I can do this.
It's been a month now.
I can talk about Reagan's party.
Seriously. Poor Reagan. She's the second child who doesn't have a ton of her own friends yet. She's incredibly frustrated trying to communicate, and is always compared to her super chatty sister. She's the kid who runs boring errands with me while Madison is at dance/school/storytime.
She's the kid who doesn't even have a freaking birthday on the calendar for goodness sake.
So I felt like she needed a good birthday party. One that was different than what Madison had, one where she could run around, one where there could be a mix of kids that Reagan knew because they were Madison's friends, and a few friends of her own as well.
I booked her party at an indoor jungle gym facility. The store sells those giant wood playscapes (both the kinds you expect to see at homes and the giant pirate ships you might see at a preschool) and they open the store for play on the display models. They've got a bounce house, tons of Step2 stuff, a train table...it's perfect for kids, especially kids who have just been through an endless winter.
Because this place is so popular, I couldn't get a spot her birthday weekend. Or the next weekend. I didn't think I'd procrastinated, but this place books up months in advance, and the best I could do was two weeks after her birthday. She's two - she doesn't care, but I already kind of felt bad.
Party day arrived and already I had a few strikes against me. I had to work in the church nursery that morning. Party time overlapped with naptime, so I needed to adjust the schedule. I was rushing around getting clothes ready, goody bags ready, naps started, food made from the moment I got up.
As I was getting in the car to go to church, I realized I hadn't eaten anything yet. I was so busy trying to get everyone else fed that I hadn't worried about me. Not unusual, but I was feeling a little off from having a completely empty stomach, so I stuffed a bagel in my purse and headed out to nursery.
The kids were unusually well behaved and were all involved in their own play, so I spent the majority of the time in the rocker. I never ate the bagel, but I didn't feel sick, so I didn't worry about it.
Got home, got the girls down, rushed back out for bottled water, packed up the goody bags, started loading the car, and realized that I still hadn't really eaten and was definitely feeling off. I mentioned to Adam that my blood sugar was probably low, and ate an apple. I felt better after that, so I loaded up the girls and off we went.
The party was ninety minutes long. Twenty minutes of play, pizza, thirty minutes of play, cake, rest of time for play.
Reagan was having a good time as I followed her around with my camera, but the "off" feeling had returned. Suddenly, despite the 30 degree weather, I was feeling a little flushed. A little queasy. I walked out to get a water bottle from the car, and the cool weather made me feel better, so I figured it was just hot in there. Lots of toddler activity, lots of running, a tiring day...who wouldn't feel off? I chatted with friends but sort of started counting the minutes that were left. I planned on going home, letting Reagan open her gifts, and crashing on the couch.
There was light at the end of the tunnel. They were arranging the kids for birthday cake. I snapped a picture of the cake and got Reagan settled. I assumed my position as photographer as all the parents and little friends started to sing.
But crouching down was the straw that broke the camel's back, and I broke out into a cold sweat. Through the camera lens, as everyone sang to Reagan, I started praying that she would blow out her candles quickly so I could take the picture and scoot outside for some air.
Reagan started to blow out her candles...
And I barfed all over the floor.
Let me be clear here so you can get a good picture in your mind. Sixteen kids sitting neatly at picnic tables surrounded by their parents. A completely open area space. I am front and center with the birthday girl. Everyone's eyes are on this magical moment.
And as my TWO YEAR OLD was BLOWING OUT HER BIRTHDAY CANDLES I was THROWING UP in FRONT OF EVERYONE.
You know that dream, where you are completely humilated, in public, with nowhere to hide?
I had extra clothes for the two year old. I had extra clothes for the three year old. I did not have any extra clothes for myself.
All the adults noticed, and were evenly divided on whether or not I was pregnant (yay!) or I'd just exposed all of them AND the precious children to the stomach bug (worst mother ever).
And we had a half hour of awkwardness left.
Because all the kids still had cake! And then they wanted to play! And the lovely party hosts had some extra vomit to clean up!
Sidenote: I am sure I was not the first party puker they came encountered. Pizza + kids + cake + bounce house is a recipe for a mess. But I was probably the first MOM.
Oh, and I did mention that Reagan started an epic tantrum as soon as I threw up? Because, you know, all of a sudden all hell broke loose and her mom disappeared?
Right, because of course that happened. And the hallmark of two-year-old Reagan is epic tantrums. They are age appropriate storms that go on and on and on and on...
My solution is to get her into a quiet place and just let her get it out. Hugging, picking up, trying to console her, all those things make it worse. When she reaches "epic" you need to do that quasi ignore thing in a quiet place and just let her get it out.
But we didn't have a quiet place. And I was there where she could see me but not there where I could be with her, which is the worst kind of place I can be. She is cool with other people holding her if I am not around. And rather than being ignored, people were attempting to pick her up and cuddle her quiet. Which is like throwing gasoline on a fire.
So Reagan's party ended with thirty minutes of screaming (her) and thirty minutes of awkward conversation with adults who were both avoiding me and trying to act like nothing had happened (me).
The party finally ended, the guest slunk out while avoiding eye contact, a screaming Reagan was loaded into the car and I threw up in the snow while saying goodbye to my parents and in laws.
Then got home and proceeded to suffer the stomach bug and the churning stomach of humiliation for the next twelve hours...until it hit Madison...and then Reagan.
Happy Birthday Reagan...and I am so glad you will never remember this.
Worst. Party. Ever.
OK, readers. Bring it. Can you top my story of parental humiliation at a kid's birthday party?
By the way, if Adam were invited to write a book about embarrassing wife stories, this would probably top his list of stories to share. Thank goodness such a book does not exist (yet). Have you picked up a copy of the book where I poke fun at his poop yet?