Worst Baptism Ever

So. [Deep breath. Let it out.] Where do I begin?

My family is Presbyterian. Presbyterians often baptize their children as infants, with a baptism being part of the “entry into the community” kind of deal. However, I learned this past weekend that they also do this for a far more important reason. Because they are SMART. Because newborns may squirm, but they are not yet capable of being a$$holes on the scale that actual children can achieve. Yes, I just said a$$holes in an essay about baptism. But stop interrupting me. I’m trying to tell you a story.

So, my family rolls in. This is already usually kind of an event at church, since Asher is three and we often have some kind of catastrophe just based on that. But we usually drop Noah in the nursery first, because Noah is one. One year old is the official age of running away. He will dart down the aisles, head up to say hi to the choir…basically do anything but sit in the pews. But this Sunday, he is getting baptized, so with us he comes.

Selah is wearing a nice dress. And a hat. To a “sprinkling” baptism. But, you know, she likes it. The great thing about Noah is that he wears whatever I want him to wear. In this case, he is wearing cute little overalls. Asher–well, Asher looks like he’s going to go work out after the service. Sweat pants from Thrift Town and a secondhand, semimatching orange T-shirt. He ruined Easter when we made him wear a nice shirt, so I figure he can wear whatever the frick he wants.

First part of the perfect storm: the pastor does not baptize the kids from above as we walk in, in an efficient drive-thru baptism, which I think would have worked much better.

We make what amounts to a chaotic roar in the pews, because Noah has a plastic bucket of blocks that rattle, and Asher is driving cars around, and Selah is doing her best to destroy as many pew envelopes as possible in a short period of time. Plus, the kids’ cousins are there, and that always excites them a little more.

Second part of the perfect storm: Heritage Sunday being the same day as Heretic Sunday (read: Meehan Baptism Day). Heritage Sunday is when the pastor announces the names of people who have belonged to the church for many years. I usually love Heritage Sunday. Not today, however. Selah starts rooting around for envelopes in nearby pews. Asher’s cars crash a little more frantically. My sister offers to walk Noah up and down the aisle so I can sit down. Then we sing some songs and stuff. To my credit, I do not bellow, “Get to the watering of the children!”

Here’s where it all becomes a bit of a blur. They call up the baptismal candidates, or whatever you call them.

We get to the front. Noah tries to go up to say hi to the choir. We get him back. He does not want to be gotten back, so he whines through the entire rest of the sacrament. He does not want his father to hold him. He does not want me to hold him. He wants down. “Uppies? Uppies!” he says, pitiably.

Asher starts zipping around in an attempt to systematically touch every blessed object on the platform. The flower stands. The communion table. Apparently I miss the point when he tries to climb up on the table with the baptismal font on it, but his father fills me in later. I alternate between trying to tune in to what is happening in the actual service and trying to gesture Asher forward. He returns to us.

I have the sickening realization that our baptism is going to happen after two other baptisms. Noah whines some more and struggles to get out of my arms. His father takes him. I pick up Asher, who is trying to bolt.

Baptism Kids

Realizing We Have to Hold Them for at Least Three More Minutes

He weighs a lot. I put him down.

The other children, a well-behaved newborn and toddler, are baptized, and a dove descends from the heavens upon them as their parents smile smugly.

Noah Whining and Asher Crawling Away

Noah Whining and Asher Crawling Away

This is when we realize that Asher has crawled away. His father and I turn and simultaneously realize that Asher is licking the communion table. It has nice, knobby carvings on the legs, and his mouth is on them. We fetch him back.

 

Baptism Smiling

This dampens his mood a bit. Then, the baptism of the children begins. They go in birth order.

So, the thing about Selah is that I need her. She is a generally well-behaved, oldest girl child. She helps keep the boys alive. She whines, but she listens.

But when Pastor Keith shows her the several hundred smiling faces in the pews, she panics.

Selah Tries to Hide from the Crowd

 

Terrified Selah
Terrified Selah

I finally convince her to walk around, like the pastor wants her to, but she hides behind me the whole time. This is OK, I tell myself. Pastor Keith baptizes her, and she is kind of rude and complainy about it. She doesn’t like when water gets on her dress.

Selah doesn't like getting wet

Selah Doesn’t Like Getting Wet

Of course, the real problem with her panic is that it is catching. Asher, who was already not a willing participant, decides he wants no part of this.

Convincing Asher to Come Out and Join the Church

Convincing Asher to Come Out and Join the Church

I don’t know what the order of events is here, because I’m losing my mind, but somehow we pick Asher up, and he freaks out and starts trying to kick Pastor Keith away. The man who is kind to him week in and week out, who he knows well–he tries to kick and hit him. I start to have my doubts about the fate of Asher’s everlasting soul. To give Keith some credit, he manages to carry on and baptize Asher, basically without comment about the Worst Behavior in the History of All Baptisms.

 

Asher Baptism

Keeping Panicking Asher from Hitting Our Pastor (and Friend!)

After being baptized, Asher runs/is sent outside, and he throws some clods of dirt while my mom clucks soothingly. Then he tells her he feels better.

Noah’s baptism is practically run of the mill after that. Though he often wants to be picked up by just about any friend, strangers, bearded men in vans, etc., he refuses to let Keith hold him–because he wants nobody to hold him. He wants to go say hi to the choir. When Keith baptizes him, he splashes his hands into the water.

Somehow we get out of there. Pastor Keith, bless his heart, says something to the effect of that you can tell how comfortable the kids are, since they are at church so often. Did I mention that my husband is the youth pastor and I’m a deacon? I tell Keith on the way out that I am never coming to church again.

Afterward, people come up and make statements like, “It’s the personalities that give this church color.” Nobody tells me how beautiful it was. My mom admits that she isn’t surprised it was so nuts, because she expected it to go down exactly like that.

My dad does take Noah over to the fountains to let him baptize himself the way he wanted to. And I feel an extreme sense of gratitude for our congregation’s sense of humor. And nobody says anything about the youth pastor not being able to discipline his own children. At least, not to us.

Noah Baptizes Himself

Noah Baptizes Himself

***

You know, as this story has increased in popularity, I’d like to just give a shout-out to my church, Carmichael Presbyterian Church, which has managed to be the most welcoming place I have ever, ever been.

 

 

Comments

  1. Craig Clarkson:

    We baptized my oldest (now 13 y/o) as a toddler at First Presbyterian, Houston. My wife Kellie commented afterward that she now knows why people argue on behalf of infant baptism, people argue on behalf of believer’s baptism, but no one is arguing on behalf of toddler baptism!

    Great story. It’s no coincidence that we talk about someone handling such situations with aplomb as “handling it with grace.” This is a grace-filled story. Thank you.

    Reply

    • Laura Meehan:

      Thank you SO much for your comment! I suppose you could argue for toddler baptism if you also happen to find self-flagellation a good idea…? My pastor’s wife has suggested we should sell the DVDs of the service as a fundraiser. The pastor himself was incredibly kind about the whole thing. I can laugh now. I both laughed and sort of died on the inside during the actual event.

      Reply

  2. Nina:

    Oh Laura! This made my day… I just love your humor and grace and it inspires me to approach my {parenting} trials with the same. Thanks! We miss you!

    Reply

    • Laura Meehan:

      Thanks! Haha! You laugh so you don’t cry, or something like that. I have really enjoyed hearing others enjoy this story–there’s just something about all being in the mess together that makes it OK!

      Reply

  3. Donna:

    hahaha! I loved this! At least Noah can say ” I did it my way!” Keep writing and sharing and do what you do best! Too funny! :)

    Reply

  4. Andrew:

    The baptism of my third (an infant but the two older siblings were 2 and 5) my older two decided to play tag while running circle around the font. I was the associate pastor who couldn’t keep his kids in line. And I think everyone but my wife and me thought it was great. Sigh.

    You are not alone! :) Thanks for telling your story so other parents know that.

    On a second note kids always want to see in the font – they need to make them shorter!

    Reply

    • Laura Meehan:

      I will file a suggestion re: the font.

      Our pastor, as the baptism was beginning, explained to the congregation that the only people at church as often as him are my kids–thus their “comfortable” behavior. This may have been while Asher was licking the table.

      Thanks for sharing your story, too! I love hearing all the reassuring “me toos.”

      Reply

  5. Erica:

    Really truly the most perfect illustration of why Presbyterians and other reformed folk baptize infants; and toddler; and kids. Some people come to the font willingly. Some kicking and screaming. God wants us all anyway. Even if we pick the communion table. Or hit the pastor. Or run away. My babies screamed bloody murder when I, their own mama, baptized them. The kickers and screamers are my favorites: because they remind me that God’s got me, no matter what. Thanks for blessing us with this story!

    Reply

    • Laura Meehan:

      God does continually make me a little parable of me ‘n’ God in the form of my children’s reactions and responses! Ha! I’m glad you love the screamers and kickers. The mama in me wants everyone to love my little kickers.

      Reply

  6. Leslie D. Lanagan:

    It brings me a lot of joy to see that your kiddo is named Asher. It will always be a special name to me because it belonged to a cat that is no longer, but a favorite in my heart. To hear the name is a sweet moment- thank you for that!

    And, because I’m shameless, posting a link here to my own church stories, in hopes that we both get a lot of readers. :)

    https://theantileslie.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/church-stories/

    Reply

    • Laura Meehan:

      Ha! I had a cat named Emily, and then I was sad I had named her that, because you can’t name children after your cats. Cat-lady bad churchgoers, unite! I read your blog from the pingback–it was funny! I have signed up.

      Reply

  7. Kate Terlep:

    Laura,

    I’m a pastor. One of my most cherished memories is a “baby” dedication of 2 boys 4 and 2. It went a lot like yours. The church loved its kids and there was no shush-ing, and if the kids wanted to run around during worship, they were not held back. There were times I had to yell to make sure I was heard during the service.

    A long time ago I was at a church where a baby – maybe 11 months or so – was fussing during the sermon. And gooing. And just being a baby. And there were some old ladies who were giving that baby “looks.” Well, actually they were giving the mom looks.

    The pastor noticed and stopped. He said, “I’m sure you can hear that baby making noise.” The mom shirked into her pew, and so did I. He continued, “I want to say how glad I am that this child is here this morning, and I know that the sounds that child is making remind some of us here about our children that we don’t have with us…our children that we can’t have with us. I thank God for that child and the praise she is making.”

    I was in tears, because I was one of those parents. God bless you for bringing your children to church–not just for them, but for us.

    Reply

    • Laura Meehan:

      That actually makes me tear up a little, too. I have been both the welcome and the unwelcome, the loved and the judged. Thank you.

      Reply

    • Jennifer:

      Our priest does that as a sermon once a year. Being Catholic, there are a lot of families w/3+ children & a lot of them are young. I love when he does that sermon.

      Reply

  8. Rev. Karen Fitz La Barge:

    One of the practical things that I learned in Seminary is a bit of theology from the Catholic Theologian Karl Rahner. He reminded us that the sacraments are FOR US; we are not for the sacraments. The sacraments are vehicles of God’s love and grace given to us. (Although I would argue that when baptizing toddlers they are more like roller coasters of God’s grace than just vehicles!)

    Reply

    • Laura Meehan:

      What a great bit of wisdom! Thanks! And I agree about the roller coasters.

      Reply

  9. Ruth:

    I’ll bet you wanted a quiet room and a glass of Something Medicinal after that!

    If it’s any consolation, infant baptisms aren’t ALWAYS pure sweetness and light. My oldest threw up on the minister after he was baptized (“In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, amen. ~ beat ~ urp). It was a very large church in Chicago, and we were the first of a dozen families having their child baptized that day, so the minister had to continue the ceremony wearing my son’s regurgitations on the front of his robe. Everyone took it in stride, but it has made for a good story in the years since.

    Reply

    • Laura Meehan:

      Ha! That does make me feel better!

      Yeah, I wouldn’t have minded just those two things after–or during–the baptism!

      Reply

  10. Linda Sharp:

    I came to appreciate the practical wisdom of baptizing newborns after baptizing a 2 year old who responded to someone putting water on his head with a loud “Stop that!” (I had talked to him ahead of time about the water…. guess I did not explain it well.)

    Reply

  11. Tammy Rider:

    I learned the importance of baptizing children before they can talk when our minister decided to ask my 3 year old daughter if she loved Jesus and she gleefully responded “No way!” Thank goodness we were just rehearsing the service. During the actual sacrament, she just grinned and shook her head no the whole time, since the minister wisely left his question to her out. As a Presbyterian minister, I too believe in infant baptism: get ’em before they can talk!

    Reply

  12. Laura Hedgecock:

    I’d say “poor kids” too, but I’d mean you and your husband by that.

    My kids hold the record of worst behavior EVER in First Pres Farmington (MI)’s almost 60 year history. … Think flying tackles. (I’ve submitted it to Guideposts, so if they turn me down, I’ll blog about it.) I didn’t think I’d ever be able to return to church. I really wanted to change towns. So, my heart hurts for you.

    In fact, whenever a kid acts out at our First Pres, people console themselves with the fact that at least their kids weren’t as bad as the Hedgecock boys were that time…

    How’d I find your blog, you ask? Pastor sent me a link. Seriously, though, I really enjoy your writing. I agree with the commenter above that no one is ever going to argue for toddler baptism. We requested to have our younger son baptized during the children’s sermon. Video later revealed that a little girl took off her tights during Josh’s baptism–and she wasn’t wearing underwear. (Footage now destroyed.)

    When your hellions are 16 and 18, you’ll think it’s funny. Hopefully maybe even before then.
    Laura Hedgecock
    http://www.TreasureChestOfMemories.com
    http://www.twitter.com/LauraLHedgecock

    Reply

    • Laura Meehan:

      Haha! I love that your pastor sent you the link–and also that it somehow made it to your pastor. It’s been so funny to have all of the people sharing their horror stories–and it makes ours much more endurable! :)

      Reply

  13. Karen Stokes:

    Great story. I have a few stories too, like the big brother who scooped up a handful of water and baptized his sister just as I was reaching for the font. And the two-year-old Russian orphan who wouldn’t settle down until I gave her my son’s totally awesome sunglasses to wear during the service (but then stood transfixed when my Associate Pastor sang a Russian lullaby).

    Tell Pastor Keith that Chandler and I say hello!

    Reply

  14. Erin:

    After I had my 2.5 year old baptized, I swore any more kids would be infants. When the deacon called her name, she got so excited, she screamed ‘that’s me, momma!’. After he baptized her and I was holding her, she took her little wet head and rubbed it all over my shirt because “her head was wet, mommy, see?”. Thank goodness I was wearing a dark shirt so I didn’t accidentally enter the wet t-shirt contest in the middle of church.

    Reply

  15. Gary Garwood:

    Loved the story…….Your dad just sent me the link. I wish I could have been there.

    Uncle Gary

    Reply

    • Laura Meehan:

      Hi Uncle Gary! I would have loved for you to be there! :) My dad called it “the baptism from hell.” Your mother would have died laughing, I think, since when I was pregnant with Noah, she kept saying, “They’re going to be like Bill and Pat! They’re going to be like Bill and Pat!”

      Reply

  16. Allison:

    When my older daughter was baptized at 18 months she was determined to get into the font. She kept repeating “water, water, water” and squirming and reaching to touch it. The mix picked her up quite clearly. Finally, pastor Laurie let her splash her hand in it and she was surprisingly cooperative from that point onward. I took the same child, as a 7 month old with me to a series of evening Lenten services because she was usually content as long as she was held and my husband was working. Everything was fine until one night, she found a way to offer some theological commentary. EVERY time there would be a pause in the service (such as after a scripture reading, before a prayer, etc, she began adding a long loud and perfectly timed raspberry sound. “Pppphhhhhllllllbbbbbbbbppptttt!”. She was silent at every other point. I began standing in the doorway and exiting in the hall when she would start up, absolutely mortified. So I missed the moment during the prayers when someone gave thanks for baby noises. When I heard about it afterward, I was touched.

    My favorite baptism was of another family’s 2 young children. The older child, a toddler boy was first and was soon in his mothers arms. Then while the pastor was busy with his infant sister, and soon had his back to them presenting her to the church, the boy reached over to the font and started enthusiastically and repeatedly baptizing his mother. Too funny.

    Reply

  17. Nicole:

    I was able to finally read this post! (Thank goodness for mellow weekend mornings : ) It is hilarious Laura! Congratulations on your blog’s success!

    Reply

  18. going on growing:

    I just read this and remembered you had posted a video to Facebook too. I need to go back and watch it. Good times! We had our two baptized over Easter in Monterey…a very last minute request…and we also asked if Jay Bartow could baptize them. Everyone was very accommodating. Simon was pretty good but Hannah proceeded to wiggle around in Derek’s arms so much she was upside down at one point (she hadn’t napped for days and was so overly tired). Then she started singing Happy Birthday. As Derek was trying to calm her, Mark started the vows and Derek couldn’t really hear so mumbled along to one of the responses…Mark actually said, “I couldn’t hear you. You have to say it and mean it! This is a big deal.” Mark said it with humor and understanding but Derek felt awful.

    Reply

  19. David M. Evans:

    Laura, Terrific story. I am baptizing my twin six year old grandsons and my almost three year old granddaughter at a Presbyterian church near Austin on August 11. When we were explaining baptism to the twins, one of them was all in and totally understood. The other said: “You’re going to do what!!!” So pray for my son and daughter in law and me. I think we may have to have a firehose to get the water on Jorren. I have baptized hundreds of children over the years, but none screamed louder than my own son when he was baptized. Nearly 40 years later he is still legendary at First Presbyterian Church in Annapolis, MD. Thank God baptism is about God’s grace and not our behavior!

    Reply

    • Laura:

      I will! Haha! And yes, this is true about God’s grace.

      Reply

  20. msgemini95:

    What a great story! I agree that I now know the reason infants is the suggested age for being baptized. When my oldest (9) was 18 months old we had her baptized and all she did the entire time was cry whine, then FREAK OUT when the priest poured the water on her head. After that I said if I had any more children they would be baptized as infants. Well I had 2 more (that’s right I have 3 just like you) and I was NOT sucessful at getting either one of them baptized as infants they were 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 and their baptism was very similar to yours. Except that my 3 1/2 yr old nearly knocked the baptismal tank over and our baby cried the entire time about being put down….this is a child that ALWAYS wants to be held!

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Yeah, maybe we should add onto any advice we give to new parents that if they would like to baptize their children, they should do it on the way home from the hospital. Or at the hospital.

      Reply

  21. Suz:

    You are a great writer and I’ve gotten such a wonderful laugh from your blog tonight! Love the witty sarcasm.

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Thank you! I am so glad. :)

      Reply

  22. Madeline:

    We didnt baptize our daughter untill she was 13 due to various family issues,relocation,etc.At the new parish we joined,the preteen and teen girls all wear the traditional,white,poofy,top of the knees dress with the matching bonnet,white tights and white mary jane shoes.We ordered the dress and bonnet,tights,rubber pants and the shoes thru the parish.we then got her the white under shirt and the cloth diaper from a website.when the outfit came three weeks later,the dress was her size,but mid thigh length instead of top of the knees.the bonnet fit her fine as did the tights and shoes,but the rubber pants were youth size,instead of teen size and fit her snug and tight over her diaper.since it was less than a week till the ceremony,the baptism director said there was nothing she could do at that point.we took her outfit to the parish nursery the morning of her baptism and dressed her there.when i was pinning the diaper on her,i accidently stuck her with a diaper pin and it hurt her all day.to further make matters worse,the tights kept sliding down over the diaper and rubber pants and she had to pause every so often and pull them back up! Then at her party,one of the diaper pins came unsnapped and polked thru the rubber pants and tights and caused the tights to run!A little while later she told me her diaper was itching her so we went to her room and i took the diaper off of her and she wore the rubber pants under the tights the rest of the time.at bed time she took the outfit off and when she took the rubber pants off,she was broken out in a rash from them,so i had to get desitin and rub on it! So her baptism day was the worst ever in my book!

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Oh no! Sad to have such a special day get all mucked up from what is supposed to make it more special! Real life, I guess.

      Reply

    • Linda M.:

      Our parish does the sacrement of confirmation at 14 and in the 8th grade and requires the white suits and ties for the boys and the white,floor length dresses and veil for the girls with white tights and mary jane shoes.just like they had to for their first holy communions,the girls have to wear the cloth diaper and white rubber pants under the tights and my daughter who was in the class of 2013 last may.got a rash from her cloth diaper and also her tights kept sliding down over the diaper and rubberpants even tho they were the high waist tights.after her party was over,i helped her take the outfit off and rubbed anti-biotic ointment on the rash.a couple days later she told me that some of the other girls in her class also got a rash from their diaper also.

      Reply

      • Laura:

        You’d think they’d have figured out a better solution for that by now!

      • Stephanie:

        At our parish the girls wear the cloth diaper and rubberpants and white tights under their white dresses for baptism,first holy communion and confirmation.The parish became aware of the problem of the tights sliding down over the diaper and rubberpants,so now they hand out a sheet with instructions on how to pin the waist band of the tights to the waist bamd of the rubberpants with small safety pins about 3/4 to an inch long.My daughter is 16 and was confirmed last fall and i pinned her tights to the rubberpants and it worked.all of the girls in her class did the same thing.

    • Carole M.:

      To Madeline,Linda and stephanie-We baptized our 15 year old daughter this past easter sunday sunday at easter mass and per the parish dress code,all of the preteen and teen girls had to wear a white,poofy,high waist,top of the knees baptism dress with a bonnet,white tee shirt,cloth diaper,rubberpants,white tights and white patent leather shoes.We took her dress in a garment bag with the rest of her outfit in a diaper bag to the bridal dressing room and left it there with the other baptism outfits.When it came time to dress the daughter in the outfit,we went to the bridal dressing room and saw that her diaper bag as well as some of the other girls diaper bags had been opened and gone thru!The daughters cloth diaper and rubberpants were missing,but everything else was there.I went and got the Baptism director and showed her what had happened and she looked in the other diaper bags and the diaper and rubberpants was missing from those bags also.She said it was probably some teen age boys that did it.She then told us that we should take a disposable diaper and a pair of toddler rubberpants from the nursery for the daughter to wear,so the daughter wound up wearing a size 6 pampers with the toddler size rubberpants over it under her tights for her baptism!

      Reply

  23. rachel:

    I just found this preparing for our (infant’s!) baptism and I have to say, I have never laughed so hard at a blog post – what an awesome recounting! You are hilarious. Thanks so much for the laugh!

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Thanks! :) And you are wise–get ‘er done now, while he’s a baby!

      Reply

  24. Brenda Vicario:

    As a mother of THREE ages 6, just turned 4, and 18 months…I can completely relate to this and this is exactly how it would have gone for me! My 6 year old also would have been shy, timid, and whiny AND she hates getting wet due to sensory issues lol. My 4 year old would not have surprised me if he kicked and hit trying to get away and also touched every single item on the stage and even laid on the ground like your son! And the baby definitely would have wated down though she is generally very well behaved so I have that going for me….that is until she turns 2 :)

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Haha! It’s good to hear they are normal!

      Reply

  25. Sharon V.:

    I loved your story!! Thank you for sharing! My kids and I converted to Catholicism this past year and all needed to be baptized. I have a 6 year old daughter and 3 year old son. We had to kneel in the baptismal font, one at a time, while the priest poured a pitcher of water over us. I went first, my daughter was scared, but went next. My son wanted no part of it. He held on to his Godmother screaming, “No Mommy! No Mommy! Don’t make me go in there!” His Godmother almost fell in trying to hand him to me in the font. He screamed through the entire baptism. Thankfully the priest ignored his “No! I don’t want this!”

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Makes you feel wonderful, doesn’t it??

      Reply

  26. Amy:

    Although I’m aware that this is not super helpful, I want to say thank you. I’ve just had my first and – again, self awareness is key here and I know it’s nothing compared to three – your humor turned out to be exactly what I needed when I stumbled across your blog. So, small as it is, thanks :-)

    Reply

    • Laura:

      You know, your first child is very difficult! I don’t think parents of 1, 2, or…? have it easy. Adjusting and learning with the first baby was hard for me. I was trying to still do a lot (such as go to grad school), and in some ways that helped keep me sane, and in other ways it was very stressful. Good luck to you, and thanks for your comment.

      Reply

  27. TAB:

    I love this story! I suppose I’m fortunate in a way that my (now 6yo) twins were baptized in the NICU, as all they had to do during my youngest (now 5yo… yes, go ahead, do the math 😉 ) daughter’s baptism was sit in the front pew with some relatives. Ahahaha. Ahem.

    Now I sing in our church choir, and they sit near the back with some kind and possibly insane friends for the 10 minutes between when I go up to the choir loft and the children’s message / dismissal to Sunday School. And thus am I reminded on a weekly basis just how much they, and I, truly are loved.

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Absolutely. I think every time I’m at church, at least one person reassures me that I am doing a good job and that everyone loves us. And often people just plain help me out, which I need!

      Reply

  28. Amy:

    Love this! We too decided a babtism-trifecta was a good idea! Not so much! Our kids were 4, 3 & 18 months & was very similar to yours. During the middle of the ceremony my middle child looked up at me & (loudly) said “I have to POOP!” Ahhhh the memories!

    Reply

  29. Kari Gordon:

    When my daughter was baptized, at 4 months old…..she was angelic. however…our church invites the entire family up for the baptism….which included my 2 1/2 year old son and his 2 year old cousin. Ben cried loudly throughout, begging to drink from the font…..while Emily loudly berated her father for holding her hand to prevent her from bolting: ‘Daddy! Ouch! Stop HURTING me!’ My mother swears it was payback….as I was the 3 year old child they carried out of church one morning, screaming ‘No! Please! I NEED a Bible! PLEASE get me a Bible…..’

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Haha! The best you can hope for in these cases is that you can all laugh about it later/when they are older/at their weddings.

      Reply

  30. Eryn:

    Sighing a deep breath of recognition…..when we baptized my second infant, his older brother, who was 4, tipped the plant stand behind us. Luckily our sponsor caught the plant before it hit the ground. I recall answering yes, Yes, YES! to all the questions, as inside I was thinking, ” You can ask me if I believe anything at this point and I will answer yes just to end the humiliation!” Then after the lovely song, the candle was lit and they handed it to us. The 4yo accidentally got a drip of wax on his finger. You would have thought we held his hand in the flame. We also were told, “It is so good they fell comfortable here.” Sigh…at least everyone can call my kids by name! Bless.

    Reply

  31. Jen Cupps McCall:

    I LOVE this!! So glad to know we’re not the only ones :-) I also have 3….my youngest are 17 months apart and I also have a Noah! I feel like a circus everywhere we go! I loved the comment from your mom…my mom has said the SAME thing! It just wouldn’t be the same without chaos! I also hear that 4 kids isn’t as bad as 3…so maybe we should have another?! LOL

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Haha! My commenters seem to be unable to agree on that point. Maybe you can test it out for me! :)

      Reply

  32. Amanda:

    My oldest (now 4) was baptized around 8 weeks old. We baptized him Catholic although I was not raised Catholic and really didn’t care when he was baptized. I’m more of a “it’s the person’s choice when to be baptized” kind of girl, but it was important to my in – laws so…….. anyways dealing with mild post partum depression and not understanding why it was so dang important for him to be baptized RIGHT NOW, the ONLY thing I was looking forward to was wearing my new dress (selfish I know). While waiting for the whole family to be ready to go to churchchurch (there are 40 of us) my precious first born had a blow out – all over my new dress! My sister in law helped me clean it up but due to the post partum depression I was in tears over it. We get to church and find that the baptism is during mass – not a huge deal until the priest calls us up, baptized my son and tells us to turn to face the congregation – at this exact time my precious little man PUKES DOWN the front of my dress! So my husband, in front of the congregation that he was born and raised in is wiping baby puke off of my V-neck dress while presenting our first born to everyone. I was so embarrassed! Thank goodness for good dry cleaners – got the poo and puke off the dress and looks good as new by I think of that day everyone I wear the dress!

    Needless to say baby #2 was NOT baptized at 8 weeks! He was closer to 1 year and I was much more relaxed!

    Thank you for sharing your worst baptism story!

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Awwww, being a parent is so hard! I am glad you were able to at least salvage the dress!

      Reply

  33. Helen:

    if it helps.. I have 11 children.. 10 are now baptised and we are in the planning stages of the military operation that is to be the next one..

    Child #1 (4 months) was a breeze and slept through the whole ordeal. Though the godparents told the reverend the wrong name!!!

    Child #2 (7 months) whined and squirmed and eventually screamed like a wild woman.. I shushed and hushed and quietly nursed her .. a feed which was cut short when they wanted her dipped.. cue more hysteria. Child #1 (aged 3) bounced about the church like a kinetic energy charged bouncy ball.

    Child #3 (11 months) weighed about 5 stone and wanted out of the freaking dress.. it’s a gown… no dress!!! Child #2 (2.5years) whined and Child #1 bounced about the church like a kinetic energy charged bouncy ball.. with the reverends middle son.

    Child #4 (7 months) slept. Child #3 (2) ate crisps.. loudly, Child #2 (3.5) whined and.. Child #1 bounced about the church like a kinetic energy charged bouncy ball, with the reverends middle son and a new friend. And while being dipped the phone of one of the godparents started ringing and she had to leg it up the church to turn it off.

    Child #5 (4 months) vomited in the font.. down the reverends front and shoes, in my hair, down my cleavage and he screamed like every demon from hell was leaving his little body. Child #4 slept in the pushchair, Child #3 coloured in. Child #2 whined and child #1… bounced about the church like a kinetic energy charged bouncy ball.

    Child #6 (5 months) broke wind with great gusto into the microphone of the reverend reverberating the heavenly noise around the church to a stunned audience.. half of which burst into uproarious gales of hysterical laughter.. had there been a large enough hole nearby, I’d have crawled into it. Then the accompaniment to said wind leaked out the leg of the nappy.. I didn’t care what the other 5 were doing but it was neither quiet nor calm.. and child #1 .. bounced about the church like a kinetic energy charged bouncy ball.

    Child #7 .. (3 months) I was beginning to wonder if this was a good idea.. and she was beautiful.. smiled sweetly and looked adorable.. and the other 6 behaved like wild baboons.. And my firstborn treasure had to be taken outside due to his appalling behaviour!

    Child #8 .. (5 months) I was prepared.. each child was allocated an adult.. if they misbehaved it was down to that adult to deal with it.. how bad could it be? the others were now 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11 and 13.. it was pretty bad..

    Child #9 and 10 .. 13 month age gap so we did them both at once.. #9 hid under my skirt, in her dads neck and clung like a limpet.. she did NOT like the people and did NOT want to be welcomed to the church. Child #10 spent most of the service feeding and promptly vomited narrowly missing the font.. which was fortunate as there were 2 others watered after her.. Child #1 (20) got drunk and loud, Child #2 (18) was 3 months pregnant and spent most of the service with her head in the loo with chronic morning sickness.. these are the godparents!

    Child #11.. I’m opting for the drive through! ..

    I am actually thinking baptism + party incorporate with 1st birthday do and Child #9’s 4th birthday and Child #10’s 3rd birthday might be a really good idea.. 4 cakes, 1 breakdown and peace and happiness..

    It never changes.. but the Good Lord sends us challenges and we deal with them.. sometimes I know He is up there laughing his beard off while we are fit to run and hide. The reward comes later, when your children become parents and you get those calls.. little Precious is doing X, Y and Z and you can laugh and say ‘HA!!!! You used to do that too’.. it is so rewarding!!

    Reply

    • Laura:

      That is hysterical! I mean, for me, who is NOT the mom! :)

      Reply

  34. Kelli:

    We have 3 kids all 21 months apart. When we baptized the youngest 2years ago our middle one was 2 and almost knocked over the candelabra (which was of course lit) That is just the start of it. It was a train wreck! 2 years and many baptisms later and everyone at church is still talking about it.

    Reply

  35. maudeflanders:

    This is me…except my husband is both the father and the pastor. I love this :)

    Reply

  36. blomfam:

    This story, and the others shared, made me laugh out loud. Makes me feel so much better about my little monkeys! Thank you for your candid honesty!

    My son, at age 2, did what I’ve named a “victory lap” of the church interior, during the sermon – the Olympic Games were on at the time so it felt quite apt. Our minister had to stop in the middle of a sentence and wait because everyone’s focus was on my boy’s head bobbing up and down as he darted between the pulpit and front pews. He was too fast for me! I had to snatch him up when he reached the end of his lap. Everyone’s heads were turned to the back to watch what would happen, and the minister made some pithy, good-humoured remark. Sooo embarrassing.

    Another time my son crawled under the communion table and giggled loudly, during Communion. The sermon that day had been on Jesus our Good Shepherd. I wished at that moment that my lamb would listen to me rather than going astray!!!! There are only a couple of kids in our congregation (night church) so it’s a bit more embarrassing than if it happened in a morning congregation with heaps of crazy kids milling about.

    Thankfully our church leaders are gracious and understanding.

    We’ve put off dedicating (similar to baptising) our kids. Maybe we just need to be brave and do it, despite the almost-certain shemozzle it will be!!!!! Hahaha. Thanks for the inspiration. 😉

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Hmmm, sounds kind of familiar! :)

      Reply

  37. Gretchen:

    Thanks for sharing, your writing is hysterical and reassuring. We baptized our daughter as an infant, no issues. Now that she’s 2.5 it’s a different story. I’m the youth minister who can’t keep her 1 and only child under control.

    Reply

    • Laura:

      I am starting to think keeping kids under control is a myth.

      Reply

  38. βάπτιση:

    Great post :-)

    Reply

  39. Tasha:

    To cut a long story short, I have 4 children and they were all baptised on the same day too. What a nightmare! My second youngest, cyclone Jy, was that bad that the priest, yes the priest, turned to him, threw his hands in the air and yelled in a big loud voice “SHUT UP!” I know it sounds bad and although the whole church was shock, he only said what everyone was thinking. The priest felt guilty as sin afterwards and couldn’t believe the words came out of his mouth but Jy has that affect on people as gorgeous as he is.

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Ahahaha!! Oh no! I guess we all kind of flub up sometimes when we are frustrated.

      Reply

  40. Ally:

    I fell upon your blog and this page specifically…and I can’t thank you enough for sharing this! We thought we experienced the worst baptism ever with our 18 month old and your post makes me feel better that we are not the only ones!!
    He was baptized in a Catholic Church (after sitting through a whole mass…our first mistake). We were sitting in the front row (our second mistake) and he screamed (and kicked, wiggled, threw snacks given as a distraction) pretty much the whole time….the priest had to use a microphone just so the rest of the families there for baptisms could hear. Poor priest, he looked like he was trying to pretend it wasn’t happening, but we all knew the tantrum wasn’t going to stop.
    All the while, my typical first born son (3.5 at the time) sat perfectly and followed instructions…at least the ones he could hear over his screaming brother!
    We wanted their baptism to be a memorable event and our little one made sure it was!
    I also grew up Presbyterian :)

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Oh no, haha! If it helps, it got a lot funnier as time passed. I hope your church was nice to you! Funnily I just wrote a post today about needing for people to give me the benefit of the doubt.

      Reply

  41. Robert:

    Hi Laura , I have just come across your tale of the naptism of your children it made me laugh, how did you ever manage to keep your cool I don’t know also from the pictures you were smiling all the time so a well cool mother, liked the picture of the little one st the fountain good job I think he was in pushchair or full baptism . How you managed to keep that white dress clean & in ruffled amazes me but I suppose you mothers have a certain knack which us fathers don’t have. My 2 children were baptised many years ago now & it was Easter Sunday do the church was decorated with flowers & the whole service was very straight forward unlike yours it would make a great comedy movie. When your children are older they to I expect will look back st it and have a good chuckle about it all.

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Thanks! :) Sometimes you just plaster a smile because you’re not allowed to yell at everyone. It sure gets funnier the further I get from it! At that moment I wanted to fall through the floor.

      Reply

  42. Javariaa:

    I don’t understand why people baptize their you’d children and (or) baptize them with a little water its y’all religion buutt the bible does say to baptize people like that you have to pit them under the water then lift them up like they have been cleaned and reborn.

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Hm, I’m not sure it actually does. In the Bible, they baptized entire households at once. And it doesn’t lay out particulars of how it is to be done. Perhaps you’re confusing the Bible with what your church says/believes. :)

      Reply

  43. Rachel:

    Haha! This had me giggling AND SCARED! Our three kids are 6, 4, 2 – girl, boy, boy. And next week our 2yo will be baptized and I was nervous for his behavior BEFORE I read this, but now…..

    Our other two were baptized as infants, but our little man was adopted and has only been home with us for two months. Besides the fact that he won’t allow others to hold him, he HATES water…. So yah, it should go well. And don’t even get me started on which biker hipster outfit Little Miss will beg to wear or how Big Bro’s legs will probably go out the second he senses my attention is not 100% his.

    PRAYERS PLEASE!! 😉

    Reply

    • Laura:

      Definitely! I’m sure it will be fine! (Kidding; you never know that these things will go fine.) Hopefully it really does, and if it does not, at least keep an eye out for stories to tell them when they are older. :)

      Reply

  44. Krishhna:

    such a good looking family like in a magasine advert or something. Mama is so trim after 3 kids :(

    Reply

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