“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”

Really, the most obnoxious, sarcastic, mocking song, which always seemed to come on at perfectly timed moments this week, like when I’m screaming four letter words at my husband for nearly sending Kendall (who was still getting over a cold I was convinced would turn into pneumonia) out in the tundra with SOAKING wet hair, or when my toddler is screaming at me for MORE ORANGES and/or COOKIES NOW!!!1

The child has eaten nothing but oranges and cookies this week. He is a citrus-y little ball of sugar that spontaneously combusts every 20 minutes and is totally using his powers of cute for evil, but, let it be known, he won’t get scurvy.

He has gone from charming and adorable to clingy and apocalyptic with his “I only have eyes and arms and whining for mommy” bit.  I couldn’t even pee this week without hearing him outside the bathroom door, wailing, “MaaaamaaaaaAAA!!” Leave the room? How dare I. What if I was sucked in by the toilet monster, never to fetch another orange or cookie again? OH, the humanity! It’s far too much to ask that he could be soothed by one of the hundreds of other family members floating around here, all itching to scoop him up and smother him with love and kisses.

And there is little to no sleeping going on… for any of us.  God love the in-laws, they carved out a space in their already packed house for the three of us and our two huge dogs to stay. Granted, this space is the size of a large walk in closet with not much more than a twin bed in it, but it’s a place… and it’s free… and they let our dogs sleep on their couch, except at night when they sleep in the room with us. So that’s the three of us and two dogs (did I mention these are very LARGE dogs, over 230 lbs combined?) in a small room with a twin bed and a pack and play, from which Kendall likes to scream at us frequently throughout the night. Are you getting the visual? I won’t even describe the smell.

Of course, this is a bit more room than we had in the Jeep for the 15 hour drive to St. Louis from Dallas. The smell, though, is pretty much the same.

“But…how will we get him in there?” I asked Scott as I looked at the mounds of shit presents and luggage stacked on either side of the carseat, nearly reaching the ceiling and held back by strategically placed and tucked blankets.

“From the front,” he said quickly and as nonchalantly as possible, knowing already what was coming.

“Oh my God, Scott! We can’t travel like this! We could surely get a ticket… or… something for child endangerment. And I don’t even want to THINK what would happen if, oh my God! What if we get in an accident? We will NEVER find him!” Our trip was off with a bang.

Oh wait, the “bang” hadn’t happened just yet. That came moments later when Kendall face planted into the driveway, clinging tightly with both hands to his precious sidewalk chalk, not even thinking to break his fall. Ah, yes. It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas, or just child abuse, across the top of my kid’s face.

Kendall

And then there was Oklahoma… the land of those lost in time and trans fats. Is it so much to ask that a McAlisters Deli be located in McAlester, Oklahoma? Or hell, something, anything that doesn’t serve everything with a side of fries?  We are to never travel through McAlester again, for fear of an impending divorce. Something about being forced to eat at McDonalds makes me a stabby wife.

A mile before we entered the Oklahoma toll road we pulled off at a gas station to get cash for the tolls.

I headed to the cash register with some Hostess Cupcakes and a Dr. Pepper, a small price to pay for $20 cash back.

“Sorry hon, we aren’t set up fer that here,” the cashier said very slowly.

Of course you’re not. I left my goodies at the counter and spent the next 15 minutes scouring the bottom of the Jeep (or at least the parts of the floor we could get to) looking for coins, but mainly finding Goldfish cracker corpses. We barely eeked out $1.75, the cost of the toll according to the GIANT SIGN at the entrance.

“That’ll be two daw-lars,” the toll-taker said, again very slowly.

“Huh? No, it’s a dollar seventy-five” we both chimed back in unison.

“No. It’s TWO daw-lars. The sign says so.”

“No, no it does NOT  say that. It says one seventy-five. I saw it,” i insist.

::blink, blink, silence, blink::

“We don’t HAVE two dollars. We just spent 15 minutes trying to find every penny we have in this car. There is no way we have two dollars. Will you take a credit card?” I reply as calmly as possible.

“No. We only take cash and check,” she says.

Who the hell travels with checks anymore?! Hello? Oklahoma? The 1990′s called. It wants it’s forms of currency back.  And, of course, she was unwilling to take Goldfish crackers, too. I have no idea how we managed to get through that toll because I know damn well we did not have two dollars. So she either took pity on us or she was really shitty at counting. If it was the former, Merry Christmas to her, too. If it was the latter, she should probably find a different job.

And to think, we get to brave that super fun drive all over again tomorrow. I’m giddy with the holiday spirit just thinking about it.

Complaining aside, when I subtract the travel and bury the sounds of the screeches, still ringing in my ears, deep somewhere in my soul (or the extra layer of holiday fat I’m packing now), I can concoct a bit of a picturesque, merry scene. It’s hopefully what I will remember years from now, like a perfect postcard. You know, there is a reason why holiday pictures aren’t interactive. It’s great that they don’t make noise, or capture the moment just before or just after. They are just a little slice of  perfect-happy, even if the reality is that perfect-happy only existed for a fleeting moment when someone pressed the shutter button.

family christmas

Of course, then there are the pictures that capture the moments of truth and preserve them forever, never to let you forget how your toddler errupted into a fit of cranky with a side of extremely unhappy and difficult to please the moment he laid eyes on the presents Christmas morning.

cranky kendall

::cue the music!::

“It’s the most WONDERFUL time of the year!”

Hope you all had a merry little Christmas/Hanukah/holiday of your choice:)

Kendall is nearly 20 months old and is even more fascinated with his grandparent’s Christmas tree than ours.

Edited to add: Gah! This post is so whiney!

  • Mandy - Hehehe. At least you got a great Christmas picture out of the deal.ReplyCancel

  • Maya - That is a great picture! I laughed out loud at your toll story. Sorry!ReplyCancel

  • Bada - My child loves all holidays. He has screamed through Halloween, Thanksgiving & Christmas. Glad yours was as fantastic is ours. ;) ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - The joy of a holiday with toddlers, if it makes you feel any better, I have a very similar crying picture too.

    And, did you know Oklahoma’s state nickname is the “Sooner State” (learned this from a boring study of the map one drive).

    Our family joke – “Oklahoma: the sooner you get in, the sooner you can get out.” ;)
    (And no need to defend your state Oklahoman (?), honestly I’ve never really been off the toll roads and interstates, which are SUPER boring!)ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - You are a saint for traveling 30 hours. A saint!

    Next time, can you just order stuff online and have it shipped there? Have the grandparents wrap them for you. Or use it as an excuse to go hide for a few hours at a time while you are there.

    I like your post and it manages to be much more entertaining than whiny. You have a gift, my dear. :-) ReplyCancel

    • Jill - I’m pretty sure Saints don’t use language like me.

      We made a lot of gifts – the Superhero Capes and caramel popcorn, so we couldn’t ship it. The majority of the stuff was just our luggage and the various things you need for traveling with a kid. Not to worry, though, because *next* year we are staying HOME.ReplyCancel

  • sabrina - I am just jealous that Kendall eats oranges. Drew only eats cookies or bread right now. I’d be in heaven if he at some oranges. And that is a great picture :) ReplyCancel

    • Jill - I’m really happy he likes oranges, I am, but the diapers are out of this world disgusting!ReplyCancel

  • Avery - We are staying home next year too, for sure. When our 2 week ‘vacation’ is over we will have spent the night in 3 homes, in 3 different states, spent 16 hours in the car and gone through airport security 3 times for our flights to and from both families. Yes ma’am, we are staying home next year.
    On a different note, your paragraph about pictures is exactly why I refused a videographer for our wedding. I wanted to be able to pick and chose the moments that will be remembered.ReplyCancel

    • Jill - Oh, Avery! That is INSANE!

      And wise move on the videographer, my friend. We spent a pretty penny on ours and have watched it .5 times. Yeah, we didn’t even make it through the whole thing the first and only time we sat down to watch it.

      GL with the rest of the “vacation”.ReplyCancel

  • Lindsay Robinson - I Love Baby Rabies It is the most cutest website Ever! <3 YAReplyCancel

  • Upstatemomof3 - Seriously, you are too funny!! Glad you all had a nice Christmas – sounds pretty much par for the course around here too. :) ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - That Kilpatrick turnpike is expensive! From OKC to Tulsa it’s like $5 each way! That is just ridiculous! Also, boo on Oklahoms. It is the land of fat rednecks.ReplyCancel

  • Tara Wilkinson - Sounds almost like ours! Went early (Tuesday) to my parents to beat the mother of all blizzards and our 20 month old was sick with who knows what. Up every night hacking up a lung and crying and ended up giving it to both of us. Got home yesterday while he stays with Grandma and Grandpa for a few days and we’re both too sick to take advantage of it!ReplyCancel

  • cassia - We sang Christmas carols during the whole three-hour drive! To cover up the sound of our toddler’s crying…

    We joyfully opened mounds of gifts! To find a thousand bits of plastic made in China, even though we were trying to have only wooden toys…

    We packed up our stuff in record time and didn’t leave anything behind! But we left the water running and had to call a neighbor to come over and turn it off…

    Yeah. Holidays. Happy.ReplyCancel

  • Catriona - I have to agree about McAlester….I used to live there! Ugh. I hate it too. Unfortunately, if I ever want to see my mother I have to go back!ReplyCancel

  • Clawing My Way Back Up - […] is a nutritional wasteland (but I’ve discussed this before). We had a picnic in our Jeep in the parking lot of an Oklahoma Walmart, consisting of cold cuts […]ReplyCancel

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