Sunday, April 06, 2008

Lucy's Christening


We woke to find that despite choosing a date in April for Lucy's Christening, the world was covered in a coating of crisp white snow. But the sun was shining and we had lots to do before we got to the church. All went well until Oliver decided to have a tantrum and refuse to get dressed. Eventually he decided to let me dress him in his matching pin-striped trousers and waistcoat with white shirt and burgundy tie. Once dressed everyone heaped praise on him for looking so handsome and his reluctance to dress up was all forgotten. In fact he was quite pleased with himself.

Once fed, we got Lucy into her Christening dress and she played happily in an armchair as the rest of us tried to make ourselves look decent.

At the church there was only time for a few hellos before we got to our seats. Oliver and Niamh decided to walk hand in hand down the aisle to their places. Once the service was under way it became clear that my expectations were accurate: the kids were having a great time in the play area and making lots of noise. There were a few frowns and looks of disapproval from one or two in the congregation (and even one in the choir!) but overall most seem to take it in their stride.

At one point things did start to get a bit out of hand (though I found it amusing to say the least). Oliver suddenly appeared from further back in the church, ran down the aisle and then fell to his knees to slide along the floor. He was chased by Niamh who ran after him shouting "Olver, Olver". I gathered up Oliver and then went after Niamh who was giving her Mummy the runaround and eventually caught her and carried her over to the play area before returning to my seat.

The part of the service relating to the Christening was at the front of the church and involved us pledging to bring her up in a Christian fashion. Lucy was awake in my arms and happy.

Then we moved to the back of the church where the font was. Hayley held Lucy before giving her to Chris. the vicar, who had to pause at one point and allow someone else to conduct part of the service over the tannoy because she was suffering an allergic reaction to someone's perfume. It was a slightly eerie moment: a voice booming out God-like from somewhere above us in the church.

As I stood there I realised Oliver was standing right next to me on a chair in the pew next to the font with my Mum. He kept asking me "IS she going on the water?". I had the job of pouring the water into the font and am pleased to report that (to my surprise) it was warm. When the moment came to pour the water onto Lucy, in her typical way she took it all in her stride. In fact as she emerged upright after the water had been placed on her face she smiled, producing an audible "awwwww" from the congregation.

For the final part of the Christening we stood at the front of the church for Lucy to be welcomed by the congregation. She had fallen asleep, but when everyone applauded to welcome her, she woke with a start and smiled.

Oliver then headed up to the very top of the church beyond the choir stalls. "Oh wowee!" he cried as he made for various untouchable pieces of religious paraphenalia, before having to be forcibly removed wriggling in my arms down the aisle.

At the conclusion of the service we headed off to the adjacent church hall for tea and biscuits. As I got my coat on I looked round to see Oliver doing his utmopst to climb onto the stool of the drum-kit that was standing in the corner of the church. I helped him up and alowed him a few strikes of drums and cymbals (too good an opportunity to miss!) before persuading him away with the promise of biscuits.

After some tea and biscuits we took some pictures by the font. The fact that no-one was allowed to take any pictures in the service was the one disappointment to me. At St John's people were invited to take pictures for 30 seconds before the part of the service at the font. Here it was completely banned as "out of keeping with the atmosphere of the servoce". Oh well.

Then it was off to Th Heatons SPorts Club for the party. We arrived to find next to no parking due to a couple of rugby games and once in found we had lost my Mum on route. Then the laptop being used to run the disco threatened to play up, but after a few minutes we were all present, correct and suitably emtertained with music.

We said a few words of thanks and gave gifts to the God-parents before everyone attacked the buffet. While people ate we played the CD we made and Hayley and I took our opportunities to dance with the little lady. Hayley dancing to "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds", me dancing to "Blue Eyes". That dance was one of the loveliest moments of the day. I will never forget it.

After w ahile, Janine (our DJ) produced a bubble machine for the kids which went down a storm. The kids -mostly toddlers - were all runninng around, dancing and generally having a good time.

The turn out was good, but as often seems to be the case on these occasions we hardly managed to get to say more than "hello" to anyone. Before we knew it nearly all the food was gone, leaving Hayley and I to grab the odd scrap (mini veggie rolls to be precise)!

Everyone departed by about 2.30pm. But the hallwas booked til 5pm, including bar staff, so we stayed on in hall until then with Manny, Sara, Jack, Janine, her duaghter Lucie and Sara's parents. We watched the women's rugby through the window, danced and played games with the kids, and had a few more drinks than we would normally on a Sunday afternoon! (Not difficult admittedly, as we don't normally drink.) Perhaps that explains how I came to have video of Hayley and the ladies demonstrating the Birdy Song to Oliver and Jack.

After that we all headed back to our house where the fun went on and Oliver was allowed to stay up til 8.30, which is very late for him. But it was a special day. A special day we will never forget.

The photos from the day are gathered together here.