Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Ordination fun with a child of one

This weekend the Different Duck household all went to watch the ordination of one of Drake's former colleagues as an Anglican Deacon. I am not religious, and knew next to nothing about the process so I was very interested to see what it would entail. Sadly I am still none the wiser, as I ended up on primary Duckling duty, the person being ordained being Drake's friend and not mine. Most of the two hour (TWO HOUR!) service was spent in the Cathedral's 'crèche' (essentially a side chapel with some carpet, a few toys and lots of bible stories) trying to prevent Duckling trashing the place. I learned a lot about child wrangling in those two hours, so thought I'd share some of my key tips for those facing the prospect of directing a rambunctious toddler through a solemn religious ceremony.
  1. When your other half says "Oh no, there won't be any room for a buggy, let's carry him there," don't meekly agree. Cathedrals are sodding massive; there'll be plenty of room and you won't then arrive sweating like a pig with bruised ribs and small footprints all over your Sunday best. What's more, you'll have somewhere to put your child to sleep at nap time.
  2. Don't even think about attending a major religious event if it runs over nap time.
  3. Don't sit next to the aisle or other area along which official minister types will pass. Cassocks, shiny golden staffs and interesting shaped hats are all very, very exciting for the under fives, and they will want to reach out and grab said items / join in the procession / point and shout "WOW" (Duckling) or "WHY DOES THAT LADY HAVE A BEARD?" (the little boy two rows behind us referring to a priest in his robes).
  4. In avoidance of main thoroughfares, by all means find an area where you can watch the service on a TV, but be prepared to explain, at length, why that TV can't be tuned to Ra Ra The Noisy Lion.
  5. If you are not religious, bring your own reading material. Duckling quickly became obsessed with a book called "And God Made Me!". My attempts to add an epilogue explaining the fundamentals of evolutionary theory did not meet with approving looks from the other (presumably more pious) parents in the crèche.
  6. Nor did Duckling's attempts to hook my breasts out of my top with cries of "Boobub Mama!!! BOOBUB!" Wear a polo neck if possible.
  7. Take everything you need into the crèche area (a.k.a the nuclear bunker) and STAY THERE. Don't be tempted to pop out with child to find up a tissue / locate your change bag / see Daddy ("DA DA DA DADDY! DadEEEEEEEeeeee!") / actually follow some of the service.
  8. Don't give your child anything that will make a loud noise when dropped on a stone floor. Soft toys good. Metal fire engines and toy cars bad.
  9. Biscuits are your friend (thanks to Katie at Hurrah For Gin for opening my eyes on this one).
  10. Biscuits are not your friend when there is chocolate on them and very holy people wearing white about.
  11. If you are an atheist, pre-prepare your excuse for not taking Holy Communion. Do not get flustered and say to the priest "I'm so sorry, I'd love to, but I just need to go catch my little boy. I think he's done a poo."  Also, when someone shakes your hand and says "Peace be with you," the expected response is not, "Oh, thanks, I really wish it were today! Ha ha!"
  12. If you're going to lose it, don't do it five minutes before the actual blessing and ordination happen. You can pass the toddler over to your other half while you calm down, but will just have to take them back again so other half doesn't miss the primary thing he came to see. This will cause the toddler to get in a grump because Mummy doesn't wear glasses and is thus not as interesting as Daddy.
  13. However far your toddler pushes you, do not blaspheme. Cathedrals are echoey and everyone will hear you. And tut. Nobody will be fooled by your attempts to make your "For Christ's Sake!" sound like a genuine plea to Jesus either.
Hope this is helpful.  Peace be with you. Ahem.


  1. Love this! As useful as the tips are, I think what I have really learnt here is that neither myself nor my very young children would be able to behave appropriately at an important religious event, & should never attend one! I would definitely become flustered & reject Holy Communion in an inappropriate manner (&, to be honest, at least one of my girls probably WOULD poo!)

    1. Umm, yes, that's pretty much the conclusion I came to as well. Hindsight is a wonderful thing!

  2. In the week days kids are sent to play group, during vacations they are indulged in summer camps. They never become a part of holy event. And they don't know how to behave at holy places. Creches at such places let them busy with toys & stories they can tackle them easily that is very much hectic for the parents...