So, some holidays/birthdays have become a tad uncomfortable in our house. ‘T’ and I have four kids. I have two – ‘D’ and ‘M’ – and ‘T’ has one – ‘A’. And then he and I have one together – ‘W’ or ‘Moose’.
It’s an ‘yours, mine, and ours’ sort of thing going on. The oldest is my daughter – who is 11 – followed by my step-son (8), my son (7 ½), and then Moose bringing up the rear at 11 months.
Now in regards to birthdays, there seems to be a trilogy of sorts in the progression of the holidays as a child grows up. When you are a young, birthdays are awesome! And why wouldn’t they be - since they are usually planned according to what the child expects from the birthday. And, as a child, you don’t even have to plan/pay for anything. You just show up, usually eat some food, and get to take gifts home. Even when a child attends another child’s birthday party, that child usually gets to leave with a gift bag. It’s like having someone throw you a free wedding every couple of months. And then double that if you have two sets of parents like my children do. It’s no wonder why so many father-of-the-brides spend more money on their daughters’ weddings than the bride will actually spend on her first home. I mean, your wedding can’t be less fancy than your 1st birthday party.
Hey – I’m not preaching about how ‘ children’s birthday parties have become overly ridiculous’ or how we need to teach our children to be grateful for what they have….blah, blah, blah. I’m just stating a fact; it is what it is.
Then sometime in the years after being a ‘child’ and before becoming a parent, the birthdays start to change. It’s a subtle change, with slight altercations occurring year after year, until all of a sudden we’re 18 years old and realize it’s been 5-7 years since we had balloons on our birthday. Now, the expectation doesn’t lessen. People tend to think that when a young person stops wanting to celebrate their birthday at the Skating Rink that maturation is taking place and what was once important no longer is. Bullshit. The only things that are no longer important are piñatas and spider man cake toppers. But the expectation is still there……and now, the tween/teen/young adult is expecting a ridiculous pair of jeans that cost $100.00, a brand new car, and a curfew at midnight. Then it’s a trip to Vegas (or a strip club for boys) to celebrate officially becoming a grown up…..and showing just how grown up you are by spending the better part of the night and morning puking your tequila shots up and spending every weekend thereafter in about the same fashion until your next birthday rolls around. Now, an interesting anomaly occurs at this point. Young men kind of get stuck in this phase. Once they see a hooker on a pole and their reflection in a toilet bowl, they are suddenly content with life. They have discovered their purpose on this earth. Young ladies, on the other hand, who can see boobies anytime they want - or penises for that matter - decide that they liked it better when their parents were buying them a ridiculous pair of jeans that cost $100.00. Unable to convince their parents to send out invitations to everyone that says, “Guess who’s turning 23!”, women lament their misery with one another and that misery happens to make its way to the ears of the 23 year old boy-man who comes up with this stroke of genius:
BOY: Hey, wait a minute – I want to see some boobs…..she has boobs……..hmmmm…….she wants some flowers delivered to her work…….and I have a phone and a credit card…… I GOT IT!
And so started the evolution of wives telling their husbands that they want a nice dinner at a fancy restaurant, jewelry, and champagne for their birthdays…..and husbands telling their wives that what they want for theirs is a blowjob.
Hey – spare me the whole, ‘that’s not what marriage should be about’, and that makes all women seem like prostitutes – exchanging material things for sex….blah, blah, blah. I’m just stating a fact; it is what it is.
So now, the child is an adult – with children of their own. The husband no longer gives his wife anything for her birthday or any other holiday/special occasion - except for maybe a card. And that is because the wife quit giving the husband blow jobs right about the same time they got back from their honeymoon. Funny how that happens. And it wouldn’t really matter any ways because the husband’s money has to go towards the pony that his 8 year old wants and the wife is too tired from planning the horse-themed birthday party at the local equestrian club to blow her husband. But, again, the expectation is still there. The parent’s expect that the 100 balloons they bought will all manage to fit in the car and get to the venue without a single one popping or flying away. They expect that all 50 people they invited will show up. They expect that their daughter’s braided hair will stay neat for the pictures and that she won’t make a rude comment about the ugly outfit she received from her aunt.
The trilogy is complete.
It is the same with holidays as it is birthdays.
Typically, (as parents tend to have their children within 2-5 years of one another), the children are going through this progression at about the same time, give or take a year or so. If you’re older child no longer believes in Santa Claus – that’s ok, because your youngest is only three years behind him. The older child will only have to suffer through a few more Christmases of getting his picture taken at the mall on Santa’s lap. Heck, the older child might even enjoy waking up Christmas morning to see what Santa left him….and not having to buy into the whole bullshit of flying reindeer.
It is the same with the tooth fairy……and the Easter Bunny.
Which brings me to this last holiday – Easter- and then to the fact that my oldest is almost 11 years older than my youngest.
Now, my oldest probably knows there is no such thing as the Easter Bunny, or Santa or the tooth fairy. I say probably because she has never outright said anything to me about it, but she’s busted me too many times on small details (the other children didn’t notice) that she just has to know. I mean, my god – she’s in fifth grade and shaves her legs! I refuse to believe that this child who told me the other day that they found a condom on the playground at her school does not know that her Easter basket came from Target and not some giant, bow-tie wearing, purple rabbit that poops jellybeans. (That was my son’s description) I can only assume that she doesn’t say anything to me about it because she doesn’t want to hurt my feelings or ruin it for her brothers…….or……and this is the most likely explanation……not have a basket on the porch come Easter morning.
My two sons – 7 and 8 years old – still believe, but are definitely becoming suspicious. They’ve heard rumors. There has been a heated argument on the playground at school regarding a certain jolly, bearded man…..which led to my 7 year old stamping his foot in my kitchen, demanding that I come to his school – at recess – the next day and set the record straight. I think my 8 year old has decided that the probability is that these entities don’t exist, but keeps waiting for his older sister to send some confirmation regarding the matter. He doesn’t ask – she doesn’t tell – and the 7 year old has set his mind to catching Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, so he can make him go to his school – at recess – and set the record straight. And then there’s Moose, who actually watched us assemble his toy train this past Christmas Eve, because at 7 months, he was just as surprised to see it under the tree the next morning as he was that night.
So – back to Easter. Trying to find stuff to put in these children’s easter baskets ranks right up there with trying to find stuff to put in their Christmas stockings. Candy is a no-brainer. And of course, there’s the fake grass and then the fake eggs stuffed with more candy. But then what? I don’t like those pre-made baskets at the store. My kids always ooh and ah over them, but when you actually open them up, there’s not really that much in them and the toys are always cheap and crappy. Besides, my kids (boys especially) have enough cheap crap at home. So, I reasoned that I would give them the candy and fake eggs, and then one thing that I knew they would really like to have. For my daughter, it was a new case for her I-Pod Touch and for the boys it was a new Wii game each of them. I assembled the baskets after they went to bed and I have to say…….they looked so sad and so bare. These baskets, with everything in them, probably cost me around $40.00 each……but still….. they just looked so sad. I felt even worse for Moose. This was his first Easter, so I did get him a small stuffed animal, but I couldn’t really give him a lot of candy. His basket ended up with the stuffed animal, two little plastic toy figures, and two small nerf balls. When my daughter was little, I put her basket on the porch and sprinkled jelly beans all around it, leading down the steps – out into the yard. I put a note from the ‘Easter Bunny’ through the handle on the door. I got up extra early and got the camera ready. It was a major event.
This year, I fell asleep on the couch and didn’t remember to put their baskets together until I got up to pee at 2 o’clock in the morning. Then, I had my husband go put them on the porch. All four of the saddest little Easter baskets I have ever seen. After he was back in bed, I peeked out the front door to see what they looked like. And there they sat – sitting right by the pee-soaked bedding of my daughter’s Guinea Pig that she had forgotten to bring inside the last time she cleaned its cage. And there was my cat’s ass – sticking straight up in the air as he nosed through Moose’s basket; probably trying to decide whether or not to take a dump in the fake grass. I shooed him away. But, then of course I worried about him shitting in the Easter baskets all night.
The next morning, my 7 year old woke the whole house up by saying, “WHAT! I ONLY GOT ONE THING IN MY BASKET! CANDY DOESN’T COUNT!” (We’re still working on getting his ADHD meds right.)
He actually wanted Moose’s Easter basket because it had ‘toys’ in it. So, then I had to take his whole basket away for his ungratefulness. Moose completely ignored his basket and went to go play with the dog’s water bowl instead. My 8 year old piped up and said, “Hey, I know! Since ‘W’ doesn’t want his basket and ‘D’ wanted toys – give him ‘W’s’ basket and then let me have the Wii game out of ‘D’s’ basket!” Well, then the 7 year old started protesting that – apparently he wanted both baskets – and then that led to a fight between the 7 and 8 year old. My husband just went back to bed and I came this close to yelling, “You know what! There is no such thing as a damn Easter Bunny! That’s right; I’m the Easter Bunny and you can bet your cotton-tailed ass that there will be no baskets next year!”
But, of course, things died down and we went to my husband’s parents for the first round of Easter. And wouldn’t you know it – we got all the way there and realized that we forgot the kid’s Easter baskets. My children hunted eggs with Wal-Mart sacks. Well, Moose didn’t really hunt eggs. For one thing, I wouldn’t really let him go out into the yard because there were a lot of stickers (nice when you’re digging through the grass, huh) and he doesn’t really know how to walk in shoes very well yet. I put some eggs on the sidewalk for him. He didn’t even notice the eggs. This baby, who can spot the back to one of my earrings from 20 feet away fails to see a hot pink egg 12 inches in front of his face. I had to pick it up myself and show him how to put it in his Easter..ah, Wal-Mart sack. I led him to the next egg (a real egg) and he picked it up…..and threw it right onto the ground. Of course it cracked and he just thought that was real neat and so that’s what he did. He picked up the eggs and smooshed them right into the sidewalk. Not a single one made it home unscathed.
I told my hubby, “I think he’s a little too young for this.”
But then I glance up and see my older children holding their Easter…ah, Wal-Mart sacks and complaining that they had already found all the eggs and it was too easy and now they are bored. Oh, but guess what cures boredom? Trying to throw your eggs at each other. And my daughter is already back on her I-Pod touch, having already forgotten about her eggs.
I looked at my kids and said, “Are you a little too told for this?”
I might as well have told them that the world was going to end tomorrow; judging by the look of horror crossing my boys’ faces.
Hey – spare me the whole, ‘the problem is that your children are spoiled!’, and that children today do not know the true meaning of Easter……blah, blah, blah. I’m just stating a fact; it is what it is.
And it’s just going to get worse over the next couple of years. Moose is not even a year old yet. He’s got many years of egg hunting ahead….and unfortunately, it looks like my other two boys do as well. And I am going to bet my cotton-tailed ass that even when the older boys do realize who the real Easter Bunny is, as long as my youngest is still getting up bright and early to get his basket off the porch, they will be as well. I can just imagine what I will be putting in their baskets by then. Gas gift card? A semester of college tuition? Who knows?
My 8 year old’s birthday is in April and usually falls right around Easter. I can just see him opening that front door on Easter -the year he turns 21- as he looks to see what the Easter bunny brought him…..and then opening that front door later that night – as he heads out to go see a hooker on a pole.
The expectation will still be there.
Happy Easter everyone! J