You may remember a few months ago when I wrote about a magical wedding shower I attended. (Need to catch up? Read that post here).
This past weekend, we celebrated the wedding of my dear friend, K and her dashing groom, K. I was entirely impressed with how well my kids did and how much fun I was able to have as a result.
Peanut was a fantastic flower girl, smiling for far more pictures than I expected and genuinely enjoying the celebration.
Pumpkin did great, too, particularly considering she made it almost all the way through a full Catholic ceremony (mass and all) without being all…well…toddler-y.
And so, dear friends, I share with you my parenting magic….
10 Easy Steps to Enjoying a Wedding with 2 Small Children
1. PACK A BOOK BAG FOR THE CEREMONY
- coloring books
- yarn and scissors (we made red, white, and blue bracelets)
- picture books
2. LET GO OF THE GOAL DREAM OF SILENCE
Yes, each crayon hitting the marble floors of the cathedral sounds like a wrecking ball hitting the side of a building.
And yes, your toddler will say something like “UH OH!!!!” in a silent moment during the ceremony. (A particular low point for me.)
But get over it – it bothers you more than anyone else. Probably.
3. IMPLEMENT A “MAN-ON-MAN” DEFENSE
Peanut and I attended the rehearsal dinner, got to the church early on the big day, hung out with the wedding party before the reception, etc. etc. We did it all. Together.
There was no way Pumpkin could have handled that kind of fanfare, so we divided and conquered. B took a separate car with Pumpkin. They went home before the reception and snuck in a nap. They left the reception when Pumpkin was too tired to enjoy herself.
It was a win-win, win-win.
4. BRIBERY IS YOUR FRIEND
Part of the reason Peanut was so well-behaved is because we discussed her reward before we even left for the church. Just being a flower girl earned her a trip to her favorite ice cream joint the day after the wedding. But the real bribe (and parenting genius) was…
For every 10 minutes she was quiet in the church during the ceremony, she earned 1 topping.
Let me be clear: I didn’t time her. Every few minutes, I’d look over. If she was quiet, I’d hold up a finger and mouth “one more topping!” She would smile and go back to coloring.
<Let’s pause here for the beauty of a quiet 4 year old during a church ceremony>
Pumpkin was much easier because I had no expectations for her to be quiet during the ceremony. But during the reception when I needed her cooperation, I found her behavior currency: fruit punch.
5. HAND OVER YOUR CAMERA
We know Peanut likes to take pictures (see her first adventure with the digital camera here) and during the wedding she was surrounded by photographers and family & friends snapping away. It was only natural that she join in the fun.
I waited until we were in the inevitable down time between ceremony and reception. The bridal party was taking formal pics and Peanut was needed here and there. During those in between moments, I gave her the camera. She took more pictures in those moments than I took the whole day! Here’s a sampling:
6. MAKE SURE THE BRIDE AND GROOM GENUINELY LOVE AND ENJOY YOUR KIDS
Okay, I realize you can’t do this. But we were totally blessed to celebrate a wedding with a couple so relaxed in their joy and so delighted by the attention of my kids.
7. KNOW WHEN TO SAY WHEN
I’m not talkin’ booze, folks.
The wedding day was hot. Like Africa hot. And Peanut was in a dress made of non-breathing material. She cooperated as much as (more than?) any 4 year old should. But at some point soon after this picture was taken, she started to wane.
When she started to cry and said “I don’t want to do this anymore,” no one was upset (see #6). In fact, the whole wedding party clapped for her as I scooped her up, thanked the photographers, and headed into the air conditioning to change her into a comfy (cotton) dress and shoes.
The same rule applied to Pumpkin. She had a ball at the reception but began to fall apart after a couple of hours. We decided to call it a night for her before the situation devolved. (Hint: When your baby lies down on the dance floor planking, it may be time to go.)
B changed her in to PJ’s and headed for home.
I’m sure that if I had pushed either kid, our night would have been ruined. And let’s be honest, no one wants a toddler tantrum on the dance floor. Or a 4-year-old photo bomb in their wedding pictures. Seriously.
8. LET ‘EM DANCE UNTIL THEY DROP
9. WEAR SOMETHING THAT MAKES YOU FEEL GOOD, EVEN (ESPECIALLY?) IF IT’S IMPRACTICAL
I may be the proud mother of 2 little girls. That doesn’t mean I want to feel like a mom at the social event of the year. I want to feel like a young 30-something who has her own sense of style.
10. PLAN NOTHING FOR THE NEXT DAY
You (and your wee ones) are going to need a day to recuperate. Make the coffee and then be lazy. Watch too much TV. Skip the grocery shopping. Just BE.
The only planned activity we had the day after this fabulous wedding was a trip to the ice cream shop, where Peanut enjoyed her reward.
Best. Bribe. Ever.
Hosted by Krystyn at Really, Are You Serious?