Holidays: Regina and I, for whatever reason, have a very loose grasp on how holidays are supposed to work for children. She blames it on growing up overseas. I have no excuse. I grew up with all the traditions and rituals that Easter, Christmas, Arbor Day, Yom Kippur, or whatever, offer. We really thought we had Christmas nailed down. We have a tree-cutting day, we hang stockings, we wrap presents, we are merry. But, two years ago we forgot to wrap any presents from Santa. Regina asked me, "Does Santa bring presents?" and all I could come up with was, "Maybe?" We're back on a Santa-gift routine, and thought it was smooth sailing, until the evils of the internet introduced us to Elf on a Shelf. The Hell? I hate everything about it. I'm genuinely freaked out by horror films that feature A) dolls (see: Chucky), or B) leprechauns (see: Leprechaun I - VII), and that freaky little Christmas elf looks like those two movies made a baby. So, no mischievous elves. And, for that matter, no mischievous leprechauns on St. Patricks Day. When did the tradition of trashing your house and blaming a silly leprechaun start? The last thing Regina and I want to do is create a bigger mess in our house, especially on a day dedicated to day-drinking and poor choices.
|Mommy, who brought these baskets?|
And, finally, there's Easter. Ah, Easter, it's a piece of cake, right? On Easter-eve, I was up baking a tart while Regina started putting the kids' baskets together when she innocently asked, "Are the baskets from the Easter Bunny or from us?" We finally settled on: Let's just leave them out and let the kids decide who brought them. Same goes for egg hunts. We've always done an egg hunt wherever we go for Easter supper, then I had a revelation on Easter night that I used to wake up to hidden eggs all around the house. How had I forgotten that tradition? How do I even remember how to tie my own shoes anymore? It's a good thing I wear cowboy boots.
|I can see!|
Dylan, fortunately, has her father's teeth. That's sarcasm. Basically it means that she's doomed to have cavities until she's 40. Her dentist found 6 cavities last fall and decided to break up the filling appointments in thirds. By round 3, Dylan had a firm distrust of modern dentistry. I took her to her last appointment and, like I do with any doctor's appointment, I brought a book and settled in in the waiting room while she went to the back. An hour and a half later she came out crying and I realized that I'd made a terrible mistake. Why I didn't go back there with her and hold her hand while she got her teeth drilled out, I have no idea. I'm still trying to figure out a way to divert my guilt and bad-parenting into blame on the "scary" dentist, but I realize that my plan will probably backfire when Dylan has to go back, probably in the near future, for another filling.
On good days, I think Regina and I are doing alright as parents. My dad told me story that when he was very young, after reading the story of William Tell shooting an apple off someone's head with an arrow, he tried to shoot an apple off his brother's head. With a .45 pistol. After hearing that, I feel pretty good about our petty mistakes in parenting. Our giant poster that reads "Dylan has gone ____ days without detention," now sports double-digit numbers, and we're 90% successful on what gluten-free foods to feed Grady. We've accepted that we'll ignore holiday traditions that involve nightmarish creatures, we'll try a little harder to be in tune with the health of our kids, and I'll quit trying to impart words of wisdom that I've learned in Spike Lee movies.