Anyway, I thought I'd take a moment to write a post instead of, I don't know, pack. Or sleep.
Today is Sunday, and like every Sunday, we had a plan to get to Mass that was fast and efficient. And like every Sunday, it fell apart at the seams. The Church we attend most regularly, Ascension, is a 10 minute walk away, and the plan was (and usually is) for one of us to go to the early Mass - 8:15am with one or two kids, and for the other to go to the 11am Mass with the remaining children. Today it was going to be Matt & Max at 8:15 and me with Karol and Patrick at 11.
But Daylight Savings Time happened. So the kids I've finally got trained to sleep until 6 now slept past 7, as did Matt and I. By 7:45 it was evident that nobody was going at 8:15.
Well that's okay, Matt and Max can go at 9 at Holy Name, but Holy Name is a 20 minute walk, so Matt would need to be ready by 8:30 and considering he hasn't even had that pivotal first cup of coffee that starts the morning ritual timer, that is unlikely as well. On top of that, Max really needs to start his morning nap around 9:30-10, and that window will be completely shut by the time they'd be home - or worse, he'd fall asleep really late in the stroller and throw his whole routine off, which would take me at least until Wednesday to straighten out again.
Okay, then I guess we'll all just go to 11am. But Max probably won't wake up until 11, and I hate being late to Mass (or anything, really), so that's a no-go. Maybe me and the older two can go to 11 at Ascension, and Matt can take Max to Holy Name at noon? That would work, except the kids need some playground time today since they were stuck inside all day yesterday, and I can't really do a playground trip with more than one by myself anymore, so we'd have to wait until Matt's back at 1:20pm, then eat lunch, then go out to the playground - but everyone needs to nap no later than 2:30pm, so that leaves about 3 minutes of actual play time in the park after eating, suiting up and walking there and then walking back and getting ready for naps. AAHH!
So then we formulate plan C (or is this D?). 'Okay wait, I promised the kids yesterday we'd get ice cream, so let's have lunch ready for when Max wakes up at 11, go to noon Mass at Holy Name (which is fortunately right across the street from the cheap cone place and a nice playground) and have ice cream and play until 2:15 or so.'
And my plan would have worked, too, if it weren't for those meddling kids. Lunch was ready and the kids were dressed and shoed when Max woke up, but then a couple of them decided they didn't feel like eating. I informed them that I wasn't buying ice cream for anyone that hadn't eaten their lunch. Karol's attitude toward eating turned on a dime, but apparently Patrick isn't motivated quite as much by treats because at 11:45 Matt was frantically begging him to finish his food so we could go.
And then everyone pooped. Or at least the preschoolers. "I don't care if we're late, we are going to noon Mass!" I say. "Did someone kidnap my wife and replace her with you?" my husband says (remember, I would usually rather not go than be late to pretty much anything). So at 12:05 Karol, Max and I were waiting at the base of the staircase for Patrick to finish his 'work.' At 12:15 we are walking at a brisk pregnant pace (which is medium-slow for us normally) to Mass at a Church 13 blocks away.
I think we got in after the homily, somewhere around the Our Father/Sign of Peace time frame, slid into the almost-last pew as surreptitiously as possible with three tots. I spent the rest of Mass recovering from the walk to the Church and trying to keep Max from babbling loudly and falling off the kneeler and into the wooden pews, and getting out Karol and Patrick's Mass stuff (mostly coloring pages and handwriting sheets that currently have a Lenten theme). I think Matt is actually trying to pray and be Catholic - he's kneeling and standing at the appropriate times and everything (I've been playing the pregnant card on that for the past few weeks).
Then it seems like we've been there maybe 8 minutes, it's time for Communion (caught me off guard because I haven't heard a word of anything the whole time) and then boom, people are dashing out the door already. Usually I coat the kids up as soon as we get back to the pew since it'll take us until the end of the recessional hymn to be ready anyway, but I figured since we just got there we could hang out for a couple minutes and chill.
But now Karol and Patrick don't want to leave. "I didn't get to do anything!" Karol cries, referring to her coloring and handwriting pages. I quietly whisper "ice cream!" and she quickly packs up and heads to the door.
Ironically, no matter how late we are or how much the children misbehave, we always get several people coming up to us to say how adorable our family is because they miraculously turn into angels when it comes time to walk down the aisle for Communion. And Max was exceptionally cute today - he somehow managed to cut our whole family ahead of two people with his cuteness alone.
The rest of the day, ironically, went basically as I had outlined it - ice cream, playground, smooth segue into naps, and Karol even completed her kindergarten (homeschool) reading program.
So why is Mass always so difficult? We have a pretty good system for keeping the kids calm/occupied once we're there (although that's taken years, and Max is still in uncooperative toddler phase). We've got a good system for getting the kids out the door - it works Monday thru Friday relatively well. Maybe it's because Sundays are a later start and the kids get to have some play time before Mass? Is it because there's always a fall back - some other Church that has a Mass an hour later - so we take the time table for granted? Is it because really I'm dreading the whole experience anyway, so karma just makes it as bad as I already expect it to be?