Okay, I'm being dramatic and I said I wouldn't be blogging until after Christmas, but tonight's story is meant to be told.
I know that taking a one year old almost anywhere is a bad idea - especially anywhere where everyone is supposed to be quiet and especially after bedtime. But do I acknowledge that truth and take it to heart? No, I have to keep putting myself in terribly awkward and potentially hazardous situations.
Take, for example, the kid-friendly Christmas Eve service at our church tonight. I had this fanciful picture in my head of our little family of three enjoying the peace and holiness of the night before Christmas. We would sing carols and laugh at the skits and my Little Beauty would look flushed and radiant in her little poncho. She'd clap her hands and then sit on my lap with her legs crossed and listen quietly to the stories.
Pop! That was my bubble bursting. Little Beauty did indeed look radiant in her little poncho and, at one point, she was flushed. But she was also screaming as only a toddler can who doesn't get her way.
The evening began well - she clapped to the more energetic songs. Then, the pastor invited "all of the kids" to the very front of the auditorium to hear a story...and I had the brilliant (ahem...incredibly horrible) idea to bring Little Beauty up with all of the kids. She watched the slides for a record of about 60 seconds and then decided she wanted to clamor past the kids up to the book. Of course, I held her back and she started to arch her little back in protest.
I tried to respond coolly. Calmly, I whispered into her ear, "Listen to mama. Let's go to the back of the room." She agreed and started the long descent to the back of the auditorium cheerfully. I thought that perhaps this might end well, after all. But about 1/3 of the way there, she realized that all of the kids were back in the front and that she was missing out. She turned to head back, but I scooped her up in my arms and made a beeline for the back. She screamed - the loud, interrupting kind of scream. And, of course, I whispered words into her ear - gently, firmly - to no avail. At the same time, I tried to give that expression to all of the adults that I was passing that said, "She's not normally like this (which is true). It's her bedtime, after all. And we really are good parents with a happy baby. And I am a beautiful woman and a good mom, in spite of the flailing limbs and the flamboyant lungs in my arms."
The fresh air outdoors felt cool and good. I put my little girl down and she took off running. Any attempt to derail her movement led to more wails. The Pre-Bedtime Meltdown had arrived so I gathered her up in my arms and carried the wailing baby to her car seat. We arrived home, took a bath, and she was completely asleep within 15 minutes.
(A) Give up any social life after 7:00 p.m. until baby years have passed.
(B) Don't bring baby anywhere that requires silence or sitting still for longer than one minute.
(C) Remember to encourage other moms who have toddlers - especially when I'm out of this stage.
Moms of one-year-olds (or moms who have "been there)...please tell me you've been here too and I'm not the only one.