I'm all aglow from my *tremendously* nice weekend and eager to blog about it :) We have bellydancing, a knitting class, Mass for the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, Hank joining the ranks of the "big kids" for Children's Liturgy of the Word, and somehow an amusing anecdote about furniture polish in the kitchen comes into play. Let's begin :)
So, Friday night, I eagerly headed to dance class all dolled up. Like repressed DMV experiences of the past, when I found out that Claire planned to take photos during class for her web site, I simply had to do something cute with my hair and wear earrings. I can't help it.
I also broke out my new hip scarf, which earned rave oohs and ahhs from my classmates. Maybe it's because of it's more stabilizing V shape, but even though it's made of chiffon, that puppy stayed in place like nobody's business. I was very, very pleased.
So we belly drilled and shimmied, and Claire snapped photos of us. We did some posed shots during performance group, and it became clear to me how very much this class, and this group of women, has come to mean to me. I had a *really* good time, followed by the post-class veggies and wine gathering in which I learned all the dirt on every other bellydance studio in the area. It was *sweet*.
Saturday I awoke very tired; I suppose that's because I was out until midnight kibitzing with bellydancers. And this from a woman that is usually tucked in bed by 9:30 pm each night. So yes, I was tired. It was a pleasant day, in which Hank was particularly well-behaved, but the action really picks up again Sunday.
So, yesterday was the final Sunday in Ordinary Time. I *love* the church's liturgical calendar. Love, love, love it. There's always something new you can learn about it, and I adore the ebb and flow of the main seasons, Advent and Lent, interspersed with interesting feasts and memorials. I'm already anticipating Advent with excited enthusiasm, and I'll blog about that in detail tomorrow.
Anyway, I told Hank that next week we would see the Advent wreath in church, etc., and if he was an extra good boy at Mass this week (week 2 of his back-of-the-sanctuary probation following the fiasco of 3 Sundays ago) we could sit in the front of the church next week so he could see the wreath and Advent candles better. Then he asked about something I knew would come into play around now:
"Mommy, could I go up with the big kids during the readings?"
Our parish has a Children's Liturgy of the Word program during the 10 am Family Mass on Sundays, and I've never known quite what to think of such manifestations. There's perpetually a thread going on about such programs on the boards over at Catholic.com, which I always read with interest. Opinion seems divided into 2 camps: (1) those that think it's wrong for a lay person to remove the kids from the Mass, and consequently not have them in the pews absorbing everything with their parents, and (2) those that think it's no big deal and more engaging and fun for the kids.
I haven't really formed a full opinion on this. I do think it's key for children to be used to sitting through the actual liturgy/Mass (or other church service) and not expect it to be fun and engaging all of the time. Sometimes it's just about quietly worshipping and turning our minds to God, and naturally this is difficult for small children. There have been stretches where I haven't brought Hank to Mass with me because he simply wasn't able to quietly sit still for an hour, and that was very normal for his age. If fact, I believe it's important for parents to have realistic expectations with regard to such things. Since Hank has turned 3, he's been (generally :-\) quite good at Mass, so I bring him every week. I want to expose him to the ebbs and flow of the liturgy and the traditional elements of the church building itself. And this is all done from right in the pew each week, with Mommy as his guide. This is my job, and I love doing it.
So, now that he's 4, I figured the Children's Liturgy of the Word question would come up. What this entails (in our parish) is that right after the opening prayers, and we all sit down for the scripture readings, the priest calls the children up to the altar. He blesses them, and then sends them off to the sacristy with a parish catechist, who engages them in an activity related to the readings of the day. Generally, it is geared toward children preschool aged through First Communion, when they are then attending CCD classes outside of Mass and can presumably understand the readings more without such an aid. They children are back in the sacristy for the duration of the readings and the homily, and then come back out usually following the recitation of the Nicene Creed and the intercessory prayers.
So, Sunday, since Hank asked, and he *does* get plenty of pew time with Mommy, I told him that if he was being good, he could go. He was SO excited that he could hardly sit still at the beginning of Mass. When the priest called them up, I nudged my baby out of the pew, and up he went, like a big, big boy to gather with the other children on the altar. I watched him shyly stand there, in his Buzz Lightyear shirt and Transformers sneakers, and duitifully follow everyone to the sacristy. When he came back out during the collection, clutching an activity sheet, he looked a bit lost and couldn't find me as the other children scampered back to their parents, so I discreetly crept up along the side of the church and motioned him over to me. He hurried over happily, aglow with excitement, and immediately told me:
"Mommy, I liked going back with the big kids. I did."
I asked him what he did back there, and he answered:
"We said pwawers and talked about Jesus."
He asked if he could go again next week, and I told him sure. He was so bloody adorable about the whole thing, how could I resist? For the remainder of the Mass, he had a halo firmly perched on his carmel blond head. He was quiet and respectful, and recited all 3 of his main prayers following Communion (with the exception of the middle of the Our Father - we jump right from "Our Fader, who awt in heaven, hawoed be thy name..." to "and weed us not into temptation, but dewiver us from evil, AMEN!") It was so cute that I noticed people smiling and looking at him during Mass. I made sure to tell him when we got into the car how good he had been, and how very proud of him I was. He beamed. It almost makes up for 3 weeks ago - emphasis on the *almost*.
So, later that afternoon, I ventured to my first knitting class. (I feel like this blog post needs subheadings - thank you for still reading!) I have knit in the past (years ago), but I didn't know how to cast on, nor purl, the other main knit stitch. And I figured a structured learning environment (big surprise, huh?) would serve me well. So I signed up for a single session class at my local JoAnn Fabric's. My mom joined me, which was fun. She added the requisite comic relief, because my mom has the longest fingernails of anyone in the universe. Her holding the knitting needles and scowling at them really made me laugh, even if she didn't find it remotely funny :) We all made holey, awkward little knitted pieces and babied them with pride by the end of the class. I practiced at home, and I think I'm a mere week away from starting my first knitted scarf! *beams*
Catholic Librarian gem of the week: Yesterday, in my normal swirl of anxious energy, I did some cleaning in the kitchen. I innocently included cleaning the outside of our wood garbage container. I cleaned gunk off, and sprayed it was furniture polish. It looked nice and fresh when I was done. Well. Later that night, I'm in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner, and Henry races into the kitchen clad in a footed dinosaur sleeper. I hear:
"ssssssssslllllllllll....BOOM! I'm otay, Mommy, I'm otay."
I turn to see Henry dazed on the floor, right in front of the garbage container. As I went over there to assist him, I immediately twisted my ankle and stumbled in my socks on the wood laminate floor. Mike comes in and raises his eyebrows:
"What's wrong? wh..."
As he advances towards us, we hear a sssqqqqeeeeeaaaakkk! as his socks also make contact with the furniture polish I inadvertently managed to get all over the floor in front of the garbage can. Sigh.