Thursday, November 15, 2012

My REAL (but unrealistic) Christmas list

Every year, my sainted mom-in-law asks us for Christmas lists. She’s a big “Black Friday” shopper and wants lists before Thanksgiving.

Most years, we fail to deliver. (Sorry, Linda.)

On Monday, Jon decided to be proactive. It was his turn to run Family Home Evening, and he distributed papers and pencils. “For our activity tonight,” he announced, “We are all going to write down what we want for Christmas. Be realistic.”

Well, handing me writing materials and an uninterrupted block of time, even if it’s only ten minutes, is always dangerous.

Moms are supposed to say “All I want is your love and respect.”

Sh'ya right. I’m a lone woman, surrounded by five males with Autistic-leaning brains. One learns to be very specific. With more time, I would even have been more concrete.

Here’s what I came up with, slightly edited.

“What do I want for Christmas?
By Gail Homer Berry

I want people to quit whining and interrupting.

I would settle for a cessation of screeching, screaming tantrums.

Or even a limit of two rebuttals during obsessive arguments about minutiae, especially when they think (incorrectly) that a parent misspoke.

Right. Be realistic. If people MUST interrupt, I would be eternally grateful if they quit abso-bloomey-lutely freaking out when interrupted themselves.

I want _____ to quit picking his nose and teeth and then wiping the residue on his shirt, leaving an archeologically rich record of stains behind.

Failing that, I want him to do his own laundry.

Failing that, I would consider it miraculous if he spontaneously put all his dirty laundry IN the laundry instead of leaving it strewn all over bedroom, bathroom, hall, and most mysteriously, the library closet.

Right, realism. Could people at least change their socks before the holes grow beyond the size of a quarter?

I want to go a week without listening to a twenty-minute monologue about “oge buses,” woofs, trucks, or “chooches.”

I want Sam to use the potty without waving the potty bowl around afterwards. And dropping it in the toilet. And encouraging Jeff to play in the contaminated potty. And trying to get himself potty treats before washing his hands.

Okay, I admit it: what I really want is for both toddlers to develop a profound understanding of germ theory. Since that’s obviously not going to happen, how about if everyone simply remembers to keep the bathroom door closed and carry all liquids level? And use the hand sanitizer, but not as finger paint?

Speaking of messes, I want bottles and sippy cups that don’t leak. Or at least don’t spill huge patches of milk all over my white tile floors, causing concussions when I slip in the camouflaged sabotage.

Never mind. Let’s just install rfid tags in all of them. Then I could find the things when they first disappear, rather than discovering them three weeks later with black, fuzzy mold colonies contaminating the carpet.

Naturally, it is impossible to bar Jeff from the library and prevent him from pulling books off shelves. But perhaps children could help to re-shelve books, once weekly, without whining? At a bare minimum, you would earn a sweet smile if you managed to step around the bestrewn books, rather than using them like surf boards, ripping the suffering spines’ seams.

I want my children to display rudimentary table manners. Utensils held properly. Heads turned away and faces covered during coughs. Small bites.

Heck, I’m desperate. I’d settle for everyone sitting at the table for ten minutes, and _____ at least trying three bites of dinner before making himself a sandwich.

As a bonus, I would be moved to tears if I could park chairs at the kitchen table and expect them to remain there for two consecutive hours.

I want to get up, refill a sippy cup with milk, and return to find my computer uninfested by vultures.

Channeling Abraham bargaining with God:  if I could read fifteen verses of scripture in ABSOLUTE SILENCE, I would not cancel bedtime stories.

Fine. Peradventure ten verses should be permitted, I would not destroy it for ten’s sake.

Actually, I would count it miraculous if I could get through a single verse of scripture without a single instance of people banging on each other with foam swords, Jeff shrieking, Sam yelling “NO, Danny!” Eric asking “HUH? Say that again?” from the kitchen, Jon lecturing him about listening better, and Daniel making noises as he grabs a toy away from Samuel for use in his latest tent creation—which will last fewer than ten minutes.

Okay, okay, you have bartered me down. How about five verses of scripture in relative quiet? Plus some personal study time so I might actually feel spiritually uplifted?

You see how reasonable I’m being?

“All I want for Christmas is peace on Earth and goodwill toward men.”

We could start with chores at home and a cease-fire among brothers.

My pipe dream is to nag 50% less in the coming year. If that happened, it would be a truly miraculous gift. Enough to make me change my views on idolatry and run through the streets, proclaiming “Yes, Virginia, there really is a Santa Claus!”

[Editorial update: on later readings, I realized this sounded kind of whiny. Which sugggests I am partly responsible for the kids' whinings. I intended it to be amusing, but...well, nobody is perfect.]


Gregory said...

Camouflaged Sabotage has a nice rhyminess.

Brian Thomas said...

I second Gregory's comment and found the rest of the story to be hilarious foreshadowing for my own life.