PARENTS

Achtung Baby Or God I Need To Pee!

10/08/2010 16:15 | Updated 22 May 2015

I'm not religious. I'd probably describe myself as an atheist. Though the use of the word "probably" might suggest more agnostic tendencies. Either way, I don't go to church, I don't pray and I don't believe in a God.

Prompted by an article on Parentdish about bringing your children up vegetarian and what to do if they decide they want to delve into a crispy bacon buttie, I mulled over my parenting strategy regarding piety.

Should you find yourself on a German Autobahn and be willing to shave years off your life expectancy by taking your eyes off a road full of wanna-be Schumachers for a second, you may well see an "Autobahnkirche" or Motorway Church. Institutions specifically set aside for the purpose of reflection and silence should you feel the need whilst en-route. I suspect even those "hatch 'em, match 'em and dispatch 'em" church goers find themselves thanking a God they haven't spoken to since their wedding, that they survived another trip on a German Autobahn. De-restricted speeds have their advantages but are not for the weak-kneed.

Finje, despite having been asked repeatedly before we set of to run the gauntlet, decided she needed to pee 15 minutes into our journey. Perfectly timed, the request came just as we shot past a service station. As the perfect solution to the problem slowly disappeared in the rear view mirror her tone became rather more desperate. Then, like a little miracle (if I believed in such things) the sign for the Autobahnkirche came into view. They must have a toilet. So, when needs must and all, we turned off into unfamiliar territory.

As we entered the building two things struck me immediately. The tranquility and the cold. It was freezing which didn't help the situation as far as Finje was concerned. Fortunately, these One-Stop-Churches are as well organised as many things in Germany and I spotted a WC sign. With Finje suitably relieved, we left without causing too much of a ruckus. Reflection and silence are not compatible with a four year old needing to pee. As we returned to the car, I was beginning to hope that with all the frenzy and focus on keeping her pants dry Finje may not have taken in her surroundings. She lulled me into such a false sense of security that I even began to shut my eyes to actually doze as opposed to squeezing them shut in fear as another BMW shot past faster than the speed of light! Then,

"Mama, was that a church?"

"Yes Finje it was."

"Why was that man kneeling down with his eyes shut?"

Okay, here goes......

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