Tonight we decided that since Charleigh had been sleeping so well and had been sleeping for over 2 hours for her 2nd nap of the day,that we'd wake her up to go to 5pm Sat night mass at St Elizabeth Ann Seton Church. I'll admit, we probably should go more often, but up until this point she always seemed to be right smack in the middle of a nap when mass times were going on. We felt that while religion is important to us for Charleigh, her growth and development thru sleep at this age were equally important. We, as a little family, had spent our first Christmas at Seton Parish with a 23 day old Charleigh this past Christmas, and in April she was baptized.
I felt fairly confident about tonights plans, since she had just woken up from a nap she should be in a good mood, not hungry...etc.
On our drive to the church, which is maybe a 15mins drive, Charleigh decided that would be an opportune time to dirty her diaper. So our first stop upon entering the church was at the Koala Care changing station in the ladies room. After a quick change ( I've gotten good at those), we met Daddy in the gathering area and proceeded to our seats. I asked Dan if he thought we should sit in the "cry room" where many other young children and their parents already were. I didn't feel we needed to but I wanted to make sure we were on the same page. Charleigh wasn't crying, she wasn't upset, she wasn't fussy, she was being her happy, smiley, bouncy self. There was the processional music going on and this girl LOVES some music. We found ourselves a pew, 2nd row from the back, next to a elderly woman and sat down. I felt good knowing that if an outburst were to occur I could make a darting exit out the back without much effort.
Mass began, music was played, Charleigh bounced. She took extreme interest in everyone sitting around us and made her own little noises after each time the congregation made the standard remarks back to the deacon. She wasn't being loud, well at least not for Charleigh. She wasn't being disruptive either. She was smiling and reaching back and forth between Dan and I. She had juice and cheerios. She had her toys, ones that I had thought ahead enough to choose and did not rattle, squeak or make noises when hitting the floor multiple times.
Now for those of you who have spent any amount of time around Charleigh in the last 4-6 weeks, you know of her "wookie" noise. She flutters her tongue and makes a noise much like that of the Star Wars characters. She does it when she's mad, upset, excited..pretty much any emotion she feels can be conveyed through this silly noise. Anyone who hears it asks "how is she doing that?", and "where did she learn that?".
During the consecration (consecration is that of the bread and wine used in the Eucharist, which according to the Catholic belief involves their change into the body and blood of Christ (thank you wikipedia), Charleigh made one of her signature "wookie" noises and then a little baby babble after. Immediately following her MINOR noise making, a man in his late 70's who was sitting two rows in front of us turned around and in a huffy, grunting manner said "IT'S THE CONSECRATION!!!" . I looked at Dan and said " like Charleigh knows that!!". As soon as I finished my comment the man behind us said " I think it's great to hear sounds of joy in God's house". Or something to that effect...
I was pretty fired up!! I mean, Charleigh is almost 9 months old and had been an EXCELLENT baby the entire mass. I don't know if this old man knew that the church had a "cry room" but even if he did, we couldn't rationalize taking her to sit in it. She wasn't crying. She wasn't doing anything to warrant removing her from sitting with everyone else. Dan and I feel that Charleigh should be in the church, with everyone else, getting to see and clearly hear what is going on. Why should we take her to a room where kids can be loud, cry, play and fuss?? We are not trying to set that as the standard for behavior when attending church. And WHY did this man think that a 9 month old, or her parents for that matter had the ability to control when and what little noises she would make throughout mass!!?!?!
Now, after communion, the part where we all line up and go to the front (for all you non-catholics) we usually go back to our seats for approximately 5-7 mins before church is over.
At this point of the mass today however, they asked everyone to be seated and started to speak about the upcoming Seton Parish Festival, and then someone else spoke about a church group. When this "extra" talk began, Charleigh was understandably growing impatient. I picked her up and quickly walked out to the gathering area where she would not be heard or bother anyone. After everyone was "dismissed" Dan had a conversation with the man behind us. He thought it was great to see Charleigh in church and said she was an adorable and very well behaved little girl. During this short conversation they also both noted that the man who growled at Charleigh had not returned to his seat after communion. Even the best of Catholics have been known to try to sneak out after communion when everyone is up and about moving around, if for no other reason than to miss "all the traffic" in the parking lot. Too bad he chose to leave, Dan and couple behind us both wanted to introduce themselves. It should be stated that this parish is a very young and family oriented church. Dan and I went to many other churches prior to joining this one to make sure we were in a place that would be a good fit for us at this stage in our lives. Despite this one negative reaction -- I still think we have.
I should note too that as I was standing in the back after mass, before the crowd poured out, an another older woman who I had not seen while in church came out and started talking to Charleigh. She asked how old she was and "how did she learn to make that cute little noise?". Apparently for every one person who felt like the Grumpy Old Man there were two who delighted in hearing and seeing one of God's little miracles in his house!