I had to deny plans with several people as we approached this Thanksgiving weekend. Reason being, I was going to London for a friend's wedding.
The response was almost always thus: " OH! How nice! I hear the weather's supposed to be great. Who's looking after Toby?"
To which I replied: "He'll be coming with me. He not ready to be left here for the weekend, and my parents are too busy with the Images Tour to look after him ot come with me"
After which I was met with blank stares, a few blinks, and somehitng along the lines of "Well you're brave!"
I had been planning to come since the spring. I had missed another friend's wedding last winter because the drive was too far with Toby, and I didn't want to miss out on another. Since this was closer (although still 4 hours away) I was determined to make it.
In the summer we booked a room at the hotel that the reception would be held at. We were looking for someplace cheaper, but in the end decided it would be better to limit the car trips with Toby and that it'd be easier to just walk back to our room at the end of the night than have to drive somewhere.
After a week of packing snacks and toys and clothes to sustain and entertain us for three days, we set off. I decided to allow all day friday to get there, so we wouldn't be rushing off somewhere or needing to be on time as soon as we pulled into town.
Great Idea #1.
The car ride went... almost better than expected. Toby's not a fan of the car, but is used to driving with me and my mom to Stratford when i want to see a play. We drove to London once in the summer and BARELY made it without a royal meltdown. This time I planned to stop for lunch and a walk about 3/4 of the way there even if he seemed fine. Two new Hot Wheels on sale didn't hurt much either.
Great Idea #2.
I was worried that Toby would rejct the hotel room because although we've stayed at a hotel before, it's always been the same one in Stratford. But he was doing incredibly well considering the car ride we'd just had, and settled right in once I pulled out the box of Duplo that I'd brought along.
Great Idea #3
The 'smallest' room they had was two queen beds, usually I got with one because Toby will just end up in my bed anyway, but I took full advantage of this to have my own bed to sleep in for once. Toby actually slept 90% of the night. He even slept through me telling off a group of 13 year old girls who decided to play mini sticks in our hallway at 10:30 at night. He also slept through the dog barking down the hall because it was left alone in it's room, and the radio calls from staff as they tried to get a hold of the owners. The joys of staying in a full hotel. However, the place was BEAUTIFUL. They had a huge central pool area that was made to look like a tropical resort. Palm trees and koi ponds and waterfalls... so pretty. You could stay here in February and not know it was winter. Glad we ended up here because we wouldn't normally stay somewhere like this.
Great Idea #4.
Day of the wedding!!! We had a whole morning to kill, so instead of trying to find things to do I just let Toby play and watch tv until lunch so he felt like he was in control of the morning so I could be in control of the afternoon..... right??
Toby hates pants, for one thing. New pants even more so. I've had these pants for a while and had been trying to get him to wear them all summer, and I think once we went to visit grandparents with them. So... at least he's seen them before... right??
I wanted him to wear a suit. Or even a dress shirt and vest... with a tie...
Or even... just a dress shirt....
However, the pants took about 20 minutes of heavy bribes to get on. Eventually his stuffed frog helped me pull them on while he was nursing with the promise of apple crisp that I'd brought once we were dressed. The second his feet touched the ground he attempted to pull the pants off and HEY LOOK TOBY APPLE CRISP LET ME PICK YOU UP AND WE"LL GO OVER HERE AND YUUUUUUUM ISN'T THIS GOOD??? WANT SOME MORE???
Next, was the shirt. YUM APPLE CRISP IS AWESOME EH LETS JUST PUT YOUR ARM IN HERE FOR A SEC, NO, OK WE'LL DO THE OTHER ARM THEN, OKOK DON"T FREAK OUT MMMMMMMMMMMM APPLE CRISP!!!!!!!!!
Ok, Plan B, I pulled out the back-up polo shirt that was enough like a t-shirt that he'd wear, but nicer than the pajamas that he was insisting were appropriate. I gave him the choice: dress shirt or polo cause we're leaving and we gotta wear something. He picked the polo. Whatever.
AND HEY TOBY ISN'T THIS FEDORA AWESOME IT'S LIKE A BLACK HARD HAT THAT'S SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO COOL!!!! YOU CAN WEAR THIS TO THE WEDDING OK LETS PICK UP YOUR SHOES CAUSE I DON'T DARE PUT YOU DOWN AND LETS GOOOOOO!
It was baking hot. Like, August hot. And we were now sitting in the car, with an hour to kill before the wedding.....
We stopped at a market store and got some kettle corn to munch on, even though I had a plethora of snacks in my purse. We drove past my old apartment and all around the Fanshawe campus. Toby seemed mildly interested, but denied my requests to go inside.
We found the church where the wedding was being held and read books in the car for a while. Finally I deemed it too hot, so we got out to head inside, since a bunch of people had just gone in too.
Toby suddenly decided he wanted nothing to do with this wedding 'thing'. He wanted to nurse so we went back to the car to give in to that. On the second attempt to go in he stopped dead once we got through the doors and the entrance hall was full of people. I picked him up despite protests and brushed past and found a place to sit near the back. I had snacks, I had water, I had a board book, I had cars. We were parked. For now.
Toby was mildly interesting as the processional started, but quickly lost interest and wanted the snacks he'd been promised. So fine, he's occupied. but he was also tired and bored and ended up draping himself over my lap and whining and driving cars up my shirt so they could 'nurse'.
We stayed for the 'moment' but the left as they were signing the registry cause he wasn't going to last much longer. Bribes + early departure =
Great Idea #5.
So, back to the hotel to wait for dinner. The kids meals included french fries which was pretty much the best idea ever cause that's all that was keeping Toby interested.
Upon arrival there was a giant fire engine out side.
We didn't see anyone standing outside or stopping us from going in the building so we assumed the place wasn't on fire and headed back to our room.
Toby promptly stripped off his wedding clothes and started to play Duplo again. He watched a Franklin DVD I brought and had some more food. We had a cuddle and he went back to playing.
Then the fire alarm went off.
It took me a minute to clue in to what it was, but then I scooped up (still pantsless)Toby, my laptop and my purse and frantically tried to shove shoes on while holding my load.
I didn't want to alarm him, so I just said I didn't know yet but we needed to go out and see what was going on.
Then the bell stopped. I heard people in the hall commenting on whether we were supposed to leave or not. I turned back to grab pants for Toby and then poked my head out the door. No one seemed to be rushing around. I looking into the pool area and people were still swimming. Ok, so maybe just a drill.
Then the alarm went off again, right over our heads.
Toby leaped a foot out of my arms and then collapsed into tears on my shoulder.
I went back into our room just as the bell stopped again.
Toby kept muttering "It's all gone... It won't come back...All done now..." in his quavery 'brave voice'. We collapsed on the bed and he nursed and shook beside me and very quickly fell asleep.
Well..... great, but..... Dinner is in 15 minutes....
I let him sleep for a while. I wanted to just let him keep sleeping, but if I did he'd be up late and moody. So at 5:30 I started talking to him about dinner and shifting around so he'd wake. He bolted awake and asked I pick him up and go to dinner. I gave him some apple juice and put pants on him (different pants cause he wasn't having anything to do with the khakis) and we went to find the room we were supposed to be in.
I remembered hearing that every ballroom was booked up... that's 4-5 weddings in one night. The fire bell was probably to test the system because they were nearing over-capacity. Of course they couldn't test it while we were gone.........
We found people we knew and found out that the doors were just being opened and dinner wasn't until about 6 30. We hung around for a bit but then Toby wanted to go look at fish again. So we did. We walked around and around, but everytime we came close to the reception room, Toby steered us away. I kept hyping up the fact that he was getting french fries. No good. He was tripping over himself, and demanding to be picked up, clearly over tired, so finally after a failed attempt at at least looking in the room where I was trying to go, we headed back to our hotel room.
I was really really looking forward to going to the reception, but in the end I can't expect much more from a three-year-old. He came with me. He sat quietly (more or less) through the ceremony. I got to visit with friends. And really, I had to keep telling myself that this was a Toby-and-Mom trip, with a side of wedding - because if I put too much weight on being the perfect wedding guest, I'd be sorely disappointed and angry, which I didn't want when we still had a long ride back home.
So we ate up our veggies and dip that we brought, watched Cars, and I repacked everything.
Early bed time and sleeping in. The night didn't turn out too badly.
Giving up = Great Idea #6.
Giving up = Great Idea #6.
Currently we're in Stratford. we had a playground-day which Toby was thrilled about, and now sleeping in a familiar hotel and going home tomorrow.
Things could have gone better, but they could have gone much much worse!!!
Congratulations to Candice and Chris!! We were so glad to be able to come and see you!!
Maybe we'll make the trip again... maybe I"ll wait until my mom is available to help baby sit..... or maybe this is the first of many Toby-and-Mom trips!!