Friday, December 20, 2013

The Good Mom.

People often accuse me of being a good mom. These accusations are mostly based off photographs, Facebook stati and blog posts.  If they were to hang out inside my head, or even by my side for a couple days, they're tune might change. Would change really. They'd comprehend just how much I hate amusement parks, crowded places, Halloween, lines, Chuck E. Cheese's, Monkey Bizness or really most things kid friendly or kid oriented.  I have no desire to EVER take them to Disney World. They would begin to notice that most of the things which seemingly I "do for the kids" such as getting ice cream, walking to Starbucks (ok, that's obviously for me), going to the zoo, picking berries, selecting pumpkins are actually just something I wanted to do. Though, give me some credit, at least I put a spin on it, making them think its all for them.  Even if, let's say, this outing was for the kid's, I only do it to waste time and get out of the house, as I slightly suffer from claustrophobia.

These accuser's would observe me teasing my harmless breast fed newborn as he is sure of impending death from starvation by offering my chin, mouth or nose to suckle. Which he does. Then quickly stops in a panic as there is no food supply. At least I thank him for his kisches. They would see me rub my face (the well known cue that my miniscule supply of patience has run out) in an effort to not strangle a misbehaved child. Or clenching my teeth or biting my tongue in order not to squeeze too hard a stinking adorable child.  They would witness me racing my 4 year old...and winning. Same goes with most board games or any other challenge the boys' create.  I am the mom that laughs at her 5-year-old when he hits his head on the manger while bowing during the Christmas program. Does a "good mom" do that!?
As you might imagine, after reading the previous paragraphs, a visit to Santa with the children TOPS the dreadful children's activity charts.  This endeavor includes long, chaotic lines, crowds, strangers, and lots of cranky children only to end in putting my child[ren] in the hands (or on the lap, as it were) of a complete stranger.  I took Brock at age one, feeling the tremendous pressure as a first time mom to do "the right thing" and get the obligatory Santa picture.  I vowed, never again.  The picture was crap.  I paid $8 for it.  I was hot, Brock was tired.  Not worth it.  No even close. Therefore, we never returned again.  Until now...three kids later.

We purchased a membership to Union Station.  I have found it to have multiple children's activities.  It is very open.  And rarely busy. Shhh, don't tell anyone.  So, when I read that they have Santa visit for 5 days, brought to Kansas City on a train named, "Rudy" and that you could actually SCHEDULE a time to visit, I saw opportunity.  Maybe I don't have to deprive my children of the wonderful "Santa experience".  This is perfect.  Well, after much searching, I never could find out anymore specifics, or where exactly one could sign up for this so-called scheduled Santa visit.  I decided to go for it anyway, it was a Thursday night, and as previously stated, Union Station seems to be a somewhat well-hidden KC secret.  I'll take my chances.  For the kids (it wasn't at all because they were all acting bonkers and tearing the house apart, top to bottom).  We arrive at 7pm, an hour before closing, only to find out that the line is shut down.  Apparently, they stop letting people in at 7pm, though everywhere online says 8pm.

We continue to wander, and I hear, "Mrs. Smith! Hey!"  One of my brother's friends (who just so happens to be in charge of letting people in and out) recognizes me...and we are in. Phew.  Santa had a bleak future prior to this not-so-surprising connection to one of the employees.  We ride down to the exhibit in the largest elevator, ever to have existed, I am quite sure.  It was larger than the bedroom I am sitting in, right now!  The doors open, we get directed to the line and surprise!  There are only about 5 families ahead of us.  Not only that, but after visiting with Santa, who is surrounded by merry elves, the boys get to board and tour a real train. 

As we stand in line, I prepare the boys, making sure they understand that a picture is expected.  I always pump them up/bribe them for pictures.  It works best that way.  Brock has been observing the Santa happenings, and tells me, he'd rather just stay with me and not visit with him.  I explain that I will be nearby.  Then I see Curtis watching, and can tell by his eyes that he is becoming more and more apprehensive as the line shortens.  George is blissfully unaware of the situation completely.  We get to the front.  I set George in Santa's lap, an elf takes Mitch to Mrs. Claus, Matt sternly forces Brock into the photo, Curtis is just crying, the elf insists I come take George "because they will smile and feel more comfortable in mom's lap", I am mad I am going to be in the picture, and hysterically laughing at my ridiculous brood. And done.  Photo snapped.

We then walk to the train, where George starts crying at nearly every turn because he is now certain those "merry elves" are out to get him.  The train is filled with Christmas memorabilia, one care being full of creepy Santa figurines.  They are all a bit nervous through that car.  We get to the end.  Take a few more pictures in front of "Rudy". The boys get a bag full of candy, crayons, puzzles, and we walk back through the old, grand train station, to our car.  Five minutes into the drive, Brock asks, "How much longer, I'm ready for bed." To which Curtis says, "yeah".  They are all smiling and content.

Mission accomplished.  Short line. No crowds. Free.  Gifts for the kids. Bedtime upon arrival at home.  A hilarious picture.  And never taking the kids back to Santa, guilt free, as I am sure they were all sufficiently scarred.  Oh, except Mitch.  The happy baby, smiling at his brothers' chaos and misfortunes, as per usual, with no regard for strangers.  Perhaps he will want to go back.  And, like a "good mom", I will take him - when I feel like it.

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