Originally uploaded by markhillary
He’s at it again.
After Vacation Bible School, Alex’s interest in and behavior at church took a definite turn for the better. For two weeks. But apparently he was just saving up all his bad behavior for use the last two weeks.
On Father’s Day in Southern Illinois, we went to church with my in-laws, and sat in the front. Christian and I had to take turns holding Nicholas at the back…and Alex?
Alex chased me down the center aisle, and when I gave him the look, he ran back to the front. He folded his arms and scowled, he hunched in his seat, he sat when he was supposed to stand and slumped when he was supposed to kneel. No amount of explaining what was going on…no amount of threats…made any difference. It was the best music we’ve ever experienced at that parish, but he cared not.
After Mass, at least five people came up to us to smile and pat our shoulders and tell us what a good job we were doing amid such chaos. Em-barrassing.
But maybe it was the excitement of visiting Grandma and Grandpa. Maybe the next week would be better.
As it turned out, this week we sat with Great-Grandma, which seemed, at the breakfast table, like it was going to help. But the happy child eating Danish for a treat at home turned into holy 5-year-old terror when we reached the pew. Yes, it was crowded. Yes, it was hot. But I swear he was possessed. The only thing he participated in was the Lord’s Prayer. He spent the rest of the time…you guessed it. Folding his arms and scowling, hunched in his seat, sitting when he was supposed to stand and slumping when he was supposed to kneel, and refusing to make any attempt to pay attention.
It doesn’t sound that bad, but it was. Trust me. It. Was. Bad.
And after Mass, three people came up to tell us they remembered what it was like to have poorly-behaved children at church (they didn’t use those words, but it was definitely what they meant) and what a good job we were doing. (Actually, one woman was super sweet. “Kate, I don’t know how you manage to handle all this chaos and still look so beautiful!” she said, which definitely fed my vanity!)
We are at our wits’ end, people, and so I am begging for ideas. And I mean begging. This is a kid who has a beautiful voice, loves to sing, and sings freely at all times, except at church. (And story time. Weird, huh?) He’s eminently capable of learning the responses, and we’ve tried whispering in his ear, telling him what’s going on, but nothing works. He’s horrible at church. I rack my brains trying to remember myself being bad at church, clinging to the hope that he might just grow out of it…but I can’t remember ever acting this way at church. It’s embarrassing, and it’s painful for me, because I love the liturgy.
Help? Ideas? Please?