Monday, September 26, 2011

Why We Go to 8:30

It's five o'clock.  You've opted for going to the evening mass so everyone can be there so it must be time for every one's favorite pew time pastime, "Who's got Mom?" 

In a twist for our contestants, Mom drove, ergo the original strategies of several key players has been scrapped.  They'll be stuck in whatever alignment Dad puts them in the pew and have to wait for the chance to strike.  It requires a rethinking of strategies as normally, the kindergartner opts for Virtue child, having Mom hold the misselette so she can follow along; muscling out the four year old who thinks the best method is to declare "huggie time."

Mom arrives before the first reading.  Each smaller child is flanked by an older one, leaving Mom on the side with only one method to approach.  The seven year old stands and makes his move.  "Mom!" he urgently doesn't quite whisper.  "I have to go to the bathroom." He may, but he's hoping to go and return to flank Mom on the outside, giving him unrestricted access.

Mom gives the glare and hisses, "Wait until the offertory."  The boy is stuck for what will seem like an unbearable amount of time between his sister who has decided she hates her hair cut and now is the time to let Mom know, and a brother who is trying to both be a bossy bigger brother and seemingly more pious than anyone else in the row.   The rejection has sparked the interest of the older brother who is now trying to correct his younger brother's every move so that it is more correct than the altar servers.

That later kid's a crafty one, as he's placed himself strategically as far away from actual parents as possible, allowing for maximum leeway provided he plays within certain restraints.   Unfortunately, he tends to skate beyond those restrictions which often means there are much more severe consequences if he gets caught. And he's corrected one time too many, resulting in a verbal outrage from the seven year old.  They're both busted. Yes folks, pew kid tetris has begun, as the children are shuffled to try and create the proper alignment to ensure minimum distraction from the mass.

It's rather like one of those analytic problems from the S.A.T.   Kid A can only sit by kid C, F or G.  Kid B sits on the end.  Kid C can sit by anyone but must be in the middle.   Kid D and Kid E must be by one of the two parents.  Kid H and Kid J cannot sit next to each other, but can sit with any one else.   I admit, I've toyed with sitting one child in each pew, at the end, and seeing how that works out, but decided I'll be spending enough time in purgatory as it is. 

Mass includes a visiting missionary with a slide show.  It's good but the children immediately despair.  Commence bathroom breaks.  Shift one, the boys.  Shift two, the younger girls.  Shift three, the older middle children who were trying to show off by not going. 

Back to the action.  Mom had the two toddlers after the potty wars on her lap.  One overly helpful sister was trying to take a child but that child did not want to go.  She announced her desires.  Loudly.  The other child on the lap decided now was as good a time as it was gonna get to give Mom a backwards headbutt.  Mom clears the lap, retreating in pain.  Lap children are now buckled in pew by older teen siblings who relish the idea of 1) acting as parent 2) controlling their siblings 3) appearing virtuous in the process.  Seeing that Mom's arms are free, a new player announces her presence. 

The baby decides she will declare herself the winner.  Bouncing in my arms, she nuzzles up to my neck.  I swear she was giving the rest of them the evil eye and a gloating, "I Win!" victory lap smile when we came back from communion. 

Tune in next week to join us for "Who's not singing?"

4 comments:

Kristen @ St Monica's Bridge said...

This sounds eerily familiar...but with fewer kids...were you spying on us at our niece's baptism Saturday afternoon?

Lynn said...

very funny and true! My 3 do all of that every week -- they like to switch seats between hubby and I several times. We try not to put them next to one another and have K-P-K-P-K -- trouble comes when we forget who was on the end last Sunday.

Natalie said...

At least you're there at Mass. Some familes think it is too much of a hassle with so many kids but I say Bravo to you. =)

munchesmom said...

It is so nice to know that we are not the only ones who have seating issues at Mass. Thank you!

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