Tag Archives: Holidays

The Fear Begins Earlier Each Year

It is about this time of year that I begin to have “the fear”. As we approach the holiday, and thusly the gift-buying/excessive consumerism season, I battle with the skin crawling horror that I will, sometime around December 26th, be buried under an avalanche of tiny little plastic things; tiny little plastic things which are “sold separately” but will be purchased for my children en-masse. Please, help me.

I know that it is difficult to tell children that they cannot have something that, at that particular millisecond in time, they truly and terribly want. Trust me; I do it at least three to four times per hour, fifteen hours a day, every day of the week. I have found, though, that if you wait it out, like a craving for a second slice of pie or a second bag of Doritos, it will pass. Do not buy them those little globules of plastic.

My fear was triggered a couple of days ago by the arrival of the Toys R Us Big Book of Tiny Little Things That Will Become Lost in Your Couch and Will Someday, When You Least Expect It, Puncture Your Buttocks Through The Couch Cushion With a Tiny Crown or Little Plastic Foot… or something like that, anyway. I browsed through the hallowed pages, after prying it from my sleeping child’s hand, and was amazed at the new assortment of little animals, people, animal-people and robots that number in the thousands, each of them with their own playsets, vehicles, swimming pools and primary care physicians. When did these things get so TINY? I remember having an assortment of action-figures and cars as a child and they just were not so microscopically SMALL! My G.I. Joe figures would look at some of these things and be all “Damn, that thing is small!” and then they would jump into some slightly futuristic jet and go fight COBRA, because that is what they did when I was a kid. That is all they would do. I’m not kidding. They would comment upon the size of things and then go fight a battle. Seriously, it was kinda weird.

The other issue is that I’m not sure that each faction of little toy people can play together. Can you combine Littlest Pet Shoppers (which are no longer the littlest, by the way) with the Zoobles with some Squinkies and some Widdle Biddle Poopikins? (Okay, I made that last one up. But if they come out with one hundred little Poopikins and the Poopikin Play Castle, I want my monies, yo.) I’m sure their accessories and playsets aren’t compatible, because that’s how toy companies roll, but maybe just a couple of google-eyed puppies could come over to play with the robot penguin and miniature giraffe? It could happen, right? Right?

You know what? The next raving lunatic you see on the street going on about Batman and how Rainbow Brite is breaking up the unions is not crazy; he just finished looking at the Toys R Us catalog with his kid. Now, the person pestering you to sign some petition… Yeah, they are crazy. That crap never changed anything.

Baby Pigs, Doggie TV and Ukuleles

My youngest, Little Pink, has introduced a game of make-believe that can only be named, and described, as “Baby Pig”. Essentially, she takes to all fours and crawls around the apartment emitting little whimpers and whines which are, I assume, meant to resemble what an actual baby pig would vocalize. During this time, she will only answer when addressed as “Baby Pig” and she will only perform in such a manner befitting a baby pig.

I have no idea where this game came from or why it is so entertaining to her. This is not an occasional foray into Baby Pig-land, but an oftentimes lengthy sojourn that lasts for hours. This may lead to a young children’s book I am kicking around called “Spending a Day with Baby Pig”. It will be 87 pages of onomatopoetic pig noises.

My to-do list for the day involves: writing a little (and…done), bathing the children and dog (not at the same time, thanks.), and cleaning and preparing for the family camping trip this weekend. The dog needs scrubbed because, for one thing, she stinks and also because she will be taking her first visit to a “doggie hotel” during our trip. I call it a “doggie hotel” instead of a boarding facility or kennel when I mention it to her in hopes that she will be excited and happy about her little vacation. Ignoring the fact that she is a Pomeranian and that she has a brain the size of a walnut, I could probably call it “the doggie torture chamber” and she would respond with the same mouth-agape wide eyed face she always displays. Regardless, the dog hates camping. It is the complete opposite of what she finds entertaining and comfortable. Instead, we are giving her two nights in a deluxe suite complete with a comfortable cot and lambskin bedding, ample personal attention and an in-suite television tuned to “pet-related programming with all happy endings”. This is the description given to me by the all-too personable lady on the telephone. All the while I’m thinking, “I don’t think I have ever seen the dog watch television. I’m pretty sure she has never acknowledged the television’s existence”. But nothing is too good for our little Princess Walnut Brain.

Also on my plan for the day is waiting impatiently for UPS to deliver my new toy, a tenor ukulele. I am beyond excited and, like a doofus, have been clicking on the UPS package tracking site three times a day for updates on its progress. When it comes I will share my thoughts and maybe even offer up some samples of my virtuosic playing. Yes, you are that lucky.

On the Holidays…

I have said more than once before that one of the great benefits of having children is the complete absolution of all regret.  I cannot wish to change any event in my life prior to my child’s being because it is those events that brought them here.  The jobs I quit (or didn’t), the people I touched (or didn’t), or the opportunities I seized (or wasted) all led to the creation of this being (or beings).  It not only changes your life, but allows for some biographical reset button to give you another start.  In modern terms, it is like a save point in a video game.  Any regretting that you do will have to begin from this point.

But, that’s just it.  Now the pressure is on.  The choices that you make now are yours, and you’ve got folks along for the ride.  At least these little creations of guilt absolution can provide you with a little guidance, even if they (or you) don’t know that it’s happening.  I see it every time I need to make a choice.  I see the possibilities in my mind, and automatically an overlay image of two smiling faces appears.  If the images are in contrast, perhaps some additional thinking is in order.  If they seem to blend together in one harmonious amalgam, creating some Technicolor life map of decision-making direction, I know that will be the way to go.

One caveat however.  The upcoming holiday season (and all others before and hence) provides colorful choices that will all blend with the smiling faces of children, no matter what.  All toys, gifts, garland and sweets will mesh harmoniously with the joy and laughter of little souls.  This is why you will see me wandering, with vacant stare and perplexed mind, though aisles of toys in the coming weeks.  It is normal.  It is fine.  And I am pretty sure I am not going to be alone.