Tuesday, June 06, 2006


Taking the plunge

Beloved and I have a hot date tonight. We're dropping the kids off with my parents and going to - church.

Actually, we're going to a pre-baptism information session, because we've finally decided to go ahead and get the boys baptized this summer. I've gotten over most of my initial concerns about the whole Catholic baptism thing, and grappled with other minutia like actually finding out where our church is physically located (in a high school gymnasium, apparently, so I don't feel so bad about not finding it earlier) and deciding on a set of godparents.

The godparents thing was an easy choice, once we thought about it. We asked our very dear friends Jojo and Jaimie, mostly because we love them so much but also largely because when Joanne's mother heard about our struggles with infertility, she went to her church and lit a candle for us to ask the Big Guy to bless our IVF. We often joke about Maureen's magic matches. And when I asked Joanne if she and Jaimie would honour us by being the boys' godparents, she said, "Will they pour water on the boys’ heads and do the oil thingy? If not Jaimie and I will bring water guns and fill them up with holy water and we’ll chase the boys in and out of the pews", which assured me that we had made the right choice.

The more this whole baptism thing crystalizes into reality, the more I'm realizing that having your two year old and your four year old baptized is not so much like having your four week old baptized. First off, what are they supposed to wear? Beloved, pious soul that he is, has decreed that they should wear ornate white Christening gowns in the traditional style. Hmm, I've got a wedding dress or three I could sacrifice for the cause - it would be worth it just to have the pictures for blackmail purposes in later years.

And suddenly I have a vision of baptism day. We're in the church high school auditorium with the other dozen or so families whose newborns are being baptized this month. The babies are tiny and fresh, and the tired but blissfully happy new parents are beaming with pride at perhaps the first major social appearance of the new family. All the families are sitting patiently and respectfully, absorbing the solemnity of the occassion, and even if one of the babies cry, it's that lovely mewling sound that only newborns make.

And then there's us, trying to corral Simon and keep Tristan relatively engaged, surrounded by a mountain of dinky cars, books and playdough that are doing absolutely nothing to distract the boys from the pursuit of mischief. And it's beginning to occur to me that Simon absconding with a hymnal is perhaps the least of our worries, because maybe the priest might even try to TALK to Tristan on this most sacred and auspicious day, and not even the Lord knows what might come out of his mouth. I've been working on a crash course version of Catholicism for Preschoolers (lesson one: God does not buy his car at the corner store, nor is he something to be shouted in traffic) but it may be too late.

I get it now. The Catholics baptize their new recruits when they're pre-verbal and the Baptists wait until they are adults and have social skills and functioning self-edit features. There's a reason no major religion indoctrinates preschoolers!

Leave it to us to make it a uniquely memorable, if not sacrosanct, occasion.