Sturm und Mom

The Storm & Stress (& Joy) of Motherhood

Archive for the tag “Christmas”

Parenting Advice I Learnt from TV: The Christmas Edition

I’ve learnt a lot about parenting from television, but not from an “expert” giving me the latest advice.  No, I mean from the actual medium of television itself.  And quite a few lessons applied this Christmas, for example…

Commericals Really Do Make Kids Greedier

I never really noticed until we got rid of commercial television during the spring and switched to Netflix/Boxee/iTunes.  For some reason, I honestly thought that by shouting back “No” to their constant chorus of “Can we get that?” I was dealing with the gimme problem.  This Christmas though, our kids gave us sensible lists early on, and everyone was genuinely grateful after the gifts were opened.  Having grown up watching hours of commercials I never realized what a corrosive effect they had on my childish wellbeing.  It’s shocking to think that my lifelong dream of a house with The Clapper in each room, may ultimately have originated outside my soul.

Nice Things Don’t Make Kids into Good People

It’s one of the oldest plot devices out there, whether prime time soap, Masterpiece Theatre, or reality TV — super rich people acting badly.  They have everything you could possibly want, all the advantages, all the toys, and they still stoop to worst behaviour possible.  And on the surface, I don’t think that anyone would disagree with this.  But spoiling our kids just feels so good, it’s pretty easy to start sneaking in a little bit of justification into the mix, too.  I mean, it would be great to be the hero of Christmas and make our kids into living saints.  Which would be acknowledged by all after they receive the Order of Canada for jumping into a frozen river to rescue a toddler they saw on the way  home from volunteering at the soup kitchen.  Alas, I have never heard a selfless person upon reflecting say “I did it all because my parents gave me every damn thing I wanted.  Booyah!”

If It’s Not Working, It Gets Cancelled

No matter how popular a show was, as soon as the ratings do a nose dive, it’s history.  So too with holiday traditions that just don’t work any more.  No one likes Grandma stuffing recipe with the pecans and dates — gone!  No one can sit still without whining for 4 hour of present opening — figure a way to speed it up!   Kids cranky and irritable waiting in itchy dress clothes for 8:00 o’clock formal sit down dinner — comfy clothes and dinner’s at 4!  Just like syndication, you’ll always have the memories, but life is too short.  Make space for stuff that you actually look forward to doing.

“Inspiration” is Not Theft

Ever notice how two or three of the same “theme” will appear in different shows on different networks each fall?  TV folks know that if it seems like a good idea over there, it just might work back home.  While I tend to decry this kind of creative laziness, I’ve decided that in parenting it’s OK!  So, if you see something cool that another family is doing — cookie decorating party, Christmas treats for the birds in the yards, carolling parties, whatever — take it!  It’s yours!  There is no copyright on Christmas fun, baby.  Now, go for a walk tonight and see if you can get any tree ideas from the people who haven’t drawn their curtains.

Tradition is Framework for Innovation

Here’s an example:  the award show format.  Every year the producers try to mix it up.  But think if they decided to go “crazy” and have two stand-ups ad lib the entire 3 hours, who told us who won everything in the first 15 minutes.  Even if it was the “best thing ever,”  it would stink.  Why?  We want an award show to follow some simple rules — the change up comes between the parts we expect.  Christmas with kids is the same way.  I love to be spontaneous.  However, you have never heard a room so quiet as when I suggested we get together on Christmas Eve, rather than the 25th.  And my husband had to duck for cover when he floated the idea of roast beef instead of turkey.  People like what they like.  Put the new and improved between that stuff.

Hopefully this proves that all those hours in front of a cathode ray tube has not rotted my brain, but in fact made me a better Mother.

And extra TV time for all who agree.

Stollen Angst

Every Christmas I make Stollen, German Christmas bread with fruit and nuts. And every year I experience a near panic about whether it will turn out. This year I decided to try to a new recipe from my very fancy, award winning bread book.  However, because it is a high-brow culinary recipe, the bread is quite dense, which is what good bread should be.   But, being just a plain old housewife, sometimes I just want an over-abundance of yeasty, bubbly, big bread that rises up and spills over the side of the pan, and domes the plastic wrap. Why?  Because it it looks better. You see where the angst comes in.  Or, I suppose I should say I’m a plain old Hausfrau.  Though, part of this year’s angst comes from the fact I couldn’t cut the bag of icing sugar open properly because I didn’t have any sharp scissors.   (I covered the counter – and my cell phone – in it.)  This automatically precludes me from being a proper Hausfrau, as I believe sharp scissors are imperative in the kitchen for cutting off the beak of any Grimm-esque talking birds which have found their way into your house.  Or Grimm-istch.  Whatever.

I know my tag line says “residually cynical,” but I also would describe myself as “residually German,” since the last ancestor of mine from any Heimat left for citizenship in the Commomwealth 80 plus years ago. Yet as Canadian as I act the rest of the year, for some reason I resurrect all these weird Teutonnic food fetishes at Christmas. Hence, the Stollen angst. Or maybe Stollenangst would be the term, to go with my Mutterschuldfreude (mother guilt joy).  Then there’s the Pfeffernüsse cookies.  These can best be described as round little balls of playdough that have been sweetened and spiced with ginger, and then left out on the counter to almost dry.  Then someone coats them in a white glaze, and maybe dips them in chocolate.  I’m eating one right now, and it’s freaking awesome.  Who cares that I got them from the drugstore when I was searching for extra bows.  ( I didn’t find any.)

Stollen to me, and Pfeffernüsse, and Lebkuchen (spice cookies — yes, there are more) for that matter, aren’t just Christmas treats.  They’re un-remembered memories.  Memories of people who came before me, the ancestors who farmed the hamlets of Burkovina, who toiled in the coal mines of Silesia, who nursed sick infants across the Atlantic in steamer ships, who bore the first child in a sod hut all alone in the dark days of November.   These are the people I don’t know, who never left any records, or diaries, or blogs, other than their descendants.  They are who I am trying to remember.  So this food takes on a greater meaning then how much the bread rose, or if I used the proper spice mix.  It’s the only way I know of connecting to those that came before me, and who sacrificed so that I could enjoy the life I have now, and in turn pass it along to my children.  And it is also an act of hope, that someday, somewhere, an angst filled mother will be debating whether to force rise her Christmas bread.  Someone will able to do that, because I was here doing this right now.  And that woman will be doing it, as an act of trying to remember me.

Something Found for Christmas

One of the many nice things about having kids hanging about at Christmas, is that they act like purifiers against the vapours of jadedness lingering around us adults. Take Tall Girl, for example. I took her out to a pancake house – just her and me – for a celebratory lunch. She ordered something called the “Cinnamon Stackers,” four pancakes “stacked” with cream cheese icing on top. She then criss-crossed four types of syrup back and forth. Finally, she dug in.

“Is that any good?” I asked, worried that she regretted her meal. That’s a whole lot of sugar, I thought. She stopped, looked me in the eye, and with a smile starting to to play at the corner of her mouth, answered:

“This is the most delicious thing ever!”

So with Christmas Eve upon us, I find I don’t have a lot of time for radio stations that want to play Post-Ironic Bobby and the Atheist Trio Re-interpret Christmas marathons. I’d rather hear a choir sing Alleluia.

Before I forget, this is the correct way to eat a gingerbread house.

Around here, we’re too busy to be bored with the holiday. Too busy checking out where Santa is the NORAD website.

Too busy writing letters.

To busy catching up on our baking.

As my tag line reads, I consider myself residually cynical. I find a weird solace smirking along to Leonard Cohen as he sings “Everybody Knows.” I look at my kids and their unbridled joy, and I know it can’t last. One day they’ll know what I do about what’s real, and they’ll smirk, too.

Or maybe they’re the ones that know what’s real, and I’m the one that’s forgotten.

Have a very blessed and Merry Christmas everyone!

It’s the Week Before Christmas…

…and all through this house, I am running at full speed to get ready for the holiday.  But with a joyful heart.  Bring it on!

However, that doesn’t leave much time for blogging, but I hope to post a few more times before Sunday.  In the meantime, I’ve learnt a few things in the last few days that I would like to share.

Stuff I’ve Just Learnt (or Re-learnt)

People Are Awesome

I was at the Opening Day Sale at a new Safeway by our house with four (yes,1-2-3-4) kids age 6 and under, because I just positively, had to get their One Day Only 2/$5 butter (and yes, that is the cheapest you will ever see butter around here.)  The kids were very good, and I cheerfully settled in for the 30 minute wait to check out.   Then the lady in front on me insisted that I go ahead of her.  She said that I didn’t know how long I had before my mini-powder kegs went off.  What a terrific person!  I truly hope she has the merriest Christmas ever.  It also reminded me to pay it forward.  When the kids are older, I will remember and go around doing good deeds for Moms with little ones.  If I don’t, please feel free to remind me on Facebook, which by that point nano technology will have embedded on the inside of our eyelids.

Babies in Santa Hoods are Also Awesome

Goof Off Dissolves Silly Putty Inside Gloves

I (re-)learnt that when you ask a nearly-7 year old, “Did you put the Silly Putty in your glove?” she hears, “Did you intend for the Silly Putty in your hand to melt into your glove lining, ensuring that your Mother will spend 20 minutes tonight breathing in noxious fumes, and then 45 minutes tomorrow trying to get rid of the smell?” She answered “No.”
(The Silly Putty and smell are both gone. Yippee extremely toxic smelling miracle juice!)

When Mom Gets Mad, It Counts

The kids all told me that when I get mad, it means super trouble. Apparently, I never lose my temper unless it’s, to quote Sweetie Pie, “like, you’re a Serial Killer, or something.” She also wanted to know why if cereal was healthy for you are serial killers the most evil type of murderer? But I digress. Apparently, I can also use my powers of just anger on my Significant Other. Tall Girl was riding shotgun in the truck with my Sweetie and he called another driver a rude name. Tall Girl wanted a definition. Dad refused. “That’s okay, Dad. I’ll just tell Mom what you said, you’ll get into trouble, and she’ll tell me anyway.” She stared at him, arms crossed, expression smug.
“Go ahead.” He said.
He told her what it meant 5 minutes later.

Middle Children Have it Hard

I learnt this whenArt Girl began treating her younger sister rather shabbily. I realized it was because Princess has been bragging that she is starting Kindergarten next year, and this means that “School Youngest” Art Girl, now becomes another middle child there as well. I’ve been trying to help her out, but I guess this is one thing she is going to have to work out herself. If only would believe me when I tell her she’s such a great big sister.

The Best Way to Avoid a Stressful Christmas Dinner is Planning

Note the diagram mapping out where all the food is going in the fridge. I think ahead.

Real Christmas Trees are Super Awesome

Neither my Sweetie or I had had one of these beauties since we were kids, and now we are hooked. Oh well, what’s an extra $100 a year. But the smell…

 

Blueberry, the Pom Pom Monster, Cannot Survive Baby, the Destructo Monster


Sorry Art Girl.

Well, I didn’t know that the last few days were so illuminating. Good luck with your Christmas preparation, and may the last few days of your Advent be very blessed.

Have Yourself a Little Bit Sad Christmas

It’s Christmastime around here, and that means one thing — cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning.  Between decluttering to make way for whatever Santa brings, and the scrubbing and polishing everything else to get ready for Christmas Day company, I’ve had my arms elbow deep in Murphy’s Oil Soap for a week.  All this is made harder by the constant cry of “Don’t go in there!”  whenever I venture toward a closed door or closet.  With 8 people exchanging gifts, the entire house becomes one big booby trap of secreted packages.  One of our Christmas morn traditions is the game “Guess where I hid it?”  I still win with my husband’s 40th Birthday Present.  I merely wrapped the 2′ by 3′ box in colourful paper and placed it on the shelf overhead of his work area.  Here it sat for two or three weeks, in plain sight, as he typed daily at his computer below.  Well, at least I can’t accuse him of wasting time while he’s working, staring at anything but his computer…

This Christmas has me a little pensive, too.  Not regretful or sorrowful, but a bit sad.  As 2011 comes to a close, I realize that another year with my young ones has also slipped pleasantly by.  While I am no big fan of the baby stage, as I made painfully clear in my post on walking 3 kids to school in 90km/hour winds, I still can’t believe that my little baby is closer to 1 year old than she is to being a newborn.  This September will also usher in a new phase for this big brood Mom.  Princess will be 5 and starting Kindergarten.  In 8 short weeks I will be attending the school’s Open House, and filling out her registration papers.  And that first fall day that I walk her into her classroom, will also mark the first time I have the majority of my kids out of the house during the day, rather than at home with me.

2012 will be a year of firsts — and a year of lasts.  This time next year, Tall Girl will be gearing up to attend Junior High Information Nights with us.  The first of our children to leave Elementary School.  But it will also be a year of packing up baby clothes, and sending maternity wear to the local thrift shop.  Baby will stop needing to be rocked to sleep this year.  Big Boy will learn how to zip his own jacket.  Someone will take off her training wheels.  I’ll be hands on mothering just a little big less.

This makes be both happy and sad.  I know many Moms make a joke or a boast about how they’re “done with that.”  And trust me, I get what they mean.  But I still treasure the warm hands in mine, or the little boy who just needs a hug.  These milestones come and go, and you don’t even realize that suddenly, you have a Tween in your house, who listens to strange music, and get’s pinched by the boy sitting next to her.  It was just 5 years ago that you packed her first snack for Kindergarten, and walked her to the bus stop.  Now she’s telling me she wants a bikini, and to dye her hair blue “temporarily.”

That’s why this Christmas season, I know now that no matter how many times the camera clicks, the glasses clink, the children squeal, that no matter how “perfect” the moment is, it’s all fleeting, tomorrow’s memories.  So with all the joy, there is ever the slightest tinge of sadness, because I know that the moment, however wonderful, can’t last.  So no matter what, I will have a Merry Christmas.   Why?  Because all this passing of time has helped me realized that happiness isn’t something you achieve, it’s something you have.  And I have it in spades.

Plus I made two loaves of my kick-*ss Light Cherry Orange Fruitcake.  It doesn’t get any better than that.

The Magic is Gone

Well, the magic is gone.  Today, I was so thrilled to receive a Canada Post delivery at my door on Sunday.  But…it wasn’t my long over due Christmas cards from the big, photo printing company that I ordered in November.  Yet hope flames eternal, so I make the quick walk down the block to the mailbox, to check if they had delivered my parcel on the weekend.  Then I made the long, sad walk back up the block with empty hands.  This now confirms that my WordPress Dashboard does not grant wishes, as previously hypothesized in this blog.  No million dollars and book signing in my future.  Sigh.

Not that I have any time for writing any book even if a publisher was clamouring for it (however, I always have time to cash an inheritance cheque.)  Putting on Christmas with six children, is like planning a wedding.  Seriously.  We have to organize for two Christmas concerts, three teacher gifts, 6 dressy outfits, two “activity” Christmas parties, and 3 times 3 weeks of piano lessons to reschedule.  And then there are the stockings.  Those evil, evil Christmas stockings.

I wish I could go back in time.  No, not for the sleep, (which let me tell you, I would load up on,) but to give a message to 6-Years-Ago-Liz.  This is a lady who only has three children, and decides something very fateful that will rue her life for the next decade.  She decides to sew and embroider matching Christmas stockings for all the members of her family.  She thinks, “Oh, how fun!  I will buy bolts of lovely green fabric.  I will carefully sew these lovely stockings.  And, as a special personal touch, I will cross-stitch, by hand silly! each of my lovely family’s names on the cuff.  How cute!  How caring!  I don’t care if I have five children, I will never abandon my commitment to matchy-matchy crafting!  Because nothing says love and good parenting, like hours spent in mindless handiwork that is only displayed two weeks a year.”

Perhaps bubbling in my sub-conscious, I had a secret “Guilt Wish,” much like Freud’s Death Wish.  Maybe I unknowingly wanted more guilt in my life.   Because that’s what these dumb stockings have bought me — guilt.  Princess is almost five, and I am finally finishing putting her name in burgundy floss on her stocking.  Previously, Art Girl (then 5) wrote her name in bubble letters, coloured it in with a green pencil crayon, cut it out, and taped it to the top of the stocking.  Merry Christmas, Honey!   Your parents love you!  Really!  And now I have the Baby.  Yes, I have a “Baby’s First Christmas” stocking for this year, but that’s just delaying it, isn’t it?   The moment of truth is coming.  The moment when it’s December 20, and I don’t have her stocking done.  And instead of pride, I feel guilt.  ‘Cuz 6-Years-Ago-Liz, this was such a good idea.

You see, Years-Ago-Liz didn’t care what Future-Liz wanted to do with her time.  Or what her priorities would be, or her interests.  Maybe Future-Liz would rather be blogging, or baking, or knitting, or being less precious, than making matching Christmas Stockings.  Maybe she would find the idea of 8 identical stockings a tad too, I don’t know, crazy, hanging in her home.   Maybe Future-Liz would be resentful of Years-Ago-Liz for committing her free moments to a hobby that she wasn’t in to anymore.  All this pain for me, so that Years-Ago-Liz could feel cute one November in 2005.  Yay!

My consolation is that I’m not alone.  Us Mom’s all have projects like this in various states of incompleteness littering our storage spaces.  The Mom at piano lessons told me she needs to stitch on the cuff of her daughter’s stocking — it’s held on with a safety pin.  Other people have quilts, (ahem,) Easter dresses, murals to be painted on walls.  Maybe we are too ambitious, or maybe the stuff is a lot funner to look at finished than it is to do.  But I bet we could come up with a pretty big bonfire, if we persuaded the average suburban block to give up it’s unfinished kid crafts.  And baby, would it feel good to see it burn.

I’ve decided to make 2012 my “Quit Year.”  One of the things I will quit, is starting new projects before the old ones are either finished or permanently trashed.  So that means, since I’m too cheap to buy something I already have, I have one more stocking to make.  But let this be a warning to you young Moms out there.  Beware the never ending craft project.

Just say NO to matching.

This Post Grants Wishes

I must blog today.  Why?  Because on Wednesday I blogged a list of observations (complaints) entitled Oh Why…, where I asked (whined) why :

if someone is going to ring the doorbell, it will come during the one time, on the one day, I actually get the baby to nap through the afternoon?

Well, that must of pleased the blogging fairies, for the very next day as the Baby was finally taking nap, the door bell rang not once but twice.  Not only did my WordPress Dashboard somehow create the very reality that I wrote about, it perfected it by making sure the Baby never woke up.  Wow.

Having discovered my magical Twilight Zone-type property of this post screen, I will now blog that I am about to come into a multi-million dollar inheritance, or receive a book contract to write about my amazingly funny and interesting life.  At the very least my bloody Christmas Cards will arrive from huge photo printing website from whence I ordered them in the middle of November.  Like by Monday, please, so I can send them to my Mother.

Though, I’m not sure anyone but me cares.  I’m not trying to be disturbingly harsh, but maybe it’s true.   Every year I spend all this money on custom photo cards, and all this time selecting the picture, and retouching it, and then turning it sepia, and then black and white, just to try to my family look the best that I can.  Then, I hand address all the envelopes, and write cute little personal messages, and lick them, and stamp them and run then to the post office.  And all I get back are three cards:  from the Dentist, the Chiropractor, and a Ford Dealership we once stopped in at.

I’m starting to get the picture.  No one wants Christmas Cards.  Oh, you say “Thanks for the nice card, Liz.”  But what you are really saying is “I tossed your Christmas Card, Liz, but I still like you even though you act as if you are 80 years old with these dumb cards you keep sending out, which I don’t even get because I only check the mail every 10 days, since no one under 100 sends anything by the mail anymore.  I’m only thanking you so you don’t go looking for it when you come to my house, but instead assume I’ve squirrelled it away in some special place where I will treasure it forever.  But I haven’t.  Unless you call the recycle bin a ‘treasured place.’  Sorry.”

I realized that I am like the last person on the desert island who speaks some two thousand year old pre-historic language which is about to go extinct unless I keep speaking it.  I should just admit that the days of speaking Bo, or Beothuk, or Northern Pomo are done, and get on with my life.  Instead, I try to talk myself into giving it another year.  I think that what the entire Postal Service and greeting card industry couldn’t do, I can — reverse the decline in Christmas Cards.  Somehow, all these 40 people are going to get a piece of folded cardstock with my kids’ faces on it and go “Holy Santa’s Knickers!  I gotta start sending these out right now!”

But this is all just Pixie Dust right now, for I have no Christmas Cards to send.  They haven’t arrived, because the huge company who printed and shipped them, doesn’t provide tracking numbers to Canada.  Being so close to the North Pole, they thought, Santa would take care of it.  I ordered these cards back in November, so I would have them by December 1, and I could send them out early.  This would be like a little Christmas present to myself.  It would prove that even though 90% of my life are controlled by 6 other people, there is only little sliver of real estate that I have total utter control over.  And now that’s all gone.

So, I am including the following note with my cards, if they ever arrive:

Dearest Recipient,

This card should have been sent out X weeks ago, but big, huge, photo printing company who was supposed to get to them to me in time didn’t.  Now, this card is late, but I wish you to have full knowledge that it is not my fault.

Love

Liz

c.c. CEO, Big Huge Photo Printing Company that ships late

I’ve made up my mind.  This is the last year of these shenanigans.  Christmas 2012 is going to be different.

I’m going to write about it in my blog, and my magic WordPress Dashboard will send them out.

We’ve Been Entertaining a Bishop from Myra

…and he brought some housewarming gifts!





Meet the candy cane Godfather….

Happy Saint Nicholas’ Day everyone!

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Advent


Around here, it’s starting to look a lot like Advent. I was inspired by Like Mother, Like Daughter‘s post on decorating for Advent, and Elizabeth Esther’s post on her Christmas decorating, and I thought that I would share what we were doing around here. Advent, by the way, is the four weeks leading up to Christmas, a time to get ready and anticipate the birth of Jesus. The tradition of Advent is a great antidote to the over-hype and over-spend of Christmas today.  Why?  It means that you don’t actually start celebrating Christmas until December 25.  Instead of being sick of the holidays on December 26, and Boxing Day is notable as the  day you burn your Christmas tree, the 25th means that the party has just begun.  So, if you are tired of seeing holiday decorations beside the Halloween candy at your local Wal-mart, give Advent a try.

In addition to our Advent Wreath, we have a couple of Nativities missing Jesus:

(guess which ones the kids made!)  …and I made a new Advent door wreath…

Is anyone else celebrating Advent?  How does it look in your house?

Looking for more Advent info? Try these links:

Catholic Culture
Like Mother, Like Daughter (look at the sidebar for more articles)
The Advent Conspiracy

Uber Mommy Guilt — The Christmas Edition

I know….it’s not even Christmas.  But I thought that we were being smart by leaving the Toys ‘R Us catalogue around, so that we got some decent Christmas Lists to share with Santa.  Previous years’ lists read like this: a Canary, Purple Soap, nice Socks, a doll that waves Good-bye.  In other words, stuff that doesn’t exist.  Or we aren’t getting (we have enough feet in the house with 8 people, without adding paws and talons, thanks.)  Even this year our 8 year old told us that she wanted an orange for Christmas.  She was reading The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and learnt that oranges were a very prized gift back in the day.  The day being over a century ago.  And yes, she did ask for an orange as she was standing in front of a bag of oranges on the counter.  So to help us adults out, we “leave” the catalogue around so that the Christmas Lists are a tad more accessible for those of us who are at Walmart at 10:37 on a Friday evening.  Or packing up the sled at the North Pole.  Right.

But, there is a time limit on how long the catalogue should be hanging around.  When the lists have a good 5-10 items with 3 super-really wants on them,the catalogue should magically return from whence it came.  However, that is it should disappear.  It didn’t.  The kids’ lists are now 30 items long. and the catalogue is in a place of pride in the children’s books — a classic to be thumbed over and over.  A scripture of materialism for the young and greedy.

I totally know that things have gone too far when I get the “Litany of the Gifts” thrown at me.  The Litany of the Saints is the part of Mass when the Priest asks for the prayers of many of the Church’s oldest and greatest Saints, and the people respond “pray for us.”  It is usually chanted in the Benedictine tradition.  The Litany of the Gifts however, goes like this :

Polly-Pocket-Spa-and-Shop-Set :

R. I want that

Totally-huge-gumball-machine-full-of-gumballs-so-I-can-get-one-whenever-I-want:

R. I want that

Every-single-LaLaLoopsie-doll-ever-created:

R. Give that to me

Part of me is, of course, terribly upset by my children’s greedy, gimme ways.  But the other part is guilty:  guilty because when I look through the toy catalogue, my dream shopping list doesn’t sound that much different from their Litany of Gifts.  Chip meet block.

I had similar pangs while on-line clothes shopping yesterday.  It reminded me of a tradition that has fallen (excuse me, been pushed) to the wayside around here:  new Christmas Eve PJ’s, and matching fancy outfits.  When we had just two, it was so much fun to match everyone up.  When we had three — triple fun.  Cost was totally worth it.  When we had four — really, really cute, but OMG that cost a lot more than I thought it would.  But with five and over — too much money for a whole lot of unnecessary laundry.  Never mind that we already have tons of sleepwear, and dressy clothes.  Yet I still feel a pang of regret, that we aren’t shelling out $300 plus tax for nothing more than the chance to take some really cute pictures.  While it’s totally irrational, I still can’t shake the feeling that I should be doing these things.  This new clothing angst was compounded when two of my kids came down for school, several days in row, dressed all in hand-me-downs.  Sweetie Pie (8) started recounting how proud she was that while completing an assignment to visit one of those “Earth footprint” websites, she could check “Wearing all hand-me-downs” in the clothing section.  She smiled.  I faked it.

I doubt that I am alone in my guilt.  Maybe the trigger is different, but the guilt is the same.  We have good lives.  We are happy.  We are blessed in a multitude of ways.  We have tons of material comforts and diversions.  So do our kids.  So why all this angst?

I have since hidden the catalogue.   It is nice to have all those web order numbers handy or I would have tossed it.  And I am trying to think of a new tradition for Christmas Eve that involves something new but small and cost effective (fluffy socks?  ornaments?  any ideas would be appreciated.)  As to the guilt:  I’m ignoring that, too.  Because I finally learned, that no matter what circumstances you find yourself in, when it comes to kids, it never goes away.

Post Navigation