To Venture or Not


These little villages were magical even to me.

I have the best of intentions.  Really, I do.

I want my children to experience things.  And I do not want either child’s age to limit the experiences of the other.  So I do things that are probably a bit more involved than my newly-turned-two-year-old is ready for.

Like making a significant drive to take my children to a gorgeous Christmas Shop.  One whose beautifully decorated rooms, and hallways that look like “main street”, hold fond memories for me.

I am feeling particularly festive this year and am trying to  “take in all the sights” with my kiddos.  I want to create some magic during this special time of year.  So yesterday we ventured north.

Owen felt the magic. Sydney, well...she was sure it was somewhere else.

Sydney’s eyes were nearly closed by the time we reached our destination- a calculated risk, but not a good state for her to be in when entering a zone known for its fragility.

We entered and Sydney was “eager” to check things out.  As I not so gracefully hollered for her to walk, I became quickly aware of  just how many breakable items were in this place.

We pretty accurately captured Sydney's movement patterns.

My visions of walking through this shop hand in hand with my children smiling, and Christmas music playing solely to enhance our magical experience was thwarted.  Not only by Sydney’s energy, but by the clerks at the shops’ entrance.

One employee sat in the beautifully decorated “Ornament Personalization” booth and the other stood in front of it.  Both dressed nicely and wearing tactful Santa hats, they were arguing loudly about what a waste of time it was for EITHER ONE OF THEM to be SITTING in the PERSONALIZATION BOOTH!

I tried to brush it off in order to fulfill my vision of Holiday Perfection.

I started to notice the price tags of the ornaments Sydney was ogling and “experiencing”.  The numbers: $248 on a single ornament quickly corrected my vision.

Lest you think me a complete fool who puts the importance of her children’s experiences ahead of small business owners turning a profit, I should tell you now that there is a toy shop in this place.  A HUGE and amazing toy shop.  Trains, blocks, stuffed dogs, grocery carts, beach toys, puzzles, space toys, classic toys, tunnels and toboggans fill the space.

We entered the toy shop and were all three amazed.  It was beautiful and expansive and perfectly laid out for children to explore.  Elaborate train sets lined the interior, complete with buttons to control the trains, gondolas and skating rinks.

See the Gondola's? They are above Owen's head and to the left.

It was awesome!

We spent lots of time in the Toy Shop.  Certainly the kids had fun checking out all of the toys, and I got a good idea of what they might like under the tree.

Playing with the Grocery Stand

And the trains were so cool.  The lighting, set up, and all of the extra and unique features (like gondolas!) made even me daydream about what it might be like to live in one of these village. The best part of all though, was watching Owen and Sydney operate and be enchanted by the villages and trains.  It was magical.

Just as I wondered to myself if this experience was really worth it, I got my answer.

Sydney, finally enjoying the magic.

And while it may not always be worth the effort, and some excursions may end disastrously, most times it seems like it is worth the try.

We have had our share of unhappy endings and we learn from each one.  I become better at choosing which experiences will be most enjoyable for all of us, and my children always learn more about the world and how it works.

Plus, that super-glued ornament hanging on our tree that cost more than all of our other ornaments combined has a good story behind it.

Just kidding.

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