Everyone has the best of intentions but there are reasons why people elect to stay home on Sunday morning instead of bringing their little kids to church. Sunday mass is a hour-long test of wills for my wife and I and it usually goes something like this:
[5 minutes to start]: We arrive at the church and weigh our options as to where we should sit. The back can make for a quick escape but the front provides something for our son to look at.
[start]: A final request that our son behave and not scream at the top of his lungs while we are inside the church.
[1 min]: The boy asks for his snack — yogurt pouch
[2 min]: The boy asks for alternative snack — cereal of some kind.
[4 min]: All snacks are gone including secret backup snack #3.
[6 min] Coloring book is out and on pew, crayons are rolling around on the floor.
[7 min] Crayons are taken away when the boy tries to write in the song book.
[10 min] The boy has stared at the people sitting behind us for 3 minutes without blinking.
[11 min] The staring that started out as cute is now making the people behind us uncomfortable.
[14 min] The boy loudly and rudely demands that everyone stop singing.
[16 min] Trying to escape, the boy has now been pulled back in from the aisle 4 times.
[23 min] I notice that snack #2 (the cereal) was not consumed, but dropped behind the back of the person in front of us, who now has cereal dust ground into their blazer.
[25 min] I realize it has only been 25 minutes
[30 min] The boy has decided his new favorite game is picking up the kneeler and slamming it to the floor.
[32 min] Those around us are no longer smiling.
[36 min] We are all standing, allowing my son the opportunity to slither down the bench behind everyone else in our row like some sort of snake.
[37 min] The boy has now hissed at everyone in our row.
[38 min] The boy is rolling around on the floor. I try to pick him up but it seems all his bones are gone. Scooping jello off the floor would be easier than getting my blob son to stand up.
[40 min] I shake hands and say”peace be with you” to the guy with cereal crumbs on his coat. I pretend I don’t notice.
[42 min] Where are the boy’s shoes?
[44 min] I realize that I have not actually heard a single word the priest has said
[45 min] Dammit now where are the boy’s socks?
[50 min] Things are wrapping up and I now hear the faint whines and cries of other toddlers in the church. At least 10 others.
[52 min] We apologize to all those around us. They all assure us it was fine. They are all very nice people.
[54 min] I hurry to clean up the pew around me that now resembles a war zone.
[55 min] We find 75 percent of the boy’s footwear, call that close enough and walk out as fast as we can.
[60 min] We both agree that the boy behaved better than he did the previous week.