No one shot their eye out

Was it a successful Christmas at Casa Mir? I think it was. No one threw up, no bones were broken, there were no car accidents or kitchen fires or other disasters.

I mean, sure, I discovered mid-afternoon that somehow my father has never seen A Christmas Story, but that was easily remedied. Even as Chickadee loudly and frequently proclaimed that this was “the dumbest movie ever,” I noticed that didn’t stop her from watching it with us. Because really, no matter how you think you feel about it, once you happen upon this movie on the television on Christmas day, you are legally obligated to complete the viewing. And even if you think you hate it, you will still laugh in all of the appropriate places. (“… only I didn’t say ‘fudge.'”)

So all in all: A lovely day. There were some highs and lows, of course.

Chickadee did her holiday shopping while up at her dad’s, but like any savvy child o’ mine, she did it online. That meant that a number of items were shipped here to the house, and I was helping to coordinate by receiving the appropriate packages and wrapping them.

Now. In the countdown to Christmas, my bedroom closet becomes Storage Central. I squirrel stuff away in there in various nooks and crannies, and in addition to the items Chickadee had me receive, I had all of the kids’ presents and various stocking stuffers and such tucked away on the shelves and the floor in various boxes and bags. I can’t remember when I wrapped her presents for her stepdad and brother, but at some point when Otto wasn’t around I dug those items out and took care of it and put them under the tree.

So, Christmas comes, and we’re passing out gifts, and Otto starts unwrapping his gift from Chickadee, and he says, “It’s a… watch?”

“It’s an F-Stop Watch!” she told him, so pleased with herself that she couldn’t wait for him to finish unboxing it.

“It… is?” he said, still freeing the watch in question from its wrapping, but clearly perplexed. Meanwhile, we’re all sitting around watching him, and suddenly the happy record of holiday tunes in my head screeched to an unceremonious halt.

I stood up and grabbed his present away, which was no mean feat, because have you ever opened up a fancy watch, before? The box has a sleeve, then it has a lid, then inside the watch is on an arm that comes out of the BOTTOM of the box, and… the point it, he wasn’t even done taking it out, and I had to somehow insert my body between him and Monkey and grab about seventeen pieces of STUFF to accomplish this revocation. “Hold, please!” I said, grabbing up pieces of the unboxing. “There’s been some user error, here. That’s not yours.”

Then I ran back to my Closet O’ Stuff and dug out the actual F-Stop watch which Chickie had thoughtfully purchased for her stepfather. Because the watch he’d just opened up was actually for Monkey’s birthday. Whoops!

That could’ve been a real catastrophe, I suppose, but Monkey wasn’t paying much attention. Mostly because he was having the Best! Christmas! EVER!

It was a Very Minecraft Christmas, y’all. VERRRRRRRY Minecraft. And he was endlessly delighted with everything. But—oddly enough—the two items that absolutely made his day had nothing to do with Minecraft.

First: I think I somehow forgot to mention this, but lately Monkey has been punctuating EVERYTHING with a deep, somber declaration of, “I’m Batman!” He has never seen any of the Batman movies. He has no real affinity for Batman of which we are aware. I don’t know how or why it started, I only know that approximately a dozen times a day I hear, “I’m Batman!” followed by a brief pause, and then peals of laughter. HE’S HILARIOUS, you see. I don’t know why this has become the funniest thing in the world, but it has. Sure, every now and then either Otto or I try to say, “I’m Batman!” to turn the tables, but this is never met with laughter, only a slightly derisive, “No you’re not. I’M Batman.”

Santa apparently shares Monkey’s odd sense of humor, because topping Monkey’s stocking this year was a Dark Knight mask, and if you have never enjoyed an idyllic Christmas morning with your nearly-teen running around in fuzzy snowman pajamas and a Batman mask, well, I am sorry for you. I think everyone should have a masked crusader on hand for Christmas, as it does add that certain something to the festivities.

Second: As much as Monkey loves Minecraft, Dungeons & Dragons is gaining traction in his life as another passion. I don’t know if you know this, but those D&D books are both plentiful and terribly expensive, so after the first few purchases of player’s guides and monster manuals and such, I found myself looking for some guidance on the “right” stuff to buy, as I’d hate to waste money on the “wrong” items. Recently I stopped just nodding and “mmmmhmmm”ing to Monkey’s endless chatter and discovered that the main author of all of these incomprehensible manuals that Monkey has come to adore is… someone I went to high school with back in the Dark Ages. (This guy, in case you’re wondering.)

Monkey has been positively bowled over by the fact that HIS BORING MOM knows someone SO VERY COOL. And while James and I were already Facebook friends when this realization came to light, I admit it gave us a lot more to talk about when I could point out that I had, in fact, grown up to somehow give birth to his biggest fan. (I may not have mentioned to Monkey that James and I were once in a production of Godspell together, and James was—who else?—Jesus Christ. I figure there’s already a near-pathological level of worship going on here.)

It stood to reason that as Christmas drew near, I would think to myself, “Self, I bet James could give me a recommendation on what most-essential D&D thing my obsessed child needs next.” And because James is every bit the superstar my son believes him to be, he didn’t just make a recommendation, he sent us a personally dedicated and autographed… something. I don’t even know what it is. A campaign, I think? (Life lesson: gratitude doesn’t equal knowledge.) Anyway, I thanked James profusely and told him he was going to absolutely make Monkey’s Christmas, but even I was not prepared for how it went down.

We saved it for last, and Monkey was positively shocked that there was yet ANOTHER gift for him. He ripped open the paper and tilted the box this way and that and exclaimed, “Ooooooh” and “Cool!” and was generally thrilled. However, in the dancing around and such, he’d removed his glasses, so I had to gently prod him to look and see that there was an inscription. He squinted and read it out loud, all but the signature. “I can’t read the signature,” he said. “Who wrote this?”

“James Wyatt,” I said.

“WHAAAAAAAAT??” Monkey’s jaw unhinged and dangled just above his chest. He looked at me, looked at Otto, looked back down at the box, looked up at me again, squeaked, “REALLY????” then hugged the box to his chest and refused to move for quite a while. I think I heard him muttering “myyyyyy preshuuuuussssss” in there, too.

I think it’s safe to say that my old friend absolutely made the kid’s Christmas.

So all of that happened, and then some other things, and we had a big brunch and the children played nicely together and then we packed up Monkey and sent him off with his dad. The rest of us continued eating (God, the eating; I don’t think we’ve stopped once this week) and watched A Christmas Story. This morning we all got up at o’dark thirty and my dad and stepmom set off for home, and now we’re back to Not Christmas and a quiet house. Chickadee has a few more days before she goes back to her dad’s, but because I am the Meanest Mother Ever, I am making her do homework and clean her closet. Poor kid didn’t even get a signed piece of geekaphernalia to carry her through the drudgery. Hopefully she’ll forgive me someday.

All is calm, all is bright, etc. But you know what? I’m pretty sure Monkey left his mask here. Later today, I just may be Batman.


  1. Leslie in Toronto

    Yay for great Christmases! The “I’m Batman” totally sounds like it was stolen from Big Bang Theory when Sheldon says to Leonard that with enough start-up capital he could be Batman, but he could never be the Green Lantern without the special lantern thingy.

    I’d say it sounds like it was a great Christmas overall, and I wish you and yours a fan-freaking-tastic 2013!

  2. Lisa

    This made me think of the time on Big Bang Theory that Penny gave Sheldon a napkin that Leonard Nimoy (his idol) had used and signed from the Cheese Cake Factory (where Penny works). Funniest thing ever! If you have never seen this episode you must youtube it. Glad your Christmas was Merry!

  3. Susan Getgood

    I am beyond thrilled that you had such a delightful holiday. No one deserves it more!

  4. Tracey

    Marry Christmas.

    Our 17 year old son and his friends discovered D&D just this year which makes my geeky past-D&D playing heart squeee. We gifted him with a pound of D&D dice this year. Because one can not have enough 20-siders hanging around.

  5. Tracey

    Gah. spelling errors stink.

    *MERRY* not marry Christmas. Sigh….I think I’m having a christmas cookie fugue episode.

  6. brigitte

    *sigh* of relaxation. Enjoy the respite, savor it! And snuggle on the couch tonight with chickadee, otto and licorice.

  7. Crisanne

    Ever so thankful you and yours had a nice Christmas. I hope these days you and Otto have alone with Chickie serve to further mend her heart. Merry Christmas, Mir!

  8. Sarah

    I had to read most of this post out loud to my husband (not the first time) who is also a minecraft and D&D fan. Then he asks – is Monkey playing 3.5th or 4th edition? (I’m just the messanger)

    If monkey plays 4th edition, my darling husband suggests checking out where you can subscribe to an online monster and character builder (D&D insider – here:

    Maybe for his birthday?

    Merry Christmas.

  9. Peggy Fry

    Walgreens has a winter hat stocking cap thingie with the hanging down braids that has a batman face on it…. is that what he got? it’s hilarious! I thought about it for about 10 whole seconds. then, nah! I’m too old to carry off teenage cute.\\tee hee

  10. Amanda

    Nothing better than geekerphanalia for Christmas! My 6yo has taken to humming the Indiana Jones theme while he plays Temple Run. We have no idea where he heard the music, but there it is every time he plays.

  11. Jen

    Glad to hear I’m not the only “Meanest Parent in the World”. It is just after 8am here, and my kids are at the dentist. When they get home, they are expected to do homework, clean their room and do chores before they are allowed to use any of their Christmas things (ours was a video game and Dr. Who – filled Christmas).

  12. Djurdjica

    Just when I thought your kids couldn’t be any cooler (Minecraft! Hooray!), Monkey is revealed to be the kind of supergeek who plays D&D. It almost brings a tear to me eye. Give that kid a hug.

  13. Mir

    Okay, I finally watched the TBBT clip, and he DOES say it like that. Just one problem: He’s never seen TBBT. Maybe he’s psychically channeling Sheldon??

  14. Arnebya

    Ha. It’s been a homeworkfest in my house too. You only have two weeks, let’s get started!

    I have to admit that my son is in a SpiderMan phase (but he’s little.) He’s never watched it and I didn’t know he knew who he was until he got a plain blue mask for Halloween and proclaimed himself SpiderMan. We are occasionally other characters. I am usually IncrediBoy. My husband is Batman and my girls range between Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy, depending on how he’s feeling. Hoping at least the Spongebob characters fall to the wayside soon.

    I’m glad your holiday was ER-visit free.

  15. Deanna

    Yay for a good Christmas!!! Oh and as an aging D&D geek with two budding geeklings I have to recommend the game Munchkin. It’s essentially a funny D&D card game. We love it. There are some .. Uh adult themes, but they go right over my sons head and he just enjoys playing. For example one of the bad guys is a “stoned golem” instead of a stone golum. Nothing too risqué depending on your tolerance for those kind of references. Anyway, I really really really recommend it because even the non-geeks in the house have fun with it.

  16. Korinthia

    So glad you had such a nice day! (And I’m in love with the phrase “o’dark thirty.”)

  17. suburbancorrespondent

    So glad your Christmas went fairly smoothly! Here, too; and Anna even tolerated being in our presence for an entire 2 hours.

  18. Stimey

    Nice job preparing for this Christmas waaaay back in high school. Good work.

  19. addy

    Whenever the opportunity presents itself – ALWAYS BE BATMAN! ALWAYS!

  20. Brenda

    “I can’t put my arms down!” is my favorite line from A Christmas Story. It’s one of my six top Christmas movies, and this year I finally snagged a VHS copy for a buck so I can make sure I get to watch it all (often people are rather distracted when we happen upon it on TV).

    So glad that you had lovely holidays. I’m jealous that Batman decided to hang out at your place. :)

  21. amy

    This is all just so normal, it makes my heart happy :) Merry Xmas to all of you :)

  22. Sara

    My 14 year old and I had an episode at Target of I’m Batman Syndrome, in which he took a Dark Knight mask off the shelf and wore it through the toy aisle alternately declaring himself Batman and begging for the mask. I am the meanest mom ever because I made him put it back. However, the Dark Knight’s mother (all right, I know she’s dead, let us not quibble, it kills the Christmas spirit) left one for him under the tree. His response when he opened it was fabulous: he held it aloft as a trophy and declared, “SO MUCH WIN!!!!”

    Yeah. I’m good.

    Glad to hear that your Christmas was fun and geekariffic. Here’s hoping for a shiny, happy, way less sucky 2013 to you and yours!

  23. Lise

    If any family deserved to have a good Christmas, it’s yours. So very glad you had a happy day.

  24. Varda (Squashed Mom)

    So funny… my Jake is fairly well obsessed with Batman, and Ethan with minecraft and just starting on D&D. Wish we lived closer so we could get them together or a geekfest. So glad you had a jolly & a merry & sending good energy or you & yours to survive the rest of vacation unscathed.

  25. Heather

    I also got to impress my son because I went to school with one of the guys who did animation for “The Fairly Oddparents” and now is doing animation on “The Peanuts” comic. He would of been really impressed if my mom would of kept one of the things he drew on and signed for me because I was positive he would be famous some day.

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