whispering “Didij” while pointing rather obviously during the Consecration, and at other times if he thinks it’s not coming quickly enough (with a question mark, then).

One aspect of Mass protocol they have got mostly right though is genuflecting when appropriate, and in the right direction. For some reason they both do it on their left knee? which is odd, since they both appear to be right handed and we don’t, but ya know. Kids.  But hey, it’s a start. One day they’ll be telling their siblings to shush as they model perfectly pious Mass-time behaviour and we’ll wonder if we imagined all their toddler hijinks.

3 Responses to “Learning to behave appropriately at Mass”
  1. Marty Segedin says:

    Don’t worry, I love you kids anyway.

  2. odoyo123 says:

    Reblogged this on ochelepep and commented:

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