reflections upon attending a party with your toddler in the nice, grown-up apartment of a friend without kids

You will move into the room like SWAT officers at a drug bust and peel off in opposite directions to begin the redecorating/toddler-proofing. When you are done it will look like your host has prepared her home for floodwaters to reach at least 3, 3-and-a-half feet high.

No matter how many new toys you bring, the only thing your toddler wants to play with is other people's glasses.

He will spend the first 25 seconds of the party paralyzed by terror, and the next two hours making himself right the fuck at home.

The people who put their wine down on the coffee table are not parents of toddlers. Toddler parents put their drinks down in what we call "the safe zone." On a handy mantle or on top of the refrigerator. Of course, real pros just skull the whole thing like a viking pounding a flagon of mead.

Everyone will compete for your toddler's attention. Someone's feelings will get hurt when your toddler refuses to acknowledge him. One woman will lord it over her husband that she and your toddler are "best friends" now. Your toddler will look at her blankly until she gives him another chip.

Speaking of chips. Your kid will zero in on the chips immediately. He will bury his filthy little hand in the communal chip bag and scatter chip crumbs all over the carpet. So you will give him his very own bowl of chips and walk him over to the coffee table where he can eat a big bowl of chips all for himself. You will make nine kinds of proclamations and impressed exclamations that your kid has "his VERY OWN BOWL OF CHIPS! WOOOOW!" 10 seconds later he will be right back, elbow-deep in the chip bag. The First Rule of Toddlers: chips always taste better straight from the bag.

Good luck trying to have a conversation about anything other than your kid.

Good luck trying to have a conversation with anyone other than your kid. 

Pray that the cat stays hidden.

It's only a matter of time before your kid will find a glass bottle of oil. He will absolutely need to find out what happens when that glass bottle of oil is thrown to the floor with great force.

Your child will never be sweeter than when he hugs you because WOAH, who knew that bottle was going to break?!? You will forgive your child instantly when he says "mess? Uh oh. Fell down?" Meanwhile, the host will be vacuuming up glass shards and googling "how to get oil out of Berber carpet" (fyi: blot with dry paper towel until towel comes away clean, then dab with rubbing alcohol.) 

You will feel like a class-A heel when you pick up your fork to continue eating after your toddler has broken a bottle of oil on the rug. 

That will not stop you from doing it.

You are never more aware of how tightly your life is scheduled than when dining in the home of the childless. In your world "dinner at 6" means you're pulling shit from the oven at 5:45 so it will be room temp for the kids by the time they sit down. But when 6:50 rolls around and the salmon is just hitting the grill, your toddler is running laps around the coffee table and throwing himself to the ground either giggling or sobbing (at this point in the night, who can tell.) He's drunk with glee that his day is still going. But he's also hungry. And the glee is starting to turn dark... So very dark... At that moment you want to pull the host aside and whisper-scream into her eyes, "can't you see we are playing with fire?! We are using a gas pump to play with fire! For the love of God let's plate this shit up!"

You will make your toddler say "bye bye" to everyone. You will ask him to give high-fives or fist-bumps to everyone. This is his last chance to be charming and it's pretty much a lock. I mean, a toddler says "bye-bye" (bonus points if he mispronounces your name too) and holds up a fist to pound... I don't care how much oil is soaking into your cream carpet, you're gonna pound that shit. And you're gonna blow it up, too. It's just science.

There is no fucking way you're getting out of there clean. You will leave your plate on the table and bolt out the door without grabbing that sippy cup, the socks under the table, and that diaper in the bedroom (I know what you're wondering. Yes, it has been pre-seasoned.)

As soon as you leave, everyone else will take a deep breath and unclench their sphincters and pull their wine glasses down from the top of the refrigerator and thank god they aren't parents of toddlers.

As soon as you leave , you will wonder why you left your house in the first place. You could have stayed in your own toddler-proofed, oil-stained home and your toddler would already be asleep by now. So why did you take your kid to a grown-up party?

The answer:

1. You need to parent in a foreign environment to appreciate how much easier it is to parent at home. And your friends without kids need a dose of reality. It's not all adorable kiss-blowing Facebook pictures, folks.
2. You have to socialize the little savage at some point.
3. YOLO.
4. This way you don't have to do dishes tonight.
5. All the chaos and mess aside, let's be real, toddlers are always the life of the party. 


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