Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Cheap entertainment

Why is it that we parents feel the need to drop major bucks on entertainment for our kids? Especially when they are little! I think of all of the money we've dropped on museum admission and theme park admission and tickets to movies and festivals...when all I needed to do to get major laughs out of my son is take him to Garden Ridge, of all places.

Last night, on our way to a Walmart run, we decided to go to Garden Ridge to check out the Christmas decorations (last year, they had an inflatable Santa that was dressed in an Army uniform, but they sold out before we could get one, and we haven't been able to find one since. By the way, if you see one somewhere, call me!) Anyway, as we pulled in, Aiden asked what store we were at. I told him we we're at Garden Ridge, and we were going to look at Christmas decorations. "Really!" he said, all excited. "Can we look at all the Santas with the buttons you push?" I told him we'd try to find some for him to check out. "Mama, I LOVE this store! This store is my favorite!" he tells me, as we pile out of the van.

We get inside, and I swear, you'd have thought we we're at an expensive theme park. As we wound up and down the aisles of mostly-tacky outdoor decorations, he was enthralled. We had to go back several times for him to take another look. He especially liked a pretty, lighted angel that had wings that moved, so we may have to go back for that one. We looked at all of the stockings, trying to find one for Aubrey that sort of matched the ones we all have already. And then we came across an aisle that made Aiden's eyes truly light up.

You know those animated stuffed animals that sing songs or play the drums--the ones that are cute for about 5 minutes and are then annoying? We found an aisle that was entirely filled with these things. I spent the next 20 or 30 minutes walking slowly down the aisle, handing Aiden one box after another, and watching him delightedly poke at the button and watch these characters come to life. We saw Santas that rapped about the Christmas story to "It's your birthday..." A Snoopy that hummed along with a Christmas tune. There were reindeer that sang and danced, penguins that played drums, and even a dog that wagged his tail along to "We wish you a Merry Christmas." But, by far, my son's favorite was the plastic outhouse with a Santa hat on top that contained a tooting Santa, alive with raucous potty humor and, apparently, out of toilet paper. Aiden pushed the button again and again, laughing hysterically every time Santa farted. He begged for me to buy him one, but I refused...there is no way I'm listening to Santa fart a million times a day between now and Christmas! (Luckily, the one we had been playing with had a broken corner, so I was able to tell him that it was broken--never mind the 15 I could see sitting up on the top shelf out of his view!)

We walked around a bit more and checked out ornaments and various Christmas decor, and had to drag Aiden from the store when it was time to go. As we piled in the van, he begged for us to go back and see the Christmas "fings" again soon, and I told him sure. An hour's worth of entertainment, for free! Sounds like a deal to me!

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Check out A Belly in Bloom, a page devoted to Angela's pregnancy with Aubrey. You can see belly pics, sonograms, and learn more about how Aubrey (formerly known as "The Bean") came to be the lovely little girl she is! You can also find Angela's favorite recipes and newest food experiments at Cooking with the Parker Pack.