There were many happy updates over the course of this long weekend, for which I am very grateful. The big one is that my grandmother is home from the hospital and doing well. She's still pretty uncomfortable, but that's to be expected. When she came limping in the door, my extremely frail grandfather just lit up and stood to greet her. Then they shuffled their way over to kiss each other say "I missed you, Honey!" It was too precious for words. They'll be married for 64 years in November.
The other big one is that it seems (for the time being, at least) the furlough threat has passed. It's possible there could be an appeal, but for the foreseeable future, we're safe in this regard, and for that I am unendingly grateful.
My car is still hot, but hey, you can't win 'em all.
On Friday after work (after receiving the furlough news...), I treated myself to a few new skirts at Old Navy since they are quickly becoming a staple of my summer wardrobe and I have so very few of them. As I've mentioned, it's really hard to find skirts that I consider to be an appropriate length. I never used to wear skirts much, but now I'm a total convert. They're *so* cool for the summer, especially with the car situation. Love them. I have 2 skirts from Target, and one long black skirt that I've had for so long I can't even remember when I obtained it. I needed a bit of a bump up in the skirt department.
I had more luck at Old Navy than I would have anticipated. I found the Roll Over Jersey Skirts that I've been admiring on their web site for quite some time. I'm not really certain that I'll wear them to Mass, but they are great for work and for leisure. Super comfortable and flattering, and they come to the knee, so the length isn't bad. They were priced $15 each, so I restrained myself from grabbing too many of them, and happily, one of them (not sure why, maybe that specific color?) was marked down to $4.99 so I was a happy girl. The big splurge was for a long skirt, because for the love of heaven, they are *so* hard to come by. I can't even find a picture on the web site, but it's a long ankle-length brown skirt. Real cute, kind of has a peasant thing going on, with some gentle layers and a crinkly look. It's a *perfect* church skirt, but it was $29.50, yikes! I know that may not sound like a lot to most people, but that's much more than I usually spend on a single item of clothing! I'm dying to get another one just so that I can alternate different colors every other week, but I'm simply going to have to wait until they are marked down. I do have a brand new short-sleeved cardigan that I picked up (good for layering) but honestly I may return it simply so that I can apply the credit toward another skirt. I think I'll get more use out of that. Plots return trip to Old Navy tomorrow...
At any rate, I wore the church skirt to Mass on Sunday, and as expected, it performed up to task. Long skirts have the added benefit of staying firmly put and not doing anything scary when Henry inevitably messes with them and tries to hide under them. We don't want me being permanently uninvited from my parish.
So, Mass. This morning I was catching up on some podcasts, and was listening to a broadcast from a few weeks ago of the Catholics Next Door with Greg and Jennifer Wilits. The topic was getting children to behave and pay attention during Mass, which has been on my mind as well. So, I figured I'd blog :)
Every parent has their own set of rules when it comes to managing unruly children during Mass. I have mine, but I don't begin to cast judgment on others who may see things differently. Wrangling children during Mass is *hard*, and as long as the kids aren't doing anything completely objectionable, I keep my opinions to myself.
In my case, I'm usually attending Mass without my husband, so that adds an additional layer of complication to the child wrangle. You don't have another person to run interference with, so you gotta do what you gotta do. Here's what I see as the stages (in my child, thus far) of child development at Mass:
Stage 1 - Infant. Lots of holding, soothing and rocking. If baby cries, take to narthex.
Stage 2 - Ages 1 to 2. This, my friends, is when things get hairy. So, so much squirming. And talking and crying. LOUD talking. For a month or two, I didn't bring Henry to Mass at this age. It was just unrealistic to expect him to keep quiet for an hour. When I did bring him, I did employ *neat* snacks such as a small container of dry Cheerios or those little packaged fruit jelly things, and 1 sippy cup (the non-spill kind) of milk. I was fastidious in making sure that we didn't make crumbs. I know some parents don't do this, and to each their own. I know that children can easily go an hour without eating, it's just all about noise control. Trying to keep a 1 year old quiet for a full hour on your own could make a grown man cry, trust me, so I saw it as justifiable.
Stage 3 - Ages 2 to 3. Pretty much a continuation of above with possibility of full scale tantrum now added in. See Stage 2, supra. Good times.
Stage 4 - Ages 3 to 4. Some improvement here. No more sippy cups and I gradually phased out the snack. Books are key.
Stage 5 - Ages 4 to 5. I still bring books with us every week, including his little Bible, but I do tote along some secular books like the Look and Finds he likes or a super hero book. I've been noticing that he doesn't look at them as much anymore, and this brings me to what Greg and Jennifer were talking about. As your kids get older, how do we engage them and get them to participate at Mass?
This past week, I had him look at my Missal a bit, and tried to whisper explanations in his ear as things were happening. That seemed to go over fairly well. We do always sit near the front now, which does appear to engage him more. I'm thinking about Magnifikid, but he can't read yet, so I'm not sure the time is quite right for that. Suggestions?