I posted recently about Eva’s development with sounds. Da and ba are the main consonants, with ah and oh being the main vowels. While she’s not stringing them together for words yet, she does use them for communication. If she wants Quinton or Momma’s attention, she will stare at them and start babbling until they turn and recognize her.
Eva is a people person. She loves to interact with people, and views a stranger as a friend she has yet to make. If she had a Facebook page, she would have a thousand friends, and she would be posting all the time (“Did you know that my ball bounces! I just found the greatest toy ever!)
Church is this amazing place where there are people streaming up and down the aisles. Her head is on a constant swivel looking for a new friend to smile at. Then service starts, and a majority of the people look away from her. There are the lucky few that sit in the pew behind us that she will smile at all service, but mostly people paying attention the service.
This, of course, is unacceptable. Why be a congregation unless we can congregate? Why would we all meet at one location to worship together if we don’t interact together? Eva decides this would be a good time to make some friends, and starts talking to those sitting around us. During service.
We sit near the back of the church, along with the other parents, late comers, and those competing in the “Who can get out the fastest” competition. We parents sit back because the kids can be a distraction to other people, so we try to minimize those affected. Unfortunately, there is no “Cone of Silence” that surrounds this area, so noise will escape into the rest of the church. We try our best to minimize the noise, but convincing an eight month old to do something is akin to asking Quinton to wipe his paws before going inside.
Every service I’ve been to has had some noise created by a youth in attendance. The question is at what age should a child (and by proxy, the parent) be responsible to control their actions. I’m going to go on record and say eight months is not it. Eva hasn’t even caught on the concept of “No” yet. If we tell her no (like when she tries to eat daddy’s magazine), she’ll look at you, smile, and continue to do what she was doing.
Unfortunately, we were sitting next to the man who believes that control should be obtained by eight months. He believes that every peep out of Eva deserves a scornful look. He believes that his seat back in the children’s section should be free on childish indiscretion.
The church has a cry room. If I had to guess, I’d say that he expected us to take her back there. I imagine there are many people who believe that any person who can’t control their talking during service should be back there. That church is only for those who sit quietly.
A friend posed a question for Steph. Did she see children between the ages of 1 and 3 in church? We pondered this question. Sure, you see babies in church, and older children as well. However, the toddlers were few and far in between. Are toddlers too difficult for church?
I mention this, because of our thoughts on kids in church. Mainly, that how does a child learn to sit in church without…sitting in church? How does a child punished for making joyful noises in church learn that church is good to go to?
We decided to stay in church. She wasn’t constantly yammering, just the occasional word. We did our best to keep it minimal. After service, a friend stopped by to say hello to us (fine, she came to see Eva). We told her what happened, and she asked why anyone would be unhappy with Eva making a joyful noise in church.
Maybe next week we should ask the church to rename the cry room, a Joyful Noise Room. This way, church can return to a group of congregants who look unhappy, and keep the joy of our redemption buried deep down.