Thursday, February 11, 2016

When Your Crying Baby Gets Singled Out at Mass

Yesterday morning was a crazy rush to get myself and all of the kids out the door so we could make it to Mass.  It was snowing a bit and sticking to the road, and since just about everyone seems to show up at Ash Wednesday Mass I knew we needed to be out of the house earlier than I normally leave if we wanted to find a seat easily.  Last year we got there right when we normally would arrive and had a rough time finding a place for all of us to sit.  So I decided that we needed to plan ahead this year.

We got there nice and early and Anthony got settled two pews behind Grumpy Cat Lady (I opted to give her a one pew buffer rather than sit in our usual Sunday spot and risk irritating her.).  Right now there are some little pencils and some pledge cards for our annual diocese charity so Anthony has been having a grand time scribbling on the cards and not only staying in one spot for most of the Mass, but also being quiet.  A pencil and a little notebook are going to be finding a home in my bag soon.

All was going relatively well.  Katie was being her usual grumpy self because I didn't bring her homework, which we had forgotten about until that morning, into the church, but it wasn't anything awful.  We were in good shape until the homily.  At that point Katie decided that she needed to use the potty, so Madeline took her to the restroom.  And that's when Anthony decided that he must yell after them.  When that didn't yield them coming back right away he decided that he just needed to yell louder and louder.  All the while, poor Father was trying to give a homily.  But he's used to this noisy baby so he just decided to talk louder and louder until that wasn't good enough and he just needed to stop gesture towards us and say something about  "the set of lungs on that baby."  That was the only part of the sentence I could hear clearly.  Sigh.  I don't have a tally of how many shout outs Anthony has gotten at Mass in the past 21 1/2 months, but I can tell you it's a lot, and it's never any less mortifying.  Father took what felt like a two minute tangent to talk about Mr. Noisy Baby who oddly enough decided to chill out and quietly drink from his cup while Father talked about how he's not bothered by loud Anthony and how none of us should be either.  Part of me wondered how our friend Grumpy Cat Lady reacted to that.  But then I started thinking about how while it's great to know that Anthony and his often loud cries, singing, talking and spitting/raspberry sounds are really welcomed in our church by our parish priests and even most of the visiting ones, as well as most of the people we go to daily Mass with each morning, I realized that I am not always ok with that noise.

So those words about not being bothered by a crying baby have got me thinking.  I'm generally not bothered by other people's crying babies.  In fact, if your child is wailing somewhere in the church,  I'll send up a prayer for you because I know how it feels when you're holding the crying baby and you can feel the eyes of others on you as you try to get your little one calmed.  It's not fun to be the one with the crying baby, particularly when you feel self conscious about it.  It's nothing short of a dose of humility when said noisy baby gets pointed out during a homily.  This morning, I think Anthony was trying to see if he could go two for two with our pastor.  Almost immediately after Father started his homily Anthony started talking over him, but fortunately it was short lived.

I'm not sure if I'll ever get used to being the mom with the noisy baby at Mass.  I suppose there will come a day when I might miss these days of having a noisy boisterous baby happily shouting out to God, but I think those days are a little further down the road.

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