Runaway "Child" - The many challenges of parenting at weddings
I recently had the pleasure of attending my cousin's wedding reception. It was lovely; well, the parts I could pay attention to when I wasn’t wondering where the heck my toddler was. Mr 20.5 months is now at the age where he can now RUN. Really exciting for him; a pain in the butt for me.
Picture this: you've arrived at the reception to see a claustrophobic amount of people in the foyer and your son is bursting with excitement for the big occasion. He's also getting ridiculously heavy, has kicked off his shoes and is trying to squirm his way to liberty. (See Youtube clip below- This is how 20 month old toddler feels when you are trying to hold him back from prawn canapes.)
While absorbed in a catch up with long lost friends, you realise your toddler has sneakily escaped to explore where he can bungy jump without a rope. You can't see him because he's only knee high. He’s now looking for you too as he’s only just realised that the random pair of pants he is tugging at is not actually mummy.
You breathe two sighs of relief when you finally find him. A small sigh that he hasn’t played roly-polies down the stairs and a much bigger one that he hasn’t destroyed any elaborate decorations! You’re stressed and you’ve only been here for 17 minutes.
You’ve come locked and loaded with a glamorous nappy bag with everything you might need in any given situation, including a ton of snacks because dinner buffet probably won't start till WAY after his usual dinner time. You try several methods of distraction, singing songs, reading books, and discover that the most effective is leaving him hypnotised in the baby IQ test known as highchair buckles.
Your peace is short-lived as he soon starts squawking at you and wanting to take you on a walk. His behaviour starts to get rattier, and he decides he wants to yell his new favourite word:
You give in and pull out Youtube Simple Songs.
Mr 20 month old: 1
Limiting screen time: Zero
Your table’s turn to get food! But first you need to convince your husband why you both can’t just abandon your toddler in the high chair while you both fetch your food. Sheepishly you ask your aunty to watch him while you continue to mumble at each other, trying to prove who was wrong, while trying not to make a scene.
You return to your table with a glorious plate of food only to have to start transferring it onto your toddler's tray ASAP because he is super hungus. He throws his knife and fork on the floor along with his manners and grabs a fistful of food, shoving it into his gob. How polite. But now the food is also being thrown onto the floor too...no... not the oyster!!! I told you weren’t going to like them! What do you mean you want more oysters now? No, the next one isn’t going to be any different!
You and hubbie try to scoff everything down as fast you can until the “toddler alarm” rings.
You wonder if your toddler has any sense of the occasion until you see him put down Youtube and clap for the speeches. Now that’s cute.
You explain the intricacies of wedding traditions to him, from cake cutting to first dances. He doesn’t say much, but you can see the cogs ticking in is head as he takes it all in and then pulls you in close for a snuggle and whispers "Mama".
The dance floor opens up and Mr 20 month old ...with his ridiculously cute collared shirt and tie, starts krumping away. He waves his hands in the air (like he just doesn’t care), spinning round and round almost losing his balance, with a goofy smile on his face. He is transfixed by the brilliant lights, pumping bass and clucky ladies checking out his dance moves.
He’s also found a new bestest bud to party with. You chuckle to yourself. It's moments like these that make all the exhaustion, frustration, busyness and discipline worth it. Your son, nearly two years old, is shaking it like a polaroid picture...(literally- see below) And it brings so much joy to your heart.
While your toddler (and his Daddy) want to bop all night, you have to call it a night, say congrats to the married couple and say your goodbyes. Your toddler is also intent on giving everyone kisses, high fives and fist bumps on his way out.
You nappy change him in the boot of the car and get him into his sleeping bag. He is gleefully smiling back up at you, knowing he is secure and safe. Falling asleep on the ride home, his long lashes flutters while he dreams, sucking away on his Minty for comfort. Thankfully he is exhausted and transfers easily to his port-a-cot and you tip toe quietly to your own bed hoping you don’t wake him.
My son, you can be a handful when you push the boundaries. But we love you even when you do.
You are worth it.