Warning: The ME Santa may smell of hops.

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We look forward to winter break for so long, and yet winter break can do a person in. At least this person.   I know, poor me: time off of school, fewer work hours.  WAH!  But seriously, when you have a kid and one day you are consumed with running from important location number one to important location number two while drinking too much coffee and trying to remember to meditate (but not while you’re driving because you want to keep your child alive) because it is actually required in grad school (an obvious attempting to avert any “postal” grad-freak-outs) and trying to make it to a third even more important location before you run out of time to do any Christmas shopping.  It’s too fast.  And the sudden stop, followed by a whole lot of nothing to do can be more than a little disconcerting.  My daughter’s backpack was kicked into her closet not to be opened until January (too bad there was a snack left in it).  My school binders were tossed on the basement floor, only to be kicked into a corner to create space for the Christmas ornaments and other acceptable holiday clutter.  I stopped eating lentils for lunch and began to subsist on Christmas cookies (with the occasional beer to keep things regular).  My daughter followed my healthy example (other than the beer).  If you are curious about evidence of poor eating habits correlating with behavior issues, well let me just say, ask Santa.  The nice list is typically quite short. It fits on a post-it.  Parental types sit around, weaving tales of how a chubby old man can deliver millions of presents on one magical evening so that our children will believe that we are not the providers of the loot beneath the tree.  

Santa is real.

But he doesn’t bring our kids presents.

At least, not the families in my neighborhood.  Unfortunately, most children are on a month-long sugar binge when Christmas arrives, so Santa only needs only to maneuver his plus size booty and his reindeer driven sleigh to about 8 homes.  Those homes are all sugar-free.  Meanwhile, the rest of us heathens overcompensate while simultaneously fearing the mass devastation that might arrive if this day of potential lotto winnings were to miss our own children.  We go to Target.  We support China (who probably hosts the eight homes that are getting Santa’s cool hand-made toys). It’s a vicious cycle, and I must admit I totally and completely love it.  We are encouraged to lie to our children.  What fun!  Strange lesson, but what fun!

Once my own week of whiplash ended, of course, I got sick.  My daughter got sick.  This is one of our longest Christmas traditions.  So, now besides the outrageous amount of sugar and butter we were consuming (I mean outrageous!  I bought butter at Costco) we were adding countless hours of cartoon watching and internet surfing.  My daughter began speaking like that girl in the Exorcist. Well, she didn’t drop the F-bomb, but still, I was becoming ever more convinced that somehow she was possessed by a demon.  And yet, of course Santa still came. Not the real Santa.  He was still busy with his 8 homes in China.  The ME Santa.

The ME Santa is a serious sucker.

Christmas morning inevitably arrived.  My husband and I both heard the seven-year old demon child wake and go to the bathroom.  Partially out of fear for our lives and partially out of excitement that the ME Santa had arrived, we snuck into the living room to witness our daughter’s face when she saw the presents under the tree.  It was 5:15 a.m.  We heard her stumble back into her room.

An odd and mysterious silence overtook our home.

My husband and I looked at each other.  “Seriously?  She went back to sleep?  No.  No way.”

My husband opened her bedroom door and softly called her name.

Nothing.

Christmas morning, 5:15 a.m. and the parents are awake. And the child is asleep.  He looked at me and rolled his eyes, trying to quietly close her door.  As the latch clicked, she screamed.  Hello Christmas, welcome to our home.  It was not a scream of joy.  It was a scream of sheer terror. Linda Blair would have been proud.

Once we calmed her down and assured her that it was just her dumb ass parents waking her up, she got excited.   Presents, breakfast, coffee, more presents, more sugar, and the whole event was finished by 7:30 a.m.

ME Santa was in need of a nap, but instead went sledding.  I bet the real Santa was busy getting a pedicure by this point, instead of faking Christmas energy.  Like I said:  ME Santa = SUCKER.  

Even if it was exhausting, it was a day filled with magic.  I know my daughter learned about the true meaning of Christmas because when we tucked her in last night (mid argument) she said, “You guys think I’m crappy.  You tell me in the morning I’m crappy.  You told me on Christmas I was crappy.”  My husband and I looked at each other quizzically, wondering if the demons had finally departed, leaving our child’s soul in a confused state of crappiness.

“Um.  Honey.  You may have heard us use that word recently (after all, it had been Christmas break.  That was the least toxic of the bad words she probably learned), but it is not a word for seven-year olds.  You can’t say ‘crappy.'”

She looked at me like I had just shot her dog.  Her face wrinkled up like she’d consumed a large glass of rancid milk and she emitted a cry that I thought was only possible from two-year old children lit on fire by their siblings.

“AAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!  I meant CRABBY.  I make mistakes sometimes, you know?  AAAAAAAWWWWAAAAAHHHH!

That was a look away and try not to laugh moment.  And a good representation of our Christmas break.

I could already predict the conversation on her first day back to school.  “Hey kiddo?  What’d you do over break?”

“I learned that crappy and crabby are sometimes interchangeable and when done so create surprising comic results.  Oh.  And that Santa will always bring you stuff.  Even if you’re crappy.

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