I never learn. Every time, I make this mistake. We get an invitation to a wedding. We’re full of excitement and positive (yet delusional) thoughts about our children (ages 4, 2, and 9 months), and we say: “Yes! We’ll be there. All of us! We’ll make it work this time!”
But as the days near, we’re consumed with more and more dread. And on the day-of, we know the mistake we’ve made. Of course, we can’t go. The four-year-old was up until midnight the night before and is one wrong-colored-water-cup away from meltdown; the two-year-old hasn’t pooped in five days and has been weeping all afternoon about the yogurt being raspberry instead of strawberry; the 9-month-old is … well, just a 9-month-old. No one has napped. Most have refused every meal offered. Everyone is a little sick.
So we cancel. Sucks to do it every time. But we do it. And then the barrage of haterade pours in. Everyone wants to know why we’re so dramatic:
“What’s the big deal?”
“Just come! We’ll help with the kids.”
“C’mon, live a little!”
“In my day, we took our kids to weddings without a second thought!”
It doesn’t help that we are Brown. Brown kids are regular and expected guests at weddings, regardless of the fact that Brown weddings start around 9 p.m. with food to follow at around 11 p.m. after you’ve sat through 30 insufferable speeches.
So, in an effort to streamline the process of responding to the haterade and non-stop inquiries about why we’re always MIA, I’ve compiled our frequently-asked-questions and my form answers. Please do not hesitate to adopt, copy, paste, and otherwise use these answers for the well-intentioned questioners in your life.
Q: Kids go to weddings all the time. Why can’t yours?
A: Are you talking about a single five-year-old at a wedding being watched by both parents? Because then, get out of here. Show me the parents with three toddler-aged children sitting politely and enjoying conversation and a shrimp cocktail, and then let’s talk.
Q: Ok. So it’ll be bad, but just brave it because you’ll get a night out?
A: No. A night out in which I have to nurse a 9- month-old while sitting on the toilet with my wedding clothes half off is no night out at all, friends. And when I’m not engaging in aforementioned toilet Olympics, I will be strolling the 9-month-old up and down the hallway hoping she’ll fall asleep while giving knowing looks to the other parents doing the same thing.
When she doesn’t fall asleep in the stroller, I will attempt to rock her to sleep but she will scratch her face on the beading of my Brown-people wedding clothes, which will make her cry harder. She’ll pull on my hair for comfort, which I ignorantly thought I could wear down for a wedding. When I give up trying to put her to sleep, I will try to eat while holding her. She will put her hands in the food and then smear it on my clothes. Have you ever tried to get a turmeric stain off couture? Yeah, me neither because it’s not possible.
My husband will spend his evening trying to feed the four-year-old the “disgusting” wedding food, while engaged in intense negotiations with said four-year-old about how much Coke he can have and whether he gets the phone if he eats the disgusting food. The two-year-old will be taking a juicy 10 p.m. nap on his lap.
Once we’ve ghosted out of there, the trip home will be the most arduous leg of our odyssey. The 9-month-old will find it repulsive that she has to be strapped in at 11 p.m. when she’s told us clearly that she does not believe in car seats. She will scream the whole way home.
The two-year-old will have gotten her second of nine lives for the night after that refreshing nap in Dad’s lap at dinner, and someone will have to sit with her in the playroom until she gets sleepy around 4 a.m. The four-year-old will be OK but will need a nap the next day to get back on schedule. You try napping a four-year-old who hasn’t napped in two years. It will take us three days to recover and get everyone back on schedule. We may as well have flown to Paris.
Now imagine, if you will, the alternate scenario wherein we RSVP no: all three kids are fast asleep upstairs and me and hubby are on the couch watching the Office and eating Taco Bell. Now, that’s a night out I can get behind.
Q: But why did you raise such terrible children?
A: I know, friend. I hear you. I take it you don’t have kids because I wondered the same thing about other peoples’ kids before I had mine. The truth is, this is just how toddlers are at this age. They need consistent bedtimes and food. They need to run around and play. They are easily thrown off schedule. An 11 p.m. gathering of adults where they have to sit still and eat foreign food is just not their jam — no matter how good you raise ’em.
Q: Ok. Ok. I get it. It’s not worth it taking such little kids. So get a sitter and come out and party!
A: Sit down. Do you know someone who wants to watch three kids this young, especially when dinner, bath time, and bedtime will be involved? Even the grandmas balk at this. Hell, I don’t even want to do dinner, bath time and bedtime with three toddlers, and I birthed these monsters. Now, even if I could find Mary Poppins to come watch the kids in the evening and have them all fed, showered, and asleep, she will want approximately $200 for her efforts, so this night out is costing me somewhere in the ballpark of $350. Unless you’re willing to cough that up, leave me alone with my $.99 chalupa and Netflix.
Next time, we RSVP no from the beginning.