Adventures in Parenting #35: An Applebee's Christmas

I would guess that for most of you, like me, your holidays are somewhat ruled by tradition. We put up Christmas decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving. We go to over to a friend's house for a holiday movie marathon at some point every year. We go to Lubbock for Christmas with my family and Lindsey's family usually follows the weekend after Christmas. From one event to the next, it's like a checklist of holiday activity that usually falls into the same patter from year to year. This year we had to veer off course for two reasons: 1.) My sister got married the Friday before Christmas so instead of heading out of town, everyone came here. 2.) Perhaps you heard, we had a baby this year so literally EVERYTHING IN THE ENTIRE WORLD IS DIFFERENT. As such, this time around we were forced to include some new traditions that may or may not make their way into the checklist from here on out.

Tradition #1: Be Incredibly Grumpy

At the aforementioned wedding, Cooper was passed around from person to person, group to group. He was the life of the party. He stayed up WAY too late, flirted with a TON of girls (his game is unbelievable), and danced the night away. We're now two weeks out from the wedding and I'm still not sure he's completely recovered. On Christmas Eve, he grumped about as much as a person can grump.

Cooper with dog 1 smaller

Tradition #2: Read The Night Before Christmas

One of Cooper's Christmas presents was a board book of Twas the Night Before Christmas. Before putting him to bed, Lindsey and I sat down with him and read this book to him and let me tell you, he loved it. He always gets excited about his books but he was BONKERS on this night. One of the coolest moments of parenthood thus far, right up there with the time he deliberately ripped one in a friend's direction.

Tradition #3: Sleep Christmas Day Away

So you know how most kids are just chomping at the bit to get up on Christmas and check out the stuff Santa brought them? Not Coop. This probably has something to do with the fact that he's eight months old. But also, as mentioned before, he partied way too hard at the wedding and his little body hasn't recovered. So when Lindsey put him in bed with me a little after 8 o'clock, I figured we were in for a short nap before he'd start whining and force us to get up and play (and open presents). Cut to more than four hours later and we were STILL all chilling with Cooper fast asleep. I got more sleep than I've had in weeks, I checked my Twitter feed, I played some Skip-Bo on my iPad (which is DEFINITELY what Apple had in mind when they designed the iPad), and finally I got bored and woke him up. So our family opened presents at about 1 pm on Christmas Day because WE'D SPENT THE WHOLE MORNING AND EARLY AFTERNOON SLEEPING. There's no way this tradition carries on into Cooper's childhood but I'm going to pretend like I don't know this and bask in this new family tradition.

Tradition #4: Have Almost No Presents Under the Tree

Because we're the best at parenting, we didn't buy any of Cooper's presents until the evening of the 23rd. Okay, that's not entirely true. I ordered a couple of things offline the week before and neither of them arrived until the 26th. Yay convenience and laziness! Also Lindsey bought him a present on Black Friday and it just so happened to be the exact same thing my uncle bought and presented to Cooper on Christmas Eve. So for our child's first Christmas, we had three presents under the tree, all of which were grabbed out of the bottom of the barrel, "you're terrible parents so you'll take what we have left and like it" selection at Target. Crushing it.



Tradition #5: Eat Christmas Lunch at Applebee's

Our plan all along had been to eat brunch at IHOP, with Denny's as the slightly sadder backup plan. Then Cooper slept in until 1. So we headed to IHOP for...lunner? I don't know. What do you call the time between lunch and dinner? I'm going with lunner. Anyway, we headed to IHOP for lunner at about 2:30 only to discover that every human in the DFW Metroplex who had not cooked a delicious Christmas ham for their family was at IHOP. I'm going to guess (because we didn't go inside) that the wait was somewhere between three hours and "the amount of time that Rip Van Winkle slept." We rolled over to our backup plan but Denny's, too, was packed to the brim. Our last option was Applebee's, which is pretty lame even in the best of circumstances and genuinely depressing on Christmas Day. Our meal was awful, the place smelled like Sad, and someone called Cooper a girl. That's never happened before and it was weird. Maybe this is what we get for taking our child to Applebee's in his pajamas on his first Christmas. Here's hoping he never remembers this.

Tradition #6: Give Lucy a Present

When we got back from our delicious meal at Applebee's, I started to do a little cleaning. I pulled the trash bag out, half-full with food from Christmas Eve Dinner the night before, and started cramming in discarded wrapping paper and the like. Then Sleepy Grumpy King Baby started acting up and I put the bag down, forgetting that it started as a kitchen trash bag and was not, in fact, filled only with wrapping paper. Two hours later I got up from my nap (Cooper seriously could've slept ALL DAY) to find this:


While the perpetrator of the act sat without moving or looking at me as if, like a Tyrannosaurus Rex, I wouldn't be able to see her if she didn't make any sudden movements.


Tradition #6: Dress Cooper Like Santa

We put a lot of effort (much more so than we put into buying him gifts) into finding Cooper a Christmas Day outfit. You'd think it would have been easy to find a "First Christmas" shirt that didn't look like it was made for a dog that no one loves (they were all really sad, guys) but we had no luck. Finally, right before Christmas, Lindsey found a Santa costume that fit The King Baby and thus, he became Santa for the evening. The only problem was the hat didn't fit because he needs a man's sized hat for his giant head.


Also, if you've ever wondered what Santa looks like after a hard night's work and enough cookies to send an entire country into a diabetic coma, here it is:


All told, it was a solid and memorable start to our Christmases as a family instead of just a couple and thanks to Applebee's, we set the bar low enough that Cooper can't expect too much next time around.

Just reserved a table at IHOP for Christmas 2017, Brian