It's official. We can't go to any stores until well into January. Norah loves Santa and everything Christmas-y.
So, why deprive her of such joy, you ask? Because when a toddler sees a shining, singing, sparkling, spectacle of a Christmas display, she never, ever wants to leave. When you say, "Come on, Sweetie, time to go," you will hear, "NO!" as a reply. When you say, "Honey, come to Mama," you will hear, "NO! NOOOOO!" And when the store is closing and people are forcing us out and threatening to call the police, she will throw herself to the floor, facedown, and throw the mother of all tantrums.
Okay, it was morning and we'd only been there for about 40 minutes, but it was lunchtime and we needed to go.
I don't even know how she remembers this stuff. She was just a few days under one last year when Grandma taught her "Ho ho ho!" and gave her a Santa ornament. How could she have possibly remembered that? But she bolted toward the Christmas display at Kohl's and bellowed "Ho ho ho!" to the glittering Santa ornaments hanging on white and green plastic trees. I was surprised, to say the least, but also amused as she went to each Santa object she found (chotchkies, ornaments, Santa stockings, snow globes, etc) and said, "Ho ho ho!" to each one.
Soon she was dissatisfied by just ho-ho-hoing. Now she wanted to touch-touch-touch. I tried to gently guide her hands away from the displayed items, but she got more and more irritated with my interference. She'd whip her hand away and squeal, and then find another item to break-- I mean, touch.
Now a group of little old ladies were browsing the Christmas section. At first we got a couple smiles. We usually do-- Norah is damn cute. But then as Norah started getting more rowdy and resistant to my pleas, we started getting those looks. You know. The my-child-never-acted-up-due-to-my-superior-parenting-skills look, or the that's-what-bad-parenting-will-get-you-look. I even heard one of them utter something about a "plug." I'm assuming the old broad was discussing my nearly-two-year-old's pacifier.
Okay. It was time to leave. Not only was it lunchtime, but I was dangerously close to telling some old bat to mind her own business.
"Time to go, Baby," I said quietly, crouching down to her level.
"Ho ho ho! Ho ho ho!" She blissfully galloped to the next display.
I must avoid a tantrum. Think, Heather.
After bribing her with a number of things (we'll go find an Elmo toy, let's find more Santas, do you want some apple juice, etc.), I pulled out the big guns: "Should we visit Daddy?" Daddy works at a home improvement store, which is like Disneyland to a toddler for some reason, and Norah loves to visit. Grandpa works at the same store, so it's double awesome.
She broke out of her Christmas trance and looked up-- "Yeah!"
Then she turned to her Santa friends, as well as the sour old hens, and yelled at the top of her lungs, "Bye, Hos!"