Ask Poops, Please

Putting my two cents in.

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Location: Belmont, New Hampshire, United States

Born and bred in a small New England town, I am convinced that I know something about everything, and that my opinion matters. If only to me. Well, you'll see what I mean. And I love to knit, so you'll see what kind of things I'm doing when I should be vacuuming the living room.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Magic Church Bread

In light of the fact that yesterday was the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi)--and you all know that, of course--I bet you're afraid this is going to be about the Real Presence of the Eucharist.

C'mon, that's what I have 9th grade Confirmation I students for!

My blog is about something more practical, possibly the best invention since sliced bread...since the circular knitting needle...since the toll house cookie...


This bag practically guarantees me an uninterrupted hour in church. Mind you, Dave isn't quite to the point where he likes standing up so much that he's fussing to get down all the time, so a bag of snacklets keeps him quite happy for a rather long stretch in the grand scope of infant-measured time. I imagine this is the last of a precious few months in which he happily accompanies us as a family for awhile.

I'm all for families attending Mass together, I truly am. I don't hold with kid-friendly soundproof rooms at the back of the church. The Mass is for everyone, including the youngest. How do kids learn to behave in church if they never go?

But I make an exception for toddlers.

Babies are easy enough to amuse, and if you're lucky they'll sleep through most of it like mine did. A little milk and it's goodnight Irene. When they're bigger, it's Cheerios and more milk, and Big Dave loves to sing along. His pitch isn't great yet, but we're working on it. He loves to chant, I swear.

Then comes the age of squirming. They don't want to sit in a lap, or even by themselves in the pew. They want to run, and run free! They want to get down and get up and get down and get up and if they are restrained...they SCREAM.

You can pull off maybe 20 minutes, half an hour if you're lucky.

At St. Joseph Belmont, that barely gets you through the homily. Fr. Albert is Benedictine, and monks have NO PROBLEM with quiet contemplation. We take our time. We sit and listen, and then we sit quietly and reflect on what we've heard.

And in addition to being a contemplative monk, he's a showman to boot. He believes the celebration of the Mass is to be something to be savored and enjoyed. Everything he does, he does with meaning. Every gesture, every prayer, literally everything is done with intent, and intent takes time. He does not rush. He doesn't whip through it like the diocesan priests so everyone can get to their golf game by tee time.

The upside is that by slowing it down, you learn to appreciate the subtleties of the ceremony. Prayers are said more slowly and reverently, the Creed is said with emphasis and inflection, and rather than having Mass flung at you at lightning speed, you're pulled into participation at a pace that is comfortable and relaxing.The downside is that you're there for an hour at least, more if it's a feast day or if there's something extra going on like a baptism.

Which is fine unless you have a squirmy toddler on your lap.

So there is a stretch of time in every one of our kids' lives when they stay home with Papa on Sunday morning. He's happy to take one for the team, what with him being a marginal Catholic and all He had very little catechism growing up, so he doesn't know what he's doing, or why he's doing it. It makes for a boring and pointless church experience and I feel bad for him and every other Catholic in the same boat. (I've tried to explain it, but he doesn't really much care. And you know what they say: never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.) All things being equal he prefers our church to any others he's attended, much to the disappointment I'm sure of some family members who shall remain nameless, yet he doesn't seem to want to be a full participant here either.

But it's his life, so whatever. He's all for raising our kids up as good Catholics and is supportive of my ministries, so if that's to be his calling, I guess I can't complain. I'm luckier than most.

No, the problem around here isn't with the lack of basic morals of the human members of the family, or even the cat.

It's the Barbie dolls.

Are you familiar with the Bill Engvall routine he does about his daughters and "Naked Barbie Land" and how there's naked Barbies as far as the eye can see?

That's my bathroom. I caught this on camera this morning.

Shameless hussies.


Blogger Batty said...

Truth be told, I love kids during church. To me, it's a sign that the parish is alive. I used to go to a church where Mr. Batty and I, in our mid-twenties and early thirties, were the youngest members of the congregation. It was sad.

10:17 PM  
Blogger Cindy in Happy Valley said...

I hesitate posting this, but there is another side to the story.

Unfortunately, in our (very large) parish, which has a large balcony nursery BTW, it is sometimes so noisy (toddlers and babies crying mostly), I cannot hear/understand the homily. Literally. And one of our priests is from Nigeria, and a very good homilist, but you have to listen carefully. I often consider sitting in the nursery myself, since it isn't being used.

Then there's the time when I knelt during the consecration, and accidentally kicked a child (3 or 4 by my estimation) who was napping under my pew....I wish I was kidding.

There has to be a happy medium. It certainly isn't a problem with the children. They're just being children. Duh.

9:50 AM  
Blogger SiressYorkie said...

Having been raised in a VERY conservative Lutheran church (seriously...our church voted AGAINST the merger way back when because they thought the terms "Evangelical" sent the wrong sort of message..."we just come here to worship our God, thank you very go do your own thing and be gone"), the kids were always sent off to Children's Church, nursery, etc. If a child acted up, it was like being Shunned by Collective Scowling, and he was removed immediately to the Narthex. Very weird.

It was a different story when we became Unitarians. VERY different story.

Anyway, I once spent a week knitting this amazing Coco Chanel-esque suit for Max's buddy Ruby for her birthday. The detailing was amazing. And I knit an evening gown with fake fur on the back...really cute. I placed them lovingly in nice little boxes and presented them with pride.

I rang Ruby's mum later in the day (she was recovering from the party with a large GnT) and said, "How'd it go? How do the clothes look on Barbie??"

She sighed and said, "Well, Barbie spent the afternoon upside down and naked in the sandbox, so the verdict's not in yet."

Little tart.

6:12 AM  
Blogger SiressYorkie said...

BTW, that one Barbie's got her hand on that other Barbie's arse. As for the third one, I don't wanna know what's happening in that scenario...all I can see is a sheaf of blonde hair.

But they're all smiling, and that can't be bad by half, eh?

3:11 PM  
Blogger Ewe-niss said...

Ah, you are at the phase that I call 'gator wrestling'. :-) The kid is up, down, climbing on your head and trying to head out the door. You get through it how ever you need to. My husband and I figured that when we got married the 'two became one' so if one of us gets to church - then we both did. :-)

I enjoy hearing kids during church. And I will admit a small part of it is because it is no longer mine making the noise. :-)

2:47 PM  

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