He never stops moving these days. I could spend my entire day, every day, following him around the house and taking things away from him. Church is a one-hour wrestling match that leaves my upper arms feeling trembly and jelly-ish. I try not to assume that everyone in church is there to watch my family, but I’m sure I’ve seen half a dozen people biting their lips and smiling as they watch me puff and pant, trying to keep him still. It’s a relief when he stands on the pew and flirts with somebody’s grandma…because it holds his attention and gives me thirty seconds of rest. Every Mass, we end up giving up and taking him to the back to let him off the leash and just run, run, run.
Only problem is, he’s discovered the baptismal font, and we all know where that can lead.
He behaves better for Christian, at least marginally, and I’m so grateful that I’m not alone in the battle. This weekend, we were at my in-laws’ church, and my mother-in-law tried to give me a break, but almost as soon as she took him, the dazed look crossed her face. “He’s so strong!” she whispered apologetically as she handed him back.
After Communion I gave up and took him to the back of church, where he ran laps around the entryway, which holds the font, and the cry room/adoration chapel, which interestingly enough was chock-full of adults age 50 and over on the feast of the Holy Family. Maybe the families eschew it because the room also contains the votive offerings. Michael discovered those right away, of course. He padded through the blocks of color streaming in from a stained glass window, the curly back of his head shifting from orange to yellow to green. It was one of those right-here, right-now moments. My heart caught. I wished I had the camera, to capture this moment before it passes away forever.
We’re down to two nursings a day now, and last night he couldn’t decide if he wanted to use his mouth for milk or for saying “uDAH. uDAH. uDADADA.” He’s still more Mommy attached than any child in our house has ever been…and it’s still simultaneously the best and worst thing about him. So far, I can call, “Michael, c’mere!” and he’ll drop almost anything and come running with the biggest wide-mouth grin you’ve ever seen. That’s the best of it. The worst is when he refuses to go to sleep because he’s sick, and being held by Daddy is completely unacceptable, even though Daddy’s just watching TV and Mommy’s trying to get caught up on the scrapbooks.
My favorite personality quirk is his sleep habit. We have never had a child for whom we had to bring his own blankets along on a trip. But at my parents’ house the day after Christmas, the child steadfastly refused to sleep, because he couldn’t perform his normal routine.
You see, when Michael is placed in his bed, he gets on all fours and pads around in a circle until the crocheted blankets are properly wadded up and he finds the best spot; then he plops down belly first on top of them and burrows down like a puppy dog in his basket. He has to sleep on top of the blankets. I wait until he’s settled down before I put his fleece blanket on top of him.
It’s a good exercise, this post, because Michael has a cold and he’s a pain in the neck when he has a cold. He was up three times in the night, though fortunately only once while we were trying to sleep. I was not particularly enamored of my youngest child when I began typing this morning, but now that he’s upstairs talking with Julianna (“Bah-KOH!” she says, and he responds, “u-DAH! u-DAH!” I’m finding myself more charitably inclined toward him. (See? There’s that word again.)
Life marches on.
My youngest is also the only child who would prefer me. I used to want one of them…any one…to like me best, but Chris always came first with the other 4 kids. This last one loves me best and he was about a month old when I got tired (at times) of that. When he was about 8, he started sometimes going willingly and joyfully with Chris. It was a little sad. I’m still the one he comes to when he’s sad, excited, or just wants to talk and we talk a lot. I hope that you share that special bond as Michael gets older. In Church, we started not requiring them to be still, just to be quiet, so Chris and I would pen in the smallest (or smallest 3) and they could move among us as long as they were quiet. 🙂 That made our church-going much more peaceful for us. As Gail Froyen once told me as I was frustrated in the lobby with a child, “Even when you’re out here, the miracle still happens. Hang in there.”
I cling to something my mother told me once: “When you girls were little there were a lot of Masses we didn’t get much out of.” Sounds a lot like what Gail said. 🙂
The really sad thing is that a few weeks ago (when they announced that we’re starting Diaconate classes), three of the boys were such stinkers, that her comments were going through my head like a mantra all through mass. Of course, the 2 behaving kids sat by Chris, so he had a lovely mass. 🙂
Oh man these days fly by so fast! I’ve had the trembling jelly arms as well. Our kids are all grown up now and I love to see the squirmy ones in church. They add a little life and energy to the mass. Happy New Year!
So lovely to read about Michael’s antics, as it evokes memories of my own babies. My kids have been sick as well, and I think I need to write some loving words about them so that I may behave more charitably next time the two year old throws a fit.
Ha! Fits are hard to keep cool through, even when you know the underlying reason.