My kids' elementary school has had a holiday shop where they can buy a little gift for a sibling, parent, grandparent, etc. Using that for inspiration, several years ago we started the tradition where my son and daughter are encourage to give a gift to each other, to Mommy and Daddy and to close family.
Most years, they make a gift - anything from a card to a drawing or whatever they come up with. When I'm really ambitious, a keepsake craft (like a handprint angel) is given to the grandparents at least. It's more about the child thinking about the other person and putting some creativity into the idea.
Each year, I am amazed by the thought and care and pleasure they have. They're still normal kids and still go on and on about what they want for Christmas, but they also seem to really enjoy giving and seeing how people will react to their gifts.
This year, I was surprised that on their own, my 10-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son hid in my daughter's room and spent hours making and wrapping gifts for me and my husband. They were so proud of what they had done. I still don't know what they made but I'm excited to find out.
We also plan to make a few special items for family and teachers - inspired by some great ideas on Pinterest. Sometimes our crafty gift ideas don't work out as planned, but I love spending this special time with them and have really enjoyed the smiles they have when they hand their presents out. They may never say it's bettter to give than to receive but at least they're having nearly as much joy in giving as getting.
What are your holiday traditions?
So my 10-year-old informs me this morning that she caught Daddy trying to slip her some money as the Tooth Fairy last night. And then said she's kind of known for a while as she's apparently caught Daddy before, lol.
I said, "Well, you hurt yourself because now you're not getting anymore money."
She glibly replied, "But what about my brother? He's going to notice if I don't get money from the Tooth Fairy."
I said, "So I have to buy your silence now?"
Oh and then she told me that apparently I did a bad job hiding leftover "Easter Bunny" items last Easter. I said, "Do you see how small this house is? Where am I supposed to hided stuff?"
On the way to school. She asked, "When were you going to tell me about all this stuff? About no Easter Bunny and Tooth Fairy and Santa. I need to know these things for when I'm an adult and I have kids."
I told her she needed to discover it on her own; I didn't want to tell her when she still believed and ruin it for her. I also told her that I still believe in Santa, as the Spirit of Christmas. I told her that for me, Santa is the embodiment of that feeling of giving and hopefully wanting to be a better person, a more considerate and generous person to others.
Despite our humorous exchange this morning, I'm a bit bummed that she no longer believes in all these magical creatures. I knew the day was coming, but I feel in a way she lost something - that childlike sense of wonder. That belief and awe in magic. It seems especially difficult in this age of electronics and social media to keep kids in a bubble. I guess it was nice that she lasted as long as she did - for Santa until about 8 years old (we figured last year at least she said she believed in Santa to hedge her bets and possibly get more gifts - to which she admitted this morning, lol).
But I still have another kid who still believes so I'm going to hold on to that for a while and enjoy it. And I told my daughter if she ruins it for him, she's in big trouble!
How did your kid find out?
So the other day it was my brother's birthday and I announced to the kids that we should call and wish him a Happy Birthday. This is how the conversation went with my 4-year-old:
Me: Ok kids, let's call Uncle Jeff and you can sing "Happy Birthday" to him.
My son: Yay! Ok! Who's Uncle Jeff?
Me: You know, the guy who always buys you the cool superhero gifts for Christmas and your birthday.
My son: Oh, my birthday. What is Uncle Jeff buying me for my birthday?
Me: I don't know. But it's not about you right now, it's about Uncle Jeff.
My son: Why?
Me: Because it's his birthday.
My son: When?
My son: When is it my birthday?
Me: Not for a few more months.
My son: Aww, come on!
My 4-year-old was informed by his sister that today is my birthday. Sensing something was amiss, he shouted to my husband, "Daddy, today is Mommy's birthday!"
My husband said, "I know."
Clearly confused, my son asked, "But where is Mommy's cake. It's not a birthday if there's no cake."
My husband replied, "Who says there's no cake?" (Mind you, this conversation took place at 9 am - too early even for me to have cake)
"Daddy!! You need to get Mommy a cake right now!!"
My husband reassured him that there was, in fact, a cake to be had later.
So later that night, my son asks about the birthday cake. I said, "Well, we can't have it tonight because Daddy's at work."
This was obviously unacceptable to my son. "We can still have cake."
"No, we can't have cake without Daddy," I said.
He answered, "Sure. We just won't tell him." (I swear he said this).
I said, "I think Daddy will know we had cake without him."
Without skipping a beat, my son said, "No he won't. We'll put the cake back in the box."
My friend posted this and graciously allowed me to share it so that other parents can know they're not alone :).
Kids home for snowdays=cabin fever= craziness. So in effort to get out of the house, we all went as a family on a snow hike. I started a round of "build a story" - a game we play where I begin with a premise and then each person "builds" on the story. And here's how it went:
ME: I set up a young bored girl home from school on a snow day. She sets out into the woods to look for adventure. And cue my son...
SON: She comes upon a strange thing buried under old leaves. It's an ancient miniature clock. She cranks the dial and finds it's a time portal. She travels back in time to the Jurassic period, in Antarctica and meets a Polar Allosaurus. (insert longwinded details about dinosaur habitat and lifestyle etc etc etc)
ME: Ok, now it's Dad's turn
DAD: Suddenly, there's a white dress waving in distance. Is it a ghost? Da dum, da dum
DAUGHTER: Daddy's turning this into a ghost story! Make him stop!
DAD: Da Dum. Da Dum
SON and DAUGHTER: STOP!!
ME: Ok, daughter's turn
DAUGHTER: So she takes the clock and decides this place is BORING and portals to the 1950s. She's walking around town...
SON: OH that's totally realistic. (sarcastic tone) What is the dinosaur walking around town with her?
DAUGHTER: YOU'RE the one who invented the time portal.
DAD: Da Dum. Da Dum
SON and DAUGHTER: STOP!!
DAUGHTER: Then she meets Elvis!
SON: With the dinosaur????? (getting mad)
DAD: Is that a ghost behind Elvis?
At which point, I decide it's a nice time for a run and ESCAPE THE MADNESS.
I for one can't wait for the next installment in this series. Stay tuned!
I was listening to Deminski and Doyle earlier on NJ 101.5 radio and Jeff Deminski was relating his conversation with his 9-year-old son about filing your taxes. I thought it was pretty funny and so here is a summary of the story he shared (my quotes are for clarity but basically what he said):
Deminski's son asked him what filing taxes meant and he explained that for every dollar you make the government takes a small amount. Trying not to make it sound all bad, Deminski said the money the government takes goes into things including local schools or plowing when it snows.
His son said, "But you don't get a say in how they build the school, right? When you go to a store and buy a shirt, you can choose the shirt you want."
Deminski confirmed he was right and then his son said, "So basically they're robbing you."
Many taxpayers would agree with his assessment.
So I decided to treat my 8-year-old daughter to a little ice cream tonight - a rare treat.
She's thanking me profusely and I said, "See? I'm not always the bad guy."
And she responds, "I don't think you're the bad guy, Mommy. You're just the one who knows all the rules and how we should follow them and consequences."
[I swear, those were her words.]
And then she said, "Not like some big stupid guy who says 'Go ahead, do whatever you want. It doesn't matter.'"
I burst out laughing because the implication of who she was talking about was obvious. She must have realized what she'd actually said because then she tried to cover herself. "I wasn't talking about Daddy or anything."
It's okay, you're secret's safe with me. Well, until Daddy reads this.
My preschooler always has to know what comes next:
What will we do after preschool?
What will we read after this book?
He always has to be prepared for what's coming, especially when it comes to food. He will literally have food that he's trying to shovel into his mouth and he will say, "What else can I eat?"
My response to that lately has been, "Finish what you've got and then we'll talk about what else you can eat."
So now at bedtime, he asks, "What else can I eat? I mean, for breakfast tomorrow."
My 4-year-old says: "I don't like preschool."
Me: "Why not?"
Him: "I don't like the rules."
Me: "What rules don't you like?"
Him: "All of them."
I took my daughter to a library program and the librarian started reading a lighthearted story about monsters under a kid's bed. My daughter pipes up and says, " There aren't any monsters under my bed. There is too much stuff under there."