Last night we went for a wedding reception. It was late and today is a school day but the couple are close friends and I thought it would be fun for the kids because the guest list was small and intimate and the venue beautiful. Things began to go wrong within ten minutes of leaving home but clearly we can’t take a hint. We were stuck in the mother of all jams. The kids began to whine after a while, sitting in the dark and irritating each other. I kept threatening scolding to throw them out of the door. I’m glad I didn’t have to act upon that threat because the traffic was too heavy for me to even crack open a door.
An hour and a half of being in traffic and the Bean began to say she was feeling pukey. I took her in my lap and rolled down the window for some fresh air. Unlikely that there’d be any fresh air, stuck in the midst of traffic and fumes as we were. And then as we sat there cursing, there was a sound behind us and the Brat threw up all over himself and the car. I took one look at my peacock blue kanjeevaram and mentally kissed it goodbye. The OA pulled over and we hopped out and I begged a bottle of water off a kind driver somewhere (Salaam driversaab, I’m sorry we left you waterless). We tried to wash him out but he was beyond repair. His shoes, socks, pajama, everything was caked in puke (I don’t think we feed him as much as he expelled). We cleaned him as best as we could only to realise that now he was freezing to death.
So we pulled off his by now sopping wet but still miraculously puke-encrusted pajama and the OA put his waistcoat on him. It went down to his knees and stiffly stuck out a good foot on either side of his shoulders. The poor child was wet and shivering in the nippy early winter night and the OA and I were this close to smacking him for not warning us. He can talk ad nauseum about blue whales and stingrays, but can’t tell us he’s feeling like vomiting?! At this point he decided to break the ice by pointing out that the moon was blue and moving. Argh.
At this point I had what I like to think of, as my brain wave. The Bean was in a brand new anarkali crushed kurta and churidar – I took off her churidar and I made him wear it. It just about went up his legs and left him unable to walk. The Bean didn’t object but looked rather sad. And then the OA and I surveyed the situation and laughed. Our son was in a maroon kurta with his sister’s purple and gold churidar, minus his socks, and floating in the OA’s large oversize waistcoat. The Bean was in a pretty purple and red crushed cotton anarkali kurta with a chiffon dupatta, ending in a pair of black skull and cross bone socks and Mary Janes – what? I hadn’t anticipated her having to take her churidar off!
We walked into the wedding looking bedraggled and smelling of puke (what? we couldn’t have bunked it – the couple were too dear to us and we were starving and in no position to drive another 2 hours back home) . The bride and groom were gracious and laughed with us. We figured the kindest thing we could do to them was to stay away from them and not pose for the mandatory picture. Fortunately some kind souls lent us some clothes and we put the Brat into a pair of tracks under his kurta, took off his thermal and wrapped him in my shawl, and returned the Bean’s churidar and her dignity to her.
By the time we were ready to eat, the OA and my sanity was hanging by a thread. The kids had forgotten the ordeal and were running around happily after eating a good meal. The entire evening had got derailed and it was way past their bed time. We finally left, dragging them behind us, back into our car that was stinking of puke. We got some paper from the caterers and cleaned up the floor as best as we could. Then we laid out fresh paper and made them sit down quietly, telling them they were not to move an inch or they’d know the reason why.
We’d barely driven for two minutes when I realised they’d both fallen asleep in the back seat. We haven’t carried a baby bag in 2 years or more and these are the times that I suppose we should have one. On the other hand, it’s good for the kids to rough it out and not take themselves too seriously. I wish I’d had a camera to record the moment we walked into the wedding venue, looking like a bunch of castaways.
The roads were empty, the night RJ was playing some good music and the OA and I were soon smiling and laughing over the kids’ antics. Mimicking them, discussing their temperaments and so on. He often asks me how women go through a second pregnancy and delivery after the discomfort and pain of the first one. So I gently asked him if he was still exhausted and annoyed. He looked surprised – Of course not. He’d forgotten all about it. And there you have it, I said. That is how it works. Where your children are concerned, it’s so easy to forget the trouble and only focus on the joy they bring. Do you agree?
As to the songs that put us in a good mood (yes, it’s always about the music…)