Monday, June 6, 2011
Today's New Experience
We attended the baptism of a little girl who turned 8 years old today. In my religion, children are not baptized until their 8th birthday. I was so happy to have this opportunity to celebrate with the family and to expose my daughter to this event. Then I began to wonder what it would look like to her, a big man pushing a little girl under the water. I decided to go up to the Visitor's Center at the temple nearby and ask a Mandarin-speaking missionary to explain baptism to my daughter and show us a video of it.
They didn't have any good videos at all, but a man being baptized by another man in a river and after my daughter saw this, I had them explain how the little girl would hold her nose to keep the water out. Suddenly, my daughter stepped back, said, "No," and got a frightened look on her face. I immediately knew she was scared and thinking she was going to have to go through this herself. I quickly reassurred her that this was not happening to her, that she's much too small, but that it's a wonderful thing, and we high-tailed it out of there. Sometimes it's hard to know what needs a lot of preparation and what is simply beyond explanation and just needs to be experienced.
She really enjoyed watching the baptism and had fun running around afterward with other children. When we got home and she was in the bathtub, she held her nose shut and stuck her face in the water for the first time and practiced swimming.
We are going to our first swimming party at the end of this month and she'll finally get to swim, something she's talked about since seeing her swimsuit for the first time and learning what it was.
One great advantage of the day, was that the little girl who was baptized, was also confirmed and given the gift of the holy ghost through a special prayer by her dad, who has priesthood authority, and is done with the child sitting in a chair, her dad's hand on her head along with those of her grandfather and the bishop. This is also the way my daughter will receive her blessing, which is like a baby dedication, but a little more. I was able to talk to Jie Jie about this blessing today, for the first time, and she said that she would like do it. The conditions I presented to her is that it could be at home or at church and she can sit on my lap. She asked me to put my hands on her head, too, but I explained that only the men will do that.
Pertaining to this, the subject of an English name came up. I couldn't understand her Chinese very well, but it seems that she might have been told she'd be given a new name when adopted and she wasn't happy about this. I asked if she wanted a new name or to add a name to her Chinese name and she was very adament that she did not want a name change. This is fine with me. I call her what she calls herself. I had been introducing her to people using the Mandarin pronounciation of her nickname, but now I give her proper name and save the nicknames for me or those close to her. Her proper name is easier for English speakers to pronounce correctly anyway.