"You will be a better mom because you are a theologian, and a better theologian because you are a mom."

Is it true? In this blog, I explore the interplay and intersection of motherhood and theologianhood.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Update on Maia's Baptizing

I mentioned in a recent blog that Maia had taken to baptizing (or, perhaps we should say, pretending to baptize) her stuffed animals in the sink of her new toy kitchen. Last night in the tub, she began baptizing her rubber ducks, too, starting with Ms. Duck, who is the biggest. I was truly impressed when I started the Trinitarian formula and she completed it perfectly: "and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," while simultaneously pouring water on Ms. Duck's head.

My first thought was, hey, as long as she's in the tub, she might as well do full immersion baptism of the ducks. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Alexander Campbell, but a full immersion seems to make the most of the sacramental sign.
My second thought was, Maia's little baptizing habit could become a problem. What if she's sharing the tub with an unbaptized sibling, and she decides to baptize him or her? Once she gets the Trinitarian formula down, would that be a valid baptism?

My third thought was, it's probably best that I not teach her full immersion baptism, given the sibling scenario... or how she might interact with kids in the Orchardly Park wading pool this summer. What would I say - "No, she's not trying to drown your son, she's just baptizing him?"

So there you have it. I'm not encouraging full immersion for Ms. Duck after all. Not to mention she has already been baptized. Not to mention she's a large rubber duck.


Clara said...

I'm curious, where did Maia learn so much about baptizing? Admittedly I haven't been Catholic all that much longer than she, but I think I've only seen half a dozen or so actual baptisms in my life.

That is an interesting question, though. If one toddler baptizes another, is it valid? It could have the form and matter for sure; the only question would be whether there was the "intent to do as the Church does", but I don't know... it sounds like Maia is pretty serious about this!

Theologian Mom said...

Well, you see it all started when my older brother ordered a bound book with photos from Maia's own baptism. She loves looking at the book, especially the picture of Fr. Satish pouring water on her head. Then this past winter our friends' daughter Elena was also baptized in our parish. As soon as Fr. Satish had finished Maia yelled "More, more!" and everyone turned around to look at her!

In two weeks our friends' daughter Sofia will be baptized at our church. So we've been trying to psych Maia up for that one too. Not that we really need to!

I'm not sure whether a toddler-toddler baptism would be valid. I just know I'm going to try to prevent it. You know, so it's not like the scene out of the Flannery O'Connor novel (where the Uncle drowns his nephew while baptizing him).

Clara said...

Probably wise, though when I mentioned it to Mathew he seemed to think that you probably have to have reached the age of reason in order to baptize validly. That sounds reasonable. It might be difficult to "intend what the Church intends" when you don't differentiate between a human baptism and a rubber duck baptism!

But it's great that she's so excited about the Sacraments!

Clara said...
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Anonymous said...

I LOVE that you you thought about Flannery. That is EXACTLY what I thought about when I read this post. Love it! (I did my thesis on Tarwater by the way)