Jamie pointed out that a) J-cub usually goes 2 hours from waking until nap-time, not 3, and b) if we leave at 9, we'll be there by 11ish and have an hour and a half to kill with an over-active toddler. Hmmm.
So at 7.30ish we gave up and put him back to bed, and carried on with our preparations. At 9.30am, he woke of his own accord, and we set off at 10. And arrived at 10 to 12. Of course he didn't sleep in the car, he'd just had a giant nap. Thanks for the great info, Multimap route planner.
The venue for the wedding was Penrhos Court in Herefordshire, and it was stunning. J-cub revelled in practising his toddling skills all over the lawn outside while we waited to be called in.
He also discovered that I was wearing jewellery, and I remembered why I haven't worn jewellery for the last 17 months. The best bit was in the middle of the ceremony when he started trying to yank my earrings out.
We must have walked miles throughout the day, while J-cub climbed on and off the ledges surrounding the lawns, investigated daisies and buttercups, and pointed at peoples' shoes.
The ceremony was beautiful, it made me cry, and J-cub only had to be removed right at the end when the proximity of all the strangers got too much for him. The bride, the bridesmaids and all the flowers were stunning, and the groom wore Converse trainers to match his suit. Because he is that cool.
After the ceremony, we totally missed out on being in any of the official photographs, as J-cub took the opportunity to have an hour-long screaming tantrum which left me in tears. It is so hard coping with a wilful toddler when you're out of your comfort zone, especially when you're in a place where you're (mostly) confined to the outside, and there's nowhere to chill the frack out. Our options for him tantrumming were on the grass (amidst all the milling guests and photograph-taking), on the cobbles (outside) or flagstones (in a kind of walkthrough half-inside, half-outside thing), or in my arms. So we opted for the latter. I was kicked, and punched, and bitten, and pinched, and deafened by the screaming. Lots of lovely people offered smiles of consolation, one elderly lady decided to help by staring and pointing, and Jamie eventually tracked down a member of staff who gave him some hot water to heat a bottle up.
J-cub hasn't had a bottle in the middle of the day for ages, but thankfully we'd taken one 'just in case', and I guess his stupidly early start had a lot to do with it. He eventually conked out in the buggy, which I covered with blankets and cardigans to totally black out the light and dissuade anyone from coming near him.
As I walked back to the car to get his lunch stuff, another mum whose baby was also sleeping in the buggy smiled and said to me "Thank God, right?". I nearly cried all over again.
He slept right until the moment the first course of dinner was served, and then bounced right back to life to join the meal and charm all the guests sitting nearby. We'd been seated next to the other family whose son was 9 months old. We talked all things BLW and baby-rearing in general, and J-cub and his new friend gazed in awe at each other. J-cub made a very good approximation of introducing himself, by signing 'Hello, J' (Hello, I'm Jacob) which made me so proud of him.
The meal was delicious but very long, and we had to retreat again before the speeches. We found a little snug just off the dining hall, filled with squashy sofas and a big thick-pile rug for J-cub to play on. We could hear the speeches, and J-cub happily played with the goody-bag of toys which Hannah had so thoughtfully got for him.
As the afternoon wore on, he started to get tired and grouchy again and we got lots of photos of him sitting slightly wearily on the sofas.
We had fully intended on staying until 9/10pm, hoping that J-cub would have had an afternoon nap and then would be able to keep going, but as 5.30pm rapidly approached we realised that wasn't going to happen, and we should cut our losses and leave. Everyone was very sympathetic and understanding, and as we left I cried a bit more for the day not having panned out quite as expected.
And as I said to Jamie as we left, "it's a whole different world, going out to things like this with a child".
He fell asleep as soon as the car started moving, and woke again full of beans 35 minutes later. And was awake until well past 10pm. We live and learn.