i have to say that i am glad that the holidays are nearly over so i can get this dead tree the hell out of my house and start vacuuming. it was a pretty tree and it looked very festive and sparkly, but now its the 27th, there are pine needles all over my living room floor and no lingering pine scent to make it even slightly tolerable. the tree has GOT to go! this virgo needs tidiness and order!!! i'd be delighted every year to just start disassembling the tree right after opening presents, and i try to make this happen year after year, but i ultimately get shot down by my merry merry joy joy family who apparently thinks it's neat to sit around a festooned dead tree, picking pine needles out of our asses without any concern of the tree busting into flames and killing us all any moment. hhhhmmmmmppphhhh! they get their way again! baaaaaahhhh humbug!
ironically, i'm the same person who will let my festive autumn gourds rot on the steps of my front porch until april. my mailman must wonder what kind of crazy lady lives here.
i'm not a TOTAL holiday scrooge, only about 61%. i enjoy the fun and merry~making with family and friends that the season brings. i like seeing all the decorations and lights. i like eggnog...and i enjoy the edible treats that seem to be everywhere at christmas~time, the chocolate ones especially. i really like getting presents. but i don't like the messes that the holidays bring, or the bills, or the upset of our regular routine. i don't like that my 9 year old sneaks eggnog whenever i'm not looking, reasoning with me that "this is the ONLY time of the year i can drink eggnog"...and i know she's right because i felt the same way at her age. but i try to be kind of a hard-ass about such things, more so than my own mom was with me. i fancied myself a bit of a sneaky little rapscallion in my youth, but there is no way i want to be on the mama side of that scenario, so i'm tougher on my girls. there is NO way this mama is raising brats and sending toad-like little shits out into the world!
so sometimes lies and embellishments are essential for child-rearing, in my opinion. for example...did you know that eating squash makes blue-eyes even bluer? eating the crust of your sandwich makes your eyes sparkle and your hair shiny? you will have the most flawless and clear skin if you eat peas? if you don't behave at school, they will kick you out and send you to a school where bullies will beat you up every single day? and i'm certain that you know that sitting too close to the tv will make you go blind, if you cross your eyes, they will stick, and if you eat too much mcdonalds, maggots will grow in your tummy! lies...such an ugly word. i prefer "magic"!!
so a couple years ago, parenting was pretty sweet because i could always play the "santa's watching" card. at our house, santa wasn't the only one monitoring the behavior of my kids. also surveilling was the easter bunny, the birthday wizard, a leprechaun, the tooth fairy and a myriad of stuffed animals mommy had installed with hidden cameras. i wielded so much more power of discipline when i enlisted the help of these folks! and hey, it's nice for kids to have a fantasy, right? fine by me if they want to believe a rabbit lays glittery eggs in our house, a strange old lady wants to give them cash for their teeth, a flame-haired drunken midget leaves candy and shamrock confetti in march and a fat guy in a red suit crawls through our mailbox slot every december because we have no chimney. but it all fell apart a couple years back.....
jaymes lost a tooth one night while i was at work. by the time i got home and was told of the tooth, the banks were closed leaving me no time to prepare. i figured i'd scrounge around for something fantastic to put under her pillow, but i fell asleep and totally forgot. uh...big mistake! jaymes was 8 and had still believed...that is until the next morning when she came into my room at 6:30 and said "mama, my tooth is still under my pillow". i leapt out of bed saying to her "i'm sure you're wrong, let me go look!
jaymes: "i can't believe the tooth fairy forgot about me!"
mama: "i hear that she's leaving the teeth AND the money these days..."
jaymes: "but, mama, she didn't leave any money!!"
desperately trying to buy time, i told her to go wake up daddy so that he could help us look for the money too, knowing that it's no easy feat getting daddy out of bed quickly! this would buy mama precious moments to figure something out. i knew i didn't have time to run downstairs for the paper money that was in my wallet. the tooth fairy usually leaves gold dollar coins, but i'd had little to no warning of the impending tooth loss and was unprepared. i remembered reese's piggy bank...brilliant! cash close by!!! i ran in there and raided her piggy bank , slipping handfuls of coins into my robe pockets until she stirred and asked what i was doing with her money. "nothing, baby! go back to sleep, it's the middle of the night!" oooh i was in a terrible pickle now!!! i could hear jaymes giving up on daddy getting out of bed. i had to act quickly! running across the hall, i took the change from reese's piggy bank out of my robe pockets and flung it all over jaymes' room. the coins hitting the walls and furniture made loud clinking noises which i tried to cover by exclaiming loudly "you silly girl, jaymes, here is all your money!!! i think, perhaps, the tooth fairy was confused last night and couldn't find your pillow in the dark. did you forget to leave on your nightlight?" trying to shift the blame back to jaymes...
jaymes: "MOM!! i heard you throw all that money! you're lying!"
we stood there looking around the floor in her room, squinting in the bright light at the "treasures" left by the tooth fairy...which was mostly pennies, some of which were stuck together with god knows what kind of filth, a broken hair band, a bottle cap, a broken foot from a doll, 2 hair clips and some used nose tissues.
mama: "mamas don't lie. the tooth fairy left this all for you!" presenting the area with open arms like a 'price is right' model presenting a new car to an excited contestant.
jaymes: "she left me a home depot gift card, mom? really?"i bowed my head in shame.
mama: "you're right! i AM lying. but it's only because i wanted you to believe in the magic! plus there are still a couple bucks left on that home depot card..."
"jaymes: so there's no tooth fairy? you're the tooth fairy?"
i nodded shamefully.
jaymes: "and i suppose you're the easter bunny too?"
horrified, she glared at me and asked "AND SANTA TOO?". i nodded yes...
mama: "him too"
(i don't mind if jaymes says "jesus cripes" to express great dismay, sometimes it is appropriate, and i ain't raising no nun! on a side note...she is only allowed to say such things at home)
i pleaded with jaymes to keep the secret going for reese. after all, there were still at least 5 more years of playing the santa card for purposes of bribery.
after sitting down over hot cocoa and explaining just how creepy and nonsensical santa really is when you think about it, she eased up on me. i mean, even a kid understands the ick factor of an old fat guy, imprisoning a bunch of elves to slave labor all year long. then he forces those reindeer to fly around the entire planet in less than 24 hours while carrying all those heavy packages, not to mention santa's fat ass. peta would certainly have something to say about this!
"so there's no fairy jewelry store or fairy junkies?"
"nope" i say, remembering how i told her a couple years earlier that the teeth collected by the tooth fairy end up on necklaces or ground up into a powder for naughty fairies to snort.
she almost breathed a sigh of relief. " but what about the ants?"
mama: "what ants?"
jaymes: "the ants that crawl on your face and eat the crumbs off when you don't wash your face before bed?"
mama: "those are real. and so are the sugar bugs who eat your teeth at night if you forget to brush!"
so you see, i still have some working magic left with jaymes, and hopefully with her help, a lot of magic left with reese! when that runs out, there are embarrassing childhood photos and videos of them that i can threaten to reveal to their friends as a subtle reminder to be good. and hopefully, too much therapy won't be necessary later.