When you bring a toddler to a wedding

This week’s blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood  of Chicago with Professor Foster (his “Brown Mom” wife), and their daughter Viva, now an old pro at going to weddings.

I’ve asked the question many, many times: “Who’s the genius who brought that toddler to this wedding?”

This weekend was the first time I answered my own question: “Oh, right. Me.”

This weekend, I brought Viva to her first wedding and learned the hard way that the only thing tougher than being subjected to wound-up, worn-down little ones at a wedding is being responsible for them.

Don’t get me wrong. She looked adorable and had a wonderful time, but wrangling her meant that her mother and I earned every drink we had at the grown-up reception later.

I should mention that this was a Catholic ceremony. Having a Catholic Mass as your first wedding is like swinging two bats on the on-deck circle. Anything else is going to seem like a cinch.

I’ll hand it to Viva; she made it until the last 15 minutes before we had to break out an iPad. Not bad for a chick whose last visit to church involved pouring water on her head. I was called out for my own hedonism, though, when I pointed out two angel statues above the altar to Viva and she shouted, “Who’s the guy in the middle?”

That “guy in the middle” of course being the guy born on Christmas who pulls off a flashy stunt on Easter. The woman in the pew in front of us spun her head on a swivel and gave me a stare that could have frozen the baptismal font over, as if to say, “Your child can name six My Little Ponies and doesn’t know who ‘the guy in the middle’ is? Shame on you!”

After the ceremony, the rice toss (actually birdseed, of course, to keep the birds from exploding or turning delicious or whatever rice does to them) was a little stressful for my daughter.

“We’re going to throw birdseed at Laurence and Melissa?” she asked.

“We are.”

“Why? Do we want to GET THEM?”

“Get them? No. We want to wish them luck.”

“By throwing birdseed at them?”

“Yes. It’s a tradition.”

“Will birds swoop down?”

“I hope not.”

“But there will be so much bird food.”

“The birds will probably eat it later.”

“Can you hold me up when Laurence and Melissa come out?”


“Good. I am going to GET THEM!”

She missed. But at least the birds didn’t swoop down.

Then came the pre-brunch cocktail period. It was pretty great, until Viva decided she was being deprived of a mimosa.

“I want one of those!”

“You have a lemonade.”

“It doesn’t have an orange slice!”

“You can have my orange slice.”

“I want my own!!!”

“Here is an orange slice for you.”

“But I want it in a glass with a long handle!”

“Here is a glass with a long handle for your lemonade and orange slice.” I probably shouldn’t have given her stemware, but I was still feeling badly about the Jesus thing.

“But mine isn’t orange!”

“Okay, here’s an orange juice in stemware with an orange.”

“But yours is bubbly!”

I ended up drinking her lemonade. She never did get my mimosa, though  – just brought outside to compose herself.

She was pretty well behaved for the meal – even if she did run around a little bit. Luckily, there was bacon – bacon has a calming influence on both Viva and Daddy.

Then came the cake.

“The bride and groom will now cut the cake,” said the emcee. And they did.

“Daddy!” shouted Viva, “The restaurant people are taking away the cake!”

“Yes, dear, to cut it.”

“But Laurence and Melissa are supposed to cut it!”

“They did.”

“They cut one piece! They need to cut all the pieces!”

“Sweetie, they are too busy to cut all the pieces. They have to say hi to everyone.”

“But they need to bring me MY PIECE!”

Sadly, she had to settle for her piece being brought by waitstaff and not by the newlyweds. This was not acceptable to her. She didn’t sit through an hour of chanting about “the guy in the middle” to have her cake brought to her by anyone but the bride and groom.

She’s still talking about the wedding. She got to wear a pretty dress and see a lot of people she’s fond of. She got to watch Max and Ruby in a cathedral. She got to chuck seeds at people in formal wear. What’s not to like?

I don’t think she’s coming with us to any others this summer, but if she does, I’ll have to let the bride and groom know they’ll need to serve at least one slice of the cake themselves.

If you’ve enjoyed this Parenting Media Association Award Winning blog, subscribe to the WDP podcast (One of Podbean’s 10 most downloaded Parenting Podcasts worldwide and an iTunes staff pick for best Parenting humor) for free on iTunes, or listen at whitedadproblems.com. (Do note that the show has a potty mouth and is definitely for Over 17 Only.)

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