You know that feeling? When you look around at everyone else's child and realise that your kid is by far the naughtiest in the whole room? I often feel like my boyfriend and I should be excelling in the behaviour stakes, we are teachers after all, we're pros at this, aren't we?
Turns out- No, no we're not.
Yesterday, from start to finish, the leaving-the-house-for-a-party preparations began at 4pm and the party didn't start until 7.30! This involved the larger than average snack to begin with at 4pm, to tide my toddler over until the buffet, bathing myself, bathing my toddler, 2 lots of hair to dry and style, a toddler to dress and me to dress and a toddler to entertain all in one go. Boyfriend is currently on an indulgent stag do abroad, so naturally, I despise him right now.
We got to the party in one piece, just about, after my toddler slipped over in her new shoes and banged her head, ripped my tights and had 14 meltdowns during the preparations to leave the house. I was happy to arrive at the party, plenty of family around to help me keep my daughter occupied and a chance to sit down, at last! But from the moment we walked in, it became apparent that my stress levels were really about to be put to the test.
I watched other toddlers, dancing on the dance floor close to their parents and checking in with them every few minutes or so, whilst my daughter stole their toys, poked and grabbed their faces and kept running off out of my sight with a cocky confidence (she would have gladly gone off with a complete stranger). 1 hour in and I hadn't touched my drink, my family dipped in and out, but gave up chasing my toddler after 10 minutes (I don't blame them) and I felt sweaty, red and breathless. On sitting down at last, I decided to just let my Daughter run off, I'd just stand up to see where she'd got to every few minutes and not indulge her in her chasing games.
It was the first time I stood up to check on her that I spotted her leaving. Out of the door and out to the car park. I dashed from my seat,almost knocking over unsuspecting children and found her wedged between 2 heavy double doors between the carpark and the venue screaming her head off. At this point I scooped her up in my arms and carried her, screaming to the front of the venue where I packed up our belongings in psychotic fashion as she tried to push me away from her as people watched, grateful that it wasn't their kid.
"We'll look after her from now on, just stay a little while longer" came pleas from family members, happily slurping away at glasses of wine and G&Ts.
"You don't know what you're letting yourself in for!" was my snappy reply. I was right. They didn't.
Bunging my naughty toddler into the car was the best decision I could have made. As I pulled into the driveway at home, I looked back at her snoozing away peacefully in her car seat, still wearing her sparkly anters which she'd nabbed off some poor child at the party. I quietly and carefully dressed her in pyjamas as she cooed sleepily and laid her in her cot, kissed her, told her I loved her and felt guilty for cursing her in my head.
I tell myself that it will be some other kid next time, that mine will be well behaved and I'll be glad it's not me. Or this is what I hope will happen...!