Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas in Hollywood

Yesterday Chris had to work for a few hours. He was working in Hollywood, and I remembered that when we were there last year around Christmas, there was a big Christmas tree in the fancy shopping center on Hollywood and Highland. Last year we went with Chris's sister and her boyfriend, and everyone convinced me to leave the baby with my in-laws even though I wanted to bring her. They were right; it was bitterly cold, and we would have spent the entire time making sure she was bundled, her ears covered from the wind, etc.

So, I was excited to bring her with me, show her the tree, and let her do some people-watching, a favorite pastime of hers. It was a different experience, and not just because I was pushing a stroller instead of drinking cocktails with my sister-in-law. It was HOT. And, we all know how I feel about unseasonably hot weather, right? And, I feel especially insulted when said weather is ruining the "feel" of a holiday. I don't like it when it's cold on Easter, either. I don't discriminate.

So, we walked in, past the Ralph Lauren and Coach shops, and headed for the restroom. I waited forever for the handicap stall because I had the stupid stroller, and I eventually left without ever getting to use the bathroom. That might seem like an unnecessary and terribly uninteresting detail, but it will be relevant later. Hang in there!

As we made our way to the center of the plaza, I noticed one of those water fountains that kids can run through, where they water comes and goes intermittently, alternating height and intensity. I pointed it out to Charlotte because she loves water, and since there weren't any kids there it wouldn't occur to her to run through it. Except that there was a little girl there who escaped my notice, running around the water spouts, daring herself to sprint across the entirety of the fountain before the geysers came back from their hiding place beneath the ground. At first Charlotte was content just to watch her while I slathered the sunscreen I couldn't believe I needed to apply in December, to her face.

But, ultimately, this is what happened:

At first she mostly ran along the periphery of the fountain, mostly only getting lightly misted by the water. But then she started getting more daring and running across while the water was gone. Until finally she was just running into the water, headfirst and squealing all the while. She was DRENCHED. Water was pouring off of her. When I finally pulled the plug on the water play, I realized I had gotten myself into a tricky situation.

The bathroom wasn't far, but it wasn't close enough for me to walk her there. I would need to put her in the stroller, and I didn't want it to be all soggy for the rest of the day as she would be riding in it. I try to be respectful of Charlotte's body and her as yet undeveloped sense of modesty. I usually take her to another room to change her diaper, even among family. So, I was a little uncomfortable with my own decision to strip her naked right then and there so that I could wrap my sweater (Guess it was good for something that day!) around her and take her to the bathroom.

I've mentioned that I struggle with images and perceptions. I'm trying to let go of my need to look like I have it all together. Because, first of all, I don't. And second of all, none of us do. So instead of putting on a show for one another, I am hoping we can all be honest and vulnerable with one another, and receive support in return. The point is, I struggle with it. And being in the land of beautiful people, whether or not that beauty is chemically and surgically enhanced, and being in the land of the designer-clothing-clad, perfectly coiffed babies, I was already a little on edge. But, I guess pushing a naked and sopping-wet toddler wrapped in a sweater through the crowd is what they call immersion therapy.

I did, in fact, get a lot of stares on our seemingly endless trek to the bathroom. I was able to get into a stall relatively quickly this time, and I began the arduous task of wringing out her clothes, shoes, and socks before putting them in a plastic bag I did not know I had, and I swear was put there by magical elves. Then I got her dressed into the pair of backup clothes that I don't always have, but did today by providence, or perhaps more magical elves. She didn't have shoes the rest of the day, including when we ate lunch in a restaurant, but, hell, she was happy.

I was slightly damp, as well, having been asked by Charlotte to join her in the water fountain romp. I was more cautious than she, choosing my paths carefully, rather than just charging in with reckless abandon, but I did manage to get a little water on me. So, I decided to use my Gap gift card and procured a tank top on clearance. (Side note: I also snagged an adorable summery skirt for sixteen bucks that I would not have been able to afford when it was in season. I win.) I didn't want to go ALL the way back to the bathroom, only to possibly wait another hour for a stall, so I devised a plan in which I took off the tag, walked into an empty elevator, arranged the shirt on top of the stroller in the ideal position for getting it on with ease, and pushed the button. Whereupon the shirt fell from the stroller just as I had taken off my old shirt, causing me to panic and scramble to get the shirt off the ground and onto my body in the length of time it takes to go up one floor, which, in case you were wondering, is not a lot of time. Which is how I ended up topless as the elevator door opened. But since luck was on my side this day, no one was there, and I was able to dress myself discreetly.

And with that, I leave you. I'm off to pick up a Christmas tree, probably clad in a tank top and flip flops. Oh, which reminds me: here's a picture of Charlotte at the Christmas tree display in Hollywood yesterday. Nothing says 'Winter Wonderland" like a barefoot kid in a t-shirt.


  1. I don't know which is my favorite part of this story--the pic, the video, the obvious fun of running through a fountain (even if it is December), or you shirtless in an elevator.

    Nevermind, it's actually easy to pick a favorite. :-)

  2. Oh, yeah! Shirtless in an elevator. I laughed out loud....

  3. It would have been A LOT worse if people had been standing there when the doors opened...

  4. Too funny. And holy crap, you have reached girl scout levels of preparation! I might have some of those the car. I'm impressed, lady!

  5. Gah, this story is so awesome it hurts.


  6. "Immersion therapy" hahahahahaha. Awesome.

    I, also, would be grumpy if it was hot at Christmas. We have had exactly 1 (one) white xmas in my lifetime, and it was 2 years ago, but I at least expect it to be cold enough to wear a scarf. Harumph.

  7. @Perpetua- I'm sort of a maniac about being "prepared," but I usually somehow end up without what I actually need.

    @Kate- LOL, thanks.

    @Clara- I can wear a scarf today! I don't NEED to, but I can! Things, they are looking up.

  8. LOL! Love your blog. (I used to work with your mom at the paper in case you're wondering how I found it.) I have a 3.5 year old and 1.5 year old so I can relate. I struggle with trying to appear as though I've got it together too. But you're right, none of us have it all together. I've had to make a conscious effort to not care what people think, especially since I've had kids. Just wait till your little darling starts saying things like "Hey, Boy, why are you in your pajamas?" (to a kid at the playground) "Bring us some water and some toys" (to a waitress) "Who lives in your house with you? A man? Why don't you have any kids?" (The latter was directed at my sister-in-law. I wasn't there for the interrogation; I heard about it from my husband, which made it slightly less mortifying.)

  9. Don't you just love those elves?

    And hilarious about the elevator - what good luck!