Check Minus

When we last met, I left you with a cliffhanger. Angry Baby was set to make her debut Saturday as a flower girl and I promised to return today and give you the play by-play. Well, here I am and I’m happy to say, Angry Baby gave me plenty to write about.

When you and I were little children, we enthusiastically went to pre-school and kindergarten. School for the youngest is usually a fun experience that involves playing, finger painting and more playing. Teachers are less focused on results than they are with helping the littlest ones learn structure and proper classroom behavior. Grades mean next to nothing at the entry-level of education. Regardless, a rudimentary scale is established to train the children for later, when their academic lives depend on a number.  You may recall the check system. It involved a check plus excellent, a check for so-so, and the lowest of all, the check minus.

A check minus is an educators way of saying, “You really blew it kid,” it’s the earliest form of the dreaded F…for failure. To get a check minus is to learn the bitter taste of defeat in the classroom. Me? I usually found myself in the minus zone for a litany of behavioral gaffes and discipline problems.

Because Angry Baby is only 2 1/2, she is well within the check based grading territory. After a long weekend of endless car rides, loud hotel rooms and toddler meltdowns, I’m back to report that Angry Baby lived up to her legacy and received a CHECK MINUS for her duties as flower girl.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…sit back and enjoy a few minutes from being productive at my expense. Enjoy!

Friday, my mother in law and I had a great drive up to Ft. Worth, where the wedding was held. The sun was shining and the spring flowers on the Texas roadside were incredible. Conversation was good and the backseat behavior from my little cutie was excellent. There were no fits, whines or issues, if it had gone any easier, it would’ve been teleporting.

We arrived at the rehearsal that evening with time to spare, and Angry Baby was playful, sweet and had a blast running around the church with her cousins, aged 3 and 4. When it came time for her flower girl practicing, she was top-notch. Angry Baby perfectly sprinkled flowers on the ground and even smiled while she did it. The perfect little flower girl even cleaned up her flowers when she was done! It looked like my fears had been unwarranted.

The 16 hours between rehearsal and the actual wedding melted away. Time flies when you’re relieved about a situation you previously thought would be a catastrophe.

When the family gathered for the actual nuptials, Angry Baby seemed delightful and not upset in the least. We arrived at the church, which also has its own private preschool, this is an important piece of information because the preschool has a playground that is visible from the church’s parking lot. The night before, Angry Baby was rewarded after the rehearsal with a 30 minute play session among the slides and toys.

She pointed to the playground as we as we pulled in for the ceremony. “Park!” Angry Baby exclaimed.  “Park! Park! Slide! Go Slide!”

“No, not right now, sweetheart. Right now you’ve got  job to do.”

We filed out into the church and made our final preparations before the wedding started. With her hair fixed complete with an adorable white flower her granny bought her, and wearing a precious white dress, Angry Baby looked every bit the part of a flower girl. As I gave her the basket of flowers, she looked into my eyes and whispered, “Park. Slide. Go.”

“Tell ya what kiddo, after the wedding, we’ll come outside and play, THEN you can slide.”

Angry Baby let out an emphatic, “OK, YEAH!” She then took her seat in the wagon that would pull her down the aisle. As I looked down at my angelic and precious miracle, I couldn’t help but smile at the well-behaved little human she was becoming. I mentally began writing my triumphant post, it would be a “championship of flower girls” victory lap.

But this post isn’t called, “Check Plus Plus.” No my dearest blood-thirsty ghouls, this post’s title refers to the LOWEST POSSIBLE GRADE YOU CAN GIVE A HUMAN UNDER 4 YEARS OLD AND NOT BE CONSIDERED A D*CK.

As I committed hubris by assuming the best and expecting the most, the fates began aligning to kick me in the pills, once more. Stranger after stranger passed her in the church’s reception area, the place got louder and louder with excited guests visiting and chatting. Not soon after, Angry Baby’s face clouded up. She made eye-contact with me once again and insisted, “Park. Park. Slide.”

Absolutely, my darling. Just as soon as you do your thing as a BEAUTIFUL flower girl, and the wedding is over, we’ll go play on the playground.”

“OK, YEAH!” Angry Baby gave an enthusiastic smile and then attempted to get out of her wagon. The plastic cart became an unwieldy prison as she tried to escape to the “park.” Her grunts and flailing appendages were met with her Granny’s firm but loving arms. “No, Valor. You stay right there, you’ve got flowers to throw.” Angry Baby sat back down and quietly went sullen. My stomach lurched, and I got that old familiar feeling…the feeling that I was about to once again become Karma’s b*tch.

Hold me back, chumps.

Hold me back, chumps.

Because the woman is the Angry Baby whisperer, and part clairvoyant, my MIL volunteered to stay with our glowering flower, while Lover fo’ Life and I found our seats.

“I really hope this ends well,” L4L calmly insisted. I found myself internally praying to every God out there that the universe didn’t give me something to post about.

Please! I just want this to go smoothly. All she needs to do is ride in a wagon, sprinkle a few flowers and look cute. Then, I’ll take her to the stupid playground, AMEN.

Before I knew it, the music began and the gorgeous bridal party made their way down the aisle. My heart began to race, this was it. Amongst the ooh’s and ah’s of a room chock full of strangers and family she couldn’t see due to the dim lights, Angry Baby made her entrance upon her chariot of PVC.

Calm before the storm.

Calm before the storm.

As the junior bridesmaid wheeled her in, Angry Baby looked upon the crowd of unfamiliar and began to frantically search for L4L and I. Half way down the aisle, she made contact with L4L who began coaching her to throw the flowers. She jubilantly threw out a handful of silken blooms on the ground, mid-aisle, and that was it.

Pitiful.

Pitiful.

“DADDY!!!!! MOMMY!!!!! DADDYMOMMY!!!!! She went to jump out of the wagon. The crowd chuckled and we told her to stay put. This upset Angry Baby and I looked once again into her darting blue eyes. I knew it was mere moments before she summoned her primal powers of destruction and fury. Like a creature from ancient mythology, long-buried in the past, Angry Baby would soon transform into the impatient and screaming, “octopus of rage” she once was.

As she squirmed and thrashed to get out of the red wagon, the junior bridesmaid kept rolling. Girlfriend knew she was pulling a cart full of napalm and wanted to get it done with before disaster struck. With one measly handful of posies and a mouth full of MOMEEEEE DADDEEEEEE, Angry Baby’s inaugural stint as a flower girl ended. I met the junior bridesmaid on the other side of the aisle and quickly scooped up my glowering flower girl. As I hoisted her from the wagon she asked me, “Park?”

She smiled, “Slide?”

As I silently hefted all 30 pounds of our avid outdoors enthusiast, it began to sink in. The little nut just acted a fool at this wedding all so she could play in some dirt and rock the slides.

As if on cue, Angry Baby began cheering, “Park! Slide! Hooray!”

Luckily, my mother in law was there to whisk her away and do what grandparents do best, save the day. I was able to go back to the wedding, which was beautiful and went off without a hitch. Well, except for the whole non-flower throwing, Mommy/Daddy screaming raving playground lunatic for a flower girl. She gets a resounding “needs improvement.”

As we swirled punch at the reception, my MIL had already began her case in defense of Glower Girl.

“I tell you, it was that Junior Bridesmaid’s fault. I specifically told her to tell Valor when to throw the flowers. And she never did. I was watching her, not once did she tell her to go ahead and start dropping them, NOT ONCE.”

The truth is, the junior bridesmaid could have written and choreographed an entire tap routine all about throwing flower petals and Angry Baby still wouldn’t have followed through with the deed. Once L4L convinced her to throw that lone handful of flowers, Angry Baby clocked out and was ready to go celebrate her successes on the playground AKA “park.”

To the newlyweds, I say congratulations and I hope you two have a long and happy life together. Sorry about the right before your vows drama Angry Baby created momentarily, but with her nickname being Angry Baby, surely y’all expected no less.

For you ghouls reading this wondering where the footage of the blessed event is, I hate to break it to you, but we were too busy trying to get her to throw, smile, and not yell “MOMMYDADDY.” You’ll just have to take my word for it when I say: it was brief, terrifying and absolutely precious.

Welcome Back Angry Baby, nice to see you’re merely a reformed dictator on the surface. May your park visits be plentiful and the slides be unlimited.

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Aaannd we’re done.

 


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