Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Ten Commandments of Mass

I took all five children to mass yesterday at 4:30 pm, for Ash Wednesday. It was horrible. Are my children just the worst behaved kids or is it just me freaking out? I did have a bad migraine, which didn't help, and there were no other kids, which also doesn't help, when the only source of noise (other than the priest) is coming from my end of the church.

I had a 14 month old who was tired and restless and complaining. I had a 4 year old that was restless and wouldn't sit still. I had a six year old that couldn't stay still, and then even the 8 year old got up a couple of times to (un-necessarily) come see me at the back of the church where I was trying to keep the others still. Even just him getting up and walking over made noise, the thump of winter boots and the swish of snowpants rubbing together as he walked. It was very annoying.

At one point, I was trying to nurse the baby to shut him up, while trying to grab the 4 year old, who wanted to escape to the bench behind me, and trying to get the six year old up from underneath the bench in front of me.

The four year old was continually either kicking or pounding on something which drove me nuts. I felt totally out of control.

When this happens, I always wonder how long it will take for one of the older people there to come up to me and make some comment... The thought of which stresses me out. Luckily, noone did yesterday.

I didn't even go up to communion, because when we got up to go in line, Maryssa and Gabriel were fighting to be first, and practically shoving into the man in front of them, so I grabbed both and marched them back to the pew, where Gabriel started to cry and I had to take him out. Quite frankly, I didn't feel like going up anyway. I didn't want to go recieve Christ with anger in my heart. I hate being stressed out at mass. Isn't mass supposed to bring peace to our hearts? Aren't we supposed to walk out of there feeling strengthened? I walked out of there wanting to cry yesterday.

Later, at home my migraine was so bad, I didn't even want anyone talking to me. Dominic came to ask me if he could do something and I wanted to scream... I couldn't even handle thinking over that one thing, I told him my head hurt too much to talk, (It actually hurt too much to think) so he should go ask his father. I went to lie down.

It's funny. It wasn't so much the noise that bugged me. Background noise was fine, as long as it wasn't too loud or too shrill. But as soon as I had to pay attention to what someone was saying and think about an answer, I couldn't stand it.

So I think, perhaps Mass just seemed twice as bad as usual because of the headache. Perhaps my kids seemed to be making twice as much noise and it wasn't so bad to the other people? I'm not excusing them, they were not well-behaved (mass late in the day is never good for the younger ones) , but perhaps it seemed even worse that it was?

Why is it that other people's kids seem to be such perfect angels in mass and mine seem out of control? Is it something I do wrong? Are they brain-damaged? Do I need to recite all the rules before each mass? Because they do not seem to know the 10 commandments of mass:

1. Thou shalt not speak louder than the priest. Thou shalt WHISPER anything that is not a response to part of the mass.
2. Thou shalt not throw objects into the aisle or the pews behind or in front of us.
3. When thou needest the potty, thou shalt tell me quietly, get up quietly off thy seat, and walk (not run) quietly to the bathroom.
4. Thou shalt not treat the pews as a jungle gym.
5. Thou shalt not use the pews as a bed.
6. All pews are the same, thou shalt not try them all for comfort. Stay in thy pew.
7. Thou shalt not play-fight, wrestle, wiggle or make tapping noises.
8. Thou shalt not pray the Our Father at top speed, it is not a race, it is a communal prayer, to be prayed together.
9. Honour the real presence of Christ in communion, thou shalt stand in communion line in respectful silence, even if thou art too young to receive communion.
10. Kneeling in front of the Holy Tabernacle after mass to say a prayer is fine, rolling on the floor in front of it is not.