Monday, December 21, 2009

Parade of Lights

My mom owes me twenty bucks.*

During the last afternoon of her visit, we piled in the car to get our ritual town coke** and decided to check out the prices for our community's "Parade of [Christmas] Lights" exhibit. The sign read, "$15 per car Monday-Thursday; $20 on the week ends."

Fully aware that our one-and-a-half year old son, Jack, loves lights we knew we had to go. Evidence: when Jack wakes up he runs to the living room, points to the Christmas tree and says, "chee!" (his word for tree, the sentiment being, "Momma, could we please turn on the lights on the Christmas tree?"), and then he whirls around to the kitchen and says, "nomin?," translated as "snowman?" our other light-up decoration we keep by his seat at the kitchen table. And then there are the lights around our front door, a little strand of red and white that we haphazardly threw up just to say we decorated. At night he sees lights on the other houses in our neighborhood. He points at them and yells, "Oh Wow!" And then there are the normal lights in the house - the fan light, and the bathroom light, and the kitchen light, all the normal lamps and flashlights, etc. that he notices. With delight he exclaims, "Ooooh!" as we illuminate each of them through the course of the evening.

That afternoon Mom said, "Ginger, you have to take Jack to see the Parade of Lights. In fact you might have to leave the Christmas tree up all year! He loves it! I'll leave you the money to go. Just promise me you'll take him!"

She forgot to leave the money, but we were convinced we had to go.

And we went.

We left right as the sun was slumping on the horizon and the sky was that gorgeous deep blue, the color that makes a whimsical impression and then quickly fades to black. I wanted to be sure to be at the front of the line at that moment in order to avoid the crowd. Already lines of cars, bumper to bumper, sat in two lanes full of families who were eager, if not a little impatient, to see the festive spectacle. I remembered to bring snacks and the eclectic "Happy Holy Days"CD my friend Russell for us. All was perfect!

When we got to the entrance, we paid, turned off our headlights as per the sign, and I pulled Jack out of his car seat into my lap so that he could see better. We drove through the maze of lights. There were a million things to see: blinking toy soldiers, a hundred Santas making toys, reindeer attending flight school, angels heralding, elves having snowball fights, deer leaping, squirrels throwing nuts, - a billion, trillion things to look at!

Despite the glowing wonderland around us, Jack was most interested in the floorboard of the car. He squatted on the floor and did his best to be in the way. He found the car's hazard light button which he rhythmically pressed in time to the Happy Holy Days CD. We tried to point and squeal like he does every morning to trick him into being interested, but he fussed and wanted down, and needed to do everything except look at lights. In short, going to the Parade of Lights was a nightmare for our son.

At the end of the trail was a lovely carnival complete with rides, funnel cakes, and pictures with Santa. Jack looked around, blinking, drooling, bored. We even took him on his first carousel ride. His expression remained blank as the horses went up and down and the lights spun around him. One cup of wassail later (Rich and I needed something to make it worth our while), we got back into the car to head home. Our baby had defeated us.

As soon as we pulled into our driveway and drug ourselves out of the car to come inside, Jack saw the piddly lights around the door. For the first time that night and with an expression of complete awe and wonder on his face, he exclaimed, "OH WOW!"

Of course.

* Mom, You don't really owe me $20. You do too much already! :)
** Town cokes are sacred.

4 comments:

Pam said...

Sounds like a great event. This probably means he will like the boxes better than toys as well. Oh well.

tara said...

Sorry about the twenty dollars, but in a way, isn't it beautiful that his world is so small? He just couldn't focus on what was outside of the car because it wasn't in his here and now. I do think that's lovely.

Amy said...

I think we may have to get a fake tree and keep it up all year around too. I have the lights on all day long for our little Alyce. She loves the light. What a fun time you had..

Grannymar said...

Children always seem more impressed with simple things. How many times have we heard of children opening the box to find a toy and then spending the day playing with the box.

Have a wonderful Christmas and may 2010 be happy and healthy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Parade of Lights

My mom owes me twenty bucks.*

During the last afternoon of her visit, we piled in the car to get our ritual town coke** and decided to check out the prices for our community's "Parade of [Christmas] Lights" exhibit. The sign read, "$15 per car Monday-Thursday; $20 on the week ends."

Fully aware that our one-and-a-half year old son, Jack, loves lights we knew we had to go. Evidence: when Jack wakes up he runs to the living room, points to the Christmas tree and says, "chee!" (his word for tree, the sentiment being, "Momma, could we please turn on the lights on the Christmas tree?"), and then he whirls around to the kitchen and says, "nomin?," translated as "snowman?" our other light-up decoration we keep by his seat at the kitchen table. And then there are the lights around our front door, a little strand of red and white that we haphazardly threw up just to say we decorated. At night he sees lights on the other houses in our neighborhood. He points at them and yells, "Oh Wow!" And then there are the normal lights in the house - the fan light, and the bathroom light, and the kitchen light, all the normal lamps and flashlights, etc. that he notices. With delight he exclaims, "Ooooh!" as we illuminate each of them through the course of the evening.

That afternoon Mom said, "Ginger, you have to take Jack to see the Parade of Lights. In fact you might have to leave the Christmas tree up all year! He loves it! I'll leave you the money to go. Just promise me you'll take him!"

She forgot to leave the money, but we were convinced we had to go.

And we went.

We left right as the sun was slumping on the horizon and the sky was that gorgeous deep blue, the color that makes a whimsical impression and then quickly fades to black. I wanted to be sure to be at the front of the line at that moment in order to avoid the crowd. Already lines of cars, bumper to bumper, sat in two lanes full of families who were eager, if not a little impatient, to see the festive spectacle. I remembered to bring snacks and the eclectic "Happy Holy Days"CD my friend Russell for us. All was perfect!

When we got to the entrance, we paid, turned off our headlights as per the sign, and I pulled Jack out of his car seat into my lap so that he could see better. We drove through the maze of lights. There were a million things to see: blinking toy soldiers, a hundred Santas making toys, reindeer attending flight school, angels heralding, elves having snowball fights, deer leaping, squirrels throwing nuts, - a billion, trillion things to look at!

Despite the glowing wonderland around us, Jack was most interested in the floorboard of the car. He squatted on the floor and did his best to be in the way. He found the car's hazard light button which he rhythmically pressed in time to the Happy Holy Days CD. We tried to point and squeal like he does every morning to trick him into being interested, but he fussed and wanted down, and needed to do everything except look at lights. In short, going to the Parade of Lights was a nightmare for our son.

At the end of the trail was a lovely carnival complete with rides, funnel cakes, and pictures with Santa. Jack looked around, blinking, drooling, bored. We even took him on his first carousel ride. His expression remained blank as the horses went up and down and the lights spun around him. One cup of wassail later (Rich and I needed something to make it worth our while), we got back into the car to head home. Our baby had defeated us.

As soon as we pulled into our driveway and drug ourselves out of the car to come inside, Jack saw the piddly lights around the door. For the first time that night and with an expression of complete awe and wonder on his face, he exclaimed, "OH WOW!"

Of course.

* Mom, You don't really owe me $20. You do too much already! :)
** Town cokes are sacred.

4 comments:

Pam said...

Sounds like a great event. This probably means he will like the boxes better than toys as well. Oh well.

tara said...

Sorry about the twenty dollars, but in a way, isn't it beautiful that his world is so small? He just couldn't focus on what was outside of the car because it wasn't in his here and now. I do think that's lovely.

Amy said...

I think we may have to get a fake tree and keep it up all year around too. I have the lights on all day long for our little Alyce. She loves the light. What a fun time you had..

Grannymar said...

Children always seem more impressed with simple things. How many times have we heard of children opening the box to find a toy and then spending the day playing with the box.

Have a wonderful Christmas and may 2010 be happy and healthy.