Jesus says "Let the children come to me" and so I do. When the kids turn 3, I consider them old enough to go to church, and expect them to remain seated (or kneeling/standing) as appropriate. I don't allow layng/climbing in the pew, or toys, or snacks. It's other people's business if they do...but these are my expectations for my kids. Afterall, with John working weekends, I'm the only parent in the pew, so we need to be clear about how to behave. The first 6 children fit into this little "mold" I'd created, just beautifully. But, I'm coming to realize that God has a sense of humor, and so there is Charlie. He's not loud, or terribly disruptive, he just can't keep his hands or feet "inside the car." He's constantly touching his brothers and sisters, reaching over the pew in front of us, trying to shake hands with everyone (future Walmart greeter?), and last week he told me after mass that he was trying "to start a campfire on the kneeler." What?! Where does he come up with this stuff. Like I said, he's not loud. So I'm grateful for that. Today a husband and wife behind me smiled knowingly. They have a couple boys of college age now, and seemed to remember quite well, wrestling their own active one in the pew from time to time. At one point the dad even asked as I held Charlie tightly on my lap, if I "had him in the penalty box." "Yes," I said, "for high-sticking."
I'm ever optimistic though, that next week will be better than the last, and that hopefully, he'll be outgrown of this before next summer when Frank and Rose turn 3. (Lord, please!)