Tuesday, December 16, 2008

We're Those Parents

The moment I set J down, his little feet moved with unrestrained anticipation toward the noise in the back of the house. He tumbled over a few shoes, rolled, found his footing and was off again.

As T and I took off our coats, removed our shoes and prepared to join the party, we heard it--a cacophony of oohs and aahs and "He's so cute?" and "What a doll." A grin creeped across my face as I silently agreed.

In a mater of only a few minutes J had found a group of comely teenage girls hiding out in the basement, away from the "old people" that had gathered upstairs (they swore on their Ipods that they didn't mean me). J was in heaven. With a sly little grin and a wink (I swear, there was a wink) the girls broke away from the action on the television screen. They were J groupies in a matter of moments.

J found a group of women entrenched in a rather intense discussion. As he approached he let out a cringe-worthy scream (a new talent he can't help but to show off) to announce his arrival. I quickly apologized, but they abruptly ended their conversation as they greeted their happy little intruder. After flirting with the ladies, J moved on to spread a little joy.

No doubt, he was a hit.

About an hour later we pulled up to party #2.

The wine and cheese party. The party where the cheap sparkling wine and box of Hershey candies I bought would be accepted with barely concealed disdain, or so I was informed. I left both at home, where they would certainly be more appreciated.

Hmmm. Wonder how they'd feel about a two-foot unexpected guest? (Yes, we are without a babysitter . . . in case you were wondering. The background checks were just too pricey).

The moment J walked in his head came in contact with the corner of a table. He melted in tears until the jingle of a reindeer wine charm (aka, choking hazard) reached his ears, distracting him from the pain. The guests were pleasant as they greeted the couple who deigned to bring a toddler to a classy holiday get together. I was confident that J's charm would win them over.

He climbed on laps. Dipped cookies in wine. Stole wine charms off glasses. Used expensive cheese as building blocks. Although I would have enjoyed huddling in a corner with a glass of one of the expensive whites and a plate of shrimp, I was too busy protecting the speakers, blocking J from the stairs and removing hazardous objects from his curious (and quick) fingers.

It was exhausting. Yet, each party goer was enthralled with my little man. They commented on his cheery disposition and his obvious intelligence as he maneuvered around the tables gathering, stacking and grabbing. Both T and I beamed with pride.

He was a hit. Again.

As we gathered our gloves, hats and coats and prepared to leave, the guests enthusiastically wished us well. We left the party, both thrilled with how successful the evening was.

After replaying the evening's events, it hit us. The realization forced us into a reflective silence as T drove toward home.

"We're those parents, aren't we?" I asked T.

"Yeah." He responded, the pride dissipating from his voice. "You know, they probably all breathed a sigh of relief when we left." I couldn't disagree.

I thought J was a hit, but they were simply being polite. I don't doubt that those teenage girls fell in love a little bit. But the party serving wines older than me, yeah, who were we kidding?

It's like dining at an expensive restaurant. The waiter serves you your entree and just as you are about to bite into your filet a tiny head pops up from the behind the seat. A tiny head belonging to a pixie-faced little girl who wants nothing more than to entertain you with a never-ending game of Peek-a-Boo. You sigh, hoping that she will abandon her game-playing or that her parents will turn her around so that you can eat in peace.

But she doesn't. And her parents are under the mistaken impression that you are enjoying the interaction.

You're just being polite.

They are clueless, enchanted and blinded by their child's irresistability factor.


We're those parents.

No doubt our egos were bruised with the newfound realization. But as we pulled the patchwork quilt up under J's tiny chin, bent over to kiss his plump cheeks and stroked the soft tufts of hair, we realized something.

We didn't care.

So what. Poopy diapers. Screaming tantrums. Pulling of hair. Taking (and hiding) of keys. The fact that every room in my house is Romper Room. I mean, I have a right to be clueless some of the time, right? I have an obligation to get totally lost in my undeniable pride and adoration for that little guy. That's my job.

We appreciate the politeness. Truly we do. And we'll try to keep J's charm in check as he tries to engage you with a quick game of Giggle and Hide while you attempt to consume your meal. But, in the world of toddlerhood, there are few guarantees.

Those parents.


That's us.


Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I don't think so--I'm sure he is that smart and cute and charming. The pictures would indicate so!

flutter said...

You just had me howling, you are too much.

and I happen to know, by the pure fact that you pay attention at all means that you are not those parents

Flea said...

I'm glad you're proud of it. :) He'll grow up before you know it, then you'll be the polite one. Enjoy.

Anonymous said...

Hey, enjoy it while you can. Cause soon enough? He will be too cool to go to parties with you guys!!

Kat said...

The fact that you take notice shows you are not those parents because those parents usually are too oblivious to notice others or to care. ;)
I'm sure everyone at both parties were actually charmed. :)

Lisa @ Boondock Ramblings said...

I went to a Pampered Chef party with my son one time and thought the same thing: "I'm one of those mothers." But, as you said, I didn't care. You know what, some of those people were probably "those parents" at one time too, so you probably weren't alone. And I'm sure they were completely charmed by him. He sounded like he was very charming and sweet, even after clunking his head.

April said...

See, for me, it wouldn't have been any fun at the 2nd party. But if you can go and still manage to enjoy yourself, then be those parents all you want!

Michelle said...

I agree, you're not "those parents" unless you're completely oblivious. You watched your child, you followed him and looked after him. "Those parents" ignore their kid while indulging in expensive cheeses and use other guests as babysitters. And I don't doubt that their reactions were genuine. Who doesn't love a cute and charming little one! (And if they don't that's their problem.)
I also have trouble finding sitters, I don't think it means you can't have a life. Good for you for bringing him! He'll probably be a better behaved kid because he has been exposed to a variety of social settings ;)
(At least, that's my rationale...)

Tara R. said...

I'm one of those parents who look forward to parents like you coming to a party to bring a little life to it. You also don't let J loose and expect everyone else to watch him as you go about your business. HUGE difference.

ConverseMomma said...

Me too! I'm the chick at the faculty meetings holding the staff hostage until they see the 54 pictures of my kids playing blocks, reading books, picking their nose, they humor me when I show them my christmas card for the 45th time. And, I don't care. I love those kids so much it oozes out of my pores.

Pregnantly Plump said...

We're those parents, too! Probably most of us are.

Don Mills Diva said...

Me too! Me too!

I think being one of those parents is a sure sign you're a good parent, ya know?

Quarantine Hobby said...

Haha--you totally are *those* parents. It's okay, we all are now and then. I will be on Sunday--bringing Alex to a holiday party. The host said it was okay, but I don't think we'll stay long.

Kori said...

I am one of "those" parents nearly all of the time. And it doesn't bother me a bit. Owen (and all of the other ones) is only going to be THIS age once; and I am going to enjoy the heck out of it. Gald to meet you!

Sass said...

Ha ha. Yes! I recognise that feeling.

We've taken Peaches to a few parties like that. Although I also wondered if they were being polite, I still thought they were so lucky to have Peaches at their party - and I LOVED spending the extra time with her.

Anonymous said...

I am always that parent.. always.. and now that I have too I barely get invited anywhere.. :)

Anonymous said...

Got the pkg & THANK YOU OODLES!! I've been meaning to read Anglaise. Also, it's okay to be that parent once in a while. We no longer have a sitter, and sometimes we just want to enjoy a night out - the child must come. I think we (you & I) are entitled that once in a while.

Woman in a Window said...

We're even worse than you guys in that we don't even bother going out any more. We get out a table cloth and call it a party. Good night Irene!

But it's fun, isn't it, being one of those parents. Ticket to anywhere!

Karen MEG said...

I highly doubt that you are truly THOSE parents. There's nothing in this world more delightful than a happy toddler ... I'm sure he broke the ice for many a partygoer as well.

Before you know it he won't be a toddler anymore, so just keep doing what you're doing ... and loving it!

Anonymous said...

I can't even tell you how many fun, wine & cheese parties I've missed out on in the past 5 years (yeah, the background check for babysitters is out of my budget, too) because I was afraid of being 'that parent'. And you know what? I regret not going. I regret missing out on that little bit of out-of-the-house adult conversation.

Nobody else at the party was adversely affected AND you didn't stay 'til 1am (right?). They had their little dose of J and then it was over. It's not like NOBODY there has ever had a toddler, I'm assuming.

Unknown said...

My teenage nieces always go NUTS for my boys. It's so cute! Glad you had a good time at the parties - ALL of you! : )

Putting the FUN in DysFUNctional said...

....and screw anyone who doesn't like it.
Seriously, they're only little for such a short time. Enjoy it. If the wine people didn't like it, they're just snobs.

LifeBehindTheCoach.com said...

The Husband and I are child free but still do the same thing as you did with your son with our 20 month old niece. The Husband takes her all around his workplace when he gets the chance! Very cute age!

tracey.becker1@gmail.com said...

Just remember, those people at the party, if they have children, probably didn't mind as much as YOU minded pre-children. Now that I have kids? I have no problem with a sweet toddler entertaining me at a wine party. Especially if my OWN sweet kids aren't there for ME to worry about!

I happen to love toddlers at grown-up parties. As long as they aren't my own kids!

Burgh Baby said...

I would much rather be one of those parents than not be a parent at all. True fact.

painted maypole said...

ha ha - were those parents, too, although I did try to reign MQ in and keep the interactions brief

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

You are not THOSE parents. You are way cooler.


And I heartcha for it. :)

Colleen - Mommy Always Wins said...

Cute. We're all "THOSE" parents sometimes! ;-)

Lori said...

That was a good laugh! I am sure he was charming and who cares if you were those parents - it makes for a great story and good memories!

Hey it's Amy Benson said...

This is a great post! He sounds totally adorable, and I am sure no one really minded that he came to the parties :)

tiarastantrums said...

hee hee - isn't it great (being those parents)

crazymumma said...

I LOVE it when a child comes to one of THOSE parties. I can wrap myself around sincerity.

Elan Morgan said...

You know what? I always like those parents. You are a breath of fresh in an otherwise self-conscious, stuffy environment. I love seeing people who are so unabashedly in love with their families. ROCK IT.

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