An “amusing” half-day in the life of a mom and a kid with Christmas anxiety
Wednesday December 21, 2016
3:00 p.m. Grayson gets in the car with an amazing bag of Christmas goodies from his teacher.
3:01 p.m. He immediately gives everything away to his sister because “it’s stupid.”
3:02 p.m. …and quickly takes half of it back because “it’s actually pretty cool.”
5:30-5:45 p.m. A flurry of questions concerning what time we will have to leave to get to church, how long church will last, how long the drive will last to get to Christmas dinner destination, will we eat or open presents first, if we will open presents all at once or one at a time, if he can open Christmas presents alone in a room instead of with everyone, how we will get all the Christmas presents back to our house, etc…etc…etc…etc…etc…
8:30 p.m. Grayson is allowed to open one early present after asking a mere 50 kajillion times. He looks at the half-spherical soccer ball that lights up and gives the appearance of floating (that I THOUGHT he would enjoy), somehow manages to clench his entire face almost completely shut, throws the ball on the ground 3 times all while jumping up and down and raging about how stupid it is and crying hysterically. I’m simultaneously trying to hush the muffled laughter of four other children so things don’t entirely explode.
8:31 – 9:00 p.m. A series of going down to his room to cool off and coming back several times eventually ends in him agreeing to practice the CORRECT way of graciously opening a present that you don’t like and keeping unkind thoughts “in your brain,” to which he adds upon the conclusion of our practice session, that next time, he will wait until he’s calm to tell them that they didn’t pick out a good present. Sigh… I give him an “A” for effort (as I’m trying to keep the simultaneous exasperation and laughter “in my brain”).
9:02 p.m. …aaaannnddd he is fighting with his sister over who gets to play with the AWESOME soccer ball and trying to think of a good place to hide it where no one will be able to find it while he sleeps.
9:15 p.m. Grayson decides to move all of his presents down to his room so that he can open them alone in the dark in peace and quiet.
9:16 p.m. He decides that upstairs is actually better and returns them all to their spot under the tree.
9:45 p.m. He is sleeping!!! Husband and I giggle and plan next year’s holiday game – everyone has to act like Grayson when they open their worst present. Grayson opening “bad” presents is rapidly becoming an annual tradition that we have learned to find a certain amount of humor and endearment in.
9:50 p.m. Mom labels presents from #1-7, worst to best, so that he will know what to expect and wraps a jar of pickles to practice on in the morning.
5:33 a.m. I am awakened to thunderous footsteps tearing through the house and a breathless child excitedly telling me that he opened another present but don’t worry it was an electric toothbrush that clearly wasn’t for him because it was dumb (it was for him). I tell him I don’t care if he opens all of his presents. I want to sleep. Leave me alone.
5:34 a.m. He is back to tell me that he won’t open anymore presents and maybe I should hide them…just in case. I tell him in the most patient words I can muster to get out and never come back.
5:35 a.m. He’s back again. He wants to know what he should do with the toothbrush. I’m getting up as I can see that this sleeping thing is clearly not going to work for me.
5:36 a.m. I’m stumbling (literally) to get coffee and explain my disappointment… “I like to watch you open presents…Daddy isn’t even here…I’m going to have to keep all your presents in my room so you don’t do this again.” Grayson looks at me with his eyes filling up with tears, his chin starting to quiver and explains to me in a cracking voice, “I just wanted to practice so I could do a better job at opening my presents.”
5:37 a.m. All of my irritability and sleepiness drain through a single tear trailing down my cheek. I shut my mouth and stop explaining and start listening. As hard as it is for me, it’s harder for him. I hug him and tell him, “Good job. I’m proud of you.” Thank God for my early Christmas gift – a dose of humility and a reminder to slow down and sit with him in his world.