***Disclaimer: I was compensated by Little Remedies for this post. However, this is one of those rare opportunities when we actually use the brand in question, and all of my opinions — as always — are my own.
Starting with Thanksgiving and ending with New Year’s, the holiday season often means we’re eating terrible (yet delicious) food. But the real problem for parents is we’re allowing our kids to do the same.
It doesn’t make us bad parents, it just makes us human. Many kids (my own son included), spend December starting off each and every day by eating a piece of chocolate from the advent calendar. Come Christmas we’re knee-deep in candy, chocolate, pie, and cake as we flit from house to house visiting relatives who all want to (justifiably) spoil the little ones and give them treats. I get it.
But there are ways to mitigate the damage and keep kids healthy over the holidays.
See that to the left? That’s a picture of a letter Will brought home from preschool a couple of days ago. A letter to Santa. In case the print is too small to read, here’s what it says:
This year for Christmas I would like a choo-choo train. I have been a really good boy. I have been working really hard to clean up my room. We left you some milk and cookies and we made some reindeer food for Rudolph. I hope you both like your treats.
Cute isn’t it? Clearly they asked Will to fill in the blanks regarding what he wants for Christmas, what he’s been working hard on throughout the year and what goodies he left for Santa. Surely this heart-meltingly adorable letter to Santa Claus is exactly what he needed to solidify himself as a “good boy” and bask in Christmas present Valhalla on Sunday morning, right?
Not so fast.
Santa Claus read the letter and sent a response back to Will. And apparently the Big Guy is ready to call all these boys and girls on their bullshit. Either that or he’s drinking heavily again. Maybe both.
If you only watch one video for the rest of this year, make it this one. Those of you with the iPhone 4S will appreciate it immensely. “ASK MY WIFE IF SHE IS FUCKING JIM MACPHERSON!!” I’ve never laughed harder.
PICTURE OF THE WEEK
Thanksgiving is upon us and that means Christmas shopping season is about to be turned up to 11. Those of you who have children (or those of you shopping for parents) may be wondering what to buy this year. I can only speak for myself, but I’m recommending DINKutopia’s Child Containment Unit. Fuck the pack & play and those baby gates that are always breaking and never seem to work, the CCU’s prison-like force field will keep your kid in solitary for hours while you finally catch up on all those video games you haven’t been able to play. Just $49.95!
I know Christmas is over, but I would be remiss if I didn’t blog about the gifts Will received. It’s not really the number of gifts that stopped me in my tracks (although the number is fairly staggering), but the type of presents Will received.
For instance, my Aunt Darleen & Uncle Paul gave Will a digital camera. Not a fake camera or a toy digital camera. We’re talking an actual, working digital camera complete with a memory card and everything. While extraordinarily kind, I have to admit I was a little peeved. Mainly because I didn’t get my first digital camera until I was in my 20s. Granted the technology wasn’t there when I was younger, but the point is my 2.5-year-old now has a nicer digital camera than some adults.
He also received a portable DVD player which he already knows how to operate. My DVD player is like 15 years old, and my toddler now has nicer electronic equipment than I do.
Will also got himself a tool bench this Christmas. Sure he had a little one for babies, but now he’s got an official Black & Decker job thanks to Grandpa George & Nana. This has everything: hammer, nails, screws, an electric screwdriver, an electric drill, vice grips, tape measure…the whole enchilada.
And the crazy part is he really does know what he’s doing.
He takes up the screws with the electric screwdriver no problem. We never even told him how it worked, he just did it on his own. And he measures everything with the tape measure, including my arms, legs and head. Which led to my smart-ass wife saying “Let’s hope he doesn’t try to measure anything you’ll feel bad about.” Have I mentioned I don’t like my wife much?
And of course, there’s the kitchen set. You’ve all already seen a picture of that and you know how I feel about it. No need to revisit that one. He doesn’t like it as much as MJ thought he would, but he does enjoy making coffee quite a bit. He also boils lemons and strawberries, and made me “strawberry Chinese food” one night. I didn’t care for it.
But the piece de resistance of outlandish gifts from this Christmas, hands down, came from Papa & Grammy Donna.
When we went to their house on Christmas Eve I noticed a rather large, oddly-shaped package over in the corner covered in wrapping paper. I didn’t think much of it at first and figured there was no way it could be for Will.
But I was wrong.
I watched in disbelief—and with jealousy—as Will unwrapped his gift. I apologize for the darkness of the picture, but just in case you think your eyes are deceiving you, that is a children’s Barcalounger.
Yup, I’m serious. Will got his very own furniture. A recliner no less. I didn’t even get a recliner until about a month ago, and my son is now able to kick up his tired dogs in his very own chair while unwinding from a tough day of arts and crafts, singing and playing. And, as you can see in the picture, the damn thing even has a cup holder. Which means he’s got a leg up on me in that department.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining. We are extraordinarily lucky and blessed to have relatives who care this much about Will. I thank my lucky stars for them every day and I don’t know what I’d do without them.
But a recliner? A tool set? A digital camera? This kid is going to have EVERYTHING. Between all of this technology and the various savings accounts already begun in his name, Will has better stuff and more money than I do at the age of 31.
It’s going to be very awkward when I’m asking my toddler if I can borrow some cash and some of his stuff.
You guys are going to absolutely hammer me for this post. I mean, you’re gonna tear me a new one and ridicule me through and through. And you’ll be completely justified in doing so. But I can’t help it.
The way Christmas works in the financially strapped Daddy Files household is as follows: We get Will one “big” present and a few little things. The rest of the gifts are supplied (in abundance) by family members and friends who are WAY too kind when it comes to buying things for Will. In the past, his gifts from us have been really awesome. Big Tonka trucks and a work bench with tons of tools. Very fun, very cool and very manly.
When it came time to choose his gift this year, well, there wasn’t actually much “choice” involved. At least on my part.
MJ just came home one day and declared that she found THE PERFECT present for Will. She was beyond excited and so proud of herself for finding it. So I asked what it was. But instead of telling me, she balked a little and started to talk around it. To preface it with “Well Will already has trucks and trains and stuff like that…” I should’ve known, right then and there, I was in for trouble. After prompting her to just tell me already she showed me the picture of Will’s Christmas gift.
Yup. A toy kitchen. Complete with a burner, coffeemaker, frying pan, plates and dishes. A complete kitchen set. For my son. I didn’t even have time to think of a good way to react because my delayed response and the look on my face must’ve given me away immediately. That put MJ on the defensive, which is never a good thing for me.
“What’s wrong? You don’t think he’ll like it?” MJ asked.
“I…uhh…well, it’s just that…it’s a kitchen. For our son.”
Tactical error on my part.
MJ must’ve anticipated this type of response from me because she had all of her ducks in a row. She told me that Will loves to cook with her in the kitchen, which is true. She told me the culinary arts are not simply for women and some of the best cooks in the world are men, which is true. And she told me I routinely make a point on this blog to tear down nonsensical stereotypes and challenge gender stereotypes, so I shouldn’t have a problem with this or else I’d be a hypocrite. Which — damn her to hell — is true.
She’s right. She’s 100% right. Will loves to cook and he should know how to cook. He’d love this as a present. And I, as an enlightened father who speaks out in the name of fairness and equality, should embrace this gift. I know this. And the rational, intelligent part of my brain accepts this as truth.
Unfortunately, the neanderthal strain of prehistoric male DNA is using a megaphone to shout “YOU CAN’T GIVE YOUR SON A KITCHEN SET!!!!”
I know I shouldn’t feel this way but I can’t help it. Girls get kitchen sets and dolls, while boys get G.I. Joes, toy tools and trucks. As a dad I’m fine with responding to Will saying “Hey Dad, wanna play trucks.” But entertaining the thought of “Hey Dad, wanna play with my pastry cutter?” not only gives me pause, it gives me the willies.
Which is ridiculous because I want Will to be able to cook. Not only will it make him self-sufficient, but it never hurts to know your way around a kitchen to improve your luck with the ladies. But it shames me to admit the first thing that crossed my mind was that giving him a kitchen set for Christmas may deter him from even being interested in the ladies.
Like I said, that’s a completely ignorant and stupid thought. Like a kitchen set could actually influence my son’s sexual orientation. And even if my son was gay, so what? I’d still love and support him the same as always. So what’s my problem?
I don’t actually know the answer.
I know my wife is right and this is a great gift for Will. I know I’m being a hypocritical idiot. And yet every time I look at that kitchen set (which I actually put together myself if you can believe it) I cringe. it’s in the same league as a Barbie or pink socks. I’m not sure if it’s age-old gender stereotypes holding me back or my own archaic ideas about how these things should work, but I can’t deny I’m bothered by it.
But I better get over it quick because as any married guy know, the wife gets what the wife wants. And that means my masculine, future professional athlete of a son is going to wake up tomorrow, shriek with joy at his new kitchen and then ask me if I want to help him whisk.