So, yesterday I took both children to Mass with me. This rarely happens, since Anne is usually napping when Henry and I go to Mass. But she's sleeping like rotting garbage again these days, so she slept in, given that she hadn't slept much during the actual night. Hence, she was wide awake in time to leave for 10 am Mass. So I took them both.
And it went just fine.
Well, I mean, overall I've come a long way from "The Incident" (link too painful to provide here, but on the right navigation bar for those that have yet to read that harrowing tale). So I'm happy to report that I handled things well. And really, it wasn't that bad. It was quite typical of what you'd expect from Mass with a 10 month old.
We arrived, with Anne in her pink outfit quickly taking on celebrity status amongst the older ladies in our parish. She looked around with much interest and flirted with a toddler in the pew across the aisle. She enjoyed the music and was quiet as a church mouse.
For a little while.
Then came the Liturgy of the Word. Henry settled in coloring his Magnifikid! and Anne turned to me with that expression that all parents know: Fussy Face.
We're all familiar with Fussy Face. There's just that edge of irritation and impatience mixed in with a chubby-faced overtired scowl. It's usually accompanied by wordless gestures that are unmistakable:
I DEMAND TO NURSE.
PUT ME DOWN!
WHY DID YOU PUT ME DOWN! PICK ME UP!
I WANT THAT! NO, NOT *THAT*! *THAT*!!
NEVER MIND, I HATE THAT! I DON'T WANT THAT!
So, I get The Face, and she begins to squirm. I quickly pull out a teether that is shaped like a bumble bee. She takes it, shakes it angrily right near my face a few times, and flings it to the floor. Fantastic. This is going really well.
I make Henry retrieve the teether, and I pull out the strongest weapon in my arsenal: Cheerios.
Anne is eating finger foods now, and let me tell you, this revolutionizes our lives. We can actually go out to eat as a family in restaurants again. She'll sit happily in her high chair with us while we eat dinner. She'll munch them in her stroller and we can go on walks again without one of us having to carry her halfway through. It's downright miraculous.
So I brought a bag of Cheerios with us to Mass. I've been through this before, so I opened the Ziploc bag carefully and left it in the diaper bag, taking the Cheerios out one at a time, rather than bringing a container of them right out into the open. Yes, it is possible for me to learn from past mistakes. Anne pinches a Cheerio carefully between her thumb and pointer finger and pops it into her mouth. *sigh of relief* There was an occasional thrown Cheerio, but Henry retrieved all of them for me, and nobody was injured.
We continue in this vein for awhile, even through the homily. Just as I was starting to worry about running out of Cheerios it was time to stand up to recite the creed. And this is where the trouble began.
Clearly, the novelty of being in church had worn off, and she was beginning to get tired. I got the Fussy Face again, combined with the lethal Put Me Down! body language. I switched her to my other hip and tried to bounce her discreetly. Unfortunately, she was not in a mood to be trifled with. That's when the squawking began.
A little bit of squawking I will try to temper. When the squawking advances to Really Loud Unhappy Baby! I extract the offender from the sanctuary. And that's the point we reached immediately after the collection. We head to the back of the church.
Our parish doesn't have a cry room, so we just hung in the back entrance, which is actually quite large. There are speakers in there, so we could hear, plus the wall to the church is glass, so we could still see. Aside from not being able to sit down, it wasn't bad.
Henry loved it back there. He was happily walking around poking into holy water dispensers, plastic rosaries and Catholic literature. Anne settled down as soon as it became clear that I would be pacing back and forth with her in my arms. Motion is always so vital with babies.
Right at communion time, Henry announced that he had to go to the bathroom. *sigh* The bathrooms are right there, but naturally, he didn't finish with anything resembling speed, so I had to poke my head in and instruct him to just wait for me outside the door when he finished so that I could go and receive communion.
Communion reception went fine, even with me receiving on the tongue. I've only had the Eucharistic Minister try to put the host into my hand one time when it was clear that I had a baby in my arms and I was sticking my tongue out. Receiving on the tongue definitely seems to make many people uncomfortable.
Anyway, when I got back to our spot in the rear Henry was waiting for us perkily. By this point my arms were killing me, but everything was going well. We awaited the dismissal hymn and stole back out to our car.
So, all in all, it went pretty well, all things considered. The instant we got home, Anne went down for a long nap.
Next week, for Palm Sunday, she'll be home napping with daddy. :)