I have never been big on the whole “mall Santa” thing, for various reasons. I mean, yes—we’ve done it a couple of times, but on the whole, it’s not like I search it out every year as an essential part of the Christmas season.
(Frankly, the fact that some man is being paid to sit little kids on his lap all day long disturbs me in a way I’d rather not even verbalize.)
Regardless, in spite of the fact that the kids are on the cusp of being too old for such a thing—and really, if we’re being honest, I strongly suspect that Chickadee’s suspension of disbelief about the guy in the red suit has just about reached its limit, my oft-answered “if you don’t believe you don’t receive” notwithstanding—I desperately want to brave the crowds and visit Santa this year.
Why? Well, we’ve offered Monkey cold hard cash to perch himself up there and answer the predictable query with “All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!” followed by a big grin (prominently featuring said missing teeth).
(Why yes, we ARE easily amused. Why do you ask?)
Seriously, the child is about to turn eight, and despite having lost his two front teeth a couple of months ago, the replacements are nowhere to be found. I find his gapped smile utterly charming, and plan to get as much mileage out of it as possible before the inevitable occurs. Once a child grows those front two adult teeth, the baby-face is forever gone. From that point forward, the kid face floats atop the eventual-adult face, and glimpses of it peek through now and then… but the baby-face never returns.
I never pegged myself for the sort of person who would be waxing nostalgic over teeth. Such is the joy of motherhood, I suppose.
Anyway. Teeth aside, I’m having a hard time with Christmas gifts.
Oh, Monkey is easy enough, I suppose. He would like Pokemon. Pokemon what? Pokemon EVERYTHING. Anything Pokemon would be fine with him. If I really wanted to be cool I would go buy him Pokemon underwear, but a fear of him flashing strangers is preventing me from doing so. He already has umpteen gazillion cards, but of course he would like some more, please. And some more figures, to go with the eighty trillion he has. And anything else we might like to buy him.
Chickadee is another story. At nine-and-a-half, her taste is changing. She still plays dolls, but only when she’s not busy working on her tween ennui. She’d often rather draw or read than play. She’s old enough to get excited about superfluous clothing as a gift, but not old enough to resist crying “But that’s not FAIR!” if she gets clothes and Monkey gets toys.
When you ask her what she wants this year, she says, “You know, I really don’t have anything in mind.”
And then I hug her and squeeze her and buy her a pony, because the fact that she isn’t whining for something that she MUST HAVE tells me that she’s growing up a little, in that special way that makes me not want to leave her on the side of the road nearly as often.
I do have ONE idea for her—I’m thinking she might enjoy a karaoke machine, but given the typical price point I’m still waffling—but other than that, I’m amazed at how difficult it is to come up with gift ideas for her. It makes me realize that we’re just a few years away from “GOD, MOM, JUST GIVE ME AN ITUNES CARD OR A GIFT CERTIFICATE TO THE MALL, SHEESH!”
I guess I just get to worrying that my babies are growing up too fast; that even as I celebrate their advances I’m maybe not stopping to savor the moments along the way as much as I ought to. Because as grateful as I am for every bit of growth and the things we are leaving behind that I DON’T miss—changing diapers, cutting up their food, worrying about their basic safety and doing things like racing to the top of a staircase to rescue them—I don’t want to wish away their childhood.
Which is probably why, when I explained that they’d be having THREE Christmases this year—one here at home before we head north, one with Otto’s family, and then one with their dad—and their eyes got big and they started cheering and high-fiving each other, I shook my head and muttered my standard lines about them being greedy and spoiled… but then I turned away so that they wouldn’t see me smiling.
My kids are also Pokemon whores. Does anyone else find Pokemon deeply disturbing? Guess I’m not a fan of that bug-eyed Japanese animation. Plus, isn’t there an argument to be made that the Pokemon are enslaved to their trainers? How would you like to be penned up in a cage, released only to fight your own kind? Sounds like the Romans and the gladiators to me.
My first-grader was recently introduced to Pokemon by his best friend and is thinking about starting to collect the cards. I really don’t know much about it but I know they fight each other and we limit violent toys so I’m not sure about it. How violent is it? We’ve managed to dissuade him so far with a “gee, that would really eat up your allowance” argument, but I’d like to know more about it.
As a family we don’t celebrate any holiday, but all our relatives do. We too have a seven year old boy and nine year old girl. It’s tough. I had no idea what they wanted either. Until we went to the toy store and wrote everything down.
But three Christmases sound awesome!
I have to admit, having a four-year-old boy and a two-year-old girl is hard, hard, hard the rest of the year, but at Christmas it’s utterly awesome. They totally believe in Magic and Santa and are blinded by any toy with bright colors.
Milk those missing teeth I say. Child 2 lost both front ones in about a week and we spent HOURS bribing it to say sentences like: “Oh see! The silver salmon have swum back.” Child 2 is only slightly scarred. However, good call on the Pokemon (augh! spell check knows about Pokemon! This is deeply disturbing [note, it doesn’t know “augh.” what does this mean?]) underwear. Bought glow-in-the-dark Star Wars underpants for one child and had two weeks of underwear related incidents (including many late night is-my-butt-still-glowing? checks).
My oldest has reached the gift certificate age – just this year. I can picture it now, piles of beautifully wrapped presents (I can dream about it being beautiful) for all the other children, and three gift certificates for boobear. Wow, geez, thanks mom, dad. Can we go to the mall tomorrow?
We have kareoke on the PlayStation II. I don’t think I’d go out of my way to buy a playstation just for that game (and I have no idea what the others are other than the ones my husband has in the basement which aren’t allowed in) but my graciousness we all *adore* the American Idol kareoke game. My kids are younger, but the six year old learned how to read trying to sing along to Heartbreaker and Build Me Up Buttercup. Dh does a mean She Bangs and although won’t admit in mixed company is spot on to Straight Up. ;-)
Fourteen year old daughter claimed to stop believing in Santa at about 9 – I’d been hinting broadly for a couple of years. As a desperate last attempt to believe, she wrote Santa with a wish list, then claimed he wasn’t real. A month later, Santa wrote her back! Stupid post office. She totally freaked. It was another year before she was convinced he wasn’t real.
MP3 Player? When Diva Girl asked for one, my kneejerk reaction was “Raffi doesn’t do downloads.” But then there was a sale, and Grandma stepped in and got her one. I think it’ll probably be her favourite present this year. Stupid grandma, upstaging Santa like that.
Wow, I have it easy! With cats and dogs, just get them a mousie toy and a chew stick and you’re home free. No Santa, no having go guess what they’d like…sigh.
Christmas shopping? Christmas shopping! I knew there was SOMETHING I forgot to do…
Okay, Mir made me cry and Paula made me laugh so hard I spit tea. Pokemon whores…Gah!
My parents bought Drama Queen a Kareoke machine three years ago and she still uses it almost daily. Plus, it becomes an activity at parties. I have priceless blackmail footage of all my daughter’s friends singing Kelly Clarkson and High School Musical songs. Look at it as investment. Other parents are offering top dollar for the footage. :)
A word of ass-vice: make sure it supports two microphones. Duets are twice as hilarious!
I have a 7 year old who had two front teeth pulled by CHOICE. She wanted to buy bottled water and a pickle at school. Seems she didn’t quite think the pickle part through. hehe
Also, I have a 6 year old boy whom I bought Shrek and
Transformers underwear. I caught him putting them in his backpack for show and tell!
We have a stand microphone that can plug in to a regular cd/radio (I still call it a jambox, that’s how dorky I am!). Belle has gotten tons of use from it since Sept. It’s not as big a gift as the karoke maching, but I thought you might want to consider it.
Here’s a link:
I lost my two front teeth at Christmas and my family sang that song to me over and over! I actually lost the second one on Christmas Eve night. I know what you mean about them never looking the same after that. Those permantent teeth are so big!
My nine and a half year old girl wants TEXT MESSENGERS, for Lord’s sake (stupid school fundraiser prizes)! However, thanks to you, Pretty Mir, she will be getting a Vidster under the tree this year.
My eight year old (front teeth also MIA- since March!) asked simply for a “real nutcracker that cracks nuts…and a Bible.” I think she’s working on her Child of the Year application or something. The Catholic in me is proud, but part of me is going “A Bible…seriously?”
My four year old just wants whatever the other two want. She’s the one I worry about growing up too fast. I figure we’ve got one more good Santa Year before she’ll overhear her sisters letting the cat out of THAT bag. So, wax nostalgic all you want. I’m right here with ya.
I on the other hand always have problems buying for boys. I go totally blank. But a good stocking stuffer for Chickie might be a Barnes and Noble card for books.
I have been doing multiple Christmas’s in multiple states for several years and I have a hint for you. Get several plastic rubbermaid storage bins. lable one for each place you are going. Into them put all the presents and assorted stuff yu are bringing with you. For example here I give a gag gift to everyone at my grandmothers so that goes in the bin marked Granny’s. My mom gets 5 lbs of homemade granola so that goes into the bin marked Mom’s. I think you get the idea. It is also a huge help when it is time to come home just stuff everything back in the bin.
I was actually impressed with my son this year – I asked him what he’d like for the holidays and he said, “I’m not really sure, Mum. Do I need anything?” He’s six, almost seven, and saying that. Wow … but then, his Dad and I were wracking our brains to come up with stuff – so maybe he *does* have enough “stuff” – which is great. And, although son doesn’t believe in Santa, he always hedges his bets by wanting to pose “just in case” at the mall … luckily the local mall seems to hire the same Santa each year, so we’re practically on a first name basis with the guy. :-)
Bossy likes to stand near Mall Santa and count the number of screaming children. You could say it’s Sport.
Mir, I have a daughter that is a HUGE karaoke girl. I mean, this kid can belt out “I will survive” better than any singer I’ve ever seen.
We’ve blown through karaoke machines left and right, but we finally found one that wasn’t too expensive and could outlast her. If you want, email me and I’ll give you the down and dirty.
Aside from the fact that the pulling of teeth totally weirds me out, I am really dreading the day when Bubba loses his first. Because that means he is GROWING UP
May I suggest also one of those dance mat games? If you get the karaoke with the dance mat together OMG the videos! think of your readers Mir, think of the blackmail!
On another note, do they have a “book of the month club” for tweens? Chickadee sounds a bit like I was with the reading, and being on the edge of tween-dom I’m sure the loves getting stuff in the mail.
I was just thinking that maybe I could get my daughter a digital camera for Christmas. But jeepers, she is only 5. I’ll save that for another year. (How about a digital camera for Chickadee?)
I, too, am conflicted about my daughter growing up and my wishing away her childhood. Then again, I’m finally getting a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. And, it’s really fun have a conversation with her. Why, just this morning she told me she loved me more than angels and stars. Wowza.
My baby, the youngest of four, just turned 6 in September. She’s already lost all 4 front teeth, the last top one just a couple of weeks ago. Her big teeth are already all growing in! I can’t stand it! But, the first thing I did after she lost that last top one was ask her to say “Merry Christmas!”
Just a thought for Chickadee, given you are already thinking karaoke machine. What about a child-sized guitar? It may fast-forward her into the emo years, but unlike piano or violin, guitar is always a cool skill to have. Hearth Song, Back to Basics and a host of other places offer them.
Webkinz are a hit at my house cute and cuddly and you can go
online and do STUFF…
Costco has a good one. She can even record herself. She can also hook it into the tv to view the lyrics. My 9-year-old niece has this one and it gets a ton of use…
My best friend and I still get my picture taken with Santa when I can… and we’re 20… what does that say about me?
You are on the right track with your thinking. They do grow up sooo fast. Enjoy! ;)
Sophie, my daughter is 4 and there will be a “Kid Tough Digital Camera” under the tree for her this year. It’s about half the price of a basic “real” digital camera. I don’t know if it takes any kind of decent picture, but she’ll have fun with it.
I remember well these tween years. Oh, wait, I teach 9 and 10 year olds! That’s why it sounds so familiar! I recommend art supplies and/or a camera. Does she have the patience for calligraphy? Mine had outgrown Barbie by that age, but still enjoyed her American Girl Bitty Baby. Think fun, yet classic.
When I was Chickie’s age, the coolest things on the planet were anything ancient Egypt related and anything historical costume related, and anything ancient Rome related. (I think it was the living in Europe and the Asterix comics that did it.)
Books about, jewelrey modelled on… you name it. I had a bunch of awesome historical paper dolls that made it okay to still have dollies.
I think I was a huge, huge, geek. Even then.
These are all the rage around here this year…..