Monday, December 7, 2009

Free Amusement Park Rides at the Mall

You may call us cheap parents, but we prefer the term creative.

I am a big fan of using creativity for entertainment rather than spending money. I think the best memories are made that way, and the most fun is had.

So really, if you think about it, we are not cheap parents, we are just more creative.

See, Saturday Keith really wanted to get out of the house. He inherited my cabin fever gene, and I think it is amplified in his little body. He just needed to get out and to have a little time for just him. So we left Faye with her grandmother, loaded Keith and his grandfather (who also has cabin fever) into the car and off we drove to the mall.

It was crowded. Crowded is a major understatement. I had to hold Keith's hand tight to keep him from disappearing. He didn't like that. He is 2 now. That means he is old enough to be independent. Or so he thinks.

We dodged through the holiday shoppers and in and out of teens. I was distracted by the bright colors and loud holiday music playing under the din of excited consumers showing eachother what they had bought. The vendors calling out their wares, trying to generate costumers. But not Keith, nothing could sway him from his purpose. He has a one track mind.

He lead us straight to the escalators. We rode it down. We got off and Keith ran right past the long lines of screaming toddlers and tired parents who were paying through the teeth for a picture of their little darlings (who were tired of the shopping frenzy and just wanted food and a bed) sitting on the lap of a chubby old man. $45 dollars for a photo, can you believe it? Keith didn't even glance at them. Eyes focused on the prize he just ran for the up escalator and jumped on for his ride.

Over and over and over we went. I lost track of how many times.

Up.....

Down.....

Up.....

Down.....

Up.....

Down.....

I began to notice mall security watching us and I had to laugh. How great would it be if we got told off or kicked out for riding the escalator? What a great story Keith could tell when he got older. I could just see it...

They would all be sitting in a diner after school. Everyone sitting at the table, except Keith who is leaning up against the wall. He would be wearing a white t-shirt and black jacket. They are talking, he is listening. His friends telling stories of daring and great courage. Keith boredly looking at them, toothpick in his mouth. When their stories end, he slowly reaches up, pulls the toothpick out of his mouth and begins to twirl it in his fingers.

"Yeah?" He would say in a bored voice.

"You all think you are so very brave and cool. Well, my friends, you don't know bravery or coolness. Step into my office and let me tell you about being cool. When I was 2 I got kicked out of the mall. At the age of 2. I have always been a rebel. I have always been cool. That is why they call me the Faunz."

I have high expectations for my child.

And I am not saying getting kicked out of the mall is cool, but really, anything Keith does is cool. Except for the tantrums. Those are just plain funny. But he wont discover that behind my stern eyes and twitching mouth, really lie hysterical peals of laughter. I have a hard time keeping it in sometimes. Occasionally he will see tears in my eyes while he is tantruming. He will ask if I am sad. Really it is from the effort of keeping the laughter hidden. What fun it is to be a parent! Especially a cheap creative parent!

But really, we didn't get kicked out. It just would have made for a fantastic story. I did get kicked out of a McDonald's once, but this isn't about me. Right now we are talking about Keith and the adventures we have with him.

Finally, Keith noticed what was in between the moving stairs. A beautiful North Pole! He ran to the front of the line of tired toddlers and frenzied parents (they all just need some escalator time) and tried to get past the elf guard.

"Mommy, snowman!" He shouted.

Never mind the big man in the red suit, there is a fake snowman! I apologized to the angry throngs and grabbed Keith, carrying him away from the dagger filled glares of tired parents, back to the safety of the moving stairs.

"Couch! Want to want to sit on the couch!" he protested.

That child of mine has great lungs. I am thinking of having him try out to be a megaphone at the next local sporting event. No need for a microphone, I have a Keith!

I looked up and indeed, the couch Santa was using (but not at that moment) did look very comfortable. I don't blame Keith for wanting to sit on it. I wanted to sit on it too. But no way was I paying $45 to let Keith sit on it and get a candy cane. Or a Red Ryder Beebe gun. So I carried away a squirming toddler who can be slipperier than a wet fish (how do toddlers manage that? no matter how tight you hang onto them, they can generally squirm away) and up we went on the escalator. It was time to go home.

What a fun day.

Oh, did I mention, we finally got that snow! It brought with it sub arctic temperatures, but the white stuff is currently decorating my lawn, so I am happy and Christmas feelings are all around. What a perfect day!

And so, you may call us cheap, but I call it living the dream. He wanted the escalator more than anything, and happily, we wanted the same thing... cheap entertainment. Keeping a toddler happy on a toddler sized budget.

Piece. of. cake.

15 comments:

Tawni said...

Any free entertainment is the best entertainment in my book! I always loved escalators when I was little too. We'll be in Layton for a few days during Christmas, so maybe let's visit while we're at my parents and you guys are at Jeffrey's. Whaddya think?

Vic said...

This is hilarious! I too was going to post something about myself being so cheap. Sounds like major fun you had but at the same time chaotic and nerve racking. I'm always nervous when there are crowds like that. I try to avoid as much as possible:) I always think someone is going to snatch our babies. And $45...who pays that. You got kicked out of Mc E D's....that's worse than Walmart....haha....

Emmy said...

We haven't gone to the mall with the purpose of riding the escalators.. but while being there I can guarantee you we have ridden them up and down many many times.

And $45!!! Are you serious, that is just stupid.

Sue said...

Sounds like your Christmas spirit is kicking in. Full force!

=)

Mare said...

I love the escalator story. However, regarding the tantrums. I say laugh. Let it out in loud peals. Let Keith know that his actions are hilarious. He'll stop and look around. I even condone belly laughs - laughing and saying really? You really want to lie on the floor here? That's fine. I'll come back and get you when you are finished. You should see how silly you look!
It is amazing how effective and how quickly the tune changes.
Good luck with that!

Familia Morales said...

Little kids are so easily entertained. Don't you just love it? For Christmas you should get him an empty paper towel tube and a roll of tape...fun that lasts for hours!

I'm guessing you got kicked out of McD's because you were way over the height limit but just had to play on the toys? At age 17 perhaps?

Capt'n Amazing's wife said...

Ha ha, well now I want to hear about getting kicked outta Mcdonalds!

Chris and Francisca Hakes said...

LOL! To be young again!

Em said...

showed up at the mall to find out it didn't open until 10am. surprise to me, which is silly b/c i worked there for 3 summers at the end of high school and part of college. anyway, we had 30 min to kill so i took brennan to the little cars and trucks that you pay money to, except we didn't pay money either. he didn't know he was getting the frugal version and i was happy.

Chantel said...

we're cheap too! We go to the mall to play in all the cars only they never move because I'm too cheap to fork over the quarters!!I don't think we've ever tried tne escalator. We'll have to some time.

Chantel said...

we're cheap too! We go to the mall to play in all the cars only they never move because I'm too cheap to fork over the quarters!!I don't think we've ever tried tne escalator. We'll have to some time.

Noodle said...

Sammy loves the esxalators... I have to admit I have pulled her away from them kicking and screaming cause Nana needed to get home to feed Papa and she was our ride... But yes I love free creative ways to have fun... they seam to be the best anyways... It always seams like the cheap toys are Sammy favorites and the one we fork out the dough for she plays with once and then they sit in her room gathering dust...

Bec said...

Heehee... whatever keeps him occupied, I suppose! I spend as little time as possible on escalators, because I've always had a sort of irrational fear of them!

Tiffany said...

i'm totally a cheap parent. if my kid wants to ride the escalator a million times, i'd do it too. once a new baby comes, it's just so hard for them to get that time for them. and the cheaper the time, the better!

Vic said...

Merry Sitsmas Beauty:) I poked around your blog earlier to see if you had a new post but now that I'm checking back and see that you havent I'll wish you a Merry Sitsmas on this post. I hope those kiddies are being good to their fabulous Mommy:)