Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Talk to me Tuesday...people of faith edition...

Today is a fun and I wasn't even aware of it until this morning.  In today's readings, the Scripture Aaron and I chose to have read on our wedding day was read!  This was our specific reading...
"Let love be sincere;
hate what is evil,
hold on to what is good;
love one another with mutual affection;
anticipate one another in showing honor."
You see?!?!  It's my blog name!  Our friend Father Steve wrote on my facebook wall, 'Happy Blog Name Day!".  And, Father Paul apparently gave a shout-out in his homily (pretty much famous eh?!?!).

But here's the thing, had I been at Mass (which I wasn't), there is a good chance I wouldn't have even heard the reading.  Wanna know why?  Because I have three beautiful blessings from the Lord who ensure that Mass is no longer even kind of about me paying attention.  Getting there is a fiasco, we end up frazzled and let's not lie, our little angles sometimes are the opposite during the sacrifice of the Mass. I would like to give you a glimpse of our current worship.

On Sunday, we went to a beautiful Church in Greektown Detroit.  We meant to get there early so that we could go to confession.  That didn't happen.  BUT, we did get there on time.  SCORE!  We get to a pew and the first thing that happens is we misjudged the width of the pew, and the car seat went tumbling, off the pew, with our baby in it (strapped, praise Jesus).  It was pretty much downhill from there.  Crying, whining, taking kids out of the Mass for discipline in a relay-race-like rotation.
"Tag, you're it- take Joey in the back"
"Tag, you're it- if you don't get this kid out of here, I am going to lose it"
It was by far the worst behaved the little freaks  angels have behaved.


I see you, expert parents, who have toddlers playing Mass in the family room during the week, because somehow you have gotten your babies to not only pay attention, but to be able to mimic the movements of the Mass!
I see you, parents who's children are sitting quietly on your laps, either sleeping or staring.
I see you aunts, uncles, friends, who enjoy bringing children you love to worship services as I once did ("I can't believe you don't adore taking your kids to Mass"-I think was an exact quote of mine to my sister with three children...before I had children).

What are your tried and true secrets for making Mass more enjoyable with babies?  What tricks do you have?  What do you do during the week, to encourage good behavior on Sunday?  What do you bring with you?  HELP!!!!

Something to note, we don't bring snacks and we don't love the cry room.  I'd kind of like to avoid both of those things, but I am open to you telling me I am an idiot.

That is all! :)


  1. Well you are not going to like my advice then! SNACKS! We just try to keep their mouth full the whole time! Whether it be nursing or bottles or toddler snacks and sippy cups, we basically give them a meal's worth of calories at Mass. Plus we bring books (we try to do holy books). But ONLY from the ages of 0-3. Once they hit 3, no more snacks or books or anything. My kids go to preschool at that age, and are expected to sit through Mass at school, so we do the same on the weekends. As for the cry room, we look at it as a big time out, and you only go there if you are being naughty, and it's a punishment. We will say to the kid acting up "Do you want to go to time-out?" so they realize they are being naughty, and that it's not a fun place to go.

    Other than that, just keep on trying Mary! You are in the trenches right now with all the littles, and they will learn, and it will get easier!

  2. Well, I totally believe it's a temperment thing. I have happened to give birth to Satan's spawn so therefore my mass experience is usually quite eventful. But, it does get better. My child that was once turning cartwheels down the aisle--yes it happened once-- is now an altar server. They are so much better now that they are school age...but they are far from perfect in church. In my case, I never saw an improvement until about age 4. Until then, I just try to hold them still as much as possible. I bring books sometimes. Stickers in sticker books. Under age 3 there is not much that can work really besides cuddling and controlling as much as possible. Unfortunately, with 3 little ones you are outnumbered right now. Is there any way that a relative or friend can help with the mass? Like a grandma or someone? I think if you had one on one for each child under 3 it might help you. Plus, the distraction of the friend/relative could help as well.

  3. Read this: http://mamaslittleditty.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-secret-to-well-behaved-toddlers-at.html
    I thought of writing a post on the topic until I saw this and she wrote it way better than I ever could. Melody basically has the same methods as us and they work really well.

  4. Was that Old St. Mary's by any chance? It's really is a beautiful place isn't it?

    I'm pretty sure my parents didn't even take us to church often until I was like 4. Then, they bribed us with McDonald's after Mass each Sunday. I guess that worked? I'm not sure it's possible to keep your children piped down if they are under the age of 3 or 4. Unless you're that lucky.

  5. I have no problem with people who bring snacks for their kids to church, but we try to stay away from it, so we feed our 3 little ones (ages 5, 2, and 1) a snack right before we leave or in the car. We have a "Mass Bag" that has quiet toys that they only see at church and I try to switch them out every few months. It includes small plastic rosaries, notebooks, religious stickers (which my kids go through at an alarming rate), twisting crayons (less mess), small religious books, etc. We also recently got a children's picture missal from Loyola press which the older two use sometimes.

    We also set expectations before we even walk in the door. We remind the kids that we are "quiet in church" and that we need to sit and stand with everyone else. If the little ones get ansy, I try to point out something in the church for them to look at -- the windows, the statues, what Father is doing ("look! Father is washing his hands!") or whatever.

    But really, kids will be kids and yours are at the hardest ages for being quiet at Mass (or so says my mom who raised 9 of us so I tend to believe anything she says). But I'll tell you this, my son who is 2 1/2 was HORRIBLE about a year ago. Just horrible at Mass. Screaming, crying, hitting, . . . all of it. Every time. But every once in a while when he would calm down . . . I kid you not . . . he would say some of the priest's parts with the priest, especially his singing parts. It just goes to show you that they're still listening, even when we think that they aren't.

  6. oh my! I can sort of relate -maybe just a tiny bit.

    We always had a Mass Bag. We would have rosaries - until they became weapons; twistable crayons - only for those old enough to understand that the back of the pew and the missal are not for writing; 'religious' coloring books or printed pages - and my favorite: I made a ring of laminated saint cards. We had a ton and the ring kept them all together. Each little got to pick his/her favorite saints and then I added a few extras to keep them occupied: I found the yelling of "Mom! St George killed the dragon" much preferable to "Are we DONE yet?" or my personal favorite that happened during the consecration at an Easter Mass: "Dad - I farted!" which was said using Portuguese slang in a very Portuguese community. Oh yeah, we were a hit!

    Take heart! it does get easier. And you are doing what you are supposed to be doing: bringing your children to the Mass! Melanie has a great post on the Mass and children: http://www.thewinedarksea.com/2013/10/27/can-perfect-mass-idol/

    have a great afternoon

  7. Oh Mary! I totally meant to reply to your note on Sunday. We are in the same boat, just with one less. I'll be honest, sometimes we split Mass when we are extra weary or I lector. I hate making that the norm. I was total anti-cry room until my brute of a son gave me a bloody lip. Once he gets unmanageable we go in there for a bit and then come back out at the sign of peace. I think the most important thing is to set expectations for them, but make our own totally low. They're toddlers. Mass isn't designed for them. The community is better off with their signs of life, though the bloodcurdling screams they could probably do without. We take some books and toys, and I'm working on a Mass Kit type bag we can take that has interactive Mass related activities that won't distract the others around us. Who knows. We had not a problem with Gianna but this boy is giving me a run for my money. Let me know if you find a magic pill!!! :)

  8. I can't give advice because we're in the same boat. I will tell you what we do. We pack crayons, pads of paper, and religious board books. And even that doesn't work. I guess the only way to get through it is to get through it right?