Lately when I pick my 4-year-old up from preschool, she doesn’t run and jump into my arms excited to tell me all about her day. This is what I get instead: “MOMMY! Can we go play in Abby’s dad’s minivan? Please! Please! PLEASE!”—all while tugging my arm hard.
The first time she did this I said, “Of course!” We walked hand-in-hand over to her new friend’s minivan and with a push of the button, the door magically slid open to a world of endless space and a playground for a preschooler’s imagination. The girls played with the ice cooler in the front, chewed gum from one of the many different storage compartments throughout, played tag in the middle and backseat areas, pretended they were swimming mermaids in the spacious trunk and elephants with the built-in vacuum cleaner—and of course they pushed that sliding door button at least 10 times.
My daughter was having so much fun inside this indoor playground on wheels, she didn’t even notice that there was also a TV and DVD player inside. (Which, thank goodness: we would have been stuck in the parking lot the rest of the evening if she had!)
The following day, it was the same thing. The excitement to explore, chew gum, pretend and push buttons in the minivan. She discovered the TV. They turned on Sofia the First. The girls even invited one of the boys in their class to join in on their fun. And so it began. This went on the next day… And the next day. And the day after. And the next day after that.
Playing in the minivan has now become an after-school activity. Some kids rush off to soccer practice and swim lessons. My daughter races into her friend’s silver minivan.
There have been days where the minivan doesn’t arrive at the same time as we are leaving. A slight panic sets in. “Can we wait longer? I don’t want to go home yet! And then she finally said what had been in her heart this whole time:
“Mommy, can we get a minivan too?”
Yes, I will admit that our mid-sized SUV is maxed out traveling with two kids—and, don’t tell anyone—I might have ever-so-lightly tapped a few cars accidentally while getting the infant carseat in and out of my car. Those third row and sliding doors do sound nice. I can be convinced. My husband on the other hand, is very (and I’m talking very) anti-minivan.
Last week we were sitting down for dinner and my husband asked our daughter what she wants to ask Santa for Christmas. She thought for a minute. Her little mind spinning like a carousel. My husband and I ready to take mental notes. Then, she came right out with it.
“I’m going to ask Santa for a minivan,” she stated. My husband nearly spit out his pasta.
“You don’t want a paint set? A scooter? How about a fairy garden?” I asked. “No, I don’t want any toys. All I want is a minivan,” she replied.
My husband was trying to change the subject when I asked, “Why do you want a minivan?”
She immediately began to rattle off evidence to support her claim. “It is so much better than your car. It is so much bigger, it’s fun, I can play with my friends inside, it has a vacuum, I can dance in it, and I can chew gum all the time. Oh, and the door slides open, there is a TV for movies, you can keep your drinks cold, and they are so fancy.”
Then she sealed her argument with this: “Santa can give my toys to someone else, I just want a minivan.”
My husband still hasn’t said a word.
“How is Santa going to fit a huge minivan in his sleigh?” I asked. Her reply was pretty fantastic.
“Mommy, Santa’s elves push a button and shrink up everyone’s presents into tiny red and green boxes and they all fly into Santa’s bag. When Santa comes down the chimney, he pushes his iPhone and the present gets big again!” (Geez. Preschool playground conversation has gotten very creative.)
Then my husband finally had a comment. “You have to be 16 to be able to drive,” he said. “Santa knows this, so he isn’t allowed to give out cars.”
She slowly absorbed the crushing comment, then rebounded and said, “When I get to see Santa, I’m going to ask him. He’s the boss and he can do what he wants. It’s not just a gift for me, it’s for all of us. And I’ve been really, really extra good.”
Yup, you’re good alright, I thought.
Sitting on Santa’s lap this year should be interesting. Maybe a stocking jam-packed with gum will suffice?
Featured Photo Courtesy: sobima via Pixabay