Here we are, one day post-christening, licking our wounds in France. I would post a picture of the happy event except for the fact that firstly I didn't bring the computer connector for the camera and secondly, I don't think I have a decent one as nobody would stay still long enough for me to take any bloody pictures.
This is due to having dragged family and godparents from across France, the UK and Canada who then largely had to rush off to catch planes and trains because christenings are not important enough to lose a day of holiday over. The straggling remnants were largely deaf, French-speaking or both and so getting them to stand in something resembling a line around the Spud proved nearly impossible. Besides that, due to a naming ceremony we are having for him later in the year, the nice linen trouser suit I made for him had to be a couple of sizes too big, meaning that between the top riding up and the trousers riding down, he was largely unclad.
The ceremony went well and not being either French or Catholic the whole thing was new to me. We had a fantastic old priest who rustled the families of the three babies being Christened around the church in the same way a cow-poke rustles cattle. Firstly we all had to exit the church and stand in a circle to perform various actions and responses, much like an ecclesiastical version of the Hokey Pokey, which he conducted with great glee and gusto, not to mention a few digs at the English. We were then led symbolically into the Church in a parade and bullied cheerfully through a ceremony in which it was clear that neither English nor French knew exactly what to do. Much embarrassed standing in circles and waving about of babies later, he shook us all meaningfully by the head and bid adieu. (Yes I know this was a benediction, it's called literary license).
Charlie was an angel during Mass, partly because he has never seen so many people all standing around doing the same thing before and that required some digestion and partly because his canny French Grandmere bought with her a bag full of very crusty crusts which kept him gumming quietly for the whole hour (and presumably required more digestion). By the time the christening rolled around however he was remorselessly fed up and decided it was time to jump up and down and shout a lot. Luckily the other two babies felt the same so we were not terminally embarrassed. In fact, we naturally are labouring under the belief that he was the best-behaved baby there, despite the fact that at one point the poor priest had to pause and look meaningfully at him before continuing.
For me, the biggest struggle was keeping his Grandmere happy by making sure he was wrapped up against the cold. To this end she supplied a crocheted shawl which, while I'm certain would be fantastic lapped around a sleeping infant, when placed anywhere near the vicinity of our struggling monstrosity became firstly a twisted rope and then a puddle on the floor, so I spent most of the time we were there man-handling the thing as though trying to win an origami contest while re-assuring my mother-in-law that I was In Control and Perfectly Able to Mother my little potato without the need for intervention.
For his part, he is on good form despite nearly going head-first into the font trying to work out where the water was coming from/going and having a near miss with the christening candle and little grabby fingers.
He is still a bit Croupy but tellingly, only in the evenings when he wants to stay up past his bedtime, at which point he suddenly gets a sad little bark on his in-breath which is accompanied by a moist look in his eyes and a little French moue. If we ignore this velvet painting we are then treated to the full symphony which frankly is getting tired. Not as tired as we are however as every time his breathing gets a bit thick (which is every night at the moment) we dash him into our bed where-upon it magically clears up in moments. We however then spend the entire night waking every five minutes to listen to him. He is lapping this up and last night while my finger was clutched in his little fist and I was stroking the back of his hand I came across a hairy bit and realised he was happily clutching both our hands at once and lying fast asleep with a big grin on his face while we put our backs out trying to keep him happy.
In France, the word for 'crawl' translates into something lilke 'move like a crab' which is what we are all doing at the moment. I can't wait for him to get better...