My 9-month-old is the only baby in my church; I don’t know anyone local with children; and children in my extended family are either Catholic but don’t go to church, or Protestant so they don’t worship with their parents (“Sunday school” during the worship service). So I have a question that might seem pretty basic, but I’m flying blind.
My daughter is starting to decide that it’s fun to make a lot of noise in quiet places, so she’s increasingly making very loud happy-noises during Mass, especially daily Mass. Today she started some longer happy yells. I felt bad, but honestly I just sat there laughing silently because I had no idea what to do. I tried covering her mouth, but she thought it was a delightful game!
My parish is SO excited to have a baby around, and I get a lot of people telling me they don’t mind (praise God!), but I’m sensitive to the noise and want to keep it to a minimum. For the first many months, when she fussed I would typically walk her, bounce her, or try a bottle. Those things don’t always work anymore – sometimes she just switches to happy noises! For the last month or so I’ve been telling her, “No,” and, “We need to be quiet in Jesus’ house” – but I certainly don’t expect her to obey at this point. That’s also about the only time I make eye contact, when I’m issuing those corrections. I’ll put her on the seat of the pew in front of me and let her walk or crawl with my hands on her. For the last couple of days I’ve handed her a saint finger-puppet to distract her (but she’s also begun exploring gravity, so her favorite activity is to drop it).
Is there anything I can try that I haven’t already? I feel like I’m covering my bases, but I don’t know what I don’t know. We don’t have a crying room, and the vestibule is small, unheated so unusable in winter, and provides no sound barrier.
Thank you for your help.