Thursday, December 24, 2009

Joy of Christmas Lights with a Car Full of Crying Kids

Sometimes I have these cliché "what in the cotton-pickin' heck were we thinking?" parenting moments. Oh. Wait a minute. Scratch that - I have those daily. Okay, maybe hourly. You get the idea.

I recently had the brilliant plan of taking our three-year-old and newborn to see a park so chock-full of Christmas lights that comparing it to the Griswald's house would be like Charlie Brown's Christmas up against the tree at Rockefeller center. Some poor souls who work for the county are subjected to the absolute torture of stringing Christmas lights all through the park. So I thought it would be a good idea to sit in our car moving at less than 2 mph with two small children and stare at said lights.

That might not have been such a brilliant plan.

Might I mention that I was feeling particularly ambitious that evening, and we had just braved a 30 minute drive to church, a 1 hour church service (we saw about 10 minutes of the service since we were continually streaking out of service as one or both children screeched or yelled WHERE ARE THE SNACKS?), and a 30 minute drive back to town. Oh yeah, and we stopped along the way to eat some Culver's (no snide nutrition remarks, please) in the car. It was AFTER all of this that we went to the obnoxious light display.

Oh yeah, AND the stupid light display had a line like the girl's bathroom at a Miley Cyrus concert.

Oh yeah, AND we didn't have any cash. More on that later.

There we are, crammed into our Camry, which seems to grow increasingly tiny by the minute. I am in the back of the car, and my husband is Driving Miss Daisy (pretend Jackie Chang is playing the role of the chauffeur). I think there were various toys, orange peels, coats, princess slippers, and used baby wipes on the floor below my feet, because I had no room for them and had to sit licking my knees. The baby was in the gigantic car seat next to me (seriously, why on earth do those darned things have to be so big - the baby is less than 10 pounds!) and our oldest was in her even bigger car seat next to the opposite window. She insisted on pulling and snapping the stupid sun visor the entire time. (Which eventually resulted in a minor tantrum. Mine. I have a vague memory of me ripping it off the window and slamming gently tossing it into the garbage pail at my feet.)

About 15 minutes into our wait in the stupid line, the baby starts wailing. Now, we are technically on a road, but the line is off to the side on the shoulder and really is just creeping along. So, do we count as a moving vehicle? Am I akin to Britney Spears if I take her out of the car seat at this point? I decide to proudly reassure myself that I am a good parent, who can handle a little crying, so I leave her in the car seat and begin desperately shaking rocking the car seat in hopes the resulting dizziness will lull her into a state of peace. About this time, our other child decides she would like to join in the fun and begins whining/crying as well. Of course, my dear husband thinks it is helpful to shout suggestions from the front. "Is the baby wet?" "Have you given her a bottle?" "Can you pass me a martini, two olives?" Dude, do you think I haven't thought of the same things you have? Why don't you get out there and see what happens when you chew on one of those light strands?

We continue like this, now just wanting to get into the festival of hell lights and get this over with, for about another 10 minutes. Finally, we enter the park. Throughout the entire drive, our eldest asks repeatedly: "Where is Santa? Where is Santa?" I want to reply: "Believe me kid, if I knew, I would wring his jolly neck for being the ring leader in all this nonsense."

I know we are officially grumpy adults, because instead of oohing and ahhing over all these blinking strings, my husband and I just keep commenting that it must be a royal pain to do all of this work. I can just imagine the spouse of the poor worker who puts up all these lights. If s/he dare to badger his/her spouse about putting up Christmas decorations at home, I am certain the spouse would end up with a string of lights inserted where the sun don't shine. The blinking butt could be a cool conversation starter, though.

Merry freakin' Christmas.

Oh yeah, I forgot. As we finally exit the park, the guy assigned to take the $9 fee (who chooses that job?) informs us it is cash only. Oops. Here, have a dirty diaper and an orange peel. I would feel guilty about shorting them the $9 except I recently received our county tax bill.


  1. ha! merry freaking christmas, mom. Rather than the work required, I was thinking of all the energy they must be using.

  2. OH, JEN! I am cracking up...BEEN THERE DONE THAT! My idea of hell. Merry Christmas! Melissa

  3. Oh yeah Martin - it didn't slip by us about the energy usage. Unreal.