you better watch out

‘Sblood, do we really have two days left until Christmas? I don’t think my kids can make it another 48 hours. They might literally explode. Their excitement is fun, I must say, but having two whirling dervishes underfoot who start their spinning each morning before 6:30 am makes for a loooong and dizzy holiday season.

The only times in the last month my kids haven’t been screaming and spinning in circles were while they were in the presence of Saint Nicholas himself. And for some reason, they’ve had almost daily sightings. They sat on his lap at Macy’s; they went to two holiday brunches where he made an appearance; they went to see holiday lights and he was there (or so I hear, this was a trip with the grandparents); and last night, on our way home, a screaming procession of police cars and fire trucks passed us, with Mr. and Mrs. Claus waving from the top of the hook-and-ladder. Each time, my boys suddenly go catatonic, and leave it to me to do the hooting and hollering. Last night, I U-turned and chased down the Santa caravan so I could scream out the window, “We have three good kids in this car, Santa! Don’t forget us!” He totally heard me, cause he waved.

So maybe they’re getting these slightly insane vibrations of excitement from their mother. I must say I live for this stuff. I am already dreading when we don’t have Santa at our house anymore, and have had a third child this year expressly for the purpose of having a believer around until at least 2013. Connor is barely five, and has already started with the questions:

–When Santa has to go somewhere at the North Pole, does he drive in his car? Or does he always take his sleigh?

–Are elves as big as people, or are they little? (This one is tricky. The elves in storybooks are little. But the elves at Macy’s Santaland, who were absolutely positively REAL ELVES “buzz they knew it was almost my birthday,” were of normal height. I told him… yes that was indeed confusing, and I wasn’t sure.)

–Is Santa real? (This one broke my heart a little, but it wasn’t too hard. I just parried with “Well, all I know is, I wake up on Christmas morning, and someone has brought us presents! Who else would it be?” And I think we got another two years out of that answer, at least.)

I think some small part of me, or maybe most of me, forgets that Santa is just me and actually thinks someone is coming down the chimney tomorrow night with tons of gaily wrapped gifts. Everything my children actually WILL get on Christmas morning is still sitting, unwrapped, in boxes from various online retailers. And there’s only 36 hours or so left. That’s enough to make anyone a true believer.

yeah, what she said

Please, please, check out the brilliant essay “Bonfire of the Disney Princesses”by Barbara Ehrenreich on thenation.com. As if it were a giant voodoo doll, Ehrenreich sticks her barbed wit into the evil Disney princess empire, which has our daughters in a choke hold and has built itself into a $4 billion industry. “The entire product line… is saturated with a particularly potent time-release form of the date rape drug,” Ehrenreich warns. “We cannot blame China this time, because the drug is in the concept.” Her conclusion? “The only way to topple royalty is through a mass uprising… make a holiday bonfire out of all that tulle! March on Disney World with pitchforks held high!” Amen, sister. Wish I could have said it that well myself.

he knows when you’re awake…

“Santa ALWAYS brings you the toys that you REALLY want,” Cooper told his younger brother Fergus yesterday, with great gravity, as we waited at the bus stop.

“Well,” I hedged, since Santa isn’t planning on coming through with the $49.99 choking-hazard-ridden LEGO Jedi Starfighter with Hyperdrive Booster Ring which was mentioned for the first time moments before, “he tries.”

“No, Mommy,” Cooper countered, calmly. “If Santa knows it’s what you want the most, that’s what he brings.” And then he stepped aboard the bus. I can only hope that what Cooper “wants the most” will change back to the “Dark Vader costume” he requested three weeks ago.

Apparently, Santa is able to anticipate the quicksilver wishes of a 5 year old because he is omniscient. Two days ago, when Fergus accomplished the hell-freezing-over feat of pooping on the potty (at the ripe old age of 3 years and 4 months), I suggested that we write jolly Saint Nick to let him know. “He already knows, because Santa knows everything,” Cooper asserted, as he splashed in the bathtub nearby. “He knows more than GOD, even.”

I wish. My husband is saying he doesn’t want anything at all for Christmas. Since he is impossible to buy for, I think he thinks he is making my life easier. In reality, it just means I have to attempt to summon these all-knowing Santa powers, so that the other stressed mothers who are related to us, and who keep asking me what to get him, can check him off their list at last. This means a lot of thumbing through catalogs and making stuff up. I don’t want to leave them hanging; I feel their pain.

So I hope he will like his Jedi Starfighter with Hyperdrive Booster Ring. He’s going to get, like, three of them.

purple day


Tomorrow is Purple Day in Junior Kindergarten. “Wear as much purple as you can!” this week’s backpack note exhorted gaily. “Purple shirt, purple pants, purple socks, purple shoes!”

I could handle Brown Day. Even Orange Day turned out all right, once I was able to convince Connor that it would be acceptable to wear his Halloween pajama top as a shirt, Just This Once.

But Purple Day? I have just spent fifteen minutes digging through all my sons’ clothing, and there is nothing purple. Nothing. Not even a polkadot, or a contrasting stripe.

“So skip it,” my husband said, in his infinite wisdom. But for Connor that is an unthinkable alternative. Purple Day is not optional. Attention must be paid. And Mama is scrambling. Might my lavender pashmina work? Cause that’s what I got.

Why do his teachers have to pick only the hardest colors? What’s wrong with Red Day? Blue Day? We have outfits out the wazoo for those.

Alternatively, couldn’t they choose a theme more resonant for preschool boys, such as:

Dirty Pants I Have Already Worn Three Times This Week Day
Shirt Which Is Two Sizes Too Small For Me But Which I Still Insist On Wearing Day

Either of these would be much easier for us, as a family, to observe.

If Connor rejects the lavender pashmina, I’m just going to put a white T-shirt on him tomorrow morning and then serve a too-tall glass of grape juice, and hope for the best. Wish me luck.

an aDORAble new look!

The Christmas shopping season is upon us once again. I do 98% of my shopping online, because I only get 45 seconds a day to do it, and that wouldn’t get me past my apartment building’s lobby if I were going the brick-and-mortar route.

In past years, Santa has only had to worry about two boys at our house. This year, we have a girl in the mix for the first time; and while she is still too young to be interested in anything but the pattern on her crib bumper, our boys would be confused if Santa didn’t bring her anything. So yesterday, for the first time, I clicked on a fuschia “All She Wants for Christmas!” popup.

And that’s when I saw this:
Sparkle and Twirl Mermaid Dora

and this:

Rainbow Sparkle Dora

My first thought was, who the heck is this? Dora doesn’t have long hair. Dora isn’t a mermaid. Dora doesn’t dress like Charo. Dora doesn’t sparkle and twirl.

Dora doesn’t ride in an Under the Sea Carriage or sit on a Styling Sea Throne! She’s an adventutrix! She makes friends with Senor Toucan and saves the tiny Estrella from the clutches of Swiper! She outwits the Grumpy Old Troll and his riddles-that-are-not-riddles! She yells everything she says, as if her companion, Boots, were on another continent!

But, apparently, the toy Dora has another sort of personality entirely:

* Sparkle and Twirl Mermaid Dora transforms from Beach Dora to Mermaid Dora
* When girls place Dora into her magic seashell – Dora sings!
* As she spins around and raises her arms, her skirt grows into a mermaid’s tail
* At the end of the transformation Dora will shimmy back and forth during the remainder of the song
* Dora can be removed from the base to be played with as Mermaid Dora or Beach Dora

I don’t know who “Beach Dora” is exactly, but I fear she’d be “shimmying back and forth” in a thong.

Are girls not bombarded with the whole Princess thing enough already? Must Dora become a princess or a mermaid too? I actually imagine Dora to be the type of kid who would have no room in her backpack for this stuff. I think the real Dora, the one I’ve gotten to know by the hundreds of airings of each episode in my house over the past five years, would have nothing but scorn for this:

Dora Let’s Get Ready Vanity

Apparently, when little girls use the included hairdryer and curling iron, the Let’s Get Ready Dora Head will “magically recognize” which grooming implement they have chosen. “LAS TENAZAS! THE CRIMPER!” she will shout. And then “little girls can join Dora on exciting dress-up adventures!”

I think Dora would vomit at the very notion of a “dress-up adventure.” She is a young lady on a mission to make the world a better place. She would have no time for passive princess play. My sons have always loved Dora, and (of course) they wouldn’t touch any of this stuff, either. So why must all the Dora toys sparkle and twirl? Why do the toy companies assume girls wouldn’t play with a Dora who wears shorts and kicks ass? Isn’t that what kids LIKE about her?