Toddlers/ babies, i.e unpredictable, adorable mini people. They do not fully understand the adult world. Some of the stuff we do must be really quite strange for innocent, wide eyes, open hearts and minds. Weddings must be up there as one of the top “What the fuck?!” moments for toddlers. We all dress up in our best, congregate with familiar and unfamiliar faces. We are stiff, formal, excited and there is Auntie walking around in this amazing white princess dress, followed by Mummy and more Aunties in identical royal blue dresses. Just take a moment to imagine what this looks like to a two year old. Oh there is Daddy also in an identical suit to lots of other men- one of which is Grandad and my cousin is wearing exactly the same as me. Hmmm… Mummy has a shit load of makeup on at 11am and has had a permanent champagne glass in her hand. Everyone is rushing around and giving me presents and sweets. There is a big tent outside with lots of chairs in and a stage. And I can see boxes and boxes of ‘Mummy’s Special Drink’ being carried into the tent by Uncle Dickie. What the hell is going on here? I can picture his little mind in overdrive like this trying to work out what these weirdo adults are up to.
We have been preparing for the wedding of the year for a while. And wondering what it would be like with two kids in tow. Mum and bridesmaid rolled into one. It wouldn’t be like weddings of old that’s for sure. But I did try to prepare as much as possible. Entertainment, outfits, scheduled naps to avoid tantrums in church, The 3 P’s. Planning preparing and panicking. Standard.
The morning of the wedding went relatively smoothly. There was enough hands on deck to make sure the babes were looked after and Mummy enjoyed her morning in hair and makeup. A bit (a lot) of bribery and the toddlers were dressed in their matching outfits. The most adorable twosome you ever did see. I left dressing the baby till the last minute as it was an all white get up. Yeh he was sick as soon as I put it on. The baby who had been sick maybe once before in his 8 months. Maybe I ploughed him with too much breakfast so he wasn’t hungry until after the ceremony. I caught the sick in my hands. You do things like this as a mother. I yelled “HELP SICK BABY” and fellow bridesmaid Jasmine launched a pair of pj bottoms at me to wipe it up. We seriously had to leave and it was only in the car I realised my hand stunk of vomit. So incredibly classy. Mum life.
Daddy was on baby duty at the church as I had the bridesmaid bit to do. Wander down the aisle and not know what I was doing as I hadn’t been paying attention at the rehearsal the night before. I hope the toddlers had been listening to their ring bearing roles. They must of been, miraculously they nailed it. I thanked God, we were in church after all. Now they just needed to get through the next 40 minutes of ceremony. Good luck Daddy.
Mummy and Auntie Jessica swerved the child care during the service nightmare as we were up front holding bouquets. Win. We were left to listen and wonder what was going on in the row behind us with our husbands, two babies and two two year olds. Occasionally we would turn round to glimpse our brood and send telepathic messages of good behaviour. The whole extended family was watching. Come on boys and girl.
“We are gathered here today in the presence of..” “PRESENTS???”, exclaimed my nephew, “ARE WE GETTING PRESENTS?” “No not yet, ssshh”- We hear his Daddy. *WAILS* Shit. We haven’t even begun. We look over our shoulders to see him being escorted out by his daddy, baby Flora in tow bless her. Wailing down the aisle. Leaving much more dramatically than he entered. There is a box of toys by the door- he grabs for one, crashing through the box. Daddy yanks him out the huge wooden door. I just see Floras little grin as it shuts, she’s loving it. Edens asking loudly where Rowan has gone and whether he can go too. “Does anyone know of any reason why these two may not be joined in..”- “I’M SORRY DADDY *SOBBING* CAN I GO BACK IN NOW?” We hear from beyond the grave(yard).
Eden wants to go to Uncle Dickie in the row behind. He leaves his seat. He’s in the aisle. I glance at him and make eye contact. He’s leaning on the pew and swinging his leg. He’s looking at me. He’s either going to lay down right there (why not?) or he’s going to leg it. Daddy is helpless as he’s holding Xander in a standing position. He’s facing the congregation and grinning- oblivious to the actual ceremony happening behind him. I’m helpless too due to flowers, order of services, a Bride and Groom and vicar at the end of my row and the dangerous cobbled church floor and my heels. He’d out run me easily. He grins a toothy grin at me and I mouth “sit down”. He saunters over to Uncle Dickie and he’s back in a pew. Phew. I resume watching the service.
“THE WHEELS ON THE BUS GO ROUND AND ROUND” what? What is this hymn? It’s Eden and a returned, reformed Rowan. Delightful. My little Flora is squealing and screeching in delight. They cannot handle the silence. I am sniggering into my flowers.
We make it through, some how. Despite singing, crying, musical chairs and lots of loud questions. No major dramas. As we leave the church Daddy and Uncle Andrew complain about how hot it was inside. It wasn’t- they were just sweating from the pressure of it all. We need ALL the champagne welcome drinks ASAP. Eden thinks Spider-Man is ringing the bells and happily tells everyone.
The reception was calling us and the kids can run around at last. They didn’t sit at the tables of course, despite their place names. They weaved in and out to everyone they knew and some people they didn’t. The braces were down, the shirts were untucked and the bar was stocked with fruit shoots. During the speeches they played in an area just in front of the stage. All eyes were firmly on the Groom until Eden wrestled a fellow wedding guest toddler to the ground and got him in a head lock. What is a wedding without a fight? It was probs over that Poundland mobile phone. Its coveted. Nanny dragged him away feet first as she was at the top table and it was one of those equally proud and mortifying moments. I’d had a few drinks so I was quite proud he’d developed such fine tuned wrestling moves.
Some great food for us, food for the baby and lots of passing around. Wondering where the kids had gone it was time for dancing. Several family members rocked prams, held wine glasses, changed bums, took shifts. There were lots of willing dance partners up for that bent over dance you do with a toddler. They both fell asleep by 9pm next to the dance floor. Totally unphased by the 5-piece band and tuneful karaoke. Mummy and Daddy danced and sung, Spice Girls and Frank Sinatra. We could look over and know they were safe beside us. It wouldn’t have been the same without them. Weddings are about families and they are the next generation. I’m glad our kids were there to crash it- literally crashing about everywhere. Shirts no longer white, or even done up. Suede loafers all scuffed. Ice cream all down him. Ties knotted around heads and that was just my husband…
Sunday morning (lunchtime) and we are at the bottle bank- emptying sacks of bottle of booze after bottle of booze. My husband is throwing up behind said bottle bank. The crashing of the bottles is hurting his head. He’s adamant it’s not a hangover but a mystery illness. The wedding ribbons are still on our car, kids asleep in the back. A nice man recycling two bottles of red asked me if we were the newlyweds and if we had a nice time. What do you think mate?