Take your young kids to it.
Really. That is all you have to do.
Sure, this is the way to ruin many events. In fact, the title of this short story could change to:
How to ruin a five course meal,
How to ruin your city vacation,
How to ruin your honeymoon,
How to ruin a heist.
But my most recent experience was at a bridal shower. So here is that story:
A few weeks ago I decided to take the kids to Philadelphia to visit my cousins. Before booking our flights, I checked if the dates worked for them. They said yes.
Unfortunately, for all involved, they hadn’t realised that they had a bridal shower to attend that same weekend. But they said:
“Bring your kids! We’re bringing ours. It’s fine, really. It will be fairly casual”
The house of the parents of the bride, who were hosting the event, was about 30 minutes from my cousin’s house. So, of-course, my two and half year old fell asleep five minutes before we got there.
Parents of toddlers know what this means. What do you do? Do you wake the beast or let him sleep hoping that he will wake up refreshed and happy. It’s like the other “Sophie’s choice”.
I went for door number two. So, as my cousin took her kids and my five-year-old daughter in, I sat in the car while the little man slept. I read the newspapers and checked facebook (how awesome are smartphones by the way? Imagine waiting or breastfeeding without one? Oh the horror!) and after about an hour I thought he should be rested enough. So I woke him up.
WRONG! Sometimes I think I’m an amateur. Honestly.
The shower “theme” was “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” We were about to turn it into “Dinner for Schmucks.”
The champagne was blue, the food excellent and the servers attentive.
The boy was cranky and whiney and hungry and insisted on sitting on my lap the whole time. (I can’t resist the predictable joke here that there was more whine coming out of the boy’s mouth than wine going into mine).
So, I sat at a table and gave him endless amounts of bread while holding the table-cloth hoping that he wouldn’t pull on it. To do this, of-course, I had to keep putting my blue champagne down, which meant that the attentive servers assumed I was finished and they would take it away. Couldn’t they see the pain in my eyes and my desperate attempts to numb it?
A few minutes went by so I thought I would check on them. I find the boy playing with a model Porsche car. Note that the father of the bride is a car collector. Both actual cars: Ferrari, i8, Bentley, Aston Martin, Porsche, to name just a few as well as model cars. In a moment of panic I checked with him that it’s OK and he said yes of-course. OK then, I thought to myself, maybe this won’t be too bad. The boy will play with the car, we will eat some cake, and be on our way with most of our dignity intact.
Again, what am I? an amateur?
So we went up for cake. The cake, a beautiful fondant cake shaped like a Tiffany’s box was sitting proudly on a table surrounded by chocolates and other delicious deserts. All the kids, of-course, were admiring this appetising attraction.
As the kids were playing, my daughter tried to reach for something and fell flat on the beautiful cake. The beautiful “breakfast at Tiffany’s” cake now looked more like “murder at Tiffany’s” with an outline of a 5-year-old girl’s body on it.
I wondered if perhaps it was time to go. I should have taken the hint when everyone kept telling me, “it’s OK if you want to leave, really”
They cut and served the cake, which was still delicious, and I thought OK- not bad. If anything this would make an amusing anecdote in a few days. And then the boy walked up to me.
He broke the model car. The model Porsche, which the father of the bride had apparently owned for 22 years was now broken.
It was definitely time to go.
I apologised for the cake and the car and the crumbs on the kitchen floor that could probably feed all the pigeons on Trafalgar square and suggested to my cousin that perhaps it’s time to leave.
But it was time to open the presents.
My cousin sat centre stage next to the beautiful bride to be, helping her open the presents. The children, all six of them, joined the “ceremony.”
My son quickly hopped on a revolving chair as all the kids took turns spinning him around while he was grabbing anything within reach. Crystal on coffee tables, ladies’ long hair… you name it. If he could reach it, he grabbed it.
I signal my cousin that it’s really time to go (I think most people there agreed- tip: eye rolling is usually a good indicator). I grabbed my son’s leg as he was trying to make a getaway and dragged him across the floor all the way to the front door. I thin k we may have left one of his shoes there and we definitely left some of our dignity. What is more, our presence there did more to promote birth control and or abstinence than any sex-ed class ever could.
No-one was having any babies for a while after that. In fact, I think people even used condoms when sexting… just to be on the safe side.
We got into the car and sped away as if we are escaping a bank robbery or a great heist (if bank robbers ever use a minivan as their escape car). As we looked at the clock we realised that we had been there for an hour and a half.
What felt like the longest afternoon of my life, lasted less than “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” the movie.