Toddlerhood and Christmas Time

5 mins read

A couple of weeks ago, my husband, son and I went on our first official Christmas outing this season. 

For December, my family tries to do a Christmas outing once a week. It’s been a lot of fun creating traditions and sharing the magic that the Christmas season can be with our son.

For this outing, we drove around and looked at Christmas lights. We went to Candy Cane Lane in Prairie Village (so fun!), wound our way through Mission Hills and made our way to the Plaza. Our son was too young last year to have much of a reaction to the Plaza lights. So we were excited this year to take him.

We had Christmas music playing in the car and it was all of my Christmas cheer dreams coming to fruition, outside of sipping on a hot chocolate.

When we turned and headed into the Plaza, I eagerly awaited my son’s reaction.

To my surprise, he got agitated in the back and asked us to switch the music. He kept shouting, “Papa!” (which meant he wanted to listen to the Rock Chalk Jayhawk song, something my dad, Papa Mitch, says often around him). 

I’m an avid KU fan so I’ll happily play the Rock Chalk chant whenever he asks. But, when we got the song switched over, he still didn’t see the lights.

I directly asked him if he saw the lights out the window.


“Landon, look out your window, do you see the lights?”


I kid you not, we drove through the Plaza two different times and there was not a single reaction. The only thing he said was “more” when the Rock Chalk chant was ending and he wanted it to play again.

Now evenings are commonly a tougher time for my son as he nears tiredness and tries with every ounce of himself to fight it. But I had assumed that the Plaza lights, in all their bright, colorful, beauty would capture his attention.

But they didn’t.

I have always found the Plaza lights stunning. I always have and assume I always will be in awe when I turn the corner and see all the lights.

We still have a few more Christmas traditions we hope to navigate this year. If I really sit and think about each one, I know I have expectations of how they will go and how my son will react. But what I hope to keep reminding myself as we go out and about is I can’t assume he’s missing out if he doesn’t see what I see.

I can absolutely teach him and model for him the art of slowing down and taking in what is right in front of us. And perhaps one day, that will be him taking in the Plaza lights right in front of him.

But, for this outing, my son wanted nothing more than to listen to the Rock Chalk chant. And when he got it, he was much more content. At the moment, I wanted nothing but for him to look up and see the lights. I didn’t want him to miss out. But, to him, he didn’t miss a single thing. He got exactly what he wanted.

I’m far from having parenting figured out. You have a moment of feeling pretty good about yourself, and within a minute you are deeply humbled. It’s by far the hardest thing I have ever done. But I have always called myself a lifelong learner, and I think I’ve come across and will continue to come across some of the greatest lessons through my son and my little family. 

As we continue this holiday season, I hope to honor what is bringing me joy as well as give space to what is bringing joy to those around me, especially if they don’t happen to be the same thing.


Kylie Larson, MA, LPC

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Outside of the therapy room, Kylie enjoys spending time with her family, exploring the world through the eyes of her son, adventuring with her husband, running around with her dogs, cheering on our Kansas City teams, gardening, being active, reading and exploring new recipes.

Professional Background
Bachelors in Elementary Education from Kansas State University, 2015
Master of Arts in Counseling from MidAmerica Nazarene University, 2020

Kansas Counseling Association
American Counseling Association

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