Today was Palm Sunday and in keeping with my Lenten promise to make it to Mass each week, I took both girls and went to Mass. Doug missed golf yesterday, so he was playing today and didn't get to join us. We missed the 9am Mass because Annika slept until 8:30, so you'd think I would have had plenty of time to make it to the 10:45 one. I would have had this time if I hadn't stopped at the ATM to get money for the second collection, because the cash I thought I had in my purse was missing (turns out I gave it to the babysitter on Friday).
Anyway, we made it to the church with about 5 minutes to spare. This is ordinarily plenty of time, but there were lots of Palm Sunday activities, so today was not an ordinary day. Dagny had fallen asleep in the car on the way to the church, so I thought she would sleep for a good part of the Mass and might wake about communion time. Since she was asleep, I thought we could sit in the sanctuary so that Annika could hear the music and see what was going on (and because it's a free-for-all of unrestrained screaming children in the cry room). A very nice and well-meaning usher sat us in the middle of a back row after the millions of folks who had been outside for the parade and palm demonstration came back in and filed past us. "Whew", I said to myself as we settled in, "we did it". The church was packed and there were people standing behind us and also against the wall behind them. It is at this point that if my life were a movie, an audience would have screamed "NO - Get Out of There!" or the evil stepmother would have cackled "FOOLS! Now I've got you! Ha, Ha, Ha!"
Annika could not sit still, but she was quiet so I thought we were OK. Then, midway through the first reading I noticed that Dagny was awake. Gulp. I let her relax in the carseat and concentrated on Annika because she was getting rowdy. Finally, I was able to occupy Annika with a pen and my notebook (for writing the things I'm supposed to remember) out of my purse, but Dagny was angry. So, I figured that I could just hold her - she is heavy, but Mass is only an hour. That worked for most of the second reading, but then she was hungry. Of course she was hungry - we follow the "Eat, Activity, Sleep, You" schedule from Babywise, so after Sleeping (even if it is only 15 minutes), there must be Eating. Knowing that my hooter-hider was not in the diaper bag, I whipped out the boob and tried to cover myself with Dagny's blanket. Dagny doesn't like to be covered while she eats, but I did the best I could with the blanket and my hand. Yes, my boobs are so small that I can cover most of them with the hand, so that worked reasonably well until it was time for the congregation to kneel.
In case you didn't know, in Christianity, Palm Sunday is the day you talk about the Passion (crucifixion) of Jesus. Accordingly, the reading of the Gospel on this day is a BIG DEAL. The one our priest chose to read called for the congregation to read parts out loud, while kneeling. This is a very moving way to read this particular passage from the Bible, and it would have been marvelous, except that kneeling individuals are approximately as tall as the back of the chair in front of them, affording them a bird's eye view of anything going on in any such chair, including breast-feeding, which is what I was attempting to do, discreetly, during this time. I tried to relax enough to allow the milk to flow and fed both sides until Dagny twisted away from the feeding. On a usual day, a period of "happy time" would have ensued. After eating, Dagny is usually chatty and pleasant for about an hour and a half. Unfortunately, today was not a usual day and she might not have eaten enough and she was hot (because of the million folks in church), so Dagny was ANGRY. Midway through the (very short) homily, she started to yell. I tried to bounce and shush her, but eventually gave up - put my huge diaper bag and carseat on our chairs and began to shove out of the row, intending to come back and retrieve the bag and seat from the chairs on the way towards the door. The same nice usher came to help escort us out (bless him) and we spent the rest of the Mass in the narthex (lobby). I had to discipline Annika while we were in the lobby, but Dagny was much happier in my arms out there and Mass went fine. I occupied Annika with returning to the sanctuary for both collections and communion and looking at the cool stuff in the narthex and the bag of cereal I keep for emergencies.
Now I am home and have fed us all, Annika is at the park with Doug, Dagny is asleep and I'm exhausted. I guess I could look at this morning in two ways. One way, I made a lot of stupid mistakes and should have gone to the cry room from the beginning. The other way - payback for forgetting it was Friday and having Steak Taco Paco at Mexican last week.
In other news, I did the 2.8 mile loop this morning (pre-dawn) in 25.02 minutes - 8.9 minute miles. I thought that I was running super-fast because I was channeling Natalie and good music kept coming up on my i-pod, but the time was not so great. Next week I'll do better.