Lesson 1 – Take The Arsenal
Never ever ever travel anywhere without an arsenal of every kind of drug available over the counter (or not). This includes kids’ versions of said drugs, but really, anything will do. If possible, include some kind of sedative (for you and/or child). Ensure the arsenal is kept near at all times, but especially at 9.30pm when your eldest child is likely to wake, realise that dad, granny and everyone else is at a party so mummy is vulnerable, and will begin TO SCREAM INCONSOLABLY for no apparent reason. At this point, begin dispensing drugs so that your eldest child does not continue screaming for the next THREE HOURS!
Lesson 2 – Stick To The Plan (otherwise known as Don’t Feel Guilty or Don’t Be Nice)
When, during your child’s screaming fit, you realise that Granny has no appropriate drugs in her house and you ring Husband at party, ensure you have a clear idea of what you want him to do. Advice (or lack thereof) over the phone is not enough. When your child suddenly stops screaming, smiles and says, “Mummy talk Daddy. Mummy cranky. Ha!” DO NOT change your plaintive cries for your husband to return home NOW! Do not be fooled. Your child has not “calmed down”. He has not “settled”. He has simply reached the Midnight Madness which makes your child appear wide awake, jovial, but dissatisfied with everything from where he is sleeping, where mummy is lying, the position of his teddy bear, etc. This is no less torturous than the screaming and you still require backup. Don’t pretend you’re ok.
Lesson 3 – Cake And Tea At 1am Is Not Okay.
When Husband, Granny and Aunty return from party (drunk-ish enough to think your child’s antics are quite funny), do not graciously accept to share cake and tea with them while your child sits on Daddy’s lap and partakes (in YOUR piece of cake, of course). The reason for this is twofold – they will want to share with you all that you missed at the party (including photographs) and they will continue to remind you of how funny it is to be sharing cake and tea with a two-year-old at 1 in the freaking morning! Your nerves will be frayed enough. Don’t do it to yourself.
Lesson 4 – Don’t Go Back For Seconds
Try to avoid repeating the scenario the following weekend. Why? Well, I’ll tell you after this weekend at Granny’s house.
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