Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Yes Zone, Thanksgiving Edition

It's Thanksgiving Day, and I'm thankful for the good folks at the Los Angeles Auto Show for opening their doors today.

On a day when just about everything else is closed, save the local playground, I got to take both kids to a giant "yes" zone (which I've written about previously here: it means a place where your kids can pretty much do whatever they want without getting into danger or trouble, and you don't have to keep saying "no" to them).

Basically, the annual Auto Show is a few "ginormous" rooms lined in plush carpet, full of shiny, gleaming, brand spankin' new cars, most of which you -- and your kids -- can go inside. Thing 1 is already something of a car fanatic, thanks to his favorite movie, CARS. Thing 2 is game to go along where there are bright lights, pretty colors, and buttons to push. The Auto Show is jam-packed full of opportunities to clamber, climb, pretend to drive, and push buttons. They did it all, and even better, there was an unexpected bonus: they got to ride around in car-shaped strollers between the exhibit halls and the various cars on display.

There was one glitch with the bonus, however: even though we'd let Thing 1 and Thing 2 select their individual car strollers, about halfway through the experience, it was noticed that one had a safety belt to click and the other didn't. All hell broke loose as Thing 1 wanted to trade cars with Thing 2, since she had the safety belt in hers. Suddenly his red car wasn't nearly as appealing as her yellow car. He found scratches to object to, and then said his was dirty. He pitched a fit and demanded a switch. We tried negotiating a trade with Thing 2. She agreed to switch at the Ferrari exhibit, but only briefly. Soon Thing 1 pitched a fit again. Late Blooming Mom tried cranking out the "You get what you get, and you don't get upset" rule, to no avail. Dad got the contents of two yogurt "squeezers" into Thing 1 in the vain hope that nutrients would turn him more rational. But by then, trading with his sister was no longer his ardent desire. He'd spotted another stall full of car strollers, and was adamantly campaigning for a full trade-in.

Probably we should've stood our ground. But it's Thanksgiving Day, and we'd already had it marred by one fit. So Dad managed to cajole a trade-in, and suddenly Thing 1 was climbing into a new green car stroller. From there, it was on to the hybrids and electric cars, and lunch, which wasn't much of a lunch -- a few bites of overcooked burgers, raisin bran cereal from which Thing 1 insisted on eating only the raisins -- but at least, as Dad sarcastically pointed out, it was expensive. (Memo to self: don't be lazy, pack a lunch from home next time.) To get them out of the hall and back to our own, decidedly un-pimped but reliable ride (a ten-year-old Camry, for those curious), we divided a kid's sized portion of strawberry/vanilla swirled frozen yogurt into several smaller portions, and shared.

On balance, though, it was a great outing. The kids were thrilled. And save the stroller trade-in shenanigans, it must be said that a good time was had by all. Yay for the yes zone, once again.

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