In the Pews

Taking our girls to mass (we’re Catholic) can be a challenge. Unlike most protestant churches, there is no day care or Sunday school going on during the service. In fact, I’ve yet to attend a Catholic mass that had either of those available. So, we pray that our girls don’t disturb the congregation unnecessarily during the service.

In the PewsNow, we do have a cry room at our parish. A cry room that I hate! It is lit with halogen bulbs which warm up the room until it is far from comfortable. The girls enjoy the freedom in there, but I worry they aren’t learning how to behave during mass as they play with toys and other little ones. Additionally, there is one mother who takes her three boys into the cry room (all old enough to know how to sit quietly in the pews) and doesn’t bother to parent them…not every week, but often enough that when I see them, I run. 

We started using the cry room when Ginny, around 16-months-old, couldn’t be contained in the pews. She wanted to run out of the pews and when we wouldn’t let her, she would scream. Not so conducive to an enjoyable mass experience for ourselves or others. By the time Ginny got passed that, Grace reached that stage. Luckily, Grace moved through that stage quicker than her sister, and we recently decided to always sit in the pews; only removing a child into the narthex if necessary. 

One thing we are grateful for is that we sit next to the same family every Sunday morning. They know us and love seeing our girls. They will smile at them and, at times, entertain them. It doesn’t seem to bother them when the girls decide to chatter or hand them toys. 

Today, I was very proud of Ginny, who is quickly moving from toddler to little girl. When she walked into the chapel, she quickly blessed herself with holy water. Then, she marched up to the pew and went in. When we pulled down the kneeler, she got on her knees and prayed with her daddy and me. At other points during mass, where required, she would also try to kneel. As usual, we brought our usual supply of objects meant to keep the girls happy and quiet: 3 books, coloring books, crayons, a doll, and a stuffed animal. Ginny very quietly colored and if her sister made noise, she would admonish Grace with a “shhh, be quiet in church.” 

I guess having Ginny in the cry room for all those months didn’t hurt her. I’m thankful and hopeful the same will be true of Grace.

This post was originally published at Adventures of a Jayhawk Mommy.

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