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A Peek Into the Life of a Working Mom: We Are Usually Late to Parties...

This weekend was fairly typical in the life of a mom who has toddler who is getting older. We attended a birthday party on Saturday and had an outing Sunday.

The birthday party was fabulous. However, because it was me going to the party with my toddler, there is a story... Although it's possible to just get a gift card or some lame gift, I never want to be the mom who gives the forgettable gift to a good friend’s kid. I want to give a gift that the kid will play with until it breaks. Needless to say, that’s a lot of pressure.  Usually, I’m an online shopper. However, most times the birthday presents require an in person inspection.

Because I let this party sneak up on me, the toddler and I went to Wal-Mart the morning of the party to find a gift. I chose Wal-Mart because I also needed to grab some groceries and Wal-Mart was a great way to multi-task. Fortunately, we scored a really cool car that pops wheelies.  It was the kind of toy that would give a little boy days of enjoyment!
In the interest of true disclosure, although I like getting the perfect gift, sometimes I struggle with the wrapping. Some of these toys are tough! Just when I was about to give up I remembered that I had scored a birthday bag from BlogHer that would be perfect for the present. So, I used it. I was feeling pretty pleased with myself until the toddler's nap time almost made it all for naught...

Nap Time can Interfere with Party Time

I am very serious about my toddler getting a nap. Her naps help her function and helps me cope. When she gets a nap she is happy go lucky, well as much as she can be at two years old. Without one, she is almost like a character from an 80's horror flick.
She usually naps between 2 and 4, which was a problem because the party started at 2:50PM.  You may be able to lead a horse to water, but you cannot make a toddler wake up from her nap and guarantee that she is in a good mood. I tried. God knows I tried. I put her down before 1:00PM with the goal of having her up at 2:30 or 3:00. We’d have been a little late at that point, but she would have attended the party in a good mood. However because she is my child, instead of going to sleep when she was put down she had her own party. She jumped in her crib. She talked to her animals. And she played. I don’t know what time she actually went to sleep, but it was 3:00 by taking her out of her crib she screamed, “My bed! My bed!” When I placed her back in the crib, she put her pacifier back in her mouth, pulled the blanket over her head and went to sleep.

The problem of course is that attending a birthday party is a command performance for the child. You don't just want them to show up. You want them to be their most charming selves. I find that to be really hard to do by sheer force.  To compare it t herding cats would actually be insulting to the cats... 

How Do You Get a Toddler to Wake Up and Attend a Party? Bribery.

I was at a loss about what to do. We had RSVPd to the party and it was at Bounce U, a local fun place. That meant there was a cost for the hosts.  Also, we had gone to the store in the AM to buy a gift. And we had an outfit picked out for the toddler. We could not miss it!
Since the toddler wouldn't wake up, I did what any modern woman would do. I called her daddy. Then, I had him coach the toddler into compliance on the phone. It’s annoying how much better she minds him, but it’s the reality. In the end, it wasn’t his stern voice that motivated her. It was the promise of pizza and cake. So take that daddy!

It's a good thing that I bribed her with the promises of pizza and cake because we arrived so late that that's the only part of the party we saw! J
More about the rest of our weekend soon!
Toddler at the Party

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