Remind me not to take my one year old anywhere (ever again)

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.

Lessons learned...
(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.

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10 comments on “Remind me not to take my one year old anywhere (ever again)”

  1. I have really enjoyed reading past posts on here :) This one in particular is... GREAT, because I think it pretty much sums up my life right now. It's nice to know that you dealt with this, because for some reason I have this idea/picture in my head that things are always peaceful at your house (ridiculous, I know). Anyway, I am starting to give up my ideas of peace and calm from, say, about 5 pm -7pm these days. I guess that's life.

  2. Oh my gosh, I'm in the exact same boat you are! My son Christopher is 13 months old, and on weekdays, forget about going anywhere, since his bedtime is ~7pm. He is definitely at the stage where if he doesn't get his way, he starts screaming! Yikes! Plus, since he is now walking everywhere (and of course he wants to do it himself) he doesn't stay still for long at all!

  3. Haha...and I thought it was supposed to get better...we watch the service at our church from the parent's room since our little one has started babbling...gone are the days where he'll sleep in church...not only will he not sit quietly on our lap or in the stroller...he wants to be moving and wiggling and babbling! We're thankful we actually have a parent room at our church so at least my husband and I can be together...since I'm nursing the nursing mother's room is great but doesn't allow for us to be together as a family and I don't like to exclude my husband...

  4. My son is four and I have yet to sit through an entire Christmas Eve service at church. It doesn't help that my husband is on the pastoral staff and he is always doing something instead of being able to sit with the family and help "control" the kids. That said, Christmas Eve is a tough one. The kids no matter what age are distracted by thoughts of Christmas morning. It is hard for them to sit still.

  5. Aww. I can relate. We had an interesting "family service" tale as well, which I hope to blog about later tonight!

    Merry Christmas!

  6. We don't go to church but I try to do things that we did pre-kid as much as possible still now that we have 3 kids (1, 3 & 5yrs). We go out to eat, go to movies and hockey games. Sometimes it goes amazingly well and I feel like supermom but other times it can get crazy (especially when I'm out with them alone). I try not to worry so much about how other people see me and I try not to lose anyone!

  7. Merry Christmas!!

    Our kid-friendly Christmas service started at 6:00 and was over by 6:45. The minister always announces to those with young children, just to make it clear, that this is a service FOR children and that no amount of screaming or wiggling or carrying-on should make a parent uncomfortable. We have children running everyone and being loud. It's great, because it's such a homey and intimate experience. However, I still ended up in the nursery with both Bridget and Jacob. Jacob was wound up and Bridget was exhausted. As it turns out, she's not feeling well and has slept most of today.

    Anyway, you are not alone. We have all "been there" and "done that." I wouldn't worry too much about "discipline" at this point. Your daughter is so young and she's just beginning to assert yourself. The best piece of advice I can offer, as a mother of three is, get used to it!!

    I hope you had an otherwise lovely Christmas day!! (Hannah has a froggy voice, Bridget is passed out on the couch, Jacob is complaining of a sore throat, and I fear I may have Lyme's disease - no joke. Ah, the holidays)

    Lis Garrett

  8. You're not alone, sista...and now we'll get the joy of going through it all again. Joy is used in both a serious AND sarcastic manner here, simultaneously (if that's possible). P.S. Taylor sat with the kids for about 12 seconds, then sat in Meghan's lap, then walked over to me, danced for a minute or two, and laid under the chair next to me. And you left before the other 5 toddlers took turns running, crying, or screaming. :o)

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