Young ’Uns

Where a Kid Can Be a Kid

Quit interrogating your kids about what they want for Christmas. Take them window shopping instead.

By Robb Walsh December 1, 2013 Published in the December 2013 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Ask a 5-year-old and a 7-year-old to tell you what they want for Christmas and you get to explain why a pony wouldn’t be happy living in the sandbox. So a few years ago, my wife and I came up with an alternative to toddler interrogation. We take them window-shopping at the Galleria. 

Ten minutes in the Disney Store (713-622-4737) is all it takes for the younger one, Joe, to figure out that he wants the Spiderman backpack and a Jake and the Never Land Pirates sword. When I point out that he already has a sword, I am reminded that it isn’t a curved cutlass like the one in the store. 

Meanwhile, his sister Ava picks out a Monsters Inc. notebook and a bow-and-arrow-wielding Merida figure for inclusion on Santa’s list. And she likes the LEGO Friends sets because they come in pink boxes. This is so much easier than dealing with imaginary ponies.

A quick pit stop at the kid-friendly restrooms on the second-story family center is never a bad idea with children in tow. Outside the center, Joe takes off his shoes and runs around with a herd of ankle-biters on a playground shaped like a mini-Galleria, while his sister fumes—she is way over the maximum admission height of 48 inches.

Later, on our way to dinner, Ava, our junior fashionista, stifles a yawn while looking at the beige outfits at Ralph Lauren (713-850-9330), but vamps in front of the kinky-looking, black and chrome, chain-bedecked mannequins in Chanel’s display window. I shudder to think of Christmas shopping with Ava in 10 years.

They like the dim sum dumplings at the Shanghai diner called E Tao (713-965-0888), and they’re fond of the exotic ambiance at Gigi’s Asian Bistro. (713-629-8889). But their favorite food stop is the Marble Slab Creamery (713-622-7217) in the food court. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups mixed into chocolate ice cream topped with sprinkles was the biggest hit on this year’s holiday shopping trip.

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