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Yep, We Are Those Parents

I’ve always sworn that we will not
be the kind of parents who give in to our children’s every
whim; who fly into a panic when one little thing is imperfect in a
daughter’s life; who will run out in the middle of the night
on Christmas eve for that one last toy.

I was wrong.

Christmas eve, I called each girl into our
bedroom one at a time to approve her sister’s Christmas gift.
Maddie came in, saw the stuffed animal we’d discussed for
Cora, and gave me the thumbs up to wrap it for her. Then it was
Cora’s turn.

Now, I should say at the outset that I realize now I should not
have left this for the last minute. All I can say is that time got
away from me. But Cora came into the room, and I said, “Cora,
I wanted to show this to you – Maddie really wanted it this
year and asked it be put on her Christmas list, so I thought you
might want to give it to her. Do you mind if I wrap it for you to
give to her tomorrow?” And I held up the Melissa and Doug
cupcake set I’d picked out.

Cora took one look at it and burst into tears.

“But Mommy, I’ve wanted that for a really long time!
Can’t I please give it to myself? I really really want
this!” Completely bewildered, I strove for damage control,
telling her I was sure that Maddie would share it with her.
“No, Mommy, I want this for myself, not to borrow from
Maddie!” More tears.

I somehow maneuvered Cora into bed by this point, and we lay
together talking about it. “Mommy,” she sniffled,
“I’ve wanted this for a long time. I showed it to you
at the toy store.” “Um, I think it’s Maddie that
wanted it at the toy store, honey,” I said cautiously.
“Maybe you just didn’t HEAR me when I talked about it
at the toy store, but I really want it!” she said. Suddenly,
she sat up. “I know! I can ask Santa for it!”

Wait a minute.

“Hey, listen, you already told Santa what you wanted,
remember- last week when you saw him? You said you wanted the
Angelina Ballerina dollhouse,” I said uneasily. “Mommy,
Santa can do this, I know he can,” she said. Desperate, I
dove deeper into that Santaland fiction.

“Well, baby, Santa’s sleigh is already packed.
He’s already gone.”

“No, he’s not,” she said stubbornly. “We
just saw him at the pancake house for dinner. He’s still in
the area! It’s not too late!”

The kicker here is that she’s absolutely right. We went out
for our traditional pancake dinner after church, and there in the
middle of the IHOP was a Santa double. Clearly the man did some
side work as The Man, and though he was dressed casually in jeans
and a red flannel undershirt, he was walking through the restaurant
taking pictures holding babies – at the parents’
request. With his real beard and long hair and wire-rimmed glasses,
he sold a good show, and Cora had marveled excitedly at the time at
how she was eating dinner RIGHT WHERE SANTA WAS TAKING A BREAK.

“I’m not sure what will happen,” I said weakly,
“but Daddy and I can return the cupcake set we got for Maddie
and you can give her something else, ok?” She nodded tiredly
and we left it there.

When Brian finally came out from putting Maddie to sleep, I grabbed
him. “Yeah, so you’re going to need to go to the toy
store now.”

He stared at me. “Are you kidding? It’s 9 p.m. on
Christmas eve!”

“I know,” I hissed, “But you have got to get
another toy for Maddie so Cora can get this stupid cupcake set from
Santa!” and I told him everything – including the
convenient fact that the toy store was open until 10 that night.

Wearily, Brian trudged off into the night as I went to work getting
everything else done, and he came home later saying,
“There’s nothing more depressing than a toy store at
the last minute on Christmas eve.” We got the stockings all
set, opened the cupcake set for Cora and the new brownie set for
Maddie, and called it a night.

Christmas morning Cora saw her Santa gifts and freaked out.
“I was right, Mommy! Santa figured it out!” she
squealed as she played with her cupcake set. And to give her
credit, it’s been one of the highlights of her gift pile,
something she’s played with every day. Right away, before any
other gifts were opened, Cora set to work assembling all the
cupcakes. She put them in the “oven” in her kitchen,
and when we sat down to our Christmas lunch she brought them in
with the candles on them and we sang Happy Birthday to Jesus. She
set His cupcakes down next to her and beamed with pride.

So there we are – we’re apparently the parents who run
out minutes before Christmas and buy our kid yet another toy that
she doesn’t really need. Except that I knew that if Cora
didn’t see that cupcake set, or if Maddie got it, she’d
lose it and be unable to get past it. If she were even one year
older, Santa would have left a note saying the set was for both
girls so make sure to share and play nice, but at this stage that
would’ve been beyond Cora. Did we take yet another step down
the Spoiling-Her-Rotten Road? I’m not sure.

All I know is, my kid had an awesome Christmas morning.


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