Wedding Entertainment Guide: The Kid Version

This past weekend we packed the fam of five up for a drive to Tennessee for my dear cousin Merry's wedding.  It was the perfect wedding, complete with a beautiful, obviously oh-so-in-love couple.  The ceremony was quick, the vows were so heartfelt and perfect, and there was some humor to keep things light and fun.  It was fabulous.

The reception was outside, and just my style (not that anyone asked for my approval).  It was light-hearted, casual, and celebratory.  We sat with family that I haven't seen in way too long.  All around, it was great.  And I was so very proud of my kiddos, all three of them.  This was the first wedding they'd been to where they were attendees, not participants.  Even without a decent night's sleep, a nap, or a real lunch (I warmed up leftover pizza in the hotel room and they ate in the car on the way because, shocking, we were running late...or so I thought), they were well-behaved.

During the reception, Ben was elated to have been given permission to enjoy an ice-cold Dr. Pepper from a can, all to himself.  Thereby conjuring up mental images of Forrest Gump, "I wasn't hungry but thirsty.  I must have drank me fifteen Dr. Peppers."
After a meal of baked beans for Ben and cupcake icing for Abby (awesome on both counts), I started to wonder how long it was really fair to make a six year old and almost-three year old sit at a table.  Behind the reception tent, there was a large clearing, and so Ben asked if he and Abby could go play back there.  Sure kid, go for it...just be careful.

It wasn't thirty seconds later before Abby found the much-larger-than-her pile of wood that was precariously stacked and clearly intended for a bonfire.  She started trying to pull one out from the bottom.  Just as I stood up to stop her, she moved onto sprinting around behind Ben without causing a collapse of the bonfire pile.  Phew.  Disaster averted.

The next thing I knew Ben was back at the table, sans little sister.  I said, "Ben, where's Abby?"  He gave me a very unconcerned shrug.  So I stood up and scanned the area.  I found her quickly, since I had stepped into "If I were Abby what would I be doing" mode.  As if there were no other place she could possibly be, she was hanging like a highly caffeinated sloth from the ropes that were supporting the big tent.  I would've snapped a picture if I hadn't been scared that she was about to cause something like this to happen.  I made my way over quickly and removed her from the ropes.  She looked at me and proudly proclaimed, "I'm hanging there!  I'm a monkey!"  Surely a 26 pound almost three year old can't cause mass destruction of that nature, but you can never be too careful when Abby is involved.  Another disaster averted.

As is the case when there are more adults than children, someone always thinks the kids are in the care of someone else.  I promise we're not irresponsible parents.  It's just so easy to think that someone else has them (because they did a mere minute earlier).  But, again, I found myself at the table doing a quick headcount and coming up one short.  Guess which one was missing.  I stood up and did yet another scan of the area.  This time, I found Abby attempting to crawl underneath the barbed-wire fence surrounding the reception area.  Unfortunately for her, her dress got barbed and she was tugging and tugging with all of her might.  The photographer had spotted her around the same time as me, and I feel a little bit guilty for hip-checking him out of the way as I ran (as quickly as I could, which isn't too fast these days) over to rescue her.  Just as I got to her, she ripped her way free.  I mean that quite literally.  Her sweet little dress has a bit of a snag in it now, but at least the skin on her back was unscathed.  I looked at her and said, "Abby!  You don't crawl under fences, they can hurt you!  You go around."  She looked back at me as if the thought had never even crossed her mind, "I go around?"  Hmm...  As you can probably imagine...there's no picture of this either.  Yet another disaster averted.

Abby wasn't the only one finding creative ways to keep herself busy.  Ben accidentally pulled the tab off of his soda can, which jogged his memory that they collect those for the Ronald McDonald House at his school.  The resourceful little dude then proceeded to go around to all of the abandoned cans on the tables and amassed quite a pile of them in little plastic cup.  Someone spotted his affinity for recyclables and gave him the job of picking up all of the cans and bottles in a bucket.  He's a good little helper. 

The fourth and final time we "lost" Abby, we located her up on stage under the supervision of Aunt Mary Anne, hamming it up for the photographer.  Too bad he snapped the shots of her at the end of the reception when she was all disheveled, torn, and dirty.  Truth be told though, that's Abby in her truest form.

As for Sarah, she was too busy smiling and having fat cheeks to get into too much trouble.

So, the next time you're at a reception and you don't feel like dancing, here are some ideas to pass the time and keep you entertained, courtesy of the lil' ones:
  1. Drink as many Dr. Peppers as you can before someone cuts you off.
  2. Find a rope (any variety will do) and swing from it.  Upside down.
  3. Find a fence (any variety is fine, but the more dangerous it is, the more exciting it will be) and crawl under it.  Bonus points if you tear your clothing in the process.
  4. Drag the photographer away from the bride and groom with your charm and make him take pictures of you.
  5. Stand next to people and stare awkwardly at them until they take the last sip of their Diet Coke so you can take the tab off of their can.
  6. Stuff your cheeks full of cotton, knock all of your teeth out, and smile at everything everyone says to you even if it's not funny. (On second thought, maybe it's best to leave this one to the babies.)


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