Zoe: How can I be delightful when I don’t like to do my chores and I frustrate my brothers?
Having kids at Christmas is awesome – it’s also really stressful, when it comes to getting presents. Not picking them out so much, but trying to not get too many things and overspend. Every time I go to a website or store, everything looks so amazing and it would be super easy to just go into debt and buy the kids a bajillion things they don’t have room for anyway. Not to mention that this completely dilutes the meaning of the season. So, to keep ourselves in check and manage the kids expectations, they get 4 gifts from us and one from Santa. Their gifts are:
Something to Read
Something to Wear
Something you Want
And Something to Share
Share items can be a donation to a favorite charity or a play-doh set they all three use together. So far, so good!
We try to teach the kids that they need to think through what they’re doing before they do it. Failing that, they need to fess up and deal with the consequences of their choices. As a result “I’m just” or “I was just” are not really acceptable phrases, as it means some justifying excuse is coming next. So, from an early age, they learned…
Child in trouble “Mom, I’m just…”
Me, interrupting “What does ‘I’m just’ mean?”
Child, sighing and resigned “I’m just about to get in trouble.”
Zoe: William and I decided there is a whatchamacallit so you better be careful!
Me: Oh no what does it look like?
Zoe: It’s huge! And purple and covered in greeeeeeen slime. And it hugs you so hard that you can’t breathe then eats you with its serious tusks. So you better watch out!
Zoe: Mommy, sometimes I wish you could turn me into a spider so I could always be there when you need help with something. Like if you were in trouble you could take me out and I would turn normal and then I would take care of all the bad guys kapok!
It’s important to make sure your kids are presentable when they walk out the door. Of course, presentable means different things to different people. I go by the “meh, they’re kids” school of thought and pretty much let them wear whatever they want. This has, in turn, led to some rather…unique…outfits (tutu, jeans, spiderman sneakers and a tshirt?) but heck, they’re kids. We do, however, find it useful to have some very basic rules:
- If it’s tight on the top, make it loose on the bottom.
- If it’s tight on the bottom, make it loose on the top.
- Never wear tight tops and bottoms together. It makes you look like “people of Walmart“
Come to think of it, that’s probably a pretty good set of rules for adults too…
We had a bout of illness in the house, so I needed to get all the door knobs and cabinet handles wiped down. Being incredibly lazy, I decided this was a perfect job for the kids. I handed each of them an antibacterial wipe and told them:
“We’ve been invaded by really tiny monsters! They are hiding out on the door knobs and cabinet handles all over the house – some might even be on toilet handles and things like that. I need your help to hunt them all down and kill them with these magic cloths.”
15 minutes later they reported a complete rout and slaughter of all door handle monsters and their allies. Long live the alliance!
Me:Wow that’s really… Unique
Zoe: Yes! It has useful arms that can grab things like the ocean floor, or the landing pads, or a blanket if you need one, or even to get kids out of the house in an emergency.
Me: what’s all that on the bottom?
Zoe: oh that’s the landing pad – it’s covered in strings that it can grab onto with its fingers. But if it doesn’t have those strings like on the bottom of the sea it can just put out it’s extendo arms instead.
William: Mommy! Look out – there’s a hyena squid after us!
Me: Whoa! What’s it look like?
William: It’s a little purple.
Me: Is it little?
William: No! It’s SO big. And I dug a pit so we can capture it with this! (gesturing to the vacuum cleaner)
Me: Whew! Well, I’m glad we’ve got a plan.