Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Peacock Parade

As the market plummets, realtors find a new client base seeking improved lodging for the winter months.

No, I haven't completely abandoned my blogs... I've just been distracted by work and school, as well as parades and other pre-Christmas festivities. I'm almost tempted to write this post in point form, so I can get all caught up. So much for the lull...

Following the last episode, I went off to the library where I borrowed books with titles like "How to behave so your preschooler will too", and "Easy to love, difficult to discipline". I haven't actually read them yet, just having them is somehow reassuring. We thankfully haven't had any scenes quite as dramatic as the last one, and I find that my old December refrain of "Santa's watching" is still working to our benefit. (If I looked at the books they'd probably nix that technique, but oh well.)

Two weeks ago we had a lovely visit with my Vancouver sister and her children (known to readers of this blog as Amalia and George). Their visit coincided with the November Christmas parade (as opposed to the December parades coming up this weekend). We decided to get in the spirit of things, despite the fact that yes, it was still November, heading first to the Empress where there are over a hundred Christmas trees lining the halls and lobby, decorated by local businesses as a fundraiser for local charities. I had already walked through and had the idea of setting a little scavenger hunt-style checklist for the kids, so all the children (except Sam, who chose to skip the outing and stay home with Dylan), happily traipsed around the trees, hunting for the one with the giant sea star on top, etc. and picking their favorites. When they had checked off everything on their lists and won their chocolate letters, we went on to Munro's, where the children's department was hosting a pre-parade event. We were a little early, so the kids got good seats for the Christmas stories. It soon filled up to the point of near-claustrophobia, so once they'd heard a few stories and won some door prizes we squeezed back out to find people already setting up their lawn chairs along the sides of Government St. We went home for a quick supper before heading back out to the parade. This time we convinced Sam to join us, and Dylan came too. I never attended the Santa parade in Montreal because the idea of trudging downtown and standing in the cold and the crowd with three small children seemed too much like a recipe for disaster, but here in Vic, with the mild weather, and living only two blocks away from the starting point of the parade, it all seemed much more manageable. And it was quite a lovely evening parade, with all the floats lit up with Christmas lights. The only snag was a little run-in my sister had with some local diehard Santa fans. As we had not set up lawn chairs hours before the start, we walked along, aiming for the strip in front of the Empress, and when we found a spot where the crowd was not too thick, the cousins all squeezed towards the front, followed by their aunt (Dylan hung back because he's tall enough to see over heads, and I stayed back with Sam who was already fussing about wanting to go home). I asked Dylan if he could see them, and he said "yes - they're in a little kerfuffle". I later heard from my sister that the people they were standing next to, a few adults on lawn chairs, had complained loudly, saying they had been waiting 45 minutes, and now their view was blocked. Seeing as the children were only next to them, and not actually in front of them, my sister felt this was ridiculous as well as unjustified and said firmly: "It's a SANTA parade. And they're CHILDREN." Really. I'm glad it was my brave sister who was up there with them and not me. I probably would have apologised meekly and pulled the children back. I couldn't believe this when I first heard it, because all the adults in front of me and Sam kept offering to let us through so he could be at the front. He flatly refused until he realised that candy was being given to all the children in the front row, and then finally agreed to go stand with his sisters. We enjoyed a happy Sunday of pancakes and running around the Royal BC Museum before they headed home across the Straight. We have the Lighted Truck Parade and the Lighted Ship Parade to choose from this Saturday (is there a way to catch both? how can we choose? why do they both have to be the same evening? stay tuned next week for answers to these and other questions).

In the meantime, we had, last Sunday, a very unique parade. It was Dylan who spotted it first out the window. They were walking down the street, slowing traffic. I ran out with my camera and got the photos you see above and below. I don't know where they headed next, as I retreated inside after a passerby commented on my "cute pyjamas". I came in and said to my husband "I don't know how you did it - I've never had a peacock parade for my birthday before", to which he replied "I tried to get more, but they only let out six at a time."


Happy Farmer said...

Well worth the wait ! You guys certainly have a busy life. Keep blogging.

Mira said...

Great re-cap! I love my role as crusader against the uptight lawnchair folks -- those people still give me shivers of indignation when I think of them. It was a very fun and festive weekend.

Amalia said...

FUNNY (I love my guest appearance)