The first five years of motherhood can have a variety of names. I particularly enjoy “The Time Of Isolation.” Or maybe “The Era Of The Cry Room.” How about “The ‘We’d Better Stay Home’ Period? Let’s face it, for the first couple years, many moms would rather miss their second cousin’s wedding than actually try to control their children in public. We think of it as a public service. We’re saving everyone at Church or at a play from hearing our chattering little monkey.
Unfortunately, sometimes an event rolls around that you simply can’t miss. My husband’s family attends the Holy Days of Obligation together, little ones and all. Even better, we attend Mass in a Church so small that it doesn’t have a cry room. There’s one big chapel and an entrance big enough to hold exactly two parents and two wailing infants. I know this because it’s constantly full.
No joke, I spent two hours on Christmas Eve sitting in the car with my daughter while everyone else received the Sacrament. See, my little girl had realized that the tall ceilings made her voice echo. Echos are irresistible to two year olds. By the time my husband made it to the car, I had run out the battery. Merry Christmas to all.
This weekend, my daughter is the flower girl in a wedding. Honestly, I’m not too worried about her walking down the aisle. She’s always kind of enjoyed being the center of attention. What little girl doesn’t enjoy 400 people collectively adoring her?
My concern is for the actual ceremony that will follow her petal-strewing obligations. How am I going to keep her quiet for the next hour? Of course she knows how to behave in public. Of course she’s capable of sitting still when the situation calls for it. But let’s face it, even the most well-behaved children slip up!
Parents need to be prepared. Here’s how I attempt to make it through graduations, ballet performances, weddings and even the occasional Mass.
What’s your secret? How do you keep your kids from making a scene in a quiet ceremony?