For the last few weeks, we've been seduced by the cry room at church. A sound-resistant room where those with loud children can seek refuge from the dirty looks of those parishioners without children and escape the sympathetic looks from those parishioners with grown children.
It's a fabulous invention. Parents can still pray and join in church activities without being overly anxious that their child is distracting other worshippers.
At least, that's what I thought until last week.
Last week, I braved taking Sam to church without Joe, who was home sick with a cold. I sat down, nodded hello to the other couple I'd met last week, and settled in to enjoy Mass.
About ten minutes later, a family with 3 small children and a mom with 2 little girls joined our group. All hell broke loose. The two little girls took turns crying and yelling at each other. The 3 small children made truck noises, banged on the baseboard heater, and bickered. Sam, who is normally a pretty quiet boy during church, interpreted the noise as an invitation to join in and babbled at the top of his lungs. Intermingled with all the kids' noises were parents fiercely scolding their kids in loud whispers...in both English and Spanish. It was so loud in there we couldn't respond with the congregation because we couldn't hear what was going on in the church proper. The people in the nave, though, could clearly hear our cacophony and kept turning around and shooting dirty looks our direction.
Nobody prays in the cry room...
...unless it's a frantic prayer to make their child suddenly be quiet and behave.