Confessions of a Party Pooper
My groggy and bloggy ramblings from my 'Life on the SONny Side' can be found at www.lifeonthesonnyside.com
“Every party has a pooper. That’s why we invited you.” - Martin Short’s crazy character from Father of the Bride II
My name is Jen. I am a Party Pooper.
I wasn’t always like this.
As a girl, when sleepovers were a legitimate rite of passage and a game of truth or dare could make or break your middle school reputation, there was only one real rule: Don’t EVER fall asleep first. God Bless the unenviable little soul who let her eyes close before the other giggling monsters in the room. A hand slipped into a bowl of warm water was just the tip of the iceberg. Sharpie mustaches…having your hair tied in knots. All bets were off when it came to punishing the evening’s newly crowned ‘party pooper’. I did my best to protect my rep…and my hair…by staying awake as long as I could. For the most part, I was successful…save for a few penises that were artfully drawn on my forehead and cheeks.
In my twenties, I was rarely still out when the bartender shouted out “Last Call”. In this, my former life, the black pants that I wore several days a week were for dancing…and were not of the “yoga-variety” that I love so much now. While I wasn’t the last creature stumbling out of the bar at 2am, I still usually managed to have a grand enough time to get groped on the dance floor for the entirety of a Prince song and to lose my room key or ID at least twice. I typically fell into bed before all of the actual debauchery officially started.
I’m like one of those people who go to concerts and leave during the encore. I almost make it the end, but not quite. I like to party, but I’m more like the ticket-taker than than the actual rockstar.
Age has definitely made this all worse for me. I remember when 10pm was when I just started getting ready to go out. Now, I’m lucky if I see the first five minutes of The Daily Show before I begin to snore and drool.
If getting older was changing my routine to the early-bird special, motherhood has transformed me into a nun…and not the sassy Whoopi Goldberg kind either.
I had to attend five separate soirees this holiday season. Five. I am not exaggerating when I say that my little family and I were among the first to leave each and every one of these parties. Scowls and disappointed looks from relatives and friends followed us everywhere we went.
You see, I am the proud and exhausted owner of a fully functional toddler. He never settles or mellows. He knows nothing of “hanging out”. He doesn’t savor meals. He spits out the garlic potatoes that you’ve smashed by hand while he looks you in the eye. He’ll push the buttons on your Hallmark musical, animatronic commemorative Christmas Snoopy until the batteries melt from exhaustion…and you’ll think to yourself that if you hear that Peanuts theme song one more time, you’ll probably have to rip your ears right off of your head. He will pluck shiny bulbs with sentimental value off of your fancy tree and throw them at your dog.
He makes me chase him until my hair becomes limp, my make up is gone, and there’s not enough egg nog in the Tri-County area to make me want to stay one second longer. I can keep him under wraps without incident for an hour, no problem…sometimes even two if the stars have aligned on that particular day. But hour #3 is when all Hell begins to break loose and I’m certain that other guests begin to wonder if I’m utilizing a “Lord of the Flies”-inspired parenting style. I’m tired. And more importantly, I’m embarrassed that I have a difficult time stopping my 20-month old from covering all of your Pottery Barn treasures in powdered donut in two seconds flat. Because of all of this, I have become a World Class Party Pooper.
As most guests begin to pour themselves another glass of wine, I’m pretending that I haven’t been watching the clock for the duration. I’m quietly repacking our bags and slowly trying to say our goodbyes without attracting too much attention to ourselves. The blowhards in the room who forget what it’s like to be a prisoner of babies and bedtimes begin their obligatory guilt trips about how they never get to see us…that they can’t believe we’re leaving already…that he’ll be fine if we stay just a little longer. That last sentence is enough to make me wanna bust out a throat punch. Oh, will he?! Is it really possible that they forget what a full on bedtime meltdown looks and feels like. The answer is totally yes.
My festive spirit has officially flatlined and I shove his tiny little parts back into his gigantic snowsuit and then try to strap my human marshmallow back into his carseat. I find myself shouting and singing like an idiot at the top of my lungs to keep him awake until we get home. We rush the bedtime routine. I’m usually dripping with sweat at this point and begging to hear the click of the door to his room as I close it one last time. I flop onto my bed and glance at the clock expecting to see some outrageously late hour. Nope. 8:30pm. I am older now. I am a mom. I am pooped.
I know that eventually the tide will turn for us. My toddler will become a boy who will wreak a little less havoc. I’ll be able to stay for another glass of wine and not panic about whether he’s scaling someone’s china cabinet like a baby Godzilla. But until then I’m a super duper Party Pooper. It’s not a glamorous title, but it’s the sash I’m wearing right now. Please just put it in a doggie bag and send me on my way! Oh, and thanks for the wine! I needed that.
***I appreciate the opportunity to share some cyberspace with the amazingly talented, and always hilarious woman behind Peanut Layne and some other incredible writer-friends.
P.L., I wish you health, happiness, healing, and all the alone time in a quiet bathroom that you could ever hope for! We hope you’re that you're feeling better and back in action soon!