Mike and I took Mazzy to my uncle's wedding over the weekend. Previously, I had thought taking a baby on a plane was a challenging activity but now I know that NOTHING rivals the stamina required to get a 19 month-old through the seven hour roller coaster of a sleepless celebration (see chart below).
In order to properly prepare you for the extreme exhaustion that comes along with dragging your child to an otherwise happy occasion, I have devised... "THE SEVEN PHASES OF TAKING A TODDLER TO A WEDDING".
PHASE 1: Family Photo "Fun"
The first phase of every wedding involves taking pictures of every family member combination imaginable. This requires patience and the ability to feign happiness (which is hard enough for my husband, let alone a toddler). If there is one picture where Mazzy is not bending over backwards to get out of my arms or burying her nose while weeping into my shoulder, then I'm sure it's because she's happily tugging on my earing while I'm screaming out in agony.
PHASE 2: The Ceremony (AKA "Those Aren't Tears of Happiness")
In this phase, your toddler is expected to sit silently in a pew with her hands and feet to herself as someone's very important life event slowly unfolds in front of them. Unless you are witnessing the nuptials of Elmo and Abby Cadabby, this is probably not enough to hold a toddler's rapt attention. Seconds before the bride FINALLY walks down the aisle, telltale signs of imminent unraveling will occur and you and your spouse will have a hushed debate about whether one of you should just sit the ceremony out and take the kid outside. DO IT.
PHASE 3: Cocktail Free-For-All
Balancing your purse, a drink and a plate of crudite while hungrily descending upon anything that moves with a tray is a challenging task. Add a toddler into the mix and you can kiss your chance at a cocktail weiner goodbye. Ditto to that much needed glass of wine. Even if you are able to wait out the line at the bar and emerge with a drink in hand, good luck keeping it in the glass as you chase your kid from one potential disaster to another. She's got people to harass, food to eat off the floor and energy to burn from being quarantined in Phases 1 & 2. (See photo above for visual of extreme happiness unleashed.) It's best if you and your spouse divide and conquer. And keep the interesting conversation to a minimum. It's impossible to process anything while you're watching your kid use your new silk dress as a napkin.
PHASE 4: The Reception (AKA "Dance For Your Life")
Just when you think the energy level can't get any higher, along comes a dance floor and a DJ. This was actually my favorite phase because not only did Mazzy dance like her life depended on it, she happened to be AWESOME at the Horah. She held hands, walked in a circle, and clapped at exactly the right times. By far, the least stressful part of the evening. (If you are somebody that is worried about your child being trampled, then this phase will probably be much less pleasant.)
PHASE 5: Mealtime Exhaustion
By the time dinner arrives, the energy exerted in Phases 3 & 4 begins to take it's toll. If you're smart and you brought your stroller, you can attempt to get your child down for a nap. If you are not smart, like myself, your child may use this time as an invitation to demonstrate the true definition of "over-tired". In Mazzy's case, this meant tangling herself in the floor to ceiling window treatments, crawling under the table to rescue abandoned dinner rolls and starting a "rolling trend" amongst the other toddlers in attendance. This is also a good time to change a dirty diaper in the ladies room. Everybody loves to get up close and personal with a pile of poop while they are wearing formal attire.
PHASE 6: The Second Wind
After dinner is usually the time when the highest energy music is played. The kids take over the dance floor, dresses fly up over the heads, and inhibition is lost. If you're lucky like me, your toddler might take this opportunity to start a new dance craze called "Fetch My Sippy Cup, Boy"...
PHASE 7: The Drunken Ride Home
We had thought that as soon as we started the hour drive home, Mazzy would be out like a light. Sadly, it was not in the cards. Once fastened in her carseat, Mazzy went through something I call "The Broken Robot". This is where she takes her "greatest hits" (words, songs, people's names etc.) and turns them into utter nonsense. The main crux of her performance was based around the song "Old MacDonald". It went something like this: "Everybody here, everybody there E-I-E-I-O, Mommy here, Mommy there E-I-E-I-O..." There was also an impressive mash-up of Oh Susanna and the theme song from Elmo's World. The show continued till the ride was over. No intermission.
You know who passed out immediately when we got home?
For all I know, Mazzy left and went to an after-party.