Saturday, 3 June 2006

The Christening

Saturday, 3 June 2006
So, the Christening (this is a long one!)

The day started when Lia woke at 5.50am which was not good as we'd gone to bed at 1.30am... We staggered around trying to get her sorted till DH's Mum came out and offered to take her. Despite my whole 'not leaving the baby with MIL' intentions I was too tired to argue so we went back to bed for a few hours.

When we got up DH's Godparents had arrived. They flew down from North Greece for the day (it's about an hours flight) and it was the first time I'd met them. They're lovely people and his Godmother is called Lia too (from a different name though) and she was so in love with our Lia. Amazingly for a Greek woman she was very well behaved around Lia and didn't insist on speaking to her in a stupid high pitched sing-song voice so Lia loved her too.

Then we were off. Lia was already a bit grumpy as she was so tired and whilst she slept a bit in the car she woke when we arrived so it was no more than a short nap really. DH and I were checking the venue arrangements, adding stuff to the tables (chocolates, etc) and speaking to the DJ who I gave some CDs to. He was a bit dubious as he said he had English music but I told him that I knew my friends would dance to these ones so he said he'd include some.

The church was behind the reception venue so we all walked round (some of my family had arrived by then) at which point the first not so pleasant thing happened - a guy that came to Uni in England with DH drove past us into the church. He hadn't been invited and he hadn't told us that he was coming and as I couldn't stand him when I knew him in England I was less than impressed to see him to say the least.

The Church was quite small and it was packed out with guests, many of whom had to stand. Thankfully for this ceremony I had a translated version of the service to give out to the English guests (I'd have done one for the wedding if I'd had enough warning) so they could follow what was going on a bit better.

Lia was very well behaved through most of the service, distracted by the priest I think. Well him and the little man that kept coming in with buckets of water to fill the 'font' for her dipping. It was actually more like a giant goblet and three buckets full of water were dumped in it (much to the amusement of the English guests). DH's sis as the Godmother had to hold Lia for the duration of the ceremony and basically she did all of the work. Which brings me to the second unpleasant happening. At one point the Priest asks the Godmother the name of the baby, she tells him and he repeats it.

Well Lia's middle name is DH's mother's name and it was deliberately given as a middle name because that's what we wanted. However several members of the family have indicated that they'd be much happier if it was the first name, in fact DH's grandmother is often heard referring to Lia by her middle name. I'm sure you can see where this is going but if you've missed it I'll spell it out, when asked Lia's name her godmother told the priest her middle name first and so she was actually baptised with her names the wrong way round.

I had a feeling this would happen and I'd told DH a few days before that I'd be furious if it did and he assured me it wouldn't. So much for assurances.

My initial reaction was to stop the ceremony and remove myself and Lia but I knew I'd be totally alienated if I did so I contented myself with making damn sure that the godmother and everyone else in the church knew how pissed off I was. A heated whispered conversation took place between me, DH and his sis (DH was as upset as me) and I was told that the Priest had said they should be that way round as Lia's first name is an ancient Greek name and her second is considered a Christian name.

I figure this is bollocks and several Greeks agreed with me. Her baptism certificate has the names in the right order and on several other occasions during the service the Priest used the names in the right order so why the issue at that point? Personally I also don't see why she didn't say the names in the right order anyway as the Priest would have either copied her or swapped them if he felt that strongly. Oh and if they knew this was going to happen (which they did because she gave the names in the wrong order) why didn't they have the decency to tell me?

Maybe because I'd have insisted on finding a Priest that would say them in the right order huh?

Anyway Lia was then stripped naked and sat in the water at which point she started yelling. A lot. She then had water tipped over her head three times which made her yell more... She was also oiled and blessed with myrrh which meant that she was very slippery and even harder to dress than usual when she's having a paddy. Of course I had to do the dressing bit didn't I so I was the one that had to struggle with her.

The Priest did a bit more blessing and then, of all things, I had to bow three times to the Godmother before taking my baby back from her. Not easy when my current inclinations were to punch her three times...

Anyway, we then had the reception line which seemed to take forever (there were a lot of guests) and then off to the venue for the party. Next unpleasant happening. The uninvited idiot then sat himself at a table of his choice taking other people's seats. This meant that three of DH's best friends were left standing around while we found them somewhere else to sit (DH wouldn't tell the guy to move!?!) which involved getting a new place setting set up and increased my pissed-off-ness to totally new levels.

By this time Lia was well stressed (I don't suppose I helped) as she was incredibly tired. I actually spent most of the early part of the reception in a room on my own with her trying to settle her. This meant that I missed the food which wasn't too bad as I wasn't that impressed with it. It was a buffet but as we were the VIPs they served our table which basically involved them giving us a plate full comprising of a bit of everything on offer, starters and mains together. To me it was completely off-putting but others said the food was really nice so I'm not that stressed about it really.

There were good things about the day too. Firstly the cake. DH's mother had ordered a pink cake and I told the caterer no way, I wanted it red and white to match the rest of the reception so they did it red and white and MIL was so not impressed her reaction was almost enough to make me forget how pissed off I was about other things.

Then there was Lia. When she'd settled down some I took her back to the main room and the two of us danced together which she absolutely loved. She was laughing so much that you couldn't help laughing too and she was ecstatic about being spun round and round. It also did the trick as shortly after that she fell asleep on my mother so spent most of the rest of the reception in her pushchair fast asleep.

After the meal about half of the Greek guests left and most of the ones that stayed just sat around looking a bit miserable. All the English wanted to dance and thankfully one or two of the Greeks got up and started dancing so we could join in. It was a bit of a shambles but people were having fun at least. DH's father got up and danced as did his mother's alcoholic best friend who was well away. She's a bit of an embarassment usually but I was grateful for her as she didn't care what others thought she was having fun so at least my lot got to see some Greek dancing.

Then the DJ started playing my choices and, true to form, my guests were up like a shot giving it some serious welly on the dance floor. I don't think the DJ intended to play all of my choices but when he saw that people were finally enjoying themselves he just kept going out of desperation... A few of our Greek friends joined us but generally, they were all sat being boring and looking at us all with slightly disapproving faces.

By this time I totally didn't care as I was finally having fun with my friends, fun which culminated in the now legendary 'Show me the way to Amarillo' congo where I led everyone round the room singing at the top of their voices. Other highlights included me and all my female friends linked up for 'We are Family', two of my male friends bouncing themselves into oblivion to 'Dizzy' and DH and I shuffling round the floor to 'High' by the Lighthouse Family which is as close to an 'our song' as we get.

By 6.30 it was all over and we headed home with a very exhausted little baby and a totally knackered mother. We'd tentatively agreed to meet some friends but when we got back we all just wanted our beds and sensibly went with that feeling.

So here's some pics of the day. I'm sure there'll be another post detailing the odds and ends I've forgotten here and in the wedding post and also covering the gifts...



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