Iâ€™m a sucker for tradition, and Iâ€™ve been striving to create our own Stream family traditions around the holidays. And who wouldnâ€™t want an annual screaming at Santa photo to pull out when your sons become teenagers. Besides, last year Search puked all over the floor of the Macyâ€™s Believe special section as Santa handed back a screaming muppet.
I figured this year couldnâ€™t be any worse (despite warnings that 18 months is a prime age to be terrified of an exhausted, likely sick of small children, mall Santa.) â€œFamous last wordsâ€¦â€ cautioned a friend.
I should live tweet this!
Even Destroy was excited. He woke up at 2 a.m., and screamed his bloody little head off until about 3:30 a.m. when we both passed out on the living room floor. (I decided not to start tweeting this early.) A scant three hours later I was awakened by a 27-pound ex-27-weeker smacking me on the head.
“HI!” <smack> “HI!” <smack>
Clearly he was excited. Thanks to holiday shopping hours, the mall opened at 8 a.m. â€“ the precise time we left the house. We made it to the car (parked in the driveway) at 8:30 â€“ there were leaves to fall into and penguins to punch along the way.
We arrived at 8:45. Because it is the week before Christmas, I can only assume Santa is frantically finalizing plans back at the North Pole. So he wasnâ€™t due to touch down until 10:30 a.m. The muppets and I were going to embrace the early emptiness of THE MALL to get some last minute shopping done.
But first! A cookie. (This is a perfectly sound breakfast for a mom whoâ€™s been up since pre-dawn.)
Just here for the cookie dude. Came all this wayâ€¦ Sheesh. Since our super secret squirrel move last year was a visit with Santa in Macyâ€™s, we stopped by the department store known best for the miracle mall Santa. Sadly, the big man wasnâ€™t there this year â€“ just a big mailbox.
At 10 a.m., we met GrandmaN at Santaâ€™s station and liberated the muppets from their stroller. We had a little chat about the appropriate behavior â€“ especially so close to the naughty vs. nice list.
By 10:30, the line twisted and twirled back and forth, wrapping around the mall for approximately a three-hour wait (at minimum). Being the brilliant planner I am, weâ€™d timed it perfectly and were third in line. But due to the lack of sleep and over-excitement (or suspicion), a crisis was commencing when it was discovered Iâ€™d run out of Ritz Crackers.
We headed to Cheesecake Factory for some lunch to fill up the muppets little tummies before crashing for naptime â€“ needed after such a busy morning. As we wrapped up our meal, and proceeded to begin the arduous process of loading packages, purses and pudgy people into the stroller, the table next to us leaned over to say, â€œâ€œYour children were fabulous. Really well behaved. We were very impressed.â€
BAM! *That* kids, is how you get on the nice list. (It also means when that nice couple saw us sit down they thought, â€œOh, shit.â€ There is certainly something to be said for cute kids getting away with a lot more <coughâ€¦bitingâ€¦cough>, but today, they really were well-behaved as well.
We arrived home precisely on schedule. I opened the car doors and took a moment to just watch my two boys – fast asleep, with their heads tilted toward one another â€“ it was the perfect ending to a holiday morning.
And then I opened the front door to find Scout had eaten the advent calendar and peed on a large box holding an early delivery from the North Pole.
Photo Flashback: Notice the skepticism has not changed…