Tuesday, December 25, 2007
What an exciting day it has been so far! Our day started at 2:30AM when our middle children came into our room asking to open presents. Needless to say, we said NO but they persisted in waking us up numerous times until I told them that I didn't know if Santa had come yet, but if he hadn't, he wouldn't come as long as they were awake so they finally fell back to sleep, albeit, in our bed.
We came downstairs around 7:00 to open gifts. My mother headed down before anyone else . . . and ended up falling down the last 2 steps, landing on her shoulder. She is bruised and cut and sore, but ok otherwise, thankfully.
We usually open gifts one-at-a-time from youngest to oldest. However, my 4 year old son did not get to open his Christmas Eve presents because he was throwing a fit and was sent to bed without opening gifts. So we let him open the first present and he ended up throwing another fit and getting sent back to bed.
OK, you are probably thinking we are mean and awful parents to punish a child like this at Christmas. So I feel compelled to share the story with you so that you have all the facts before deciding that we are ogres. It all started with church on Christmas Eve. Our son did not want to go because he does not like to wear clothes. (My older children were also like this at age 4. I have concluded that I like other people's 4 year olds but that I really do not like my own children at this age.) Obviously, he has to wear clothes to church. (I should mention that he throws a fit EVERYDAY when I get him dressed.) He was very unhappy about having to go to church (even though he was in his "soft pants") but he really freaked out when we arrived at church and we made him wear his Christmas Sweater over his t-shirt. He was crying and shrieking and wiggling as if we put itching powder in his pants. This went on for about 15 minutes. I was participating in the service (reading a book to the children) so I was upstairs getting my microphone, etc. while my husband was downstairs handling Maniac Child. By the time church started, my husband had given in (numerous people at church said to just give up and take off the sweater, I guess they were tired of hearing him wail) so my son was NOT wearing the Dreaded Sweater when church started. I was not happy with this as I do NOT give in when temper tantrums are involved. (If my son had calmly asked to take it off, I may have considered but the Freaking Out makes me dig my heels in.) As a consequence, my husband told my son that he could not have any of Jesus' Birthday Cake at the end of the church service. Well, at the end of the service they called all the kids forward to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and then they passed out cupcakes and sent the kids back to their seats. He brought the cupcake to the pew and I said "Do not eat this" (meanwhile trying to keep the other 3 and their cupcakes from being eaten and/or dropped) and quickly closed my eyes for the closing prayer, which lasted 40 seconds or less. When I opened my eyes, Maniac Child was stuffing the last of the cupcake into his mouth and almost half of it was on the floor in crumbs. I was NOT HAPPY and told him that he made some poor choices (named the poor choices) and told him he was going to bed as soon as we got home. He said, "That is the meanest thing to say to somebody." (Meanwhile, the sermon on Sunday was about having Mercy at Christmas when your family members are getting on your nerves. Although you may think I was being merciless, I wasn't because what I really wanted to do was pack up all his gifts and send them to Toys for Tots so sending him to bed seemed merciful to me.)
So up to bed he went, wailing and crying. Meanwhile, his siblings got to open a few presents, one of which was matching jammies for all the kids. After listening to about 20 minutes of wailing I started to feel sorry for him so I went upstairs and we talked about what choices he could have made that were better choices. He still wanted to come downstairs so I made a deal with him. I said he could come downstairs and see the gifts that his siblings opened but he could not open any AND he had to wear the Dreaded Sweater. He agreed, put it on and went downstairs and was pleasant and the Dreaded Sweater did not seem to bother him one bit! Shortly thereafter we put all the kiddies to bed.
OK, so back to this morning. We allowed Maniac Child to open his matching jammies before anyone else opened their gifts since he did not get to open them last night and so he could put them on and match his siblings. I even made a point to buy him Stripey Pajamas because the kid will only wear jammies with stripes on them. (Did I mention that 4 year olds are difficult?) When my husband tried to put the Christmas Jammies on him, he freaked out (I guess he did not learn anything from the Dreaded Sweater incident) and he was sent back up to bed while his siblings opened gifts. (This time I only let him wail for about 5 minutes before going up and talking him through it. He quickly agreed to wear the Dreaded Jammies and has been wearing them for the past 5 hours without complaint.)
Here are photos of some of our favorite gifts:
Electric Guitars & Microphone
American Girl Biddy Baby Twins & Stroller & Baby Alive
(she pees and poops, just like a real baby, thought I was done with all that!)
American Girl Doll, Much Wanted cool sweater, Christmas Jammies & Winter Crocs
Other favorites? A cool new car (top of post) and a "teacher kit" for playing school:
And of course, the Ever Popular, Much Anticipated, Sugared Cereal!
(I don't let my kids eat sugar-cereal throughout the year except for Christmas and the week we are on vacation in the summertime. The cereal is one of their favorite gifts. They love it and I love that it makes them so happy and costs so little. Oh, and you may wonder why there are only 3 cereal boxes instead of 4. That is because I have one child who does not like sugared-cereal. Hard to believe, I know. She gets a loaf of challah bread instead. She will eat the entire loaf today, guaranteed. That is, if the dog doesn't get to it first. Last year our dog, Lady, swiped it off the counter and gulped it down before my daughter could have any!)