Posted by: jamesthethickheaded | July 15, 2010

They Kiss Babies… Don’t They?

Took a while to find this from yesterday’s Wall Street Journal (didn’t make their website) along with a story on the BBC website. But had to share how I have continued to marvel over it…and how it was in color no less.

It’s no secret I’m a baby lover from way back. Modern world’s frozen hearts tend to keep us from being able to express ourselves as much as we’d like on this about OPB (Other People’s Babies), so men generally aren’t free to admire OPBs in public without getting an FBI visit… but we try to do so from the corners of our eyes… as politely and complimentarily as we can, and offer up any paperwork we must.

Maybe it’s ’cause we only had two of them in our family, and while it seemed enough at the time… maybe it wasn’t in fact. But then … well.. we either went to twenty-four or something or got a dog. And if you’ve already got two wonderful, loving kids… and one of each, you tend to wonder about pushing your luck, stamina, stroller, gene pool, and whether you’re just adding members to the Future Delinquents of America… or really capable of being a decent parent. And no, we’re still not asking the best witnesses ’bout the answers to some of these questions… ’cause it just might not go so well.

So we got a dog. And while I love dogs, rub their tummies, call them “Baby”, etc. …one doesn’t generally kiss their feet, or forget that… what can I say… sometimes ol’Rover just would be happier at the puppy farm for a few days. I think they normally put people in jail who think the same about babies…  though I did have an odd woman in my grad school class (friend of my mom’s actually) who said, “Sometimes you just want to pop them in the oven!”… but I knew her kids, and man… talk about a woman with “issues”… but no, even she wouldn’t do such a thing. Most of us wouldn’t even think… much less say such a thing… but that’s another story. Humanity can run in short supply even where you least expect it.

Anyway, can’t you just feel the elation, the joy, the sheer energy and imagine all the little sets of lungs busy bellowing out in this wonderful picture? Yes, they’re still alive, and God loves them! You gotta wish you could be there! I love the feet of the kid in the center whose legs are literally all over the place! And think of it: according to the caption, they baptised 700 babies at once! Somehow, I imagine it didn’t take them quite as long as it seems to take in our parish! The experience… the life you must witness… the new Life running through these kids and through the crowd… what a wonder!

And all this comes from the Georgian patriarch’s reaction to the low birthrate two years ago. At the time, he promised to personally baptise all the children subsequently born to families with more than two kids. In a nation of 80% Orthodox, this was apparently all anyone needed for a little baby boom to get started.

And I’m telling you right now, if we ever get an American patriarch of our own, and he makes a similar promise… that is going to be one busy guy! There’d be no time for squabbles in his synod: “Okay, okay, okay. Whatever. Can we wind up this doctrinal-dogma-katma-parakeetma stuff in the next five? Gotta grab a plane to Dallas ‘n baptise ‘nother 200. Monday Dallas, Tuesday Phoenix, Wednesday… sheepers… I’m worn out. If you guys wouldn’t mind slowing this a notch and giving your papa a rest… I’m thinking we could swing it with some bit ’bout  some sort of podvig of watching TV every now and then… or a podvig ’bout going to sleep… anything … one more airplane and I’m toast. But no… it’s always: “try”, fly, and make the babies cry. I’m getting a real rep… just not sure how it plays… y’know… up stairs.  Maybe a little too earthy an’ all? I don’t know.”

So that’s how it is this July morning… I’m thinking about these kids, and at least it’s a warm, sunny summer day in Georgia for them… an’  just in case anyone’s in the mood to sing, I’ve got Ray Charles on my mind… but I’m still amazed at these lil’  guys swimmin’ at the ol’ swimmin’ hole… an’ they ain’t even got their jammies on!


  1. This is awesome! We baptized a one year old 3 weeks ago at our Mission and he remembers Fr. Damian… every time his godmother brings him up for communion he looks at Fr. Damian and starts screaming and trying to crawl up her face to get away… “IT’S THAT GUY WHO TRIED TO DROWN ME!!!!” Yup, babies rock!

  2. I love the photo but I didn’t know the whole story behind it. Very cool.

    You’ll have to stop by St. Mark’s soon to get your baby fix. One family just had the 2nd set of twins. She’s been bringing them to VCS this week and they are so adorable.

  3. I love the chubby cheeks on the priests, which you get just a glimpse of from each, which indicates a big smile on each face! That is awesome!

    We just had our first great-niece born. She was no bigger than a pineapple. My goodness, were our children ever that small? My eldest is nearly 6 feet! Kyrie Elesion!

    We got a dog too. It does help satisfy the ‘nurturing’ part – a tiny bit (a very tiny bit).

  4. Been a way… catching up:

    Athanasia: A great niece, a grand child… ah.. that will be the day! Lucky dog… and that’s saying a lot.

    Deb’D: Intending to visit St. Marks ASAP… which in Orthodox time… well it could be a while. But I’m working on it! You’re lucky to be in VBS (B for Bible instead of C for Church).

    And S-P: Babies rock! I even thought about that movie that’s out on four or six different babies around the world…. but I think my kids would say Mom and Dad are over the top.

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  6. James – it will be good to see you – whenever. 🙂

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