New Dad Diaries 27: Thea gets christened




Chronicling life as a new father to his beautiful firstborn child – daughter Thea – Chris Kerr’s goal is to provide all men experiencing fatherhood for the first time with some invaluable tips and tricks as they are learned – the hard way. This week – Chris naively makes plans to ensure Thea’s christening runs smoothly. Thea 10, Strategy 0.

One of the biggest takeaways from the first 27 weeks of being a dad is that nothing ever goes to plan when you have a baby. Nothing. And I deal in strategy for a living. You always need a plan A, B, C, D, E etc. In fact, you will end up getting to plan Z, which is a cruel and ironic twist of fate because babies very rarely stick to the programme when it comes to getting their Zzz’s. 

That was particularly true of Thea’s christening. Our plan was to wake her up an hour early, giving us plenty of time to get her ready for the event with extra time for her to have a nap. In our perfect vision, that extra sleep would lead to a happy, fresh, smiley baby who would be a delight for the Vicar during her special moment.   

That’s pretty good, right? Just one problem. Thea didn’t think so. We put tired Thea down for a nap and she refused to budge, more effectively than one of those climate protestors that lie in the road blocking traffic. There was no way she was going to sleep on our account.   

So, we took our overtired missy to church armed with a new plan – let’s just call it a crisis management one. We knew what to do in the now highly likely scenario that she would be exhausted, screaming and crying during her special moment. Although the Vicar did look bemused when I suggested we take her into another room and do the christening remotely over a muted video call.

As it turned out, Thea did the one thing we hadn’t planned for. She fell asleep in my arms literally one minute before she was due to have water sprinkled on her forehead  I mean you almost have to applaud the timing.   

So, with no other choice, we walked our slumped baby, with her eyes closed and mouth wide open to the front of the church where the Vicar read the blissfully unaware Thea her blessing. Had he kept that blessing going for a 45-minute sleep cycle, we may have been OK. But he didn’t. The reading lasted two minutes at best before he poured the water over Thea’s forehead.    

As, the water hit her skin there was a short, dramatic pause. Time seemed to stand still. The congregation fell silent, and Alicia and I prayed under our breaths that she would stay asleep. One second passed, then two, three, four, five, six, seven… Had a miracle occurred?  

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaah!” Thea opened her eyes and let out a scream. She wasn’t happy, so she grabbed the microphone out of the Vicar’s hands and bit the top of it, causing what can only be described as a hilarious ruffle sound to blast out of the speakers positioned around the church, waking up any of the guests who had themselves dropped off to sleep. If she wasn’t allowed to snooze, nobody was.   

It was far from perfect but you know what, that’s better. It made the Vicar laugh, it made the congregation laugh and it made our families fall about chuckling. What a great witness to those who don’t yet know Jesus. Church isn’t a boring, stern, lifeless experience – done right it is real, authentic, messy and fun. So, well done Thea.   

As we walked home, my wife and I took comfort in the fact that Thea already has something in common with God – they both scoff at our plans.

Chris Kerr

Chris is a husband to Alicia and father to Thea, who is the subject of his columns on Fatherhood for Sorted.  In his spare time he works for a national law firm in an executive capacity and provides crisis leadership consultancy support for non-profits across the UK.  He attends Urban Crofters Church in Cardiff.  A keen weekend adventurer, Chris is regularly spotted in the sea or on mountains.

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