My mom claims amnesia about many of my childhood misbehaviors, and now I can see why. These are the kind of things you would rather forget, filling your memory banks instead with visions of warm family dinners, laughing children happily playing in the glow of the Christmas tree, and GRATITUDE.
I realize it's not in the nature of a Five to be gracious and appreciative of how much he has, and I realize he just had his birthday AND it's almost Christmas, but after he has spent four days being treated to the following activities:
1. Trip to downtown Seattle for a ride on the holiday carousel, lunch at McDonald's (added bonus of a Bionicle toy in the Happy Meal), and a tour of the gingerbread houses
2. Fun evening with Nanny and Papa, including ice cream bars and staying up late
3. Trip to Bellevue to see Snowflake Lane (another McDonald's dinner and Bionicle toy), where people dressed as tin soldiers drum along the street and it "snows" outside
4. Trip to the Seattle Aquarium and Pike Place Market, complete with s'mores brownie and Pike Place doughnuts
...... you might think that a simple box of Christmas presents on the porch wouldn't send him into a tizzy of unhappiness.
Short version: (Bad decision of Mommy #1) Opened box from Auntie Em, which contained (gasp!) TWO presents for Bitty Girl and (horror of all horrors!) ONE present for him. We discussed the fact that when we visit said Auntie in 3 weeks, we were going to do birthday/Christmas presents then. These were just sent so we didn't have to haul them home, since Audrey isn't coming. (Bad Mommy decision #2) And his present is a lovely wooden fire truck, but since it's not a hunk of lead-painted plastic crap with weapons attached, evidently it's not enough to be exciting. Then a box of presents from my dad--books, which he liked, hand-knit sweater (see above about plastic, lead paint, and weapons). Hence the Christmas Eve Tantrum of Ungratefulness.
While I left the house to brave the grocery store crowds, he recovered while making pizza dough with Daddy. (Addendum to list of Fun activities above: #5 - Special homemade pizza dinner, with toppings he chose, for Christmas Eve) We ended up having a nice dinner and everyone got to bed, complete with the Night Before Christmas reading, letter and cookies for Santa, but it just set the wrong tone.
Maybe we did too much in the days leading up to it? We spaced things out, made sure everyone got good sleep and plenty of time at home. I just think we can't underestimate the power of presents and Christmas, especially in The Boy who is too young to really understand the whole "spirit of the Season" thing. But we talked about it in small doses--baby steps.
I'm sure I was the same greedy, ego-centric five year old. My mom just doesn't remember... Lucky her.
Next year, it's the soup kitchen for him. Or something that will help us all realize just how lucky we are.