It's Clouds Illusions I Recall

Children hate Santa. It's true.

Never once has a child under four sat in his lap of their own volition. Never has a child over the age of 8 sat in his lap and been completely sold on the idea. Santa has a very small margin for error in his job.

Children like Santa the way Tiger Woods likes being theory. The idea is nice, but the practical application is just creepy. He smells like dusty beer and cheese and dirty diapers. He takes your order and then makes you wait forever to bring it to you. Santa is the all-night-breakfast diner in the skanky part of town with the 5 hour wait for stale pancakes that you, and every other under-dressed drunk person in your metropolitan area, only go to after 17 shots of Jager at some club you're entirely too old to be at anyway.

I took my kids to that diner last night.

I had to carefully negotiate this event with my oldest. He doesn't want to believe, but after the events of last year, he's pretty sure he has some solidly empirical proof. I had to show him every picture we've ever had with Santa, the ones I keep all in one frame, and point out that he is the only child in all 11 pictures. I had to puppy-dog eye him and remind him that this is the only picture I get every year with all of my babies, and that I realize he knows it isn't the real Santa, but a big fat weird elf, like Buddy only not as awesome, but maybe he could just do me this one solid and I'd make sure the real Santa heard about his kindness and charitable actions towards his mother?

I also reminded him that his sister finally gets it, and it's our job as a family to keep this going. To make her believe that the guy in his brother's school right now is the real Santa, so that she can have the magic he and his brother had when they were her age.

Pulling the 'magic of childhood' card on that kid works Every. Fucking. Time. He even smiled for the picture. Kind of.

My 9 year old was ALL ABOUT IT, because he is ALL ABOUT EVERYTHING ALL OF THE GODDAMN TIME. Except homework. Fuck homework. He, of course, spent the better part of the evening repeatedly asking me if I believed in Santa, hoping to trip me up and get me to admit the truth. I know he knows. I also know that he's entirely too smart to ever admit that he knows. I'm a cheap bastard, and he wants a iPod touch someday. He knows it's Santa or bust around here.

He actually said to me, "I'm asking for DJ Hero and an iPod touch, and if I don't get them, I'll know that Santa isn't real." I guess I have 14 more days of him believing, then, because there's no way in hell. NO WAY.

3of3 immediately shit rainbows and glitter when I told her Santa was at her brother's school. "Santa is my fayborite! He's my bestest fwiend in da whole woiald!" (That's world. She's an 80 year old jewish woman from Brooklyn.) She even let me brush her hair before we left.

We stood in line for 18 hours, and we weren't even drunk so it wasn't any fun. She kept peeking around the corner, "Dayr he is, momma! Dayr's Santa!" We practiced talking to him. "What do you say to Santa first?", I asked them. "Hi Santa, how was your day?" they all replied. "And what are you asking him for?" "Dora skates and flagnard!" "What about that pink DS you've wanted? You can ask for that, too, you know." "No, I only ask for one fing, momma. I ask for DORA SKATES AND FLAGNARD." So, she can't count, enunciate or negotiate. Good thing she's got looks to ride through life on.

Also, what the fuck is flagnard? Anyone?

We watched bazillions of babies sit on his lap and cry. We giggle at the silliness of them all. And then it was her turn. Oh, how fickle the heart of a young girl can be.

She clawed my eyeballs out when I tried to sit her on his lap. She hyperventilated when I walked away. She buried her face into her brother's shoulder and refused to smile for a picture. I made a complete ass of myself and embarrassed the shit out of her, so in a few days, I'll be getting my $7 5X7 stale pancake with one very eager face smiling back at me and two faces full of abject humiliation and disgust at their fool of a mother and the fact that she made them do this ridiculous shit.

But Santa gave her a candy cane, so they were all good by the end. She even told him what she wanted. He looked at me and said, "Flagnard?" and I shrugged. He said, "iPod?" and I said, "You can expect a call from his father telling you he can't have one of those until he's gainfully employed." And then we hugged him goodbye, even the 11 year old whom Santa managed to get, not just a smile but a full on belly laugh out of, and there's your Christmas magic, folks, and with that we were off.

I tucked her into bed later and she said, "Momma, I can't wike Santa" and I asked her why. She said, "Dat's not the weawl Santa, mawwwm" and I asked her how she knew. She said, "He has cwouds all over his face." I tried to explain what a beard is, that daddy has a little brown one and Santa has a big white one, but she said no. "No, momma, day were cwouds, and I don't wike cwouds on faces."

And I don't like trying to figure out what Flagnard is, so I guess we're even.

Commercialism At Its Hot-Glueiest

First, and most importantly, MY KIDS ARE ON THE #@*!'ING STAR WARS BLOG.Why? Because they did a review of the new Klutz How To Draw Clone Wars book. And, apparently, Star Wars approved.

The boys are giving away five copies of that book at their site. It's actually pretty cool, and would make a pretty great Christmas present.

And I'm giving away three artsy little cooking/crafting books called Paper Craft Gourmet at my review blog. That I was supposed to review last year. I am awesome.

If You Can Dream It, Your Daddy Is Probably Pretty Pissed At Me

There are some things in our family's lives that are just their father's job.

I don't mean that in the patriarchal, old school, "man job" sort of way, though I believe with all my heart that killing spiders and taking out the trash are never, should never be, and will never be a woman's job. I am the one who has explained to my kids everything and anything Wienerschnitzel-related. I told them where babies come from. I laid out, with great detail and clarity, the Household Masturbatory Rules.

I can just imagine how it will go down when he finally has to have some sort of sex talk with these kids, which I am guessing will come on their wedding night. Because that'll be timely. "Now, son, I just want to make sure you know to always play 19 holes of golf." And they'll say, "Huh?" and look at him like they look at me all day, every day like he's fucking nuts, and he'll explain himself. "It's crucial that you save your A Game *wink wink nudge nudge* and only whip it out after you go play golf. And then, bring it. Go all out. Be thoughtful, be sweet, be gentle, take your time and go for the Oscar. Do that every single time you go play. If you remember this one little thing, you'll have a wife who thinks you're so relaxed and appreciative of her understanding your need for alone time on the course, and manly, that she'll let, she'll make you go play golf All. The. Time. And they'll say, "Dad, does it really work? Could it be that simple?" and he'll say, "Where the hell do you think all you kids came from?" and then they'll throw up and wished they'd just come talk to me instead, even if I am hovering over them making sure they're properly hydrated and have on clean underwear.

I hover. It's a character flaw.

I wrap the sports injuries. I wrap the injuries that their father thinks are just bumps they need to shake off, and I wrap them in that adhesive sports tape that they use on the stupid UFC my husband makes me watch all the time and Ace bandages, and then they sit around the dining room table mocking me for my gross inability to wrap a child's wrist and not leave him looking like he has three gimpy hook-fingers.

Now, their father wraps the sports injuries. He made his bed; I hope it's comfy.

He does this sometimes. Either he doesn't realize how good he's got it, or he's just keen on making his life harder. He creates these games with the kids, like Wrestle-Mania or The Claw, that there is no way in fucking hell I am going to play with them when he's gone. When he gets home and wants to drink beer and watch gay porn UFC, he's instead stuck letting 3 short people wage global-thermo-nuclear-war all over his butt while doing his best imitation of Steve Erwin. Before he died. Not much of an amusement, imitating him now.

I am also the one who puts them to bed, every single night, except the occasional rare night when I make him do it he takes over for me, like the night when he decided to walk our daughter through the process of dreaming. They laid in her bed when she couldn't sleep and he talked to her about what she wanted to dream. Together, they created a fantastical story with fairies and Pokemons and chicken nuggets, or something. And then she wanted me to do it with her the next night.

I fancy myself I creative person, but I have the imagination of a doormat. I can tell you what happened to me, but dear god, don't ask me to write fiction. I can mimic anything drawn in front of me, but there's no way I could just paint a picture off the top of my head. The one children's book I ever wrote, the one that would have made me a small fortune and had us sitting in the fable's cat-bird's seat for life had I not written it when I had a one year old who liked to chew on things, especially paper was all about geometrically shaped monsters. It was creative, yes, but not imaginative.

I can't make up bedtime stories. So when she lays all snug and cute in her bed and asks me about Chuck E Cheese, and I tell her, and then she asks me to dream it to her, well, that just means that daddy is missing the last quarter of the football game and momma gets to go take a bubble bath. Which is way more effective a way to get to tee off on that 19th green*, for the record.

*Also for the record: It's not actually green. Metaphor, people.

Counting Down

Last year, I figured out what the hell an Advent calendar is. I'm a little slow on the uptake.

This will be the 11th Christmas I've ever celebrated. I still can't, with any clarity, explain precisely what the role of the Easter bunny is in April, let alone grasp all of these weird little Yuletide nuances. In fact, I am fairly certain that, 11 years ago, Advent calendars did not exist at all, and that you, the Western world at large, are simply trying to fuck with me on as many levels as possible over the holidays.

That's nice. Pick on the poor white trash cult-member kid every December. Stay classy, Western world.

Thanks to the Lord Almighty Twitter, the whole Advent Calendar thing clicked in my thick head last year and I decided that my children would be Scarred For Life if they did not have them. So I set out to procure for ourselves three lovely Advent calendars, a week into December.

My Christmas tree is full to the brim with little homemade ornaments all made out of clay or popsicle sticks, that all say, "Josh" and "197-something" on them. His mother kept everything, and we hang that everything on our tree every year. I came into this marriage with a dildo my dad gave me for my 18th birthday and one Cheshire Cat ornament that I didn't even know was an ornament until somewhere around 2002. His mother, thankfully, has been catching me up by buying me, and all of us, a new ornament every single year, and more thankfully not one single instrument of penetration, but it's not the same as having something old and handmade from your momma when it's your turn to get drunk and breed in the backseat of a Nissan start a family. I wanted, want, my kids to have something that I lovingly slaved over for months and months, beside, um, their bodies, to pass down to their kids someday. To remember me by when I'm blowing off their family Christmas to drink drinks out of coconut shells on exotic islands with their father, because I'll be damned if I'm not reclaiming our 20s in our 60's, dammit. DAMMIT.

And so I turned to the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom in the universe today, Twitter, and not only found out what exactly the fuck an Advent calendar was, but (thanks to my friend pgoodness) how to make one. Myself. All crafty-like and good-motherly-ish.

And that I did. It took me weeks and all of my neighbor's scrapbooking tools. I cut and measured and color-coordinated and spent more money than I'll ever tell my husband, and they came together beautifully. And now I have two calenders that are both 98.26% done, and one that isn't started yet, but everything is cut out and ready to go....

These I Made

...and these, too.

These I Bought

Because there is a Target right up the street and I am significantly more Fartsy than Artsy at the end of the day. And, apparently, the one and only thing I can start and see through until the very end involves that ill-begotten dildo.