sometimes once is enough

my kids don't like to shop. it's ok, they are in good company, their parents could usually do without it as well. i rarely take them to the grocery store, opting instead for late night superstore runs alone, and although we do take them to costco on the weekend, it usually involves snacks and a lot of looking at toys. my mom says i am not doing them any favours by avoiding it and she is probably right, but i am doing myself one, and sometimes that has to be enough. i know one day they will grow out of it so until then i just don't do it.

of course every now and again an exception needs to be made, usually out of necessity, or on days like today, out of sheer unbridled optimism and a need to torture myself. i am a sucker for tradition and am more than a little sentimental, so i wanted a photo with santa. i thought of going back to kingsgate mall and having it done with possibly the worst (and most drunk) santa in town, but then i thought maybe i should branch out, you know, now that i have a car. so we went there, the most dreaded place of all. i had read about the train over at the cheeseblog and thought cohen would be interested, a little tit for tat. i buy three items from three different stores, make him take a photo with santa, and he gets to go on the train. i probably don't have to tell you what happened.

we went into old navy and he started moaning, then there was a little arm flailing, and verbal protesting, but i persevered. i wanted to see if they had a cute christmas dress for ada because it occured to me last week that i have a little girl and she can actually wear things like a christmas dress, and it sounded kinda fun. even i lost patience in old navy. the music, the bright colours. nothing immediately caught my eye so we left.

next was winners. we only made it past the front door and ada started crying. i decided that i didn't need it that bad.

so we found santa's castle and much to my delight there was not one person in line. i am led to believe this is a christmas miracle unto itself. ada started crying before i even attempted to hand her over. i have learned in recent weeks, through various christmas soirees, that she is not super keen on strangers. cohen was fairly outgoing at her age and rarely played shy, but she panics whenever she smells unfamiliar. it usually isn't just a whimper either, more of a wail, some might even say a blood curdling scream. santa was obviously not on her list of laps she wanted to sit on today. the nice photo lady told me that i would have to be in the photo if this was going to happen. great! good thing i had a shower and brushed my hair before leaving the house today instead of just putting on a hat and then taking it off before the camera clicked, trying desperately to part my hair with my fingers. cohen wouldn't sit on his lap either. he just stood in front of him eyeing him up, cocking one eye in confusion. finally st. nick asked if he wanted to sit on the seat beside him. cohen thought about it and then obliged. as she focused the lens santa laughed and said, "i guess my job is easy, no one is even sitting on me!" it seemed like a strange thing to say, but he does sit in there all day, it must make you a little weak in the head after awhile.

we don't get the photo for a couple of days but i am sure cohen will be grimacing and leaning away from santa in a grotesque manner, i will have my hair sticking straight up with a look that says "this probably isn't worth it", and ada will look like a deer caught in the headlights, only with huge wet crocodile tears pouring off her cheeks. so in other words, it should be pretty good.

the train was a success, but then we had to leave because i can't just ride a train all day, well i could i guess but i didn't want to. when good things end two year olds generally don't nod and say "thanks mom, that was fun! i guess we have to go now". i pretended that was what he was saying though as he demanded "no! train! go!" and then cried and cried and cried.

it was an adventure, no doubt about it, but it's true, sometimes once really is enough.


Klay said...

I seriously applaud your brave optimism. It takes a lot of effort just thinking about going to the mall and you did it at Christmas time with 2 small children AND you went to Old Navy. If that was some kind of Mommy video game challenge you would have earned a lot of napping points.
I am also very much looking forward to seeing the Santa photo.

Randi said...

Good grinchy's ghost - you braved Metrotown?! With two babies?! At Christmas?! You ARE brave. :-) Kudos to you.

Can't wait to see the photo. I'm sure it will be great (actually great or bad-great, either way).

I'm trying to decide whether I go to the mall on a weekend to do it so Jamie can be there or whether I should sneak in under cover of weekday.

cheesefairy said...

You are insane.

cheesefairy said...

Also, you know the miniature train from confederation park? It's at Lougheed Mall for xmastime. It goes around Santa's village a few times for $2 (and you get a $2 off coupon for the miniature train during regular season).

Not that you want to go to another mall esp. as xmas gets closer. But Lougheed is a bit kinder than Metrotown.

laish said...

just to play devil's advocate, I think you're doing them a world of favour by avoiding shopping with them. does the world really need more people who like shopping? besides, they may learn to love shopping as teens & then you can tell them they have to get a job to pay for it & get to the mall by themselves - then you teach responsibility & cause & effect & everyone wins. until then, you're on the right track. & yes, you've earned a lifetime's worth of napping points to be redeemed in, uh, a few years from now?

libragal said...

my thought process while reading the first paragraph:

"there? hmmm... (click) - oh - mY - GOD!!! NOOO!!!!!" good for you for emerging somewhat unscathed.

while your experience is a memorable one and i definitely look forward to seeing the photo, i must admit that a big part of me will miss what could have been the 2008 version of Ada and Cohen's Adventures with Drunk Santa. Ah well, things change... and there's always next year...