One winter afternoon, fourteen years ago, I got a call from the religious education director at our Catholic parish (Father C's church). She, and some people at the church, had been talking about starting full-immersion infant Baptism. We were a very helpful and always agreeable family so she probably thought we'd be good ones to start with.
Now, I'd never seen a full-immersion infant Baptism, but, from her description, I didn't like it. First, the baby is naked - in front of a congregation of strangers (some familiar to us, all unfamiliar to the baby). I'm pretty much a modest person so I wasn't doing that with my baby. Second, it sounded miserable for the baby. I'd already had two kids with colic (soon to be three). Having spent many hours with screaming babies, deliberately making my child unhappy for anything beside health reasons was not something I was going to do. Third, as much as I liked Father C, I don't have enough trust in other adults, no matter how much practice they've had, to have any of them dunking my baby underwater.
The fourth reason, and the one I emphasized to her, was the peeing factor. Having had one baby boy already, I knew that, if exposing a baby boy's chest and tummy to the cold didn't make him pee, putting him in water certainly would! From the ultrasound, we knew very definitely that the third child was going to be a boy. I told the religious ed director that I was not going to be the first mother at church to have her baby pee on Father C - a lovely arc landing in the center of his priestly robes - and not just at any Mass, but at the Easter, 11 am Mass! I really played up the "I would be SOOOOOOO embarrassed" bit and, after a few volleys, she gave up.
If the Catholic Church had required it, I suppose I would have done full-immersion, but I wouldn't have done it happily. Fortunately, they didn't.
I can understand that full-immersion Baptism is more Biblical, but infant Baptism isn't Biblical anyway, and I don't see that a baby is more Baptised if they're immersed than if they're sprinkled or poured. If only full-immersion Baptism is valid, than nobody in our family has been Baptised (so I can sleep in on Sundays).
I don't know what I would have done if I'd had another baby at our current, Episcopalian church, where full-immersion infant baptism is the way it's done. Everyone, except, of course, the baby, gets very excited.
I've actually never seen an infant Baptism at our church. Most people crowd around the Baptismal font, and I'm only 5' 2" so there's no way I could see. I don't crowd anymore; I just stand in the choir section. However, last weekend, there were Baptisms at the Sunday, All Saints Day celebration (I couldn't go because of the incense and my current asthma trouble). Someone posted a photo of a previous infant Baptism on the church Facebook page. They took the photo in mid-dunk, and it looks like the priest is holding the baby underwater.
That's what prompted this post - remember, it's the first I've ever seen of that. I know that the baby is lifted right out, generally crying, but the mid-dunk photo really weirds me out.
Now, I'm not judging those who do practice infant, full-immersion baptism. I'm just explaining why it weirds me out. I know the baby isn't going to remember it later. I enjoy seeing the baby after the Baptism is over, when the priest wraps the baby in a large towel and carries him/her around the Nave.
That being said, however, the one thing that does anger me is when someone says to me, "What a good baby!" when the rare baby doesn't cry much after immersion. Babies aren't "good" or "bad," they're just babies doing the natural things that babies do. When people say that a baby is "good," what it really means is that the baby is convenient to the adults around them. That's not a baby's purpose.