We went to Chicago last weekend for the baptism of my new niece. Poor little girl, she thought she was there to audition to the chorus and so she er.....vocalized.... for about an hour. The Greek Orthodox folks do things slightly differently than the typical Catholic way (my only other comparison) of a very brief christening of a baby where it is like, dunk- and- done- and you are protected from Purgatory and Other Stuff. The Greeks don't care that their pews are like rocks with no cushions, besides they expect you to stand most of the time (although I sort of felt the minister was on a power trip with all his stand- up sit-down gesturing). What they like to do is get things all done in one swoop. So while it is most inefficient in the moment, they load the child with everything at one time. The Baptism, the essence of the First Communion, and the Confirmation are all rolled up together in a ceremony that takes approximately 17 hours. Okay I "enhanced", but it really is at least one full hour although there is some comfort in knowing that this completes the officiating until the child gets married. Oh yeah and it is mostly in Greek. Of which I speak the one word, "baklava". The church is beautiful. I entertained Genea (*ahem* and myself) by taking pictures and showing her the digital images. I sicced Teena on my parents.
This picture is of part of the ceremony. There are several Clergymen attending to the baptismal water. They are praying over the urn and there is a man in the corner who sings and chants throughout. On the left is the Godmother trying to jiggle the sobbing baby who I believe is trying to say, but I already had a bath today! Next is the Godfather, the rest are churchly men. It is a glorious, complex ceremony and I described it to the girls as a party for the baby to say, "welcome to our family and the world". I just wish I understood some Greek!
A picture of the ceiling which is heavily decorated and painted. I love the beautiful detail and how much light comes in the windows. This is about 30 feet up.
Ah yes, Genea close up. She loves to have pictures taken and then look at them on the back of the camera. Fortunately this provided *her* with some distraction when *she* got squirmy or inattentive.
Here my girls are after the lunch reception. Aren't they gorgeous?
Incidentally this is a picture of them in the same restaurant about 3 years ago when the last baptism happened. I thought it would be cute to add it to show how much they have grown. I believe this also captures their personalities well!
(My mom likes to dress them alike. Since she purchases the most beautiful dresses I let her get away with it. Also, there is no denying how adorable they are here).
My children sat through the entire service with very little bribery and minimal threatening. I had discovered something the night before at dinner. We went to the restaurant affiliated with our hotel and it was NOT a family sort of place. It was a dark, formal, dating your mistress kind of place. The sort where the food is beautiful and there is no glob of gluey mashed potatoes to be found and no loaf of bread is hurled at you to keep you quiet while they cook. Certainly no kids menu! Typically in a situation like this I will review with the girls what they should and should not do. You know, keep your voice down, don't kick your sister, stay in your chair and do not crawl under the table. You are 5 and 7, act like big girls.
It is rare that I can cover everything ahead of time that they can think of to be disruptive. Teena will be sure to lick the underside of her plate and take the cover off the salt. She will have the opportunity to do this as we are admonishing Genea not to tell the waiter how to do his job, or that no one wants to hear her howl when she realizes they have no macaroni and cheese dish.
What magic did I spin upon them? Was it magic from the Kingdom of Benadryl and Sedatives? Magic from the Philosophy of Bribe and Threaten Parenting? It was so simple it will make you spit your kids Halloween candy all over the keyboard (you know you are still eating it!). I told them to act like adults. So simple. Unbelievable. Suddenly they are telling me how to behave and stopping themselves mid-impulse. Teena briefly kicked at the booth, then declared "adults don't kick". And that was it. Adults don't squirm around in their seats or get up every 3 seconds. Adults remember to be polite and keep their pea and other assorted products in the toilet (ha ha, I just made that last one up, wishful thinking).(HA, no I mean adults do that but it didn't stick with the kids!).
I have more, and will continue Part 2 of the post in the next few days!