Mini Adventure: Denver Parade of Lights
Parade, yeah! We made it downtown for the Denver Parade of Lights!
9News puts on this magical show year after year, and this time I had two babies with me on the sidelines! Whew! What a weekend! I was solo parenting, and I want to take a moment to acknowledge all of the parents out there who do it alone EVERYDAY, AND give a huge applause and squeeze to my better half for helping me day in and day out, tirelessly and selfishly, by my side everyday. I am so very fortunate to have a super hands-on daddy to help out at home. It was a FUN and tiring couple of days as husband was out of town for work, BUT we weren't going to let that stop us from missing out on the Denver Parade of Lights downtown! I was pooped by yesterday afternoon, wherein I ate three donuts after I out the girls down for naps, and then I laid on the couch, put a blankie on my head and crashed too.
I will say though, that even as exhausting as it was, there wasn't a moment to sit, I deep cleaned kitchen floors at nap time, we ran errands, grocery shopped, played, danced, read, ate, cleaned, bathed, slept and did it all again the next day and the next, somehow it was, I cringe when I say this, easier... I ate my dinner in bed at 10 pm after they were asleep, but somehow, it was also very therapeutic to have that time alone. To parent alone. Time to appreciate and miss my husband and really think about how much he does for us. Also, easier as in, there is no partner to pass the baton to, tag in, so you trudge through and somehow are given this energy and spunkiness to just plug through. And you're happy, and they're happy! You're singing and feeding, and rolling down aisles at the grocery with stickers on your face, yes, I didn't realize that, but you're all happy, and satisfied and easy going. Sure there were some tantrums, some spankings, some crying, but sometimes, I am finding, that when he and I are together and we have a disagreement about what should be done in a parenting situation- no, they don't need another story, yes, we need to give them a snack, no, they ate enough and they are full...these things just don't come up as questions when you are by yourself. You make a decision, you talk yourself through it, and you get it done. Maybe the kids feel tension or feel the energy spent discussing what to do about something rather than focusing on them, who knows, but I think sometimes it can be easier when you are by yourself in just as many incidents that it can be inconvenient. My husband might agree with me here actually. He hasn't parented solo for a weekend, ever, and for as many times as he HAS watched them for a few hours on his own, he has never been privileged to do it from sun up to bedtime on his own. This is not a complaint, or a nag, it's just the facts, HOWEVER, he would say that in those few hours that he bathes, or feeds or watches the girls on his own, things go smoother for him too. So what's the deal? You guys feel like this out there?! Too many cooks in the kitchen????
Anyway, about that Denver Parade of Lights! I didn't realize the parade was last weekend until Friday morning! I thought about it throughout the day, but didn't think it was possible to make it downtown with the girls, at their bedtime no less, and all by myself. But, events worked out in our favor that day. Awesome weather, and they napped late, and I decided to just do it. They woke from their naps, we ate dinner, I bundled them up, loaded up the car and we headed downtown!
I tried to think in advance of everything that might come up as we had been to the parade in past years, never with Remy though. I knew they might have those glow in the dark, light up, thing-a-ma-bobs for sale, so I didn't want that to come up, it never did, but I planned ahead and brought our light up wands, from the $1 bin at Target. That got them excited too! I told Remy she would hear music from a marching bad, and she was thrilled to hopefully see a, "TUBA!!!" We packed a few toys for the car, again we were leaving very close to bedtime, so I needed to think ahead on how we would keep them up and entertained in the car ride home, we took the Light Rail train, so I put shaker toys in the car. This was awesome guys! They were actually happy and alert on the car ride home even though it was WAYYYY past their bedtime- the parade didn't start until 8 pm! SO we all shook shakers and sang Christmas music all the way home from the train station. I might keep one in my glove box for future snoozing emergencies!
I decided to park and take the train, but as we are potty training, another added element, and I knew there wouldn't be convenient bathroom access, or if there were establishments with public restrooms there would potentially be long lines. So before leaving the house we went potty, and then I prepared her for the time to come when she would have to use our new travel potty- which she had never used. I warned her that when we got to the train station there wouldn't be a potty so we had to use our special potty, Remy's potty. Making it hers added a specialness to it. We got to the train station, I parked in a well lit area, right up front and set up the stroller- bag, snacks, waters, then I had Remy go potty by the side of the car. Not glamorous, but this is potty training guys. I loaded up the girls, coats, hats, blankies, and we got our ticket and rolled up the ramp to wait for our train to head downtown!
Getting there was a breeze! We had a ball driving to the train station at night, we are usually tucked in for the nights after naps on, and seeing all the decorations. Remy would yell out, "Look Mama! Look! WOW! Gorgeous..." She was so chatty and excited, "Let's decorate the tree more Mama. You can get more decorations at home, or go buy more!" She keeps wanting to decorate more!
We actually got there an hour early though, and they were hungry again. After getting a hot cocoa from Starbucks, they were already antsy and wanting to get out of their stroller! Uh-oh! I thought we should get a sandwich somewhere before the parade. 16th Street mall was a ZOO! We went into Mod Market- the line was crazy. We left. We went into Goodtimes, the line was insane. We left. Remy ALMOST started a tantrum, but a guy walking by screamed back and tricked her and we avoided a tantrum, all the way down the street, talking and walking with this older fellow and his gal, who kindly complimented me on doing a fabulous and BRAVE momma thing by heading downtown to the parade with them, (THANK YOU kind stranger!), until we got to Corner Bakery! Miraculously- there wasn't a line! And it was affordable! And it was RIGHT next to the ice skating rink at Skyline Park! We got a sammy, rolled up to the rink and watched the skaters before the parade.
Then it was off to find WHERE to watch this thing...the end of the route is along 15th, but there was plenty of room there to sit. Bad part- two babies meant we needed to find the BEGINNING of the parade. I made it back down to 16th and Tremont where it started. All along the way we saw lights, horse drawn carriages, heard music street performers and it was a sensory overload for the girls. We got the to crowds and then I just parked the stroller next to a wagon, and snuck Remy through to sit on the street next to a couple other little girl whom she became fast friends with. I had to stand a couple feet away with Arlo, and crouch down the entire time or stand and rock Arlo, who was progressively fading, whimpering, into crying. Remy had a BALL! She was absolutely loving this thing! The clowns! There was a float with Minions which was a hit, the bands! The lights! Her new friends! I kept eyes on her the entire time, and made friends with the neighbors I was standing with. There were so many kind people! Only a couple humbugs.
After the parade, we made a mad dash to Starbucks across the street for a potty break! I was already prepared that she might have had an accident by now, as we hadn't been since parking the car. Starbucks was, well, as you might guess, busy. So I tucked around the corner behind this group of buildings and we pulled out our special potty! She didn't really want to go this time, she felt, as you can imagine, exposed, but I maneuvered the stroller and I assured her it was just us. She asked, "Go pee pee on the sidewalk?" This part is confusing for them...I know...so I explained that there weren't any potties at the parade, and this time it is okay. She went!!! AND- she had not had an accident!! I was so proud of her!
>>>A Potty Training Side Bar Moment- We FINALLY landed a doodie in the potty guys! It was last weekend and by golly she did it! It took about three weeks to click, and even then I had to bribe her. The day we bought our tree, we ventured out to buy her a stuffed kitty that I had promised her if she would go. It worked! Then she reverted back to the pants. So I promised a Minnie! Boom- boom, boom in the potty! But damn, this is getting expensive and we can't continue this...so this last weekend I watched for cues, and listened to her. She would say things like, she hurt down there before going. Or, I would ask her if it felt like she had to fart. Things she could understand. When it got really really quiet and I was in another room- I would run in and see her face.. and grab her and run her up to the potty and she held it and made it in! She did it! Then, I was super proud, after explaining over, and over, and OVER, that she had to yell, "Mommy- doo doo!" and I would come and stop whatever I was doing to take care of her, when she yelled this very phrase out at me at Barnes and Noble this past Sunday. I grabbed Arlo, left my diaper bag, left a stack of books in an aisle, grabbed Remy and RAN to the potty and she did it! In a public restroom! We made landing again today and now she is like an old pro, telling me to close the door and go away, and she wants to get off and wipe herself. Um, not yet kid. I spy through the door and let her have privacy but then I come in to help. She is no potty truing prodigy. We had our first real pee pee accident in public at Kohl's on Saturday. We had been shopping and I knew we would have to go soon, but it wasn't quite soon enough. She did a dribble on the carpet, sorry Kohl's, but we ran to the potty and she finished there! Extra panties and dry leggings and we were back. She is doing so well. I wanted to put this in here for those of you going through truing or soon will start. When we asked our parents, family members, co-workers, strangers, friends about how long it took to go poop in the potty and we'd always hear, "It takes a while." Well how long are we talking? How many pairs of underwear are going to be goners? Three days? Three months? In our experience it took about three weeks. I was so frustrated in the beginning, and then I became SUPER patient, and calm, almost on the other spectrum. Every time I would explain and ask, and re-explain where poop goes....but finally, we had a breakthrough. Now, we aren't promising any large ticket items!
So back to the Parade of Lights! After the potty break, we headed to the train station to head back. This time, not so smooth! RTD, word to the wise, please do a PSA on the local news about re-routing or delays! Chaos! We got to the trains station around 9:45 I think and Arlo was screaming and crying by now the entire time since the potty break and there as an RTD worker who said it would be another 40 minutes, until parade was over. WHAT?! So I raced through to Convention Center, and followed the masses of other commuters who were apparently as surprised and confused as I about all this. We finally made our way up a ramp and made it onto one of the first trains out of there! The girls were happy once we got on the train. Maybe Arlo was getting chilly...and tired. We played with the top to a red Eos chapstick the entire time. Remy would put it on my nose and call me a clown or Rudolph. I have to thank some awesome strangers who helped push my stroller as I held Arlo, and more who carried my stroller onto the train and wheeled it off for me. Kindness! Generosity! Thoughtfulness! This warms my heart!!! THESE acts are what the season, what LIFE, is about.
The Denver Parade of Lights is getting bigger and more beautiful with each passing year! It still isn't close to the Macy's Day parade, but our Denver community really knows how to celebrate the season! We made it through to the eld to see Santa wave from high above his float! We were very sad to not have our Baba with us this time, but hopefully we will all make it a tradition. It definitely made a BIG impression on both girls. Now when we are out and about at dark we cruise around and look for lights! I live for hearing Remy whisper from the back seat with surprise, "Woowwww...." It is the most wonderful time of year!