I had a mind once. Now I have small children.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

At the End of the Day...

We did it. We survived Christmas. And what a wonderful day it was! First of all, the Zaz and the Pop are here. And I think you all know how happy that makes me. I have spent most of their time here trying to convince them to move into my basement, but so far it hasn't worked. Whatever. I WILL eventually wear them down. But, that is beside the point. The point right now is that they are here, and I love it.

Mario came into my room at 3:30 this morning asking if it was time to open presents yet. Ummm, NO! He was too excited to sleep, so he crawled into bed with Bowser and I, waking us every 45 minutes just to be sure that we didn't actually miss the present-opening spectacular that awaited us downstairs. I said we had to sleep till 7 before we could go down. At 6:45, he practically cried and said, "I can't take the waiting anymore!!!!" And by that time, we could here Luigi and Peach stirring, so out of the bed we hopped to see if Santa had indeed visited.

And oh, did he visit!!!! When the Goombas made their way down the steps, they were rendered speechless by the sight before them. Peach had an Ultimate Dream Castle for her princesses, fully assembled and ready to go. Luigi had a Cars 2 racetrack, complete with an Eiffel Tower, laser shooting cameras and a tumbling bridge. Also, fully assembled. And now, allow me to make a small sidenote about assembling toys...

Ummm, hello, toymakers. Do you HATE parents???? Do you have any idea how frustrating it is to put together a 4'x3' castle that is packed into a 12-square-ince box? You must not have children of your own, or you are wealthy enough to employ your own "elves" for the holiday season, because obviously, you have never had to put together your own creations. Four small black and white line drawings in the instructions is not much help when you are trying to put together a 4,246,904 piece castle. I'm just sayin'....

Mario spied his new 3DS within 4.2 milliseconds of hitting the bottom step, and I haven't seen his eyeballs since. They have been fully fixed on the 3-D screen for the past 13 1/2 hours. But, a true Christmas miracle occurred and my darling pre-tween, with an attitude the size of Texas actually hugged us all and said "Thank you," for his gifts, without being asked. That was gift enough for this mama.

After the Santa gifts, there was still a pile of presents the size of Mount Washmore to tackle. I thought we would get a good 45 minutes of present-opening out of it. Instead, we got about 45 seconds. It was like a feeding frenzy at the zoo in the lions' den. Don't dare get to close or you might lose an appendage.

While the Goombas played with their new things, the grown-ups feasted on mimosas, eggs Benedict, cinnamon rolls, and potato chips. (Don't knock 'til you try it.) Round 2 of packages came at Grandma and Grandpa Bowser's house later. Let me put it this way... A grandma and a grandpa, 5 children, 4 spouses/significant others, and 8 grandchildren makes for an incredibly chaotic free-for-all of wrapping paper, ribbon and tissue paper. But, I did walk away with an incredibly awesome purse and a fantastic cooler for my back patio, so you won't hear any complaints from me.

And now, here we are, at the end of the day. The aftermath of Christmas morning is spread throughout the house. The Goombas are tucked snugly into their beds after a long and exhausting day. The Zaz, the Pop and Bowser are dozing on the couches, watching the football game, waking each other up with the occasional comment. And I am blogging, thinking back, not just on today, but the entire year, and thanking God deep in my heart for all of His blessings... for my parents, my in-laws, my friends, my Goombas and my husband... The greatest gifts this Daisy could ever ask for on Christmas.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fred, Oscar and Light

Luigi has made a new friend. He is super-cool, 5-years old, loves racing cars and playing trains. His name is Fred and he loves to talk on the phone, although he usually wants to talk to me instead of Luigi. He never stays for dinner, but he around almost all day every day. He has "scratchy spots" (excema) all over, just like Luigi, so they do a lot of scratching together. They are best buddies. The thing about Fred, is that you probably won't ever actually see him, seeing as how he is imaginary and all.

Fred made his debut not long ago in a dinner conversation. Luigi went on and on about his friend Fred and how he just couldn't stay for dinner because his Mommy wanted him to come home. At first, I was very confused. Our neighbor has a little boy the same age as Luigi, but his name is not Fred. Could he have forgotten his friend's name? Then he went on to explain an elaborate race course that was set up in the basement and this car did this and this car did that and Fred made one car jump all the way over the tracks! It suddenly dawned on me that my little Luigi had made an imaginary friend.

I love imaginary friends. I think they are one of the coolest parts of childhood. I fondly remember my own little friends, Owl and Pussycat. Owl and Pussycat were named after a poem that my parents would read to me at bedtime when I was a little girl.

**I am now going to post a link to "The Owl and The Pussycat" by Edward Lear. BUT, I want everyone to PLEASE remember that there was once a time when words were innocent and nonsense was guiltless. A time when minds didn't head straight for the gutter. That being said, this poem is even more awesome as an adult than it was when I was a child. I digress... **

I also remember, very fondly, Mario's imaginary friends, Oscar and Light. Oscar was Mario's very best friend EVER. They did everything together. Light was Mario's wife. Yes, my darling 4-year-old had a wife named Light. Oscar and Light were a very integral part of my young son's life. We had to make room on the couch for them when we watched movies. (Trust me, one time, I accidentally sat on Light, and Mario's poor heart was broken!) They needed plates at the dinner table with us. They had to wear their seatbelts in the car. They needed to be tucked in at bedtime right along with Mario. At a time when many of Mario's friends were getting baby brothers and sisters, he had Light and Oscar. They were awesome and I have to admit, I was more than a little sad when I was told they "moved away."

But, now, we have Fred. And Fred is a silly little boy, who likes to cause trouble and make mischief almost as much as Luigi. In fact, I can hear Luigi and Fred singing some Green Day upstairs as I type. I am looking forward to getting to know him a little better, and I do hope he doesn't move away too soon. I'm glad my Luigi has found his first best friend.


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas is supposed to be such a magical time of year. So, why is it that every year, as I get older, I get more and more Scrooge-like? It took all my effort this year to get our decorations up. In fact, we still don't even have lights up outside... and at this stage in the game, I kind of feel like, what is the point? I still have about 90% of my Christmas shopping to do and the thought of heading to Toys R' Us any time in the near future makes me want to just plop myself down in front of the kegerator and never move. Yes, this year, I am a little, more Abominable Snowman than Prep & Landing Elf.

Right now, the biggest thing is that my Goombas just don't seem to give two hoots about whether they are on the naughty list or the nice list. I'll give you one guess as to which side they are leaning towards. We started with an Elf on the Shelf. I love it. I thought, what a great idea! They will flip for this and it will totally make them behave. Enter fork, stage right, so I can eat my words. The first day worked great. We named her Merry and the Goombas were all very excited to please her so she could report back to Santa. By day 4, as exciting as it is to wake up and search for her every morning, her threats of telling "Santa" just aren't doing anything to deter naughty behavior. So, in addition to Merry checking in, I actually posted a "Naughty List" and a "Nice List" on the wall. By Christmas, Santa will check it and you better hope you have more marks on the Nice List if you want some presents. Hmmm... Let's see how that is going...

On the other hand, I guess we have had a few fun holiday moments so far.

Luigi loves to watch "Ru-dog, the Red-nose Rein-deal." No, that is not a Harlem version of Rudolf, but I think that would make a great Christmas program. Also, he loves the Christmas song about the "police man and his dad." It took me a few minutes to figure out that he was talking about "Feliz Navidad."

At dinner the other night, we were talking about armpits. (Please don't ask why we were talking about armpits. Isn't that just normal dinner conversation?) Something was said about stinky armpits for Daddy and Mario, then something about moldy armpits for Luigi, and then Peach lifted her shirt, raised her arm, pointed to her pit and said, "Look! I have sparkles in my armpit!!!" Yes, you do my little princess. Mommy's pits "sparkle," too. Other people call it sweating... Semantics.

My ever-growing pre-teen (dear me, is he almost a 'tween already??) is counting down days till Christmas break when he can "finally relax from all that work at school and play all day at home." I told him I think it would be awesome to be back in school again, hanging out with my friends, learning new things... He looked at me as if a second head just popped out of my neck.

Our Christmas tree only has ornaments on the very, very top and the very, very bottom. The middle is sort of bare due to meddlesome little hands and one very spunky Koopa Troopa. It looks a little strange, but it is ours and we love it.

Today, though, was one of those moments, when you really believe that it is all worth it. After a bit of a stressful morning, trying to get into the groove of Christmas break, we spent the afternoon making decorations. I printed out a bunch of free holiday coloring pages, laid all the crayons and markers out on the table and told the Goombas to go to town. Three hours, two bags of popcorn, 16 juice boxex (for the kids), 2 beers (for me), 42 coloring pages, one roll of scotch tape and hundreds of Goomba giggles later... we have an incredibly colorful home and I have a beautiful memory of my babies enjoying time together. It doesn't get any better...

This is what Christmas is all about.

Cheers and love,

Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Way Too Deep Rudolf Conversation

While stalking people on Facebook last week, I noticed a status update from a good friend from college. It really stuck with me and I had to find out more of his thoughts on the particular subject. The original status read, "It's one of my favorite holiday traditions - calling Santa a damn bigot on "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer." Umm, what??? Santa, a damn bigot??? That just didn't sit well. So, I chatted up my friend RB and asked what on the good green earth he meant by his statement. Here, in full detail, is the conversation that followed...

Me: Ok. So, you watched it with your kids, right? Now, why on earth would you say that Santa is a damn bigot???

RB: Let's break it down... What is the first thing Santa does to Rudolph? He comes in when the kid is like an hour old and mocks him for having a red nose. What if had Down's Syndrome? What if he had a cleft palate? I suppose Jolly Ol' St. Nick would probably harass him for that, too.

me: hahahaha! You know, I never thought of it like that.

RB: Then - to top it off - he kicks Rudolph's parents while they're down, too. Here they are, wondering how they're going to raise a child that is different, and then their hero (and boss) comes in and says "Jesus Christ! How could you make such a monster?" Imagine if your boss came by to look at your new son - and said "Holy hell! That thing is a monster! You ought to be ashamed of yourself!"

Me: True, I would not want my boss to come in and say that. He IS a damn bigot!!!

RB: Now - give Donner some of the blame, here. He should've stuck up for his son, but due to the probable deity-like reverence that the reindeer have for Santa, I can understand why he'd want to please the big man in red.

Me: True. It's like, "sorry, son. not gonna love ya if the big man doesn't." But, it isn't just the fat man. What about Comet, when he is running the reindeer games? He practically poos in his pants when Rudolf's fake nose comes off.

RB: It's not just Santa, for sure - Rudy's new buddy Fireball is understandably freaked out by the deformity and reacts accordingly. Comet (the Reindeer Games coach) is a **** (expletive that rhymes with stick), though. But I envision Santa as the "iron fist in a velvet glove" ruler - like if the reindeer don't do what he says, he looks at them and says "If you don't like, I have one word for all of you - venison!"

Me: Mmmmm...Reindeer stew. Well, not sure if you noticed, but he passed on his prejudiced to the reindeer in other ways. When they logger man (what the hell is his name?) goes over the cliff with Abominable Snowman, they are like, "Oh we are so sad, but the 'little ladies' can't stand this cold. we best get their weak-asses home."

RB: You are referring to Yukon Cornelius, the greatest prospector in the north. And yes - there are several instances of misogyny in Rudy - I mean, hell, they even say "You women can't go! This is man's work!"

Me: I know, right??? What the hell are we teaching our kids, anyway? Hey kids, Christmas is all about putting down women and treating "different" people like crap. And if you don't like it, well, no presents from Santa!

RB: But check out the all men in this children's classic - [RB, I simply can't use your words to describe Santa here, so instead, I will insert my own] slightly bigoted, chubby man who wants to rule the reindeer and force children around the world to be "good" (Santa), overbearing loudmouth boss (head elf), a father you can never please (Donner), a coach who singles out the weak and makes them feel inferior (Comet) and a flesh-eating snowman.
I can support Clarice's father's opinion of Rudolph, though - as a father to a little girl myself, I don't care what the little bugger looks like - just get the hell away from my daughter. That philosophy will stand until the day I'm in the cold, cold ground.

Me: I think Bowser would have to agree with you on that last point.

RB: So then - what happens at the end? The male chauvinist Donner gets his butt handed to him by the Snowman, and depends on his deformed son to rescue him. And then Santa realizes "Hey! Maybe I can benefit from the freak's malady! Time to exploit the mutant!"
If you want a textbook reaction on how we should teach our kids how to act, look to Clarice, Rudolph's new girlfriend.

Me: More people should be like Clarice, I agree. Do you think that when this was made it was only perfectly handsome Don Draper type men in charge? Or were they all just doing lots of drugs?

RB: Scotch and cigarettes used to sponsor the show.

Me: I also feel bad for the little elf that wants to be a dentist, too. I mean, with all those damn sweets the elves eat, you would think they would want SOMEONE to take care of their teeth. Not to mention the fact that if one of my children wanted to be a dentist, I would be rather proud.

RB: There's job security in being a dentist - especially if you're the only one in town.

Me: Oh, and even the Misfits on the Island won't accept them because they aren't TOY misfits.

RB: Don't get me started on the Misfit Toys. "We're going to exclude you and banish you - but hey, put a good word in to Santa for us, would you?"

Me: I know, right? Like we may be deformed, but you are SUPER freaks. We might like you if you help us get in with the popular crowd (ie: Santa and his gang)

RB: That Flying Lion King (King Moonracer) is like the bouncer at a crappy club - nobody wants to go there, so they develop an inferiority complex. Then, when someone actually DOES want to visit, he gets all high and mighty.

Me: Wow. You must watch this a lot. Who even knows what the Flying Lion King's name is???

RB: I've seen this show literally every single year of my life - so I know it better than I know the theories of algebra, economics and auto mechanics.
But what gets me is the behavior of Santa the entire show. He's apparently bulimic - as evidenced by his drastic swings in weight throughout the show.

Me: I never realized one could have such strong opinions about a Christmas classic.
Sounds to me like the stress of the season just gets to him. Maybe he needs some Ativan or Xanax to help control those mood swings.

RB: But most of all - he's just a jerk. Look at his treatment of the reindeer. Look how he suffers through the elves' performance of "We Are Santa's Elves" - then as soon as its over, he sweeps out of the room and simply says "it needs work"

Me: Hahaha! I've never really analyzed it this much. Do you have too much free time on your hands?

RB: They say you can get the true measure of someone by how they treat people that are in a lower station than them. Rudy and Hermey treat everyone equally. So does Yukon. But Santa barely gives anyone else the time of day at the North Pole.
Hey, fat man! Who made those toys? Who flies your tubby ass around the world so you can deliver the toys and take all the credit? Who puts up with your crap for 364 days?

Just because you drive a freaking sleigh doesn't mean you did jack. The elves, the reindeer and Mrs. Claus make you who you are - and if you can't appreciate that, then I hope you get eaten by the Snowman!

The other Christmas programs are just creepy. The only one I can truly get behind is Charlie Brown - and that one is mostly for Linus's speech on the true meaning of Christmas. It's the message that we should be passing onto our kids - not even the religious aspects (though that's important).

It's not about toys, or cookies, or trees or whatever - but we celebrate the birth of Christ, and embrace helping our fellow man. If you ask my 4-year old, she will tell you that December 25th is Jesus's birthday. She's excited as anyone about presents and toys, but she knows that giving and loving people are what we are really celebrating.
Realize what's important. We all want to give our kids tons of presents and everything they want for Christmas - but what we all REALLY want is love, family, friends and being together. Christmas is about love- not an Xbox (though that's a close second for me).

I am off my soapbox.

Me: Awww....so sweet, RB! You are exactly right, it is all about being with your family, having compassion for mankind, and celebrating Christ's birth. Buuuuttt...presents are pretty nice, too.
You know, I'm gonna have to edit down the sappy stuff in the blog...

RB: Please do. I would kick my own ass if I re-read all that.

Me: Actually, i think i might keep all the sappy stuff, with your disclaimer that you would kick your own ass.

RB: Sigh - fair enough.

And there you have it. A far too in depth conversation regarding the politics of Rudolf and Santa. Seriously, RB. We really need to get out more.

Happy Holidays, everyone!