Two and a half hours later, we got up, dragged our asses and the asses of our children out of bed, rousted my teenage nephew who has been staying with us for a while and who rarely gets out of bed before noon (but is nonetheless really a great kid and not actually lazy), and made him drive us to the airport so we could go to DC for my wife's little brother's wedding.
Those misadventures would have made for great blog fodder. Nonetheless I was really pleased that the trip went off as well as could have been expected, even with a four-hour layover in Chicago (which has a really boring airport, except for the many "moving sidewalks" that we traversed innumerable times). For that, I have to give credit to dumb luck for making the weather less bad than was predicted, and to my wife for being a genius at preparing for traveling with kids. She had been stocking up for weeks on new toys, iPad apps, children's headphones, snacks, and other indulgences that I had groused about as they arrived in the daily tower of Amazon boxes.
But those indulgences made our kids look like the best-behaved angels that ever staggered onto a Southwest flight. We had to buy them their own seats since they're too old to be "lap children" (ouch, financially), so there was plenty of room to spread out coloring books, Play-Doh, puzzles, and finally, after the wholesome activities could no longer subdue their squirminess, to bust out the iPad and tranquilize them with Elmo.
The routine once we arrived at the in-laws' aging McMansion in the DC 'burbs was quite familiar, with the twist of having to deal with very active, unpredictable, and sensitive toddlers.
Eating is the main activity. Mom-in-law is in some process of food preparation or cleanup nonstop, literally, which means we are in the process of stuffing our faces at all times. And because there's a wedding, the other activity is shopping for clothes and odds and ends for the festivities. The children are much more amused by malls than is their father. I need to go for a hike soon.
Also, the children will not nap--at all--and won't go to sleep at night without both Mom and Dad in the mildly creepy basement room (three of the six sibs claim that they've had paranormal experiences while sleeping there) where we're staying. So we have to perform the "everybody night-night" charade at about 8: 30 (which does, I confess, sometimes turn into a substantial parental nap), or the kids will clamber out of their Pack N Plays and start banging on the door like Attica inmates.
Whenever there is a wedding in my wife's family, everyone has to perform. For the last three weddings, we've put together a family band--a sort of Eurasian Partridge Family--to perform a couple songs at the reception. With each wedding we've gotten more ambitious; and this time, we're working on five to seven songs, featuring--oh--about ten band members. The four lead vocalists won't arrive until the day before the wedding, but I'm sure it will all work out.
I play bass in this band, which is something I did from the eighth grade until my junior year of high school, but have not done since (with the exceptions of the family wedding gigs). But, as anyone who's staying in this house would attest, I am a little obsessed with nailing my bass part, my facial expressions, and my heroic poses. I'm afraid that, at 44 years old, I still want to be a rock star.
And apparently, so do my children:
This was our first (of two) practices, but we've improved a lot since then. And when we get our singers, we're going to KILL. IT. I will be sure to post videos of the actual performance here. Unless we suck.
Thanks loads for reading!