Parents and grandparents are supposed to be around longer than two hours for a Christmas celebration

On Monday night my parents had to unexpectedly hurry home so as to beat the bad weather headed for Oklahoma on Christmas day. (Maybe you’ve heard about that massive weather system?) As I stood at my door and watched them drive away at 9 o’clock that night I felt a little sorry for myself; parents and grandparents are supposed to be around longer than two hours for a Christmas celebration.

The next day G, Little Missy, Baby Chickadee, Hubby and I slept in til 8, furiously unwrapped presents, and then lounged with coffee in hand (me) and played with toys (everybody else).

For lunch we ate at Saigon in Wichita with my sister and brother-in-law--which was always the plan--even before my parents had to leave a day early; my family has eaten Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant before with fun and stress-free results. So we thought we’d do it again. And while Saigon is very yummy it is also maddeningly efficient. Like, we were out of there in 30 minutes. On Christmas. And that was supposed to be our big meal.

As we drove home from the restaurant I started to feel sorry for myself again since I was spending very little time with my extended family, so I devised plans of eating dessert at a restaurant, which we never do on our dollar because it’s so dang expensive. But the kids were tired, I was tired, so I decided, We’ll eat dessert for dinner! What a fun Christmas experience!

Once at home I searched online and found the few restaurants that would be open for dinner and dragged my family back to Wichita for our Dessert-as-Supper Super Fun Experience!. Apparently other Wichita-area people had the desire to eat out on Christmas and we all ended up at the same place, because come opening time the place was packed. Which meant we sat at our table and waited a loooong time for our food. Restaurant #2 of the day was not maddeningly efficient. Which would have been fine because we were all still glowing from our post-nap rest, but it was not fine because all we did was watch the TVs. TVs, TVs EVERYWHERE I tell you. And not the best stuff showing on those TVs. Music videos, people.

My mom never let me watch MTV growing up, this back in the day they actually showed music videos and not whatever is on there now, because she didn’t like the trippy feel of the videos and didn’t want me to get caught up in that. And so as I sat with my babies at the restaurant with all the TVs showing new and old music videos, I was apprehensive. Cuz my mom was right. Those videos are trippy and not for the young.

One video especially, where a claymation dinosaur accidentally and gorily kills townspeople and puppy dogs, complete with huge blood splatters. Not the greatest video for Christmas day. Then the dinosaur runs and hides and builds hopeful statues of himself being friends with the townspeople while the newscasters falsely report that he is malicious, so the police go after him and kill him, complete with blood and severed limbs.


I’m watching so that I’ll know what happens and how to talk through it with my kids, when I should have just told them to stop watching. Brilliant idea! That neither Hubby nor I thought of until hours later.

Little Missy turns to me, heart broken for the dinosaur, and we agree that it was a very sad video but it was fake! And that it never happened! And Hubby and I make hurried conversation until everybody’s forgotten about it.

Only Little Missy doesn’t forget about it, and suddenly 10 minutes later walks around the table and buries her head in shoulder, crying for the dinosaur who just wanted to be friends with the townspeople. And tears for my sweet-hearted girl were stuck in my throat as I told her I was sad for him, too, but I was glad that it was a fake story and never happened.

And my goodness. We are boycotting restaurants that have TVs because there is no controlling what shows on them. It’s a dangerous world for sweet little kids.

Erin Fox is a weekly columnist for the Augusta Gazette .  Her popular blog - erin’s  little corner  can also be found on our webpage,