It has been a while since I posted Mass is a Nightmare, and I felt like, as we approach First Communion, that I needed to update how solutions-searching is going for us.
We tried every single church in town. da Creature's OT had the most clarity of everyone I talked to about this and so I began listening in the spaces. My beloved home church (the one I WORK at, btw) has an 11 second reverb (and this after sound engineers went in and put up 10 foot sound tile panels in the back, cutting the reverb by a whole 3 seconds). What happens to da Creature in that space is that he is hearing every single sound simultaneously. Every note of the organ, bounced off brick walls for 11 seconds overlapping every other note, not to mention choir, congregation, sound system, et al.
Noise cancelling headphones were not powerful enough to make it stop hurting him.
The other churches had variations on that theme, until we went to the 8:00 AM Mass at the newly built St. Francis. I had long heard rumors that when they built St. Francis, something BAD had happened to the acoustics in there, and when I walked in, sure as God made little green apples, the space is dead as a doornail. Just dead. Sound rises from the organ, goes about fifteen feet and drops like a stone onto the floor. It's like being in a sound booth.
What was bad for music at St. Francis, though, was a miracle for da Creature. For the first time in his life, he was able to begin being a normal pain in the butt at Mass. What a relief. So, four years after I'd have like to be teaching him to be still and quiet, I finally have had a real shot at the game. It's been a struggle, but it has not been the nightmare it was.
So, we often go to two churches a weekend. One, for me to be the Choir Director, and one for my family to go to Mass. It's annoying, but less so than da Creature beating his head on the pew and clawing at me and saying the worst thing imaginable all in an effort to get OUT of the space. I feel so badly that I tried to discipline him for two years before realizing it wasn't behavior, it was pain. :(
First Communion is coming. He is SO excited. We have a plan to avoid some of the high-stim activities preceeding Mass so we can have a nice focused experience, and I am on the hunt for a seersucker suit. What a difference the geographic cure has made for our family.
Oh, and if you see us at Mass next to you, da Creature is the one with his very own missal, reading every word....so, just a reminder if you're a priest....say the black, do the red, or you may have a loudly shouted correction from the peanut gallery. I will blush and apologize, of course, but you brought it on yourself. :)