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This is going to sound crazy to write about something so mundane, and I hate reading about the mundane, usually. But I feel the need to document a few things that are.  In case things get progressively worse, so an older me can look back at the relatively “good times.” Or in the eventuality of time travel, a younger me can get a preview of what is to come, but that may change the entire future of our planet.  Look away, Rachel of the 1990s!  Rip off those fake nails, listen to your gut regarding that first marriage, and go that U2 concert by yourself or you will forever regret it.  Now, read no further.

So for this year, I won Celebration in the Oaks.  That’s right, the holiday decorations at City Park were my bitch.  What?  We tried to go several times, but it has been a very rainy holiday season.  Cousins  from the Houston-based branch were supposed to join us, but one threw up in their truck earlier in the day, good-bye new car smell!  A few friends were going to meet us, but got grounded.  All is well, it would not have been as good with other people to corral.

We got there just as they opened; 6:00.  I drove the van to make this happen, and knew just the right way to go and where to illegally turn into the parking lot to get a great spot.  The kids literally skipped and giggled their happy way through the great lawn (I think they call it, new) to the entrance in the Botannical Garden.  I had pre-purchased tickets, which cost an extra $4 plus a wasteful one sheet of paper each, but worth it today to breeze in without a line. (Sorry, Rachel of the future, we did waste a lot of paper when we could back then.)

We walked through the Botanical Garden first (in past years, we have walked in on the Story Land side and faced grumpy attitude to go through places of beauty that have no game).  They really enjoyed running through the garden mazes, checking out dead ends and generally being silly.  As there was hardly anybody there yet, it worked beautifully.  The bug garden, the train garden, the dripping trees, the musical light shows – it felt like we were a normal family on a normal family outing.  We held hands while the kids cavorted in front of us, safe, happy and loving.

City Park did the train rides very well this year – they had 4 trains in service, so the line wait wasn’t too long – we went on 2 small tugboat rides while Jim held our space.  The 10 minutes or so we did have to wait, I had to pull out all my tricks – playing Subway Surfer on my phone (fight over which game to play), the promise of hot chocolate for the absence of whining and complaining, holding hands with the ever-increasingly agitated Jim, and offering a prize for whoever saw the Pirate Ship lights first.  Okay, 2 prizes, stop crying, everyone is a winner, no the hot chocolate is not the prize, stop yelling Pirate Ship at every light…  All the attention on this caused us to not be aware that someone had taken our second seat, so we all had to cram in one, but wedging the kids in our laps fairly immobile was better anyway.

Then off to the kiddies rides, lost Clifton for a moment, Arthur was so enthralled with all the stunts he could do on the swirling tunnel in the fun house, silly giggles on the drop ride thing.  Then we go to the snack area in the botanical garden (not the cafe in the kid rides area), get hot chocolate and hot dogs.  There is a dj and lots of people dancing and line dancing.  We all do silly dances at the table and up on stage.  You have to really enjoy the silly crazy things to get through the not so fun parts (a lot like living in New Orleans!).  We are already near the exit, so it’s 8:30 now and there are no distractions impeding our egress.  A small comment about not making it through Story Land, but not to worry, as it is always available for future visits.

I already have more snacks available for them in the van as well as a new movie in the dvd player, so the ride home is without incident (aka screaming, hitting, whining, crying, you know the usual).

I win Celebration in the Oaks!

Noting the in-depth preparation to make this a win.  Is it worth it?  Should we have just stayed home as we usually do?  Is it a memory worth keeping?  Repeating?  A tradition?  A habit?  Is it not really in-depth preparation, just my perception of what mother hood would be, or my preference for an extremely simple lifestyle?

I’m kind of tired of typing, but I did mention a loser in the title, so I guess I have to finish this.  I wanted to write about this separately anyway, to try to help me figure out what it is and how to help him get beyond it.

The Clifton Christmas Conundrum was playing around in my head.  I kind of mentally prepare for it, but am still continually surprised.  Although Clifton got many things that were on his multiple voluminous lists, and he liked every gift he got from Santa, his behavior and attitude Christmas morning was subdued, jealous and cranky.  Tried to have a Skype with Sharla to show them playing with presents and he would have none of it.

He cannot enjoy what he receives, because he is always thinking of what he didn’t receive.  It is never enough; his desires are a cavernous gaping hole that can never be filled.  Example of the Cinderella at the ball doll – cost $40, compared with $10-20 for the others.  ToysRUs asked me if I wanted a 2 year warranty (ha, just spelled that like guarantee and couldn’t figure out what was wrong) with that doll.  Really?  He’s going to have this doll stripped and hair undone in 24 hours.  As a joke, he put the Cinderella dress on an undone Elsa doll and came to show it to me as what he had done to Cinderella.  So funny.

Later that day, he tells me what he really wants is the Cinderella gets married doll set that comes with a prince and probably several other pieces.  I had to cut him off, telling him he has been writing about this doll to Santa for months and he just saw that doll recently (or not at all as I haven’t seen it yet, could be a new category of made up desires.)  And a little while later, he is the b-word.  No, not bitchy, the other b-word that riles the hackles of any mom on a regular day and turns her into a raving murderous lunatic on a heavily purchased, meticulously planned gift-giving day like Christmas and birthdays.   When I hear the two preceding words come out of their mouths I am already gesturing explosively and cutting them off at the pass with a “You better get away from me with that.” etc.  But again, an occurrence on Christmas Day is an apocalypse unto itself when uttered by a 7 year old who got 10 presents plus stocking.

Aargh.  I am bored.  That is what he said to me on Christmas Day.  The sadness of it overcomes me after the anger subsides.  Cleaning out the Christmas detritus this week, I come across the letters both kids wrote to Santa after receiving their letters from him ($15 each) assuring them that he was real.

Clifton wrote

Dear Santa:

I wonder if you like me why do you think that I am kind. I say bad thangs to my brother. I like what you give me for all of the Christmas toys. and I wunt all of kindes you give kids.  I love who you are do you care if I act like a girl do you care? can you sint a picture for christmas a picture of you. When I grow up I will still blive in you. Did you get all my lists I gave you.  Tell me if you have really magic.

Love Clifton

do you like me

to santa from clifton

Now I’m really tired,and I need to work.  Just wanted to put this down to help me remember and to help me process.

Love to the winners and the losers and a reminder that a new year is just around the corner and a new day is just around the sunrise.  See you there!