Taking a toddler to Church and expecting them to behave is a lot like jumping in to a tank of hungry sharks and expecting them not to bite. Sometimes I think the sharks might be easier to handle.
I made the (unwise) decision to take Billy to Ash Wednesday Mass. Because I work, I took him to the evening Mass, which is also the most crowded. Billy, purse, diaper bag, Car Kitty and myself grabbed a pew in the back. Immediately, he wanted into the diaper bag to see what goodies I had brought him.
Now, thinking ahead, I had removed all of the usual toys from the bag. I usually keep rattles, noise makers and other plastic items that would either sing or make loud noises when banged against the wooden pews. I replaced them with soft toys, hoping that new toys would keep him occupied and that soft toys meant he could bang them against the pew to his heart's content.
I unzipped the bag and on top was his parrot puppet.
"Caca!" he happily screamed in the middle of solemn Mass. In hindsight, naming the parrot Crackers may not have been the best choice.
This would be when I started to sink down in the pew.
Then we pulled out a book. He tried to get the attention of the girl in front of us by throwing the book at her. Ok, time to move.
I picked up Billy, my purse, the diaper bag, Car Kitty and Crackers and went to stand in the side aisle. I rocked Billy on my hip.
"Look!" he points to the stained glass.
"Shh! Billy." I appealed to him to be quiet.
"Uh, oh. Mommy." He points to the prayer candles. Then he wags his finger. "No! No!"
The choir then started singing so I walked him up to see them. Unfortunately, they were out of sight behind the altar for the Mass (which is not standard) so we couldn't see them. Instead I took him in to a side chapel, hoping to keep his attention. He looked around and then pointed up and said, "ah!"
This was followed by an "ah, ah, ah" echo resonating in the chapel. He looked at me stunned.
"Aah! AAH! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!" He screamed in delight.
Oh. My. God. I sprinted to the back of the Church and out the doors.
In the lobby were several parents with toddlers and all of the short people were talking loudly in toddler-speak. Well, we officially banished ourselves to the lobby with the other parent rejects, unable to keep their happy kids quiet.
I think we'll just pray at home from now on.