This morning on Facebook, I posted a little note re: moms bringing little ones to Mass and the usual 'Jibber Jabber' that goes with it.
The on-going conversation thread afterwards was interesting, especially from the moms who struggle to bring little ones to Mass as they feel it is distracting, and they sometimes get stares from others who are in attendance.
I think there are a few things happening here:
1) Especially in bigger Churches, voices echo like crazy. Part of a toddler's growth and development (DISCLAIMER: NOT A CHILD PSYCHOLOGIST!!!!!) is learning to interact with their environment. When they hear that echo, they can't help but make some noise. For me, this is not interruptive. I can usually speak louder than a toddler and still get my point across. Also, it is important to have little ones in the presence of Our Lord, as I quipped: they speak directly to Him! So, to the rest of us: Suffer the little children!
2) To those who grumble, DEAL WITH IT! You were likely there once and shouldn't we rejoice, as a Pro-Life People, at the gift of life and little lives, especially?
3) Now, a screaming, wailing child is an entirely different matter. These children I can't yell over, cause it just encourages them to get louder. Feel free to take them out back to calm them down, deal with whatever made them so angry and come back in when you can. Anyone who has been around children should understand. THEY ARE NOT ROBOTS! They're not even dogs who are trainable. We all understand and no, you are not a bad parent because your child screamed out bloody murder at Mass. It is their way of getting attention, give it to them.
4) Some of the most humerous things I remember about my family involve my nieces and nephews (soon to be 18) doing goofy stuff, even at Mass. A few weeks ago, two nieces (cousins, not sisters) were sitting on the floor across the main aisle making faces at each other during the recessional at the end of Mass. I just stopped and looked down at both of them and laughed and then kept on going.
4.b) My oldest sister has a brother-in-law who was ordained to the priesthood when I was in high school (serving his Mass of Thanksgiving might have had something to do with my own vocation, don't ya think?) During that Mass, my nephew (and Godson) started screaming bloody murder. So, up he goes into mom's arms and starts to be carried out the back. Well inarticulate screams turned into very distinct yells: "DON'T SPANK MY BUTT, MOMMY!!!!" repeated down the side aisle (which was now roughly FIVE MILES long for my sister. I think I heard her mumble, even from up on the Altar: "Well, I wasn't going to, but now....."
Morale of the Story: Life Happens. With kids, life often takes unexpected turns. Enjoy the ride; and bring your children to Mass.