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.

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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?

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Casey
14 years ago

I feel your pain on this one.. my daughter is pulling herself up on EVERYTHING in sight. My son isn’t too keen about it so he goes by and screams in her face while pushing her over. At least it’s good exercise, diving to catch her every two seconds.
Ugh about the wedding. We’re expected to bring the kids to one in May but we’re leaving them home which is causing a huge family feud. We’re both in the wedding so who the f is supposed to watch them? I say no kids at the wedding.

sharon
sharon
14 years ago

OMG don’t bring the kids!

SamT
14 years ago

Hey Linda, no cousins or aunts that you can pull aside and implore SOS to run interference at the wedding? I can see the whole family picture idea as something to capture for Later Days.

Hope your readers can suggest something that will mesh with your needs. (Disclaimer: I uh, have no kids so may be talking straight from the ass here)

Erika
Erika
14 years ago

I so feel your pain. My husband always wants the four and five year old, Jacob and Anna, to attend Trey’s basketball/football games, the 13 year old. He doesn’t know how hard of a time I have while he is down on the sideline being a pain in the Coach’s ass.

Sarah
14 years ago

Crazy husbands! Of course, it’s fine for the kids to attend because you are the one who is not going to see one second of the wedding as you will have the claw going at warp speed with a steady hiss of “SIT DOWN NOW” issuing from between clenched lips.

Can you hire a babysitter to hang out at the hotel or some other nearby location? Then, the kids can show up looking cute, fed, and napped for the photos and then retire again to the hotel/location while you get to enjoy the wedding and the reception.

Mrs. Breedorf
14 years ago

Yeah, I think I’m with you on the wedding stance. But something along the lines of what Sarah suggested may be a nice compromise — fine, the kids can be in the photos but after that you get to enjoy the party.

Donna
Donna
14 years ago

If you bring the kids to the wedding and they are obnoxious then maybe they will be the only grandkids for a long long time. Score at christmas and birthdays! LOL
JK, your little angels would NEVER act up at something as important as a wedding. Heh.

Sunny
Sunny
14 years ago

No kids here, so I can only feel your pain from a long, long distance. Any chance you can have a babysitter at the wedding to assist you? Perhaps you can hand off the darlings to the sitter in time to enjoy the reception or, better yet, as soon as the photos are over with? I say this as I feel a tremendous guilt; ten years ago at my wedding, I guilt-tripped by best friend to agreeing to have her twins serve as my flower girls. Did I mention they were 2 years old at the time?? Adorable girls and we had very sweet moments at the wedding watching them walk the aisle, but what a cluster f*ck and horribly stressful for my friend. Looking back, it was no place for kiddos but I didn’t understand the bat-shit crazy ramifications of putting kids in situations that are totally out of their usual schedule. Good luck!

Erin
Erin
14 years ago

A portable dvd player, a headphone splitter, two pairs of comfortable child-sized headphones. At least, that was my recipe for keeping three 1-4-year-olds in check at my cousin’s wedding. There was a little bit of oddly-placed laughter but otherwise the kids were really transfixed on the movie (Fantasia). The other idea is to drug them on the way over so they’re sound asleep when you get there. Awful? Not as awful as a toddler screaming because the bride has flowers and can I have fowers? I want fowers! Pease? Pease can I have the fowers? Pe-he-heeees…::wail::

I think that went on the wedding video. Yeah, a babysitter might be a good idea.

ehme
14 years ago

One of my first memories is attending my Aunt’s wedding when I was three. It is also the moment in my life that most embarrassing family stories about me originate. I started singing Hang on “Snoopy” in the middle of the ceremony and no one could get me to stop, and apparently I flashed every single male in the building. I also broke up the first dance because I wanted to dance with my Aunt. Cute? Maybe. Annoying as hell? Yes. Can’t you take nice pictures of them in fancy clothes and then photoshop them in?

Vanessa
14 years ago

When I was younger,the lady I babysat for hired me for a weekend away wedding where the kids were flower girls and the mom a bridesmaid. I helped out the whole weekend with travel and such, then during the wedding I was pretty much on my own with them. We stayed for some of the reception too but later went back to the hotel and I stayed with the girls. You could try taking a babysitter to watch them and to take them to another room and occupy them if needed.

Emily
Emily
14 years ago

Jesus, no. I’m in the pre-family stage and anyone in my boat at that wedding is going to look at you with a mixture of pity and wtf? And vow to always get a babysitter for such an event. (So at least you’d be performing a public service, right? Right…)

JB. GET A BABYSITTER. We like Linda and we want her to stick around for awhile. And the kids, too.

kalisa
14 years ago

I can’t believe that the bride & groom want children of that age at the ceremony either. Yikes. Will there perhaps be a sitter provided at the wedding?

Karen
Karen
14 years ago

Even cheaper than a sitter, just photoshop them in later.

Lesley
Lesley
14 years ago

Bringing the kids is not recommended and JB is clearly not spending enough time with the kids on his own to realize *ahem* that no…this will not work at all. But if you get talked into it, hire a babysitter to accompany you so you’re not suffering migraines the whole time.

As for kids saying the darnedest things to embarrass their parents, my mom told me that when I was three she and my dad made the mistake of taking me to a Christmas late night mass (in Germany) that was being taped for radio. We were sitting near the microphones in the balcony. First thing I did was drop a bible on someone’s head below. Thump! The second was sing “Jack was EVERY INCH a sailor” at high volume during the sermon. This did not go over well. I only wish I could remember it.

Kat
Kat
14 years ago

My friend’s sister brought her daughter to his wedding and right in the middle of the ceremony the daughter pointed at the bride or her bridesmaids and started yelling ‘look Daddy it’s the bitch!’ at the top of her lungs. We’re still not sure who she was pointing at. lol

Don’t bring them, Sarah’s right. Hire a sitter.

Chaya
Chaya
14 years ago

Can you reach some sort of compromise with JB’s parents, like Sarah suggested? Like: you’ll corral the kids into formal wear and have them there for photos, then a babysitter will swoop in and take them FAR AWAY for the remainder of the night, so they can sleep and you can actually enjoy yourself. If the wedding is at a hotel, this should be easy- just get some high-school or college-age sitter to take the kids to your room (or better yet, their own room, adjoining yours).

We also generally get the “why didn’t you bring the baby?!?” third degree at family events (excluding weddings, where we do bring him but leave early), and then all the women over 60 quietly say to us, “it’s really for the best you left him with a babysitter, you don’t need to drag him everywhere late at night.”

I would totally not enjoy a wedding where I had to both participate and watch a toddler. Get a babysitter!

serror
serror
14 years ago

I am getting married soon and the wedding starts after 7pm. All of my friends with children are delighted to leave them at home and enjoy the evening. I am hoping that we can convince my cousins of the same thing, because although children are cute, they don’t generally enjoy weddings.

At my friends wedding, the ceremony went just fine, but the rest looked hell-ish for the parents. I saw many children throwing tantrums and one even beating the floor with his fists and screaming (he was right about Riley’s age). It was way past their bedtime and they did not enjoy it at all. Nor did the guests who weren’t immediate family.

Tell JB that he may *enjoy* a night in a hotel room with you sans kids!

Heather C
Heather C
14 years ago

I was at a wedding once where a couple of kids ran up and down the aisle during the ceremony, and later started kicking a ball around. It’s been many years since that wedding. I remember nothing about the ceremony except those kids.

You can’t really blame the kids, either. They have to wear nice clothes and behave, they’re in a room full of people they don’t know, and they’re bored. It’s a recipe for mischief and meltdowns.

Misty
Misty
14 years ago

I concur with the other bajillion posts, find a sitter-for the whole night, or on-site… but if JB doesnt cave. Carry candy! oh, and the Puffs for Dylan. Keep them in your pocket/purse, and pull them out as needed to keep the boys quiet as possible. also, park your butt near the rear, or cose to an exit incase all else fails.

Rowen McKenzie
Rowen McKenzie
14 years ago

If you can, I vote that you try to find a way around taking Dylan and Riely to the wedding (ceremony)- if that’s at all possible.
My nephew will be two in just under a month, and during his two years, he has been to six weddings, three of which I attended with him.
At those three weddings, I was roped into watching him as my sister was in the wedding party and my B.I.L was unable to attend the wedding. I barely witnessed any of those three weddings and had to spend all of one ceremony outside as my nephew was having a ‘woogie’ because my sister was up front for the cermony and he couldn’t go to her.
I regret not being able to stay and observe those weddings because they were for close family members.
I understand the importance of family photos, but it’s a lot to ask a child to sit quietly through a wedding ceremnoy.
All the best of luck!

Jennifer
14 years ago

more piling on here. Maybe JB’s parents can suggest a babysitter to attend the wedding and sit with the kids in another room during the actual ceremony.

In addition to you having a terrible time, I’d think the bride and groom won’t appreciate it once the howling starts, and the rest of the congregants might not either. Which will just add to your own personal misery.

And, this is your brother in law getting married, and your husband standing up with him. And you look FANTASTIC and this is your opportunity to wear a smashing dress. You should get to sit up front, not way back just in case the kids need to be taken out.

Please don’t let the family dump all this on you.

Jen
Jen
14 years ago

I haven’t read the other comments, so I could be duplicating advice here but could you get a sitter to stay with the kids at the place where the wedding is held? Like, is there another room at the church or hotel or whatever where they could hang out so you could grab the kids for pics but not have them disrupt the festivities.

Also, just wanted to say I’m 2 months behind Dylan with my Orion and your posts regularly scare the shit out of me. Tile floors seemed like such a good idea 6 months ago.

Jas
Jas
14 years ago

I was married in the evening, and let me tell you – don’t bring the kids. We sent the word out on the grapevine that it would be better if small children were left at home, but a couple of people didn’t agree or didn’t want to find a sitter and had to wrangle their tired kids at a reception that started at 7:30 PM. . . when their kids were usually getting ready for bed. Who didn’t have any fun at all? The kids – and their parents. If JB’s family wants a complete family portrait, schedule to have one some other time when there isn’t also a very important event happening.

Alli
14 years ago

Any wedding I have been to where the children were specifically invited, the bride/ groom had childcare for the ceremony and kids activities (and kid friendly food!) during the reception.

If this isn’t the case for you, then yeah, find a babysitter who can be on site so those kids can be in the picture and then whisked away. If you are attending out of town where you don’t know anyone, try sittercity.com

beach
beach
14 years ago

Get the babysitter…stat!!…

Lori
Lori
14 years ago

At 2, my son was ring bearer at my sister-in-law’s wedding. I thought he was too young, but she was insistent and we wanted to make her happy. We rented the tux ($75) and showed up at the church on time. Armed with a lollipop, my son surprisingly did his part walking down the aisle. Once he reached the front he turned around and RAN back to where I was sitting — got a few laughs for that one. He climbed on my lap and sat still for exactly two minutes. At which point I had to spend the rest of the wedding ceremony in the parking lot. I agree with your readers. Bring a babysitter so you can enjoy the ceremony and ship the kids back to your hotel immediately after pictures.

Keri
14 years ago

Do what my friend did with her kids for her wedding: assign a relative to help keep on an eye each kid during the wedding ceremony, make sure they are first for the photo session, and then have a relative or babysitter take them back to the hotel so you and JB can enjoy the rest of the evening.

Joy
Joy
14 years ago

Yikes. You are between a rock and hard place on that one. Can you bring a sitter to the wedding with you? That way someone can help you out during the ceremony and then leave a little early with the kids.

We had a to attend a funeral a few months ago for my husband’s grandma. We really felt the kids should be there, but my husband was a pallbearer so I was on my own for the entire service. I spent most of the time in the bathroom with our toddler & preschooler because BOTH kids had to poop during the service. Otherwise we move to the very back of the church so the other people could actually hear what was going on.

Erin
14 years ago

I don’t know if anecdotal evidence will help you, but a friend of mine recently had to wrangle her two young kids alone at her brother-in-law’s wedding (her husband was the best man as well.)

While she was tending to one child (who was sick, but the in-laws still wanted him there,) her four-year-old stood up on her chair in the middle of the ceremony and announced loudly “I NEED TO POOP.”

Joanne
14 years ago

I was going to write exactly what Sharon wrote – OMG don’t bring the kids! The people that want you to bring them have no intention of watching them for more than two seconds. It will all fall on you to deal with them, even though you said it was a bad idea. Even though it’s way past their bedtime? Ugh. No.

Marie Green
14 years ago

I’m not sure if this is a Minnesota-specific thing or WHAT, but we always take our kids with to weddings (if they are invited, of course), and it’s always been fine. However, there are always lots of other kids there too… Wedding ceremonies are usually short (unless they’re catholic with full mass- dear god, shoot me now!). Also, we are the “church-going type”- in that we show up monthly at church and pray the pastor gives out candy during the kids sermon to get us through the last stretch of church.

So, my experience has been good as far as dealing with children at a wedding. Then again, like I said, wedding around here have LOTS of kids in the pews…

(tips for getting through the ceremony: have snacks! Smarties candies are great- they are not usually messy/drooly and they will save your ass if Riley gets fidgety. Also, cheerios, fish crackers, fruit snacks… a small magnadoodle might be a fun distraction for him too… For Dylan, feed him a bottle and hope he sleeps? )

bouncy czech
14 years ago

Get a sitter. You will be able to actually enjoy the wedding.

Emily
14 years ago

Oh, man, hire a babysitter! Do not pass Go, do not collect $200, just hire a babysitter as fast as you can!

Mrs. Who
14 years ago

Since everyone else has already given you advice, I’ll just say that, since we are total movie geeks around here, I got your quote from “Aliens”. Wonder if anyone else got it?

Barbara
Barbara
14 years ago

Hire a sitter (or two) to go to the wedding as well.

melanie
14 years ago

Haven’t read all the comments so this adice may have already been given – but, can you hire a babysitter/friend who can pick the kids up after the ceremony/photos, take them back to your home and babysit them for the night? Said friend could also help run defense during the ceremony.

I’m bringing my daughter to an out-of-town wedding next weekend and not looking forward to it.

Aunt Linda
14 years ago

I suggest the boys sit with the grandparents since it is at their request. You? Go to a spa. AL

anna
14 years ago

Yeah, I took my son to a wedding when he was just past the stage your son is at–kinda walking but not reliably, and mostly crawling. He wore a suit. And crawled in it–EVERYWHERE–the entire time. I had to chase after him because my husband was in the wedding and yes, it was totally exhausting. Maybe have some babysitter come and pick them up after pictures or drop them off in time for pictures, and then take them home? I don’t know if that’s possible, but otherwise you will want to get your hands on some methamphetamine to keep yourself going.

kristylynne
kristylynne
14 years ago

Take a stroller, put Dylan in it, and roll him around until he’s asleep. Worked for me at my SIL’s evening wedding. Kid slept thru the entire thing.

NancyJak
14 years ago

I’ve never seen the point of tiny tots going to weddings because really – they don’t know what’s going on.
We went to a wedding in another city when my son was 4 and my cousin (the groom’s brother) had a babysitter for their son so after the ceremony our son joined them and had a great time and we were able to enjoy ourselves at the reception.
If you can go that route (even just take Reilly to the ceremony) that’s the best.

becky
becky
14 years ago

Sitter…..

Christine
Christine
14 years ago

I am with you. NO kids at wedding/other important, formal family events. Seriously, my husband tried to pull the same thing and I really stood my ground and got it into his head that *I* would be the one ALONE with them trying to keep both of them QUIET and appropriate during a formal ceramony and *I* would be the one who wouldn’t be able to eat the hot meal I for once didn’t have to cook or clean up after, and *I* would be the one in the GD formal wear that had to wrangle a squirmy baby (also in formal wear) for shitty diaper changes and random pee accidents. And in short: THIS WOULD NOT BE FUN FOR ME AND I WOULD HAVE PRETTY MUCH NO HELP SO EFFING FORGET IT MISTER.

When laid out like that, it seemed to get through his thick skull. I mean, it’s a wedding. I would like to have a nice time and enjoy myself and look nice and dance and enjoy some uninterrupted adult conversation FOR ONCE. GOD!

So maybe I have issues…Good luck with this no matter which way you decide to go!

Mary O
Mary O
14 years ago

Yeah, kids and weddings don’t really mix at all. Especially evening weddings. Is there any way you can dress them up all cute and have them run around the wedding venue BEFORE the wedding and take some cute pictures, then have a babysitter whisk them away before the ceremony actually starts?
But having them sit through the ceremony sounds like a nightmare to me…

Melissa
Melissa
14 years ago

Haven’t read all your previous suggestions, but I’ll share what we did at my brother-in-law’s wedding when my youngest was almost 4 and my nephew was almost 3 and all four parents of these two kids were in the wedding. My husband’s family also wanted the kids to be “part” of the ceremony and pictures. So when my father-in-law came down the aisle, he walked the two little boys down the aisle. Pictures were taken of them coming in wearing their cute little wedding clothes. My father-in-law brought them to the front row where he was seated, where he was met by a family member who was willing to sit outside of the ceremony with the boys. She walked up the outside aisle as more people came down the center aisle, and no one ever noticed that the boys left.

Then, they were there for pictures (nightmare, of course), and we brought all of them to the reception. They ended up being great entertainment and were in tons of pictures there. And with that much family around, there’s always enough people who are willing to help watch them, so my husband and I didn’t feel really burdened by having them there.

That said, if the reception is in a hotel, I’d have a babysitter waiting in the wings so the kids could leave and go to bed while you continue to enjoy the evening.

Amanda
14 years ago

I once took our then-20 month old to a massive outdoor family reunion. My whole family was there with me, but not my husband and I had (wrongly) assumed that they’d all help me out and at least give me the occasional chance to sit down, but they were all too busy socializing to notice that I was losing my mind.

My assvice? If you DO go, go only with the express pre-arranged PROMISE of another family member to help you with the boys. Otherwise I’d go with the babysitter. That family reunion was the seventh level of hell for me and that was with only ONE toddler.

spacegeek
spacegeek
14 years ago

I agree–get someone to help wrangle the kids. Sitter, relative, someone other than you. The kids can make “cameo” appearances and then Go Away back to the hotel whatever. That way you can enjoy parts of the wedding, people feel like they’ve gotten to see the kids and it is okay. It isn’t going to be an enjoyable, relaxing event for you, but at least it will be somewhat under control.

Tessa
Tessa
14 years ago

Here’s what you do, even if you’re not into church. Find an evening Christmas Eve service, preferrable with JB’s bosses or somebody he doesn’t care to be mortified near. Have JB take both the kids by himself. Upon his return, I predict it will take 4.2 seconds for you to have a babysitter.

Stacy
Stacy
14 years ago

I’m with Christine and others on this one. Often small children and weddings do not mix. The only way I’ve seen it work is to take pictures first, then for the ceremony have a separate playroom of some sort at the church/venue, and someone willing to miss the ceremony to take care of the little ones, where any meltdowns are out of earshot. Has anyone asked the bride and groom for their preference? — seems to me since it’s their day, they should get a vote on this one. I don’t mean that to sound like McAsshole, just think it’s part of the equation. Also, even with a bunch of distractions for them during the ceremony, that’s also distracting for the people around you. Gah, I sound like a total party pooper, and I don’t even “HAVE TO POOP” (props to Erin).

Shelley
Shelley
14 years ago

A year ago my youngest brother got married in a beautiful candlelit evening ceremony; at a moment of silence during the vows when everyone was supposed to be contemplating the sanctity of marriage, my three-year-old son looked around and loudly said to my husband, “Dad, how do we get out of here?” And then the kids went completely mental because dinner was served too late for their schedule and I had to make an ass of myself trying to weasel a plate of mashed potatoes out of the irritable caterers, and then we left at 9 so as not to ruin the rest of the evening for everyone else, thereby missing all the fun stuff, including the first dance and any drinking whatsoever.

GET A SITTER.