My Child at Church = Holy Terror
SuperBoy is Mr. Church. He loves church. He loves mass, he loves vespers, he loves Stations of the Cross, he loves anything related to being inside God’s house. He loves our church. He loves our priests. He loves it all. But last Sunday, in sharp contrast to the above norm, he was a holy terror.
It all started because I took him to the bathroom during the sermon instead of his Dada. That was it. Downhill from there. He refused to go in the Ladies’ Room. “Mama, I want to go in the other bathroom.” “Well that’s for men, and when you’re with me, I can’t go in there, so you have to come in here.” “No! I’m a gentleman!!!” Much negotiating later, including threats, he comes in the bathroom. Won’t go. Suddenly doesn’t have to go. No. Can. Do.
We go back up the stairs. He cries because he wants to walk up the stairs from the church basement. It takes him like 30 minutes to do one stair. He cries when we go back down the aisle (why did we sit so far into the church, so far away from the back doors? So far away from the bathroom??). We settle back into the pew. All seems well. Or so I thought.
Fast forward to the consecration. For my non-Catholic readers, this is the most important and quiet and reverent part of the whole shebang. And yes, that’s when my son says in a loud stage whisper “MAMA, I HAVE TO GO POTTY!!!!!!!!” This is the most sacred part of the mass. This is when I get death looks from the reverent worshippers around me.
I hesitate. Then hustle him out of the pew. Then drag him, his limp, sad little body a sack of potatoes, lift him, somehow get him down the very very long aisle to the back of the church, then downstairs AGAIN a battle, to the bathroom.
No potty. He tried. He cried. I cried. The old lady in the bathroom who wanted to discuss his cute outfit almost cried. It was a failed attempt. We almost didn’t make it back up stairs in time for communion. There was wailing. And gnashing of teeth.
I realized: I’m that parent. The one with the unruly child I’ve been secretly judging. Well now judge away at me. You cannot control your child’s reactions to unwanted circumstances. And for the record, his Dada and he subsequently had a successful potty experience in the Gent’s bathroom after communion. I guess the moral of the story is, don’t change up your child’s routine at mass, especially if it has been working. And don’t take a 2.7 year old into the Ladies’ Room unwillingly. It will only backfire.