Last weekend, our family took a road trip to New Jersey to attend a wedding for an old friend of my husband’s. We knew it would be a gamble to bring our newly minted two-year old but we wanted to give it a run before we head to Seattle this summer for another wedding.
In a nutshell, here’s what happened:
Friday at 9:45 p.m.: After a long and snowy drive up the Jersey Turnpike, we arrive at the hotel. Of course, ZJ gets his second wind, and explores every nook and cranny. He tries to get in the refrigerator. We hide the hotel phones.
Being awake at 9:45 p.m. is bad.
Saturday Morning, 6 a.m.: Sleeping in is for sissies. It doesn’t matter that ZJ went to bed three hours later than normal. There are things to do, places to explore. The hotel room is his oyster.
9 a.m.: Surprise morning nap. Whew!
10:15 a.m.: Getting close to departure time. ZJ refuses to wear any type of pants that aren’t sweat pants. I even bought special pants that feel like sweats on the inside and look nice on the outside. No dice. Must. Wear. Sweat Pants. We put on his nicest sweats, and pair it with a blue and red long-sleeved polo-type shirt. Hopefully no one will notice.
10:50 a.m.: We arrive at the hall where the wedding will take place. Quick debate: do we let him bring his favorite stuffed Doggie into the wedding? Yes. It’s the lesser of the evils. We hope that Doggie will keep him calm.
10:55 a.m.: We walk inside. Lots of people and hallways to explore. It’s a toddler’s paradise.
11:10 a.m.: We take our seats strategically at the back of the room. But why sit when you can run? He runs to the alter (Doggie in hand) to make sure it’s suitable for the bride and groom. We gather him up and bring him back to our seats. He runs back down the aisle. Repeat. Again. Repeat. None of the other kids are doing this.
11:30 a.m.: The wedding ceremony starts, and thank goodness ZJ ran out most of his energy out and is sitting happily on Daddy’s lap. The groomsmen come in. The bride walks down the aisle. Beautiful. Then ZJ decides he wants to talk. And walk. So I take him outside the room so my husband can enjoy the ceremony. That was the plan.
11:31 a.m.: As we walk outside the room, he announces: “I tooted.”
11:44 a.m.: We have fun exploring the venue as the wedding ceremony continues. My guard is down. He looks at me, grins mischievously and runs. Fast.
11:45 a.m.: The 28-pound bundle of squirm barrels into the ceremony room, screaming in a language that only another toddler can understand. The bride is starting her vows,and luckily my husband has kept an ear out for his son. The doppler effect of a laughing/screeching toddler warns Jeff of approaching trouble, and he is already moving to intercept the boy. ZJ is two steps into the room before my husband catches him and whisks him out. Jeff and I were relieved when later in the reception he was able to confirm that nobody at the alter heard the boy. Whew!
12:10 p.m.: Wedding is over (sigh of relief), and the reception is underway. ZJ is happily munching on cheese and fruit oer d’oeuvres in the reception room. He makes sure Doggie gets his lunch too, feeding him leftover fruit he doesn’t want. As usual, Doggie is unresponsive.
12:30 p.m.: It’s still cocktail time but it’s dancetime for ZJ as he heads to the empty dancefloor. Dance. Dance. Dance. To the Beatles. To Frank Sinatra. Then it’s time to throw his stuffed Doggie into the air. It’s so crazy — Doggie can dance too. He’s pretty good.
12:35 p.m.: ZJ starts to flirt with the woman working coat check. They become fast friends and he introduces her to Doggie. The woman must have been pretty special to meet Doggie.
12:45 p.m.: All of sudden, ZJ starts to slow down. Is it a change in music? He asks for “Huggies,” a word he picked up from me that sadly makes it very difficult to resist his pleas to be picked up. This is not a normal request because there are worlds to be explored. This kid has been known to go non-stop for six hours at events.
His forehead is a bit warm. As he sticks his entire hand into his mouth, it appears he may be teething. Oh no!
12:55 p.m.: Still warm. Still glued to us. It’s clear the wedding is over for ZJ. Time for me to say goodbye. If he was older, I would have him sing the “Good-bye, Farewell” song from The Sounds of Music. Or maybe not.
1 p.m.: I leave my husband at the wedding. ZJ and I head to the hotel for some cuddles, Lightening McQueen and naps for all.
ZJ survived his first wedding — sort of. We can now revise our playbook and get ready for the next big wedding in July. He will be older: in toddler years a few months are huge in terms of development. His dancing skills will likely improve. Doggie will be going too.
We will also make sure to bring his best pair of sweatpants!