Rough Times at Mass

This morning’s mass was seriously a rough one. Lily started showing her mood this morning when I couldn’t finish putting my make-up on before she started throwing a fit. She wanted to be held. By me. And no one else.

We arrive at mass, choose our seats, and I take Max and Lily back to go potty and change Lily’s diaper. When we got back Lily began warming up her vocal chords and testing out the acoustics. She was singing, “mamamamama” but in the church it sounds like “MAMAMAMAMA“. She has also hit the point where, while she only wants to be held by me, she can slither and squirm at an unbelievable pace. It is like holding a wet cat through mass. A noisy wet cat.

Mass began. Max was sitting on one side of me, squirming quietly and Lily-the-wet-cat was thrashing around in my lap. During the songs the whole church is loud and I can stand up and bounce so we made it through that pretty easily. But then the readings began and we need to sit still and quiet. Lily was just not having it. She was winding up more and more, whining and thrashing and working up to a full cry. We make our escape just as the Psalm is ending. The next reading goes by in a flash. I bounced Lily near the door, hoping and praying that chaos didn’t break out in our pew in the mean time. Max, Tessa, and Ben were there all alone. And while I can count on both Tessa and Ben to sit still, I can’t count on them to not get into a full out brawl with Max if Max decides to act up.

Then I hear the music start for the Alleluia.

Oh, shoot. I picked a bad time to leave mass! Max thinks the Alleluia is a party! He stands and sings it/yells it at the top of his lungs and sometimes gets up to try to climb the pew in front of us or dance in the aisle. His exuberance is delightful – as long as I am right there to moderate it a little bit. But now I have Lily fussing on the sidelines and I have to make a run to get back to our pew before my little Pentecostal gets all excited.

So I run. I get there just in time to stop him from climbing over the pew in front of us, but unfortunately I scratched him with a hangnail while trying to pry him off that pew. So instead of singing he spent the Alleluia pouting, even after I kissed it an apologized (all the while still wrestling Lily-the-wet-cat).

Then the homily. Ben asks if he can go get a drink because he feels sick to his stomach. Um, yes. Lily settles in to nurse and drifts off to sleep. Oh, thank you God. Now I can sit still for a moment and maybe hear something that Father is saying since I have completely missed the readings. Nope. Max keeps trying to get as close to me as he can and is bumping and waking Lily. Jay has come from the choir to sit with us and tries to occupy him by drawing him a picture. One more moment of peace. But just as Lily falls into a deep sleep Max bumps her and she bites down. Hard. So I carefully remove her from my breast, trying not to scream out myself, and she starts crying all over again.

So I take her out again, climbing over Jay and Max just to get to the aisle. I calm her down through the Creed and then come back to sit with the kids.

Sometime during the Consecration I discovered that the song sheet kept her fairly happy. So I let her tear one up and play put-this-on-my-head-let-it-fall-off for a few minutes until she started trying to eat it. Then I had to take it away and give her a toy, which she threw on the floor at least seven hundred times before we went up to receive Communion.

Through all of this Max was alternating sitting on the pew and the kneeler, asking me when it was time to go, and if there were donuts afterwards.

And then suddenly mass is over. How did that happen? I missed the whole thing again. I had a couple moments of prayer in there, the kids experienced the mass, and I certainly got to practice my Patience, so it must not have been a complete loss. But I tell you, I just need a nap now.

One thought on “Rough Times at Mass”

  1. Doesn’t it make you wonder why you even bother to go? This reminds me of a Christmas Eve candlelight service when Michael was 2 mo old. Kirk was running PowerPoint so I was on my own with 2 mo, 26 mo, 7 yo and 9 yo. While I kept the baby quiet, the toddler kept escaping under the pew. We were in the back row so I wasn’t too worried about disturbing others until I realized that everyone in the risers behind us could see it all. It’s truly amazing we didn’t burn the place down when we lit the candles!

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