Sometimes when I read articles about Mardi Gras and see friends posting pictures from every.single.parade, I feel like such a Mardi Gras dud. I am not a ride or die Mardi Gras New Orleanian. Don’t get me wrong, growing up I didn’t want to miss a single parade and going to Uptown parades during college was about as fun as life could get. I enjoy parades, but going to a handful each year is enough of a Mardi Gras experience for me now that I have a toddler.
My son is two months shy of turning three. He is predictably unpredictable. And as much I wish I were one of the cool, go with the flow, Mardi Gras Moms, I am not. Parades are fun, but they also stress me out.
What exactly stresses me out?
I wonder if putting a pull-up on my newly potty-trained toddler would cause him to regress. I’m not going to do it, but it sure is tempting. My son has been potty-trained since July, but like most toddlers, accidents are pretty standard in our household. When he is distracted and having fun (and what causes more distractions and fun than Mardi Gras?), he sometimes waits until the very last moment to tell me that he needs to go to the bathroom … or he tells me after it’s already happened. I have a portable potty seat for emergencies, so I guess we will just take that with us this year. [Sigh] I miss diapers.
Anxiety about missing nap time
On any given day, nap time is a wonderful time. I get a break from entertaining my toddler, and he gets time to recharge. I am not super strict about nap time, if we have to skip it for a birthday party or activity so be it. We don’t have a set schedule – my son usually goes down for his nap anywhere between 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm. But having to skip nap time during Mardi Gras is a game of Russian Roulette with my kid. Don’t get me wrong, he has no problem staying awake. I wish he was the type to sit in a chair and konk out, but he rarely does. Sometimes he skips his nap and remains his charming, little self. Other times, he just shifts into turbo mode. Gone are his reasoning skills; those are replaced with Can’t Stop/Won’t Stop adrenaline and gold medal tantrums.
I worry that he won’t be content to sit in the ladder seat or stay by our sides all day.
My kid loves to run (I wish I could bottle his energy so I could eat as much king cake as I want.). I can’t take my eyes off of him for a second before he is darting down the street. With the crowds and the horses and the floats, if he is not in the ladder seat or being held by an adult, I can’t really enjoy the parade because I’m so focused on making sure he doesn’t get lost or trampled. This year it is more difficult because he is heavier to hold than last year, and we’ve also got an infant now to hold/feed/guard from being pelted by beads.
But then there are those moments…
That said, when our toddler is in the ladder seat, on our shoulders, or in our arms, it really is so joyous be in the midst of the parade fun. I love seeing him get excited when a marching band approaches, shouting out each of the instruments he recognizes as they pass by us. I love seeing how happy he is to catch a new trinket. And I love that he gets to experience something so unique to this wonderful city in which he lives.
I adore the magical moments of Mardi Gras. I just don’t think the inconvenience of bringing toddlers to more than a few parades a year is worth it. With Mardi Gras, at least in this stage of my life, sometimes less is more.