the scrooge in me

Over-stimulation.  Over-stimulation.  This is why my children act as they do.  Over-stimulation.  And how could they not be overstimulated?  All year long they are fed the dream of Christmas Eve.  And it’s here.  Now what?

Well, now we will eat the meal from my husband’s family tradition: Ribs and Shrimp.  To show you just how far I’ve come in 10 years, when I first joined the family I only ate the shrimp part.  One brother-in-law only ate the ribs part so we pretty much balanced each other out.  He joined the family a year or so before I did.  It worked pretty well.

So now I am an adult hosting Christmas Eve dinner with my husband for my  children and my parents.  We are having ribs and shrimp and I can’t wait.  (Much of the cooking credit goes to my mom for making all homemade sauces.)

Then the opening will begin.  We have done a rehearsal for the last two nights with gifts from our neighbors and gifts that arrived in the mail.  It was loud.  I am not a loud person.  Tonight we have code words in place to keep the loudness at bay.  Before you think I am a scrooge, my daughter had one decibel level last night and it was painful to those of us with ears.

It’s almost rib time, then presents and bedtime.  (That doesn’t seem possible in one short little sentence.)  We will put out treats for Santa and the reindeer.  Then after getting to very excited children to sleep I will get to improv as a fat old man.

I mentioned to my sister-in-law that I hope my kids don’t believe in Santa for years and years.  OK, maybe I am a Scrooge.  Bluntly, I don’t like lying to my children.  I try in my every day life to be honest and straight forward.  I want them to come to me with questions and know that I am telling them the truth.  And then they are told all year that Santa is going to walk through our front door (no chimney) to deliver presents.

Presents that I have painstakingly chosen.  Presents that will delight.  Presents that I have get no credit for.  It’s not the credit I look for.  But we do give the very best things to Santa to feed the myth.  I am lying to my children.

When we go to the pediatrician’s office they ask if the kids know they will be getting shots.  Yes, I say.  I am honest with them.  (Though the day the state realizes that vaccinating should be my choice will be a very happy day for me, though too late to do much good.) I want them to be prepared.  It’s my job to be open and true with my children.

I am dreading the day my daughter looks up at me with those big brown eyes and says “You lied to me.”  It’s coming, just as sure as their Santa is coming tonight.


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