Sunday, September 27, 2009

It Couldn't Hurt to Ask... On Toddler's and Behavior in Church

Mass has been increasingly difficult to survive lately. Sadie has had a severe case of The Wiggles that starts as soon as we walk in the door and ends as soon as we're back outside. The Wiggles are, unfortunately, usually accompanies by The Squeals and sometimes general fussiness. I've been spending a lot of time in the back of the Church and even more time outside on the front steps or, when the screaming gets really loud, around the side by the cemetery (our Church is very old and very poorly insulated, with thin windows... even when a parent goes a distance from the Church the crying can still usually be heard inside).

Today on the way to Mass, I had a thought. If Sadie can recognize the difference between a backhoe loader, a giant excavador, a skid steer and a bulldozer, she may be big enough to understand what Mommy is saying when I ask her to be quiet. So I turned around in my seat and looked at her. She was angelic in a little red velvet Christmas dress (that may or may not fit by Christmas) and black patent leather shoes with her little boom box on her lap playing music, and a sweet little smile on her face.

"Sadie," I said, "we're going to Mass right now to see Jesus. And you need to be very big and be a very good girl. You need to be very quiet while we're at Mass, okay?" She continued to smile and play with the boom box. "Do you think you can do that?"

"I definitely think she can Mommy," Paul replied from the driver's seat. "She's such a good girl, she won't have any problem being good at Mass today."

I turned back around as we pulled into town. I didn't really think it would work, because even if she was listening and understood what I was telling her (both very possible) what are the chances that she would have the self control to actually sit quietly for an entire hour without making a peep?

Apparently I underestimated her. She sat on my lap for 90% of Mass and spent the rest of the time alternating between standing in front of me and being held in her father's arms. And she didn't make a peep until after we'd received communion and had come back to our seats. Then she said "ya ya ya" several times. I put my finger up to my mouth (she's recently learned how to shush and thinks it's pretty funny) and she stopped talking and starting looking around with her finger up to her mouth.

There was one moment of cuteness I just have to share. When the bells rang for the consecration Sadie was standing on the kneeler and started to dance. Then she went back to being serious and watching what was going on around her.

Today was definitely a success. I hope "asking" her to be good during Mass keeps working! I actually heard father's homily today (and it gave me an idea for another post...).


  1. I love that picture of her! She's getting so big!

    You know, I'm a firm believer that many children understand things before we think they do. Not saying that you wouldn't believe she'd understand you, but so many people don't think that children can comprehend certain things about life.

    I'm sure she can see how reverent you are about mass, so I'm sure in no time she'll know that going to mass is an important thing! :)

  2. That's so great to hear. :) I always feel bad for mothers with young children at mass. Y'all deserve more credit than you get, lol.

  3. Hi Allison!

    I'm always surprised by how much she understands! I can hardly wait to hear what she has to say once she starts talking, because she has such dramatic expressions! She rolled her eyes when I said something the other day! It's hard not to laugh!

  4. Hi Brooke!

    I know I have a whole new sympathy for mom's with little ones at Mass these days! I'm so lucky my husband comes. I can't imagine how some of the moms who come by themselves with giant gaggles of little ones do it!

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  6. Hi RC Social Democrat-
    I think you're right and the more stressed out the worse it is sometimes (unless it's an ear infection week, then it's just inevitable).

    We've been lucky in that we have a parish that really cherishes babies, because we don't have many (Sadie's the only one at the moment, so everyone was really excited about her!). But I still whisk her out when she really gets fussy. Happy noises usually make everyone around us smile though.

    And I'm always so surprised when people come up and say she was "so good today" when I felt like an octopus trying to keep her "contained!" But it's good to know that it worked!

  7. Oooh, that gives me hope! Our little Augustine is about the same age as your baby, and he becomes Mr. Sqeal & Screech at Mass. I'll give your method a whirl on Sunday. :-)

  8. Hi! Prayers that this helps! With Sadie it's so hit and miss what Mass is going to be like, I'm praying that this works consistently with her! I was so surprised when it worked last week because she's becoming such a little terror as soon as we walk through the doors!


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