Dec 26, 2007

The Day After

Well. They didn't want to go see Enchanted again. And while this may shock no one, it was sort of surprising, since they had requested to be taken to see it only three days before. But then, Christmas Eve was No Man's Land at our house, and nothing could be expected to go according to plan or logic.

Boy asked to be allowed to open all his presents about fifty times over the course of the day, and responded to patient reminders that tomorrow is Christmas, and that he can open them then with shouts of "It's not fair!" Guy suggested that Boy's New Year's Resolution be to remove that phrase from his vocabulary.

Girl was not exactly ill-behaved, but she did make life tough in that she was absolutely entirely unwilling to any thing--any single thing--by herself. She couldn't play by herself, she couldn't get dressed by herself, she couldn't eat a snack by herself, she couldn't pee by herself. I find this tiring.

We offered up Enchanted as something to take up a few hours in the day, and also as incentive for good behavior. Except for how suddenly they didn't want to see Enchanted. They wanted to see Alvin and the Chipmunks. (And they wanted concession stand popcorn and soda. Because, Boy's logic ran, if we could afford to buy him all these presents we should be able to buy him whatever the hell else in the world he wants. Also his mom gets him soda and popcorn every time.)

My self-sacrifice does not extend that far. I stayed home. Guy went and wished he'd brought a book and headphones. The kids adored it. (And they drank water and ate Trader Joe's popcorn. Plus a lot of candy.) It made Boy stop asking to open presents for ten whole minutes after they got home.

We ordered Japanese food and watched Olive the Other Reindeer. It was very silly. We began hustling them down to bed. Only Girl balked. She didn't want to sleep here. She wanted to sleep at her mom's house.

Now, if a six year old kid--or frankly, any year old kid--wants to sleep at his or her mom's house and that house is just down the street, then damn skippy that's what they'll do. And that's what Girl did. But I won't pretend that after a long day and a long week and some long months of building up this Christmas in my head it didn't hurt my feelings.

Boy put it very succinctly as he lay on the floor sobbing as Girl walked out the door: "I just wanted this Christmas to be about the four of us, of us together, as a family. I wanted to wake up with her on Christmas morning. How can she not care about that?"

I explained to Boy--and to myself--that she does care, but she wants her mom. And it's okay to be sad about it, and to wish things were different, but it shouldn't ruin Christmas. She'll be over at 7 am, and we'll open presents, and it's really not a big deal. It shouldn't be taken as any kind of indication that this family unit is anything less than that, just because that other family unit eight doors down has its own pull on her emotions and needs.

Boy went to sleep. Guy and I went upstairs, and set out the presents from Santa, and dutifully ate the cookies and drank the milk (didn't even pour it down the sink, though I did consider it. Milk is yucky). We talked ourselves out of feeling sad and discouraged and wished each other a Merry Christmas. And we went to bed. Only I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned for hours, and started to wake Guy, and so went upstairs to sleep on the couch. (Which somehow felt sort of sacreligious. Santa can't come if I'm sleeping on the couch right in front of the Christmas tree.)

Only I couldn't sleep up there either. I could go into the ironies of as a kid not being able to sleep on Christmas Eve, and then as an adult not being able to sleep on Christmas Eve because of kids, but I find it too depressing. I felt very sorry for myself up there on that couch.

But then the doorbell rang promptly at seven and Boy and Girl rushed up the stairs and ooohed and ahhed over the missing cookies and the notes from Santa (which I tried to write extra messy so they wouldn't suspect it was me) and woohoo Santa got us Pictionary! And a jewelry box! And jewelry to boot! And Guy got me a giant whisk and just about every bath ball Lush makes and he liked the shoes I got him and also the Kurt Cobain action figure because it's So. Freaking. Insane. (Even though it doesn't come with a gun. Sigh.) And there was wrapping paper everywhere and Maud was playing in it and it was all happening on my living room floor in my house with the people I live with and love.

It was a nice day. I took a bath with one of my Lush balls, and we watched Dinosaurs "Not the mama!" and played Pictionary (thanks, Santa, for giving us the one game Guy and I suck at) and I somehow managed to stay awake for all of it and even shout orders at Boy as we made a very harried chilli-chocolate pudding while sending smart ass texts to my sister because nice as this Christmas was, and important as it was to me, I still felt very homesick.

But I did sleep last night. Like the proverbial rock. Only one who was cuddled.

1 comment:

awwwfancy said...

Will you please tell him to open the Kurt Cobain action figure? He and Jane Austen could do some FANTASTIC collaborations (if you know what I'm saying....NOT THAT, YOU PERVERT).

It's times like these when I remember why he reminded me of Jerry Seinfeld (or vice-versa).

At least his childhood puppets are still stiff and intact, eyeballs and all. Hopefully Mattel or Hasbro sells those so we can NEVER purchase from them again!