We went to a wedding this past weekend. Hubby was the photographer so I was on single parent duty - and had been since Wednesday since he'd been traveling on business since Anna and I returned home from vacation. I learned a valuable lesson at this wedding: Always, and I mean ALWAYS, get a babysitter for your toddler when attending an adult function. Always.
The weekend started off with a bang - me texting the hubby who was already in Appleton for the rehearsal dinner that I was this close to finding a truck stop and leaving Anna there, would he mind if we just swung through to see if she was still there on our way home Saturday afternoon? She started screaming from the moment I strapped her into the car seat after daycare to the moment we stopped for dinner an hour later, pause for delicious chicken nuggets and dirty, but exciting to explore public restrooms, resume screaming upon reentry into the car seat and finally stopped when we pulled into the hotel parking lot another hour later. Suffice to say, I didn't have a shred of patience left in me at that point. The only thing that would lower the volume of her screaming even a fraction was me scream-singing Jesus Loves Me....After about 15 times through, my voice cracking with effort and volume, Jesus Loves Me lost all melody and meaning. And she was STILL screaming.
We got to the hotel, got settled in, implemented my genius setup for secluding Anna's bed enough that she should have been able to go to sleep in the same room as us without much trouble and we headed down to the pool - the high point of my weekend. Anna had a great time splashing, chasing her ball around, watching us swim underwater, etc. We played for about 45 minutes then took Anna up for a bath. Got her ready for bed, read stories, sang the goodnight song, and then the screaming began again. My genius setup idea had a rather monumental hole (as most of my "genius" ideas usually do) - Anna could pull back the curtain I had draped over her pack'n play and see the entire room reflected in the mirror that was on the wall across from where I'd set up her bed. At least she goes to bed at 8:30 and her screaming couldn't have been waking up too many people. The hubby and I cowered in the bathroom in fear, taking turns peeking out the door to see if she was still glaring angrily from her cage like the angry wildebeest that she is. After about 15 - 20 minutes she settled down and went to sleep. We tiptoed around the room the rest of the night, and then enjoyed a somewhat peaceful night of sleep in a king-sized bed (nice!).
On wedding day, I knew I'd be facing a challenge, as the wedding started at 10, Anna's usual morning naptime, and we'd have to check out of the hotel before the ceremony so I'd have no place to take her in between ceremony and reception. I'm not going to go into details here, suffice to say that I saw exactly 4 minutes of the ceremony and spent a good chunk of time before the reception fighting off tears of frustration at missing out on spending time with my friends and feeling excluded from the fun. Anna and I wound up leaving as soon as brunch was over (she made it through the meal with minimal food throwing - keep in mind, I said MINIMAL), thankfully she managed to nap for a good chunk of the drive home and screaming was kept to a minimum. And my dear, dear hubby, who realized, possibly from me telling him with my hands clutching my hair, down on my knees, head thrown back in my very best "why! God, why?!" stance that I could. not. take. anymore. screaming. - gave me Sunday off. Let me sleep in, took Anna to the airport to pick up his parents, fed her dinner, even came with us to the grocery store.
Lesson learned. Even though it's fun spending time with Anna, it's easier at adult functions to actually spend time with other adults rather than pushing a very crabby, overtired child up and down a riverwalk for an hour plus while begging God for the courage and patience to take her in to be a part of a group meal where she's expected to sit politely for more than an hour waiting for her lunch...not bloody likely. Babysitters from here on out!