In the last few days Dylan has not only ramped up his crawling skills to oh-shit-time-to-babyproof-everything speeds, but he’s become obsessed with pulling himself upright on whatever object is at hand. Once he gets himself in a teetery, wobbly-knee’d standing position, he’s clearly thrilled beyond measure — as evidenced by his overjoyed DER DER DER DER sounds and beaming, pure-sunshine expression — but his grasp of all the various motor functions necessary to accomplish this task without collapsing facefirst in a skull-shattering kersmash are unpredictable at best, so I have to hover nearby, Maternal Eagle Claw at the ready.


I had forgotten how exhausting this stage is: the rampant, deadly curiosity, combined with a half-assed sort of mobility that requires constant vigilance. He spends his day trying to open drawers, push buttons, pull up on unstable furniture, gnaw poisonous substances, plummet off high surfaces, slip under the bathwaters, choke on tiny plastic toys, wrap himself in power cords, and sweep glasses off tables, and he never stops ever. He never just sits still any more. Consequently I can never sit still either, and I often feel like I’m mired in some hideously challenging yet monotonous video game where I must fend off an endless stream of pixellated dangers and if I take the time to blink then GAME OVER MAN, GAME OVER.

This does not bode well, I feel, for JB’s brother’s wedding in late January, which the children are expected to attend. And when I say “expected”, I don’t mean the bride or groom particularly care whether they are there, I mean my dingbat husband and his parents want the kids to come, for reasons which remain confusing to me but apparently have something to do with being in the photos. I have strongly advocated against bringing them if we can figure out a good alternative solution, because my GOD, it’s a WEDDING, and an evening wedding at that. JB is the best man, so I’ll pretty much be on my own when it comes to keeping both kids quiet and still during the ceremony, which what the hell, someone draw out the logistics of that for me, because outside of canvas restraints and a blow-dart of phenobarbital I can’t picture how it’s going to work at ALL, and I don’t know what kind of crack JB’s smoking if he thinks the kids will cooperate for some nice sit-down formal photographs, have we learned NOTHING from history here, and seriously, it’ll be late and the boys will be cranky and psycho and Dylan will be braining himself on everything in sight and Riley will probably be doing the thing where he waits until there’s a moment of total silence in a public area before loudly asking me about the mole on my neck or maybe even musing at top volume about the mystery of why I don’t have a penis and he does, and am I ALONE in thinking this is just a really, really bad idea and we should hire a babysitter for the evening instead?


88 Responses to “Wary”

  1. Amanda on December 14th, 2008 11:05 am

    No way, you are not alone, GET A BABYSITTER IF IT IS AT ALL POSSIBLE. That way, you actually get to have fun (has anyone considered this part?), plus you don’t have to do all of the worrying that is associated with bringing small children to formal events. Nighttime formal events, at that. You are a much stronger person than I am, if you do bring them.

  2. Jennifer on December 14th, 2008 11:05 am

    I LOVE Tessa’s suggestion.

  3. Jan on December 14th, 2008 11:20 am

    I agree with everyone else and think a babysitter is the way to go for the ceremony at least. If not, have another family member (teenage cousin?) help with the boys. If you do get stuck with them at the ceremony make sure you have a shitload of food. Always works for my kids when I need them to be quiet. Blueberries, grapes, crackers, cheese, Cheerios whatever as long as it’s not too messy. Pray for a short and sweet service.

    Also, my 9 month old never sits still for a second either. My Doctor asked me during my son’s exam if he was always so active. When I said yes he responded with ‘most babies are much easier to examine and don’t move around this much’. I’m scared that ADD may be in future.

  4. trope on December 14th, 2008 11:53 am

    I agree on the not-bring-the-kids, also on the hire-babysitter-and-bring-her/him, also that it’s perfectly acceptable to show up for the photo-taking and nothing else.

    And MAN, it’s nice to hear you say that about Dylan being exhausting, since my first is just a few months older and I thought maybe it never stopped, ever, and you were doing it with Riley too.

  5. Alyson on December 14th, 2008 12:03 pm

    The learning to walk phase isn’t fun, but I hate the “I-understand-how-to-do-it-but-don’t-have-the-fine-motor-skills” phase. The frustrated screaming would kill me every time. Mommy can’t fix, ’cause Mommy can’t make their fingers work any faster in a flash of light. And they don’t want to be consoled. They want to DO IT!

    About the wedding thing, ask your in-laws if there are some high school aged cousins or family friends who would be willing to assist in the baby wrangling. Sometimes boys are great at this – and your boys would find attention from someone new interestingly diverting. It worked for us when our kids were small. Now our kids are the ones doing the baby wrangling.

  6. warcrygirl on December 14th, 2008 12:42 pm

    It sounds like you’ve got a really good relationship with your in-laws so my advice will probably stink like one of Dylan’s diapers but here goes: Most people who invite babies/toddlers to weddings already know there’s going to be some noise during the ceremony. On my wedding video you can hear my husband’s nephew crying the entire time. I didn’t care; in fact I didn’t remember it at all until I watched the vid later. If I were you I’d do what was best for you: get a sitter or don’t worry about the noise or kicking the pew in front of Riley or whatever. They wanted the kids there, they can deal with the things that kids do.

  7. dcfullest on December 14th, 2008 12:57 pm

    I work at a church and I know we have had several weddings which provided child care in the nursery during the ceremony. Could you hire a babysitter to come with you to the wedding- she could keep the kids in the nursery, while you are in the ceremony. That way they have fun and don’t look completely miserable in the picturess.

  8. Maureen on December 14th, 2008 1:14 pm

    Here is the thing, other people are deciding “oh, this is what we want, this will be FUN” while leaving all the dirty work to you. It’s like they have this rosy vision of how it will be, and all the stress and hardship will be on you.

    I’m not trying to dump on your in-laws or JB, I can absolutely understand why they would like to have the kids there. But the reality is, you know where your kids are developmentally, and sitting through an evening wedding is not possible.

    If they can’t sit through a story time at the library, how can anyone expect them to sit through an evening wedding? The fact that the bride and groom are not requesting their attendance is pretty telling. Good luck with this one!

  9. annie on December 14th, 2008 1:21 pm

    Food bribery works great, to a point. Our kids – 3 and 5 at the time – had to stand up in an outdoor wedding in 95-degree weather (in a full tux – wtf?). We bribed them with candy, and they did great. Also did great at the reception, mostly because we and the grandparents kept feeding them. A theory that came back to haunt us when the three-year-old puked down the front of my dress. It was a looonnngg ride home.

  10. mixette on December 14th, 2008 3:31 pm

    I love the way Christine handled it!

    Plus, weren’t you looking forward to getting a beautiful new dress and shoes to show off all your hard workout-work?

  11. Mary Stewart on December 14th, 2008 5:09 pm

    Long time stalker,first time leaving a comment.
    I was a nanny for 14 years for the same family, I attended many weddings, in town and out.If I didn’t have my own to look after now I would extend my services for the price of airfare, of course. My question, are they taking pictures before or after the ceremony?
    If it’s before, I would totally recommend having a sitter you trust come with you and leave with the boys after the pictures are taken or have the sitter help you during the ceremony and again leave with the boys after pictures. I did this many times and it always seem to be the best option for all.

  12. bessie.viola on December 14th, 2008 5:30 pm

    OMG Linda – take a friend to the wedding! My sister got married in October, when Madeline was 8 months. Same reasoning applied – the “must be present for photos” philosophy. I asked my best friend to come along and be with Madeline, and it was perfect. She was there for the ceremony and pictures, but nowhere near the reception, where she would surely have lost her shit. Sure, there were cute photo ops there too, but none worth the price of my sanity!

  13. Liz on December 14th, 2008 5:35 pm

    I think you should make a bargain with JB based on the following experiment, to take place before you make final plans–

    YOU will have a spa afternoon and go out for drinks with friends afterwards, for the same length of time as would be involved in being a member of a wedding party–say 8-10 hours.

    During this time, JB will be 100% responsible for wrangling the kids. They must be dressed in their best clothes and not get anything on them. They should spend the evening in an unfamiliar environment, such as an upscale restaurant, where the kids will be expected to be on their best behavior and eat food they don’t recognize. Also, people the kids don’t know well should come up to them and fuss over them. Then there should be a photo shoot where the kids are part of a big group and the people in the pictures are planning to treasure them forever.

    Revisit the issue after this experiment. JB may have a different perspective on the wisdom of having the kids at the wedding.

    Seriously, though, kids were welcome at my wedding but we hired a nursery school teacher to play games and sing songs in a different room. The parents were in and out to check in but didn’t have to spend 100% of their time keeping the kids out of the centerpieces and the kids weren’t bored.
    If there’s nothing like this planned for your BIL’s wedding I would strongly support having a babysitter–let the kids make a celebrity cameo appearance and then go back to the hotel or grandma’s house to hang out and watch videos. Don’t torment them by making them sit through a ceremony and a million toasts.

  14. Christine on December 14th, 2008 7:07 pm

    Bring a large bag of Dum Dum lollypops and set no limits on how many they can have to get you through the ceremony and photos. You can feed them a vegan diet for the next week to make up for it.

  15. Kari on December 14th, 2008 8:18 pm

    Kids really don’t belong at weddings, period, much less evening weddings. I am guessing that they really just want the kids there the whole weekend, for the other events, which makes sense.

    If you can bring a babysitter along (guessing this is an out of town event), I would definitely opt for that. You might want to ask the wedding party if there are other people, similarly situated, who want to go “in” with you for a babysitter after the pictures.

    Finally, Tess’ idea is kind of fantastic.

  16. Stacy on December 14th, 2008 8:43 pm


    Seriously, maybe you have a niece or nephew that is of babysitting age that would rather be off with the kids than sitting and being bored out of their mind (and earning a little cash too).

  17. Joanne on December 15th, 2008 3:03 am

    Hire a baby sitter. Especially for an evening wedding. It will suck otherwise – and I’m speaking from experience.
    They’ll be hyped up from all the attention and will melt down even earlier then you expect (obviously I’m talking about my kid here) – Maybe you could work something (depending on the timing) where photos get done early and then kids go with the baby sitter for bed.
    The hardest part of a wedding is all the people who would normally help you will all be doing wedding stuff.

  18. Amanda on December 15th, 2008 5:59 am

    Oh dear God get a sitter. WHAT are they thinking?

  19. Michelle on December 15th, 2008 6:30 am

    Warning: I was recently at a wedding where the son of the best man RAN UP TO HIM during the ceremony no less than 5 times. I’m sure the bride and groom were just THRILLED with that one. I’d put my foot down on this one. They need to be in bed, it’s not an afternoon wedding, no dice.

  20. jen on December 15th, 2008 7:30 am

    I am completely on your side with this one (as is everyone else).

    We had a family reunion in which we were told our 3 month old JUST HAD to be there. Needless to say, I was more than irritated, particularly because it was an evening thing and he had just started going to bed earlier and sleeping (somewhat) through the night. You know what I did? I took him to the hotel room when I thought he needed a nap and when he started yawning and getting cranky, I took him upstairs for bed. Which sort of defeated their purpose for insisting he be there. He was there, for about an hour, but they weren’t the ones that had to deal with him being a sleep-deprived maniac. So it was my little way of keeping myself sane while still appeasing them, even if we were holed up in the hotel room.

    I say if everyone insists on the kids being there and there isn’t an option of having a sitter help out, take them and just do whatever you have to do to keep them (and yourself) sane. If they start going nuts during the ceremony, take them to the hotel. And before the wedding, you should take a weekend trip somewhere, leave the kids, and then see if the kids still have to be there.

  21. Pickles & Dimes on December 15th, 2008 8:06 am

    Speaking from experience, hire a sitter. Our photos were during the afternoon (during the kids’ naptime), and so we got maybe two shots of them where they weren’t screaming, crying or running out of the shot. Not worth it, IMO.

  22. Stephanie on December 15th, 2008 8:34 am


  23. Nancy on December 15th, 2008 9:12 am

    My sister-in-law brought her parents to watch my niece and nephew who were around the same ages as your boys. They arrived before the ceremony dressed for family pictures then went away for naps,playtime etc. Then they came back briefly at the end of the reception for cake and baby passing and of course more pictures. Perfect.

  24. ErinM on December 15th, 2008 10:40 am

    HOLY HELL! Leave the kiddos behind. Give yourself a night off! Only exception to that would be if they were IN the wedding or if the bride and groom requested them in pics. Can you do rehearsal dinner pics instead? Don’t know what the bride and groom are like, but I specifically had an evening wedding to avoid kids attending. Too much to worry about when you have little ones overstimulated by music, dancing, cake, etc. Especially if you won’t have much help in the matter!

  25. victoria on December 15th, 2008 11:08 am

    Without switching on my “I HATE THAT SELFISH JERK JB” mode, I’m sure your husband and his parents are lovely people, but since it is YOU who will bear all the child-wrangling responsibilities, it should be you who decides whether to take them. Especially since you have not had ONE fun, child-fre trip since Dylan was born, while JB has had several. If you can’t find a way to leave the kids behind for the b.i.l.’s wedding, at least strike a bargain with JB where he stays at home with them while you take a four day spa weekend with a girlfriend.

  26. Gleemonex on December 15th, 2008 11:40 am

    I second the suggestion upthread of They are AWESOME. And remember, when you’re paying, you don’t have to reciprocate or kiss ass — it’s a job, not a family entanglement.

    You will not have a moment’s rest or fun if you take the boys to the wedding. Even if they act like angels sent straight from heaven, you’ll be stressed because you’re anticipating Major Malfunction. And here’s the thing: THEY WILL NOT REMEMBER IT. There’s really no positive here. Give yourself the night off, and the boys a fun time with a babysitter. Please.

  27. Maria on December 15th, 2008 12:17 pm

    Um, I think you have to call BULLL SHIT on this one. Big time.

  28. Anonymous on December 15th, 2008 12:24 pm

    OMG of course babysitter!! You deserve to enjoy a wedding god damn it!

  29. Tracy on December 15th, 2008 1:00 pm

    ack! we are about to experience the same thing. brother in law’s wedding in IRELAND! kids or no kids? my son will be 3 and we have a baby on the way who will be about 5 mos old at wedding time. husband says yes, i say no.

  30. Bitter Betty on December 15th, 2008 2:02 pm

    Speaking as someone who has photographed 2 weddings this year – get a babysitter. There’s only so much photoshop can do to fix kidlet blur.

  31. Rae on December 15th, 2008 2:41 pm

    Holy run-on sentence, Batman!! But ya know, I hear ya, I feel ya, I know exactly what you’re thinking and you’re probably right: wedding with two kids under three is HELL. Been there, done that, burned the t-shirt. Good luck, grrlfriend :)

  32. Mary Helen on December 15th, 2008 3:01 pm

    A friend just asked me to let my 3-year-old daughter be her flower girl this June. I’m sure she would be adorable, but that idea just has disaster written all over it.

  33. diane on December 16th, 2008 6:04 am

    Here’s the solution as to where your personal portion of the bonus money should go….HIRE A BABYSITTER!!!!!….Please, go enjoy the wedding and let the bride and groom do the same….bring in the adorable children for the pictures and then off to bed with the babysitter (stop it, you know exactly what I mean)….and you will all live happily ever after.

  34. Chataine on December 16th, 2008 6:16 am

    I’m a little late to the party here, since y’all have already decided to go the babysitter route, but I had to share what happened this weekend at the wedding of my best friend: her 20-month-old niece, whose mom was a bridesmaid, was a flower girl. Cute, right? Of course. But since she was so little, she went and sat down after the bride was given away. Don’t know why she didn’t sit with her dad, but she sat with her GRANDPARENTS – the parents of the bride! Which would have been fine, until during the VOWS she started singing…get this… “Old MacDonald had a farm, EEE III EEE III OOOOOOHHHH” about five times. !!!! Everyone laughed, and it really was cute, but during the VOWS! I decided right then and there that I am never bringing small children to a wedding.

  35. kaitlyn on December 16th, 2008 11:53 am

    No kids at the wedding! I brought a 2yo and newborn to one in July. It was the Worst. Ever. Go for the babysitter, you’ll actually be able to enjoy yourself.

  36. stacy on December 16th, 2008 1:26 pm

    How about bringing a baby sitter along to the wedding? My husband and I have decided that we are going to hire a baby sitter to go with us on vacation this summer… you know, so it will actually BE a vacation.

  37. Cyndy Aleo-Carreira on December 17th, 2008 10:05 am

    Get. A. Sitter.

    Here’s how it works: friend of family watches children during ceremony. Children join in pictures. Children leave with sitter. I had absolutely no problem with having kids at my wedding, but their parents reported that they got tired, wanted to go home, and wrecked them having fun. They were adorable, well-behaved, and had a great time dancing, but they wanted to be in bed LONG before the reception was over.

  38. danielle-lee on January 8th, 2009 12:31 pm

    One word: BABYSITTER!!!

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