Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sit Down and be Quiet!

It is easy to get frustrated when our little owns aren't behaving how we would like them to. One of the worst places for me is restaurants. Oh how I loathe going out to eat now. Another place I sometimes get frustrated is at Church. Overall I would say that Dominic does pretty well, but our boy LOOOVES to talk. Constantly. All. the. time. I have no idea where he gets that from?? I don't mind if he is talking quietly a little bit especially since we normally attend the Extra Ordinary Form which is in Latin, but as Mass goes on he gets louder and louder. Usually we make it to the homily before Geoffrey or I bring him out back in the Narthax (where thankfully there is still sound). But right now, my Church is doing some much needed renovations: marble, Communion rails, high altar, need I say more, I'm already in love! In the mean time we are having Mass in our large gathering cafeteria type space. Yep, the same space I bring Dominic while we are at work to run around and go crazy in. So to tell our very active (I can't but think that is an understatement) 18 M old that he needs to be quiet and sit still in a place he usually plays in is nearly impossible.

A few weeks ago we attended the Saturday evening Mass because we were leaving for vacation the next day and wow was it horrible. I was in tears for a better part of the Mass and not in a good way (yes I am a frequent crier during Mass because, wow Jesus is there and that is awesome!) Dominic was being his normal self and oh my were we getting the dirtiest of dirty looks. Now let me say that my husband is super sensitive and considerate in this area and any peep too loud he wisks Dominic out. It is the Holy Mass and Geoff always says he doesn't want Dominic to take away from that for other people. I tell you that so you know we weren't letting him run wild and he wasn't screaming up a storm, but every little peep produced an evil glare. Not from just one person but from mutiple. We were just about the only family there with a youngling so I think this crowd wasn't used to that but it really just saddened me. These were mostly older people who were 30, 40, or more yrs removed from their own child rearing days. Have they really forgotten what it was like? I was feeling terrible and was questioning my parenting abilities. Thankfully Fr. L. was there to help after Mass. He calls Dominic "the Pistol" and always comments on how he is all boy, always on the move. After that particularly rough Mass he reminded me to not let other people get to me. He said we do a great job as parents and that they were being just plain rude.

So I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Do we put unrealistic expectations on our wee little ones? Don't get me wrong, I believe firmly in discipline and think that there will come a time where there will be more consequences for how he acts, but I have to keep in mind that Dominic right now is a one yr old! He doesn't yet understand that it would really be convenient for me if he was quiet and sat still for an hour/hour and a half long Mass. He doesn't know that when he screams in the grocery store because he wants to run around and not ride in the cart that it is unpleseant for other people. He doesn't understand why he can talk freely in someplaces and not others. But he is getting there, so I practice with him by going into the Church for instance while we are at work and showing him how to act. He will get it, but expecting him to sit down and shut up right now, would be asking him to simply stop being himself. Just like those people who were giving us evil glares at Mass, I don't remember what it is like to be a one year old kid. I do know, however that it is hard to sit still and be quiet at 28! I can't imagine what it is like for Dominic.

Patience, understanding, and a whole lot of grace will get us through. And then when we do, if God so blesses us, we hope to have another little one to not sit still and be quiet.


  1. You sound like an amazing mother and your husband an awesome father. Don't let those people make you think otherwise. Your Father is right, those people were very rude! I'm ashamed of them we have so much stress as new parents we don't need disapproving looks to add to it! Sheesh!! Just ignore them and Keep up the good work!

  2. Lovely post. I think about this sort of thing a lot, too. Also, what the best way to keep Gus quiet is. Are toys appropriate? If so, at what age do they stop being appropriate, and how do you make a child understand that? And anyway, I don't really want to *distract* Gus--I want him to eventually be paying attention and praying as he is able. At the moment, i just try to contain the chaos, as it were, and at the consecration, I always point out the ringing of the bells--something that is concrete and pleasant to him--and tell him that it reminds us that Jesus is here. It's a start, anyway! And you are lucky to have such a pro-family priest! (Ours is really good as well, but I don't think all are)

  3. This is so difficult! We always go straight to the cry room, because Elise barely gets through the Gospel before needing to frolic. I tried sitting in a regular pew for daily Mass recently and it was a disaster. I also have to remind myself that this phase doesn't last forever! It's awful that you get disapproving glares; that has always bothered me to witness, even before I was a mother. It seems like people forget all too quickly how difficult it is to rein in the behavior of a one-year-old.

  4. I wanted to say that noisy children use to bother me a lot at Mass but as I went through grad school I came to realize 1. that that is really my own problem-why not focus on being joyful for & grateful to God for the beauty that children are & who they are instead of being annoyed 2. kids are kids and need to be understood & accepted for the developmental level they are at. Your kiddo is great and I know you & Geoff are doing a fabulous job. Know that there are people at Mass (at least some Masses) that find Dominic to be delightful-I know I do :)