The Gift of Christmas

The Tweenager learned a valuable life lesson yesterday. He experienced something that very few people TRULY understand before they have children.

It warmed this Momma’s heart on so many levels.

For the first time, he’s decided that he wants to buy Christmas gifts for the thorns in his side his brothers. He’s got The Manimal taken care of, thanks to a Black Friday deal on Webkinz at our only BF shopping stop, Menards (yeah, we’re cool like that).

He decided that Little Darth’s current obsession with a certain blue steam engine meant that he would like some Thomas the Tank Engine cars. Being that I am crazy have already been through the Thomas stage with two other boys, I knew the best place would likely be that toy store that drives parents to drink holiday paradise for small children–Toys R Us.

I don’t know what possessed me to bring Little Darth with us on our exploratory journey. Actually, I do know. It was my desire to keep Diva Husband as sane as possible. You see, he is home with Little Darth during the day, so at night, I try (whenever feasible) to take the littles with me if I need to go out. The Manimal had an appointment, so during that 90 minute respite, I took The Tweenager and Little Darth to the store.

Let me just say that I rarely go to TRU. And by rarely, I mean almost never. I think the last time I was in the store was 2009. Maybe.

On the way there, I tried to explain how children’s brains turn to mush when they cross the threshold at TRU. How even the most well-behaved children cannot resist the siren’s song of a store whose mission statement reads something like “To convince the children of the world that they NEED ALL THE TOYS”.

He laughed.

And then we arrived.

I could feel Little Darth’s heart rate increase when we entered the store. He was going into sensory overload right before our very eyes. And the minute we found the Thomas aisle, it was as though Sir Topham Hatt himself was standing in front of him. He screamed “THOMAS!”, and wriggled his little body out of my arms.

For about fifteen seconds, The Tweenager just stared, while Little Darth grabbed boxes from the shelves and tried to tear them open with his teeth. I calmly said “watch your brother, I’ll show you what I was thinking you could get him”, and walked five feet to the end of the aisle. The Tweenager started chasing Little Darth around the Thomas (and now Chuggington) toys, grabbing the random boxes and toys that were left in his wake. Every time he tried to pick Little Darth up and remove him from the melee, Little Darth would stiffen his body, flail his arms and scream “MINE THOMAS!”

The Tweenager was shell-shocked, and after five minutes of me corralling the small one and The Tweenager trying to put the aisle back into some semblance of order, we headed (screaming toddler in my arms) to the car aisle, where I had the bright idea of bribing said toddler with two Hot Wheels cars (his other current obsession) so we could finish our errands before adding The Manimal back into the mix.

As soon as we turned the corner into the Hot Wheels aisle, the screaming was replaced by “TARS”! He grabbed the two closest to him and looked at them longingly. We all but ran to the checkout, where the nice young cashier asked if I wanted a TRU loyalty card. I looked her right in the eye and said “No thank you. I avoid this store like the plague.”

She didn’t quite know how to respond.

As we walked out of the store, The Tweenager said “I guess it makes sense why you never want to come here. I think maybe when we come back to buy the trains, Little Darth should stay home with Dad.”

Genius. Good that he should learn that lesson before he has kids of his own.

Maybe by then I’ll have learned my own lesson. I’ll be a savvy grandma, who does her Christmas shopping online, far away from train-crazy toddlers.


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