Sep 15 2009

Godparent gig is exhausting for exhibitionists

Dr. Darling and I had the honor and privilege to become Godparents last Saturday afternoon, but our “official” responsibilities actually kicked in a bit earlier than that.

My first assignment came mid-week when new Dad (AKA my favorite Alpha G33K) asked me to make ice for the “welcome drink.” All formal and semi-formal Swedish parties start with some kind of punch or mixed drink that can be made in a large batch. It’s served as soon as all the guests have arrived and is typically accompanied by some words of welcome from the host(s). Given that I’ve never met a Swede who puts enough ice in a drink, it was no surprise  that this task was entrusted to an American…especially one with a very impressive collection of novelty-shape ice cube trays.

The next detail was on Friday night and involved helping the Alpha G33K and his brother set up the church hall for the meal that would be served to all the guests immediately after the service (and aforementioned welcome drink). Dr. Darling was supposed to be part of this set-up crew, but had decided to have a beer after work on an empty stomach and was too drunk to be of much assistance. (Dr. Darling is a bit of a light-weight.) It was during church hall set-up that I saw a half-dozen multi-liter bottles of soft drinks placed under the beverage table instead of the refrigerators in the kitchen and realized that I needed to make a lot more ice.

But the biggest job landed in our laps (literally) the day of the christening, and we didn’t even know it was coming. We were still in our pajamas when the Alpha G33K called at 8 a.m. ( *highly* unusual for him) and asked if we could take the baby for a couple of hours. He and his lovely wife were putting the finishing touches on elements of the Filipino feast we would all be enjoying that afternoon and figured they’d have an easier time of it if their little angel hung out at The Penthouse-Nordic for awhile.

Of course we were delighted to be of assistance and quickly threw on some clothes to walk over to their place to pick her up. This would be the first time they had ever left her with us…in fact, it may have been the first time they’d ever left her with anybody…and Dr. Darling positively beamed as we collected not only the baby but all of the equipment needed to look after a 3-month-old for a few hours. In hindsight we wished we’d taken my visiting mother-in-law with us (she was down from Halmstad for the christening) because upon arrival at their place we learned they wanted us to bathe the little Punkin’ and wash her hair, and we could have used the extra set of hands to carry the baby tub.

We knew they had lots to do before the 1 p.m. service, but their stress-level was palpable. New Mom was scrambling around the kitchen elbow-deep in her native Filipino cuisine, while the Alpha G33K, who tends to be quite modest for a Swede, stood at the changing table in his underwear wrangling his very lively daughter into a clean diaper. The poor guy didn’t even have time to put pants on!

It was in this atmosphere that I made a snap decision: the infant seat was more critical to everybody’s comfort than the baby bathtub…we’d cross the bathing bridge when we came to it…and Dr. Darling did not challenge me on the point. This didn’t really surprise me given that I’m the more experienced baby-minder. What did surprise me was how cooperative the Swede was when she found out the bath-time solution involved her getting in the tub with the baby, who absolutely LOVED it. Even more shocking, the shy Swede actually allowed her mother to take pictures of the two of them in the bath together…photos that were later shared (slightly Photoshopped) with Mr. & Mrs. Alpha G33K…who were genuinely interested in the technique, ahem.

To make a long story only slightly longer, the baby survived the morning with us and was a complete angel during the ceremony, the dinner afterward was delicious and there was twice as much ice on hand was was needed. (Evidently Filipinos use even less of it than Swedes do.) But I’m still trying to get over the fact that there are at least three pictures of Dr. Darling in the buff on my mother-in-law’s mobile phone…when I’m not permitted anywhere near her with a camera when she’s naked.

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Feed my ego!

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