When honesty is not the best policy

By Mir
November 29, 2005

There’s a part of my brain that feels like it just switches over to autopilot as soon as Thanksgiving passes. It’s the holiday season! Follow the steps, execute the typical moves, make it to December 25th in one piece! Sure, there are some variations each year, but the basic goals are the same.

Add to this the fact that Monkey’s kindergarten teacher is the same one that Chickadee had, two years ago. This was not an accident. I LOVE LOVE LOVE his school and this teacher and her team. They did such a wonderful job with Chickadee that I requested the same class for Monkey. Part of what this means is that Monkey does a lot of the same things that Chickadee did. Same crafts, same field trips, same programs.

Same “Family Celebrations” survey.

The first time around I played nice. This time I’m thinking maybe I should just put it all out there.

What is your family’s cultural background?

Monkey comes from a very diverse background.

On his father’s side I believe he has some British blood in addition to early American and Cherokee heritage. His ancestors on that side have a fine tradition of living in the country, shooting and eating squirrels (tastes like chicken, or so they told me), and marrying their own cousins. Which explains a lot, really. His modern relatives on that side of the family are a devoutly Christian bunch with racist tendencies, having split into two factions: Those who prize education and hard work and those who are busy talking smack about the other ones.

On his mother’s side, he comes from a heritage of eastern European Jews who emigrated to the States… ummm… sometime before WWII. His ancestors on that side value education, wealth, and assorted kvetching. His modern relatives on that side of the family are “cultural Jews” (read: non-religious) who like gourmet food and say things like “Any child of mine is going to college, non-negotiable!”

What holidays does your family celebrate?

We’re just talking this winter season, right? Yes? Okay.

The main focus is on Christmas. Twice! Because children of divorce are statistically pre-disposed to a host of relationship problems and greater probability of divorce, themselves, but BY GOD they get to have twice as much loot! (Please be sure to work that into your curriculum.)

We do also recognize Chanukah at least one night, due to our Jewish heritage and abiding love of deep-fried food.

What are some special family traditions that you share?

Well, there are several which we observe. My personal favorite is when we get out all of the candle lamps–which are tangled into an unwieldy mass–and start setting them in the windows. What a wonderful way to signify to weary travellers that we will offer respite if needed. (Not that we would. There are crazy people out there, you know. I have chains on the doors.) Anyway, some of the candle lamps stay on whenever plugged in, some have sensors, some have timers. It’s pretty exciting, that first week, trying to figure out how to synch up all the lamps, before just giving up. Good times.

We also all look forward to the holiday baking, which is a wonderful time of family togetherness and also great hilarity when I burn the shit out of something and end up either chiselling it out of the pan or–when we’re very lucky–actually setting the inside of the oven on fire. The kids nearly always learn some new words while we’re doing that!

During the Advent season we delve deeply into the story of Jesus’ birth, mostly in the form of the children taking turns rearranging the nativity sets into various inappropriate tableaus that may include Rescue Heroes, Polly Pockets, or Mr. Potato Head. After two or three stern warnings, and as Christmas Day approaches, this changes to the ongoing pursuit of “Who can hide the baby Jesus for the longest before Mama notices?”

Oh! Also, Santa’s elves (those little scamps) always bring the children new, matching pajamas on Christmas Eve while we’re at church. It’s just a little touch of magic to kick off the excitement. And I’m sure that the elves don’t mind at all that it’s always nearly impossible to find coordinating, girl/boy Christmas-themed pajamas in the correct sizes, in time, without spending a whole buttload of money or practicing some of those colorful phrases that come in handy during baking.

Would you like to share any traditions with our class? (pictures, books, special holiday foods…)

Oh, I’d love to! But I’m pretty sure the current injunction prohibits it. Sorry.


  1. ben

    My kids have already informed me that the Little Drummer Boy is out on tour with the Who, so baby Jesus has requested Garth Brooks and Will Smith come play for him.

    I hope it isn’t going to be a duet…

  2. Snow

    Every morning when I get up, my daughter has rearranged the neighbor’s wire light-up reindeer into compromising positions on their lawn.

    Oh, and I need to take a picture for you of my other neighbor’s lawn display. They’ve got an entire light-up nativity set with a gigantic glowing snowman standing next to the wise men. It’s a riot.

  3. Jim

    You LOVE LOVE LOVE that teacher? Sounds like a busybody to me.

    Besides, we make up our traditions as we go. I’m sure this year we’ll add “setting fire to the dog” and “ornament baseball” to our holiday kalaidoscope.

  4. Bob

    I am reminded of the Mr. Bean episode where he sends in a Darlek (with appropriate dialog) into a department store’s nativity scene to wreak havok and then sends in a helicopter to rescue the baby Jesus.

    Snow’s daughter is giving me ideas.

  5. David

    Oh! Oh! When you bake, can I come watch? I’ve never seen real, live kvetching before. As a side note, I’ve never burned the shit out of any food, but I did set the cardboard on fire once under a frozen pizza when I first moved away from home. Only did that once. See what a fast learner I am?

  6. Theresa

    So, is she just trying to gather info, so she can discuss how people celebrate the holidays differently? Is this a public school? I am surprised.

  7. Summer

    Oh yes, the agony of Christmas pajamas. I know it well, since I just helped my mother shop for TEN PAIRS of coordinating Christmas pajamas for all of the cousins, both of the male and female varieties, who range in age from 9 months – six years. You really up the difficulty factor when you try to find coordinating pajamas in Infant, Toddler and Kid sizes.

    After much adversity, she triumphed at The Children’s Place, where she found ten pairs of microfleece pajamas printed with snowflakes and snowmen in varying shades of red, pink, and blue. If your elves are willing to spend $14 per pair, they might want to check there. Who knows, they might even be available online. That would spare your elves a whole helluva lotta cursing.

  8. Big Bad Ex

    I normally don’t bother posting when Mir posts things that annoy me, but she really takes the cake this time,
    blanket labelling her ex’s family as racists while in the same paragraph perpetuating grossly inaccurate social stereotypes
    about inbreeding and rural living families in a pathetic attempt at humor.
    Nice work and very professional, Mir. You’ve painted yourself as a cultural racist now–isn’t it hard to type with that
    redwood stuck in your eye?



    mmmmm, squirrelburger.

  9. Bob

    I was going to comment that google ads disagrees with your spelling of chanukah – chanukah/hanukkah, you say potayto, I say potahto, etc – but then a new post appeared.

    I think you touched a nerve.

  10. Theresa

    Wow…ya know, maybe this isn’t for me to say, but…I’ve never seen your ex comment on any of the wonderful posts you write about the kids, but he was pretty quick to spring to attack over something that, in my humble opinion, was all in jest. I don’t think he won himself any points, if that’s what he was after.

  11. Mr. Darcy

    I thought you were poking gentle fn at both families equally, the way people do. I didn’t think it was offfensive or harmful, it was obviously said tongue in cheek.

  12. Big Bad Ex

    Sure folks, my family is called racist and inbred and hers likes money and complains….ever so equal fun poking. Hilarious.
    ..but par for the course instead of apologizing for offending me I’m bashed yet some more by her and her cohorts. I’m not normally easily offended, but at some point I do get fed up with the ridiculous and inaccurate things that have been posted on here regarding me and have to defend myself. Hopefully at least a few of you take her stories involving me with a massive chunk of salt (although from past comments to her posts a lot of you obviously don’t and believe me to be as she likes to portray me and not as I actually am).

    Theresa, I would never try to earn points on here…that would be foolish given the lovely one-sided picture Mir has painted of me over the years. I don’t respond to posts about the kids…I usually speak to Mir about them instead. I don’t have the time to hang out on a computer all day posting on blogs.
    Some things are funny, but having one’s family called racist and inbred I think most adults would agree is exceptionally poor taste.

    You all can go back to insulting me now. I’ll leave you to it.

  13. Amy-GO

    I think I can actually feel my teeth touching through my tongue! Butting out, now….Good luck, Tulip!

  14. Peek

    Dear Ex,

    No bashing here but really, no one knows who you are, who really cares what Mir has to say about your family? How many divorced people are really going to praise the others family? It really isn’t like she is saying these things to people that know you. I’m sure it is difficult to see things out there written about your family but lighten up and take it for what it is worth. AND I think we know that the person with whom Mir pokes the most fun of is at herself and no one who goes through a divorce are going to think that things are divided equal. I could write tons about my husbands ex…… but I digress. If it honestly bothers you to read this stuff than maybe you should just decide not to. Far better that she vent here than filled your kids’ heads with things about your family. And finally, I’m pretty sure she is adding humor to her posts, I think we are all certain no one in your family is eating squirrel.

  15. Jules

    Dear Big-Bad;

    ah was born an’ raised, raised an’ still proudly live in th’ same racess inbred toothless possum eatin’ backwoods outhouse usin’ state of we’fare royalty…Almost Hevvin indeed! Fry mah hide! Thar’s no denyin’ th’ stereotype of th’ area….

    I’ve known Mir 8 years, I’m sure that’s more than a few less than you, yet I obviously know her much better….Give her some credit…I had no doubt that her comments were made in jest. Addressing some of your insecurities perhaps would allow you to see the benign nature of the entry instead of getting your boxers in a bunch. A sense of humor wouldn’t hurt while you’re at it…

    Just how many squirrels does it take to make squirrelburger?

  16. big bad ex

    My sense of humor is just fine Jules….seems to me some of yours is tasteless however….not surprising.

    Eating squirrel, liking money, and kvetching=funny and socially acceptable behavior. (and true Peek…it takes about 6 squirrels to make a decent batch of squirrelburger!)
    Being called racist and inbred=tasteless, insensitive, offensive, socially unacceptable, and not true…not gonna ‘lighten up’ about such nonsense.
    You all may think it’s funny, but it’s really green and runny and it’s snot.
    Please go back to telling each other how smart, witty, and pretty you all are now.

  17. WV girl

    Hopefully at least a few of you take her stories involving me with a massive chunk of salt (although from past comments to her posts a lot of you obviously don’t and believe me to be as she likes to portray me and not as I actually am).

    With this display, you’ve proven yourself beyond a shadow of a doubt to be far worse.

    I don’t have the time to hang out on a computer all day posting on blogs.

    *waves* One would have thought this would have been the end of your over the top dramatics. Dude…let it go.

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest