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  • Writer's pictureKelsey Petersen

A Christmas Story

After a couple of weeks of playing pass the sickness, everyone in my family is finally on the up and up. When I realized that it is already December 10th, I panicked a little. I have an entire December bucket list filled to the brim with fun and festive Christmasy things to do, and we've wasted a lot of time wallowing in our own germs. It was for this reason that I decided to dress the girls up in their matching taffeta Christmas dresses and drive twenty minutes to the Bass Pro Shop to have a picture with Santa. I just really needed to prove to myself that I could bring my Christmas A-game, and what better way to do it then with free pictures with St. Nick?

I seriously spent all morning planning my execution. I gathered all of the tights, bloomers, cardigans, and bows necessary for maximizing the cuteness and waited for Scarlett to wake up from her mid-morning nap ( because a well-rested baby makes for a higher chance of spontaneous ear-splitting grins to be captured on camera). After she awoke, I stuffed two pairs of extremely wiggly legs into tights, and yes, I would like some praise for that, thank you very much. I buttoned all the buttons and snapped all of the snaps and we were off. It was already after noon by the time we were actually pulling out of the driveway, but I was just proud of myself for being such a fun Christmasy mom, even if it did take me way too long to get out the door.

I had Scarlett in the stroller and Ellie holding one of my hands as we made our way to the large front entrance of Bass Pro Shop. There were quite a few elderly couples smiling at my cute little crew. I was practically strutting, thinking to myself how their days were probably made just getting to witness such adorable little Christmas girls. I was carried away a bit in my own thoughts and didn't realize that my pace was a little quick for a two-year-old. Ellie toppled over just as I reached the entrance and in dramatic Ellie fashion sprawled out on the side walk and wailed loudly. People started spilling out of the doors and rubbernecking a bit, thus causing kind of a scene hold-up type thing. Ellie kept holding her knee (is it bad that I was just concerned about whether or not her tights ripped?) and saying, "It HUUUURRRTSS!" I bribed her off the floor with promises of Santa's lap and candy canes. Eventually, she heard me over her loud sobs so we dried her tears and made our way inside to find Santa's workshop.

I was feeling extra cool that I had chosen to come at a time when there was no line and made a b-line over to Santa Claus. Ellie suddenly became very shy and my guy Santa bribed her onto his lap with a candy cane. I cringed a little inside and made a mental note to talk about strangers and candy before plopping Scarlett on his lap also. Scarlett took one look at that big white beard and poked out her little lip and big fat tears started rolling down her cheeks. Ellie kind of sat there, stone-faced while I started blowing raspberries and making stupid faces to try to turn those frowns upside down---but on the inside I was just wondering why the heck I was doing this to them. Because really, neither of them were really enjoying themselves but I was just feeling like if I could get one good Santa picture I'd have proof that I was fun and festive and making memories that were gonna last a lifetime, dangit.

But I ended up with this picture instead.

You know, it's cool. I got the classic crying baby thing going for me. I chalked it up as a sort of win.

After I consoled my crying baby, we walked around, watched the fish for a bit, checked out the overpriced toys. Then I saw the Water Wows.

Ellie is obsessed with these things and has already kind of destroyed the two she has because she likes to over-saturate the cool reusable pages. They keep her entertained forever and are always $4.99, no matter where you get them. The first thing I hear in the morning is, "I wanna paint!" and I'm like, "You go for it, girlfriend!" I've been meaning to make a trip to get another so I was happy that I happened upon these. I made my way to the checkout line but before I could even swipe my card home-girl already had the paint brushy pen out and was asking me to fill it with water. I kept reassuring her that I would fill it up in the car. Halfway through the parking lot I started getting a sinking suspicion that I had forgotten my water bottle at home, but I was keeping the faith that I would be able to deliver on my promise of this magical car water that would make her fancy paintbrush pen work. After collapsing the stroller and piling the girls into the van I realized my suspicions were right; there was no water to be found. I know that in this scenario, I was the grownup and she is only two and I shouldn't live my life in fear that Ellie is going to throw a tantrum, but I just do, ok? I did not want to deal with crying over broken promises all the way home. So I did what any reasonable mother who is afraid of her child's wrath would do, I scouted around for a puddle in the near vicinity. I found a pretty deep one not too far away from the car but in plain view of one of those police watch towers. I hope those things are just up there to scare people off and don't actually have any policemen inside, because I looked pretty insane huddled over the puddle, filling the little blue vile with dirty street water for my child to play with. I got mud all over my pretty blue sweater, but I felt pretty dang resourceful handing Ellie her nifty toy.

I backed out of the parking lot and was feeling like I had diffused what would have been a difficult situation when I realized a little too late that I was exiting out of the one way entrance onto a very busy street. It was a long and winding road that led me there, so turning back wasn't an option. The street was too narrow for more than one car, see. "Well," I thought to myself. "This will only be a problem if someone tries to come in." I swear I didn't even have time to think the entire sentence before a bearded guy in a massive truck threw on his blinker and started trying to turn into the entrance. All the cars behind him came to a stop and I tried to go as far to my right as I could to somehow make enough room for him to come in. There were now easily fifteen cars stuck behind the truck guy and I was feeling pretty stupid trying to figure out how the heck to get out onto the busy road with such heavy non-stop traffic coming at me. A generous person in the far lane saw what was going on and came to a stop and signaled me over so I could finally make my way out. I guess I had moved further over to the right than I thought because I definitely hit a curb pretty hard and watched the girls bounce a bit in the review mirror. Thank goodness for car seats, right?

I was still feeling pretty embarrassed about my blunder when I pulled into my driveway. When I went to unbuckle Ellie out of her car seat my heart dropped when I realized I HAD NEVER BUCKLED HER IN. I've never made a mistake like that before but I must have gotten a little distracted on my trash-water excursion and completely spaced buckling her! There have been multiple occasions where I have felt like a crappy mom, but that took the fruitcake. There she was bobbing around in the backseat while I was jumping curbs and driving the wrong way on a one-way ...But at least she had her Water Wow guys, at least she he had Water Wow.

In twenty years when I unpack all of the Christmas stuff and see the product of today's excursion---AKA a very average Santa picture--- I think I'll probably laugh. Gosh, I wish I could just go have a chat with twenty-years-from now Kelsey and ask her if the kids turned out all right, but knowing me, she'd probably tell me they were traumatized at a young age for making them sit on a stranger's lap. She's so snarky that way.

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