Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Walking Through Merryland

Ever determined to Make Christmas Memories, I forced my children to leave the cozy confines of their cave and accompany me to a Zoolight display. My Reluctant Student is also a bah-humbug kind of kid. He thinks things are either 1) too much trouble and his feet will hurt or 2) boring. (This is why Disney World was perhaps not the Happiest Place on Earth with him in tow.)

No matter. He protested and said, "I'm not going!" and clutched the remote control a little tighter and gazed a little more devotedly at Cartoon Network, but I said, "Fine. Get yourself a babysitter because we're leaving at 4:30 p.m." Then he realized something dreadful. "What's for dinner?" he said, looking at me with stark panic. "Oh, I don't know. We'll get something along the way," I said in my most casual voice.

Ha. Got him. I told him I'd drop him off at his dad's office and when he and dad got home, they could make themselves something. After all, I have lots of cans of Campbell's chicken soup.

Lo and behold, he decided to come with us, but just for the food.

The sky spit rain as we left, and soon, the spit turned into steady raindrops. No matter, I told the children. "We aren't made of brown sugar. We won't melt." Twenty minutes later, we arrived in the nearly empty parking lot. This was all part of my master plan. Go on a weeknight. Arrive when the display opens. Brave the rain. Avoid the crowds. See? Perfect.

As we walked into the zoo, the rain stopped. The boys were boys, making inane comments and jostling each other as we strolled along. My 3-year old daughter wanted to see animals and wanted to go inside . . . apparently she didn't get the memo and failed to realize that we were staying outside, looking at lights, not animals. Fortunately, the aquarium was open, so we flitted from tank to tank, admiring the sealife. The boys sprawled out on the floor in front of the shark tank and made disparaging comments about the sharks who lingered on the floor. ("Those are dad sharks, laying around after watching football.") They found this hilarious.

No one enjoyed the light display quite as much as my daughter. As the light rainbow came into view, she exclaimed, "We're in merryland!" She's a devoted fan of Dora the Explorer, the apparent location of Fairyland. I love it when she bestows a more fitting name upon a place: Merryland. Perfect.

Of course, on the way home, my festive mood blackened when we were exchanging compliments. I said, "Let's say what we like best about each other." I started by pointing out my Reluctant Student's best qualities and the boys chimed in. They did add some snide comments, boys being boys and all, but really, they were sweet to each other. Then my blue-eyed twin said, "And now, let's say what we like about mom the best. I'll start. Well, when she's not throwing temper tantrums, mom is really nice. Even though she yells a lot."

Well. Happy holidays to you, too! The sharpness of a child's words hurt like none other because they are without malice. I protested that we were supposed to be saying nice things . . . and he said, "Well, you do yell."

And I did not say, "THAT'S BECAUSE I AM WITH KIDS ALL DAY!" I never did throw a temper tantrum in my whole life until I had children. Really. But there is something about the neverending noise and the constant interruptions and lack of consideration for my moods that has driven me to stomp and yell. Sometimes. Okay, more often that I should.

But since I don't want my darkness to overshadow the light, I am making a concentrated effort to put a stop to my "temper tantrums." (Though, of course, I would like to rush to explain that I really don't throw temper tantrums--I only respond as ANY SANE HUMAN ADULT WOULD to the pressure and situations and annoyances that I am forced to endure--but I will just swallow my pride and say, all right. You got me. I'm a horrible mother, but at least I will be a calm horrible mother.)

At least for today.

And then we went by Dairy Queen and had milk shakes and Blizzards and for my daughter, an ice cream cone.

Another happy memory made. Let's hope the pictures turn out so I have proof.

(Oh, and where was my husband? He was out delivering presents to children who have an incarcerated parent. We participate in The Angel Tree program affiliated with Prison Fellowship every year.)


Blogger Amie said...

LOL, I am glad I am not the only one :) I am working on it too though!

6:13 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

yeah, I'm with you. I never had temper trantrums either before Ihad kids. They just really bring it out of a person!

8:19 AM  
Blogger scribbler of dreams said...

I liked reading this... sounds like my family! haha :)

8:52 AM  
Blogger The Dung Beetle said...

Your kid's comments are hilarious.

Thanks for giving me a new idea... I'm going to try that"say something nice about each other" schtick this weekend when we go looking for x-mas lights... should be interesting.

9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pumpkin Pie Blizzard - yuMMM.

5:51 PM  
Blogger ellipsis... said...

Dearest Mellie--

I am still waiting for my newsletter. Just a gentle reminder.

Also, I hope you heeded my advice and edited out all those filthy curse words you had in there. I am sure the final version is rated G.

Waiting with baited breath:

PS: ho-ho-ho

6:28 PM  
Blogger WordsRock said...

Sometimes it feels quite good to just yell.

Sounds like you had a wonderful family adventure!


8:50 PM  
Blogger Vashti said...

"Get yourself a babysitter...." hahahahaha...I'm going to use that one on my kids.

10:55 PM  
Blogger Diddy-Win said...

Oh, Mel, it gets worse....or shall I say, stranger... you know my 18 yr old who knows everything and has tested EVERTHING in the last year? Well, HE said our family is dysfunctional. HAHAHAHA! We are so very far from dysfunctional...
I look forward to the day that he realizes that he really doesn't know everything and feels sheepish about his idiotic comments. However, I do love him to pieces.

11:46 AM  

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