This summer has been about weddings for us, and to a lesser degree, backyard parties. It started in July, and we’ve made it to weddings on the North Shore (that’s North Vancouver and West Vancouver for those of you not from here), Kelowna, and back again to the Shore for a staff BBQ and a wedding reception. Kale is a champion at weddings and structured adult parties; he is adorable, charming, well behaved (mostly) and quiet during ceremonies. He has been to many weddings and parties in his three short years, and we routinely get compliments on his behaviour and general sunny disposition. It is something we are proud of, and also something we keep our fingers crossed stays the same way as he grows. We have worked hard to get him to understand there are times he needs to be quiet and respectful and there are times it is perfectly okay to party and shout “YAY!” and clap his hands. One of us inevitably has to monitor Kale at weddings and parties, and we often take turns. It also depends heavily on whose friend is getting married as to what parent spends more time with Kale and what parent can do shots at the bar. (Okay, not true, no shots have been consumed this summer.)
We went to a wedding reception this past weekend – the bride and groom were married in June in Mexico – and it was truly a lovely way to spend a Saturday night. They were smart cookies, let me tell you. They themed their reception to match their wedding location and we had uh-maze-ing Mexican food catered from a local restaurant, as well as Mexican musicians playing a fantastic assortment of music. The whole thing took place in their friend’s riverside backyard.
But what truly made this one of my favourite wedding receptions of all time was the fact that they offered a childminder and kids’ activities in the corner of the yard. Brides, take note: you want quiet and happy kids not ruining your wedding ceremony or reception? Hire a person whose job it is to interact and occupy kids and provide a selection of toys and crafts so that the parents (who you are presumably friends with) can lower their defences for a few minutes and enjoy the lovely wedding you planned. You will forever be the apple of your guests’ eyes.
This bride picked up a small lidded sandbox, clean play sand, some bubbles, some paper and markers, and playdough. It kept Kale occupied for a good portion of the evening, although he did want us to come and see what he was doing, and he lost interest part way through and wanted to hang out with us.
No matter though, enjoying a single cool beverage with my husband on a lovely summer evening without a preschooler demanding my attention was probably the best part of my weekend.
One other tip? Lift the rules about food, bedtimes, and length of time with special toys (in this case, Kale’s iPod) when you’re at a party. Kale looks forward to parties now because he knows they are good times.