Day’s finally over. Week, in fact.

IMG_1067Started out panicking a little that I wasn’t going to be able to give my kids the Christmas I wanted to. My debit card was on its eleventh day of replacement delivery after some earlier fraud.

A few comments from the kids about disappointment over spending Christmas at dad’s house heightened my anxiety, and when my card arrived I went overboard.

In my sudden relief and joy, I let them open several of their “lesser” gifts. Bad reactions and disappointment from the kids brought back dad’s bad response. More panicked spending.

Finally talked to mom and a close friend, both of whom adore Christmas and have been doing it forever, and surrendered to their advice. I had nothing to lose at this point.

Mom: Invite your brother over and have him make dinner. Make a Christmas memory and don’t focus on the gifts.

Friend: Make interesting and cheap stockings. Everything’s going to be discarded and forgotten just as quickly as the expensive gifts, but a grumpy reaction to a single disappointment is easily overshadowed by amused reactions to 20 confusing dollar store gifts.

First thing in the morning I hear screaming: “Dad! Dad! Where are you!” I let them sleep in the living room last night and didn’t get to bed until 3 or so, so I was disoriented and still half asleep. I jump out of bed and Malcolm and I startled each other in the dark as we ran into each other. “Santa did come! You have to see these stockings! And oh my gosh! We both have huge presents under the tree!”

Stockings were an amazing hit, though they both LOVED the gift they opened this morning. Still, icing on a successfully baked cake. But they had both expressed some concern over the week that I wasn’t going to get any presents and that morning there was nothing stuffed in my stocking. *Lesson learned…put some crap in your own damned stocking if it’s hung over the fireplace. So I had also stuffed a microwave popcorn packet into each of their stockings with a note from Santa about how they were to wait for the delayed arrival of the new microwave oven he had ordered for me from Amazon (ours went out in, like, August and I’m replacing it next week). “Hey! Santa brought dad a present but it just didn’t get delivered on time!”

The kids weren’t so thrilled about dinner, but god damn it was amazing to have another adult there with me after this week. And he’s a fantastic cook. Brussels sprouts with uncured bacon and garlic, mashed potatoes with a surprisingly improvised gravy from ramen noodle spice packets (I forgot the gravy mix!), ham steaks with a sweet pepper glaze, and the company of my brother around my dinner table.

Thanks for everything. Not everybody’s near, but they’re close.

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Oops. A combination of stubbornness and bad time management on parents’ parts had Malcolm acting out what could have been seen by his teacher as a lack of respect for her expectations and by Malcolm as a sign from us that this is OK.

So last night I was frantic when I discovered the week+ old homework packet, unfinished, with instructions to finish and return to her in his folder. We finished it up, but since this was less his fault (virtually nil) and more a failure of co-parenting, I encouraged him with a bribe.

“If you can meet some for time-based goals I set as you go along, I will buy you the most expensive Transformer we can find on Amazon, outside of used and/or collectors items. For each goal you don’t meet, I’ll drop the reward by 25% of the most expensive one.”

He failed the first one with tears and obstinance, but after a break he beat the rest with ease.

The most expensive damned Transformer is close to $100. frown emoticon

Dangerous awesome toys

Malcolm: “Why’s Ian crying?”
Dad: shrugs. “I don’t know.” I did know.
Ian: wailing now. “Because I really want an axe!”
Mal: “Why would you want an axe?”
Ian: “Because I just need to chop wood and I can’t use the forks!” (I had previously taken some dinner forks away from him as he was headed outside to chop wood with them.)

I actually would really like to have an axe. For no reason. I just like axes. There’s a part of me that’s all, “hell yeah, I had an axe when I was 5. It was awesome.” And then the other part of me is like, “yeah, but kids shouldn’t have axes.”