Sunday, November 23, 2008

Question

I have a problem, a recurring one.

And I have guilt about this one, no matter which way I decide to go. Here's the scenario. Yuyum has had a cold. But, this morning, we brought him to Mass without really giving it a second thought, because, though he was sniffling a little, he'd been much better yesterday, almost over it. It seemed like a no-brainer; of course we'd bring him to Mass.
But by the time we got there and dipped our fingers into the holy water at the back of church, he was serial coughing ~ big ugly coughing. Nonstop. And the nose was dripping. And the eyes were tearing. It was yucky. And distracting for everyone, so I ended up taking him out to the vestibule and holding him there the whole time. He felt better snuggling with Mommy back there, anyway. Poor little guy.
In hindsight, I realize I should have just stayed home with him and sent the rest of the gang to Mass with their Daddy. If I'd have known his cold was still that bad, I would have kept him home. I think. Maybe.
Gosh. It's just not so easy.
What do you think?

I've gone back and forth on this cold problem for years and need some objective opinions. It's easy if the child has the flu or a stomach ailment. But an old fashioned cold never seems to warrant the same quarantine. If I stayed home every time someone had a cold, I'd miss Mass most of the winter. But, then, is it fair to subject the whole church to my wheezing, sneezing, sniffling, hacking child? And his germs?

So, my question is: Should you bring a child to church with a cold? Is there a litmus test for church-suitable snottiness? Just how bad should a cold be to justify staying home? What do you do? What would you like to see other parents do?
PS~ I should add that we drive approximately an hour to and from Mass, and can't really split Masses so my husband and I can both get there...

9 comments:

Laura said...

Good question Lisa...what are the boundaries for this?
My first reaction is to offer that you try to take him/her to the least crowded Mass and sit away from others.
My other thought is...oh people of the Church annoyed by sniffling...get over yourselves- it's just a little one with a cold.

Aimee said...

I go through these same deliberations myself! We have some variation of a runny nose/cough around here from October through May, so I would become a shut-in if I kept them home.

If it's a just a cold, I usually still take them to church. Unless it's a really bad cold with a lot of coughing, then I'll keep them home. My litmus test is a fever. If they have a fever, they stay put.

Probably not much help, but that's I do.

Jenny said...

In these situations we "tag team Mass." One of us will go with the well kids while one stays at home with the sick kids. Then we switch. Somedays we do not get to go to our own Parish, but we fulfill our Sunday/Holy Day obligation and we don't contaminate the whole parish.

Lisa said...

Laura ~ Yeah, I do wonder how annoying we're being ~ esp to the elderly, though... I mean, it doesn't bother ME when other parents bring their sniffly kids, but then it wouldn't, ya know? Hiding in the vestibule worked this week, similar to how you suggested, but, gee, I didn't feel much like I'd attended. And our parish only has one Sunday Mass at the moment. &:o'

Aimee ~ Fevers keep us home, too. And coughing is what spews germs around. I think that's what made me most worried about it this week ~ It was impossible to get William's mouth covered every time he coughed...

Jenny ~ I'd forgotten to add the disclaimer that we can't split Masses. I would LOVE to have that solution, though. It would sure make life easier! (I added that as a PS to the end of the post...)

Anne said...

Lisa, I think we all have this same debate..In this case, you thought it was much better...If it's a small cold, yes, take them, but if it's a whopper, then no..I think you did the right thing in keeping him in the back. You had no way of knowing that it would kick in like this. We have a bunch of new babies at the chapel, so I would really opt for staying home if it's a big one.
About a month ago, we went to First Friday Mass, and just as Mass is beginning, James, 5, says he is not feeling well. I took him into the cry room, and he ended up just laying down in there. Little did I know, or think about it, but it was a stomach bug that the other kids would get. Same thing happened that following Sunday, but Maggie 3, told us right before Mass started, so I was able just to keep her in the car and drop everyone else off. Boy, if I had a nickel...I had a newborn baby one time, and sitting right behind us was a family with a couple of kids hacking and blowing their noses all through Mass.. That annoyed me a bit..Just kept the baby away...From the sound of their coughs, I think they should have been at home...

Maeana said...

I've actually heard that by the time kids are showing cold symptoms, they're actually much less likely to be contagious. I homeschool, we really don't get out that often (especially in the winter), and the Mass we go to isn't even that crowded (an indult in the middle of nowhere), and yet still my kids have gotten cold after cold this year. Just out of consideration, I'd keep as much distance as possible, but it would be impossible to keep all babies home with colds. If there are lots of large families in your parish, the mommies would never get to church, and goodness knows, we need all the graces we can get.

Sheila said...

We've experienced something similar. Our daughter had a cold, but had been feeling okay. We left for mass and she coughed the entire way. We actually stook in the parking lot and left! It felt bad to do that, but in that case, I just felt we couldn't stay. But yes, we do generally go if people just have colds but no fever. I have avoided shaking hands during the offering of peace and explained that I had a cold, though. People seemed to appreciate it! :)

Memarie Lane said...

i wouldn't take a sick child to church because it isn't fair to the dozen or so other parents who will then have to deal with their children being sick.

Mamabear said...

Our deciding factor is fever free for at least 24 hours and not hacking. It's so hard. We've had the same thing happen to us (who hasn't?). We thought #1 was doing pretty well, then we get to Mass and he hacked the entire Mass. Ugh! Very humbling!
You made the best decision you could have when you left Sunday morning and you made the best decision you could once you got there. The situation had changed and you couldn't have known what was coming. It's part of being *Mommy*...we get our dose of humility here and there, don't we?