Special activities (say, picking out a Christmas tree or going to see Santa) are the above scenario times...say 100. Ok, maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration. Times 99.
Case in point: deciding to take a toddler to pick out a real, live Christmas tree. "Oh, it will be fun!" you think. "Just like my childhood! And we will get cute pictures of her dressed up around all the trees and can use them for a Christmas card!"
And let's say you do manage to get her all dressed up and she only has one tantrum while tree shopping (SWEET!). But all your pictures end up as one of two versions.
Ok, clearly we are done here. Let's just pick the last tree we see and call it a day.
Since we clearly didn't learn the first time, we decided our next adventure should be to make the obligatory trip to the mall to see Santa. And I was prepared with a plan. We were going to go after work on a Wednesday to avoid the long lines. And I brought a change of clothes with me so she wouldn't have to wear her pretty dress up clothes all day long. We made it through the afternoon traffic to the mall, successfully changed clothes (in the car, but whatever) and got in a relatively short line to see Santa.
All good, right? Um, not so much. Apparently "Santa's helpers" that work during the week are...shall we say....less efficient than the weekend crew. With no more than 20 families in front of us we waited almost one hour. One hour, people! And since we came straight from work, I was still in heels. Standing. For one hour. Holding (for most of the time) a 30 lb toddler. Why oh why??!?!
We finally made it up to Santa...after lots of rolling around on the floor, eating graham crackers and chatting up other toddlers in line around us (who were amazingly well behaved AND strapped in their strollers). Now, I knew this Santa thing was probably not gonna go down as planned. I figured (because she she FREAKED. OUT. last year) she would not be crazy about him this year. But ever the optimist, I hoped it would be different because had been talking about him and she was another year older.
She shyly walked up and said "hi". He asked her what she wanted to for Christmas and she said "toys." (Girl of few words) We asked if she wanted to sit and talk with Santa she said "no" but did go in for a .5 second hug. He handed her a Rudolph book, she blew him a kiss and that was all she wrote.
One hour. For that.
I almost burst into tear. Ridiculous. But we waited all that time and didn't get a single picture. (Randy's response, by the way, was "well, at least she saved us $30." And yes, it's truly not worth traumatizing my child for a $30 photo package of memories.)
I looked down and Emily and she was happily skipping along in her Christmas outfit, looking at her new book and excitedly talking about her meeting with Santa. She was so excited, this was the best picture of her:
I asked her what she wanted to do next and all she wanted was to ride the mall carousel and "da bus":
There's the look of joy I was hoping for! Pure happiness right there. And all I could think was, "ya know. Do your thing, sister." She was happy, I was happy. So what if we didn't do exactly what we hoped we would be able to do. That's part of life and that is especially part of life as a parent. And in the end, we got an amazing Christmas tree, a fun family outing at the mall and a few random, funny Christmas memories.Which is a win as far as I'm concerned!
Wishing you and yours the happiest (and maybe even funniest) of holiday memories!