Christmas Eve Dramas

January 1, 2008

I won’t say that Random Granddaughter’s dinner drama ruined eve of Christmas Eve dinner, but it did put a bit of a damper on the occasion.

The next morning she woke up ebullient and full of enthusiasm. It is remarkable what a night’s sleep will do to recharge the batteries of a three-year-old child. It’s not quite as potent a refresher for a 63-year-old not very grown up, but it helps some.

For breakfast, Grandma served waffles and sausages. She provided a topping made from fresh cranberries for the waffles. RG found the breakfast more to her liking and ate some of everything provided cheerfully enough.

I think it’s reasonable to describe RG as a drama queen. It’s probably appropriate for a three-year-old (of either sex) to be a drama queen, and food is a good theme for great dramatic scenes for young children (and not-so-young children of all ages) as my readers’ comments illustrate.

After breakfast, we went for a walk. RG went happily running ahead of everybody along the private gravel road until she tripped and fell on her face in the gravel. Fortunately her good looks were not seriously damaged, but she did have an opportunity to howl for a while.

It is my family’s habit not to exchange gifts at Christmas, but we are not obsessive about the policy. Although not wrapped or presented as a gift, the barn with the little animals was sort of a Christmas present for Random Granddaughter.

Before they headed home, RG provided some small presents (wrapped and provided by mommies) to Grandma and Grandpa. One of the mommies mentioned there were Christmas gifts for RG under the Christmas tree at home. It became apparent that RG was expecting to open the Christmas presents on Christmas night. She was not happy when informed she would not get to open them until the next morning (Christmas morning).

“I can’t wait,” RG lamented. A mommy told her that waiting made the gift more exciting, and explanation RG greeted with an expression I would describe as More insane stuff adults tell me with a straight face.

RG has not really learned yet to be acquisitive about material items, so I interpreted her frustration as wanting to have the excitement of opening packages rather than the excitement of adding something to her collection of material items.

[When I stopped by her house a few days after Christmas I learned this interpretation is probably true. RG’s favorite presents this year were some Dr. Seuss books provided by another grandma. She also got some new boots from yet another relative that Mommy thought were very fine but did not provoke much excitement on RG’s part. “They were brown,” said Mommy. “If they had been ‘hot pink,’ it would have been another matter.” That perhaps indicates RG is on the right track for her future as a teenager. In any case, Mommy did agree that opening packages was the main source of excitement for Christmas morning.]

Grandma Random is always worried that RG will be bored when she comes to visit us. It occurs to me that on each visit we should provide a brightly colored package for her to open. The package would be empty, of course, but I could provide her with homilies about the destination being more important than the journey, for example.

For a while, I used a little laser light as a toy to amuse Sylvie, my daughter’s little cat. Sylvie would chase the laser light frantically for a minute or so, and try to capture the little red beam with her paw, and then a little light bulb would go on in her head, and she would say to herself in cat language, There’s no there, there, and she would stop chasing the laser light.

I imagine Sylvie and RG could have a pertinent discussion about Grandpa and his crazy ideas about ways to amuse them.

14 Responses to “Christmas Eve Dramas”

  1. mommy Says:

    Odd. Our cat, Bruce, received one of those laser lights for Christmas and has not yet figured out that there is nothing there. You must have a very intelligent kitty.

  2. modestypress Says:

    Sylvie is a very intelligent kitty. For example, the entire family willingly serves her as slaves, with no more pay than a frequent purr.

    She does forget that the laser beam can’t be caught, but usually remembers in a minute or two. On the other hand, I forget things my wife tells me for days, though she frequently reminds me. So Sylvie is obviously much more intelligent than I am.

  3. Vicky Says:

    Intelligence is not involved as much with you, Random as is the “selective hearing” thing common to most males in long-term relationships.

  4. modestypress Says:

    Cats and males both tend to hear what they want to hear and not hear what they don’t want to hear.

    In cats, this characteristic is considered cute. (Those people who don’t consider it cute probably choose dogs instead of cats as animal companions.)

    It seems quite likely to me that men and women are not really members of the same species, even though they can breed offspring. Such incompatibility may account for a lot of confusion in our current lives and has disturbing implications for the long term.

    At this time parthenogenesis is not a practical option for reproduction. But given the proven foolishness of humans and their demonstrated urge to try every lame brain idea that pops into their heads, sooner or later a person will not be able to resist the temptation to make it work. It will probably be a man, also.

    How dumb can we get? Don’t answer.

  5. mommy Says:

    I think that both my cat and my hubby are cute even though both have about the same hearing ability. Of my hubby, I’ve always said that it “adds to the charm.”

    Cat-wise, we’ve been very impressed with Bruce lately. He is a new daddy of six adorable Siamese kittens born three and a half weeks ago. We had him neutered the next week so it was safe for him to be around the mom and he’s a really cool dad. He hangs out with the “family” and plays with them and licks their butts and all kinds of appropriate kitty things. We didn’t realize that cats would do this.

  6. Pauline Says:

    I have no experience with 3-year-old girls, but with 3-year-old boys it seems that the box is quite enough excitement without either the gift or the brightly colored wrapping paper. It is especially good if the box is large enough that said 3-year-old boy can get inside it, and even better if the box can be closed with him inside so that no one can see him.

    I once went to pick up my son from the babysitter and he was nowhere in sight. There was, however, a large box in the room that was a little noisier than cardboard boxes usually tend to be. He was supposed to wait quietly until I came into the room and then pop up and surprise me. But at 3, waiting more than thirty seconds is a very very long time and he was impatient to jump out and surprise me. So I did my best to pretend to be surprised, and for the next several months he was on the lookout for any box big enough to let him repeat the trick.

  7. elissakaren Says:

    It’s funny — my daughter Charlotte is at the age when, often, the packaging of a gift literally is more enticing to her than the contents. My husband and I joked that we should stop buying her toys when what she wants is to open and close the box, put things into it and take them out again, and rip the wrapping paper into confetti.

  8. Better yet, wrap a large, empty box. Nothing is more fun for a child than a large cardboard box.

  9. modestypress Says:

    When my daughter was about three, my wife and I introduced her to Hide and Seek. Finding Mom and Dad as they hid in the closet went pretty smoothly. However, when she hid in the closet, she heard her dumb parents wandering around talking about, “Where’s RD? I can’t find her anywhere?”

    She became quite perturbed that her clueless parents might never find her, and it only took a few seconds to hear a high-pitched voice emerging from the closet, “Here I am! Here I am!”

  10. modestypress Says:

    One of my daughter’s first two cats, Tommy, loved to hunt in the bottom of empty paper grocery sacks. I would leave it open on its side on the floor. Tommy would cautiously creep into the bag, sniffing carefully. After a few seconds, he would disappear entirely into the bag. Soon there would be heavy thumping and thrashing in the bottom of the bag. After a few seconds, Tommy would emerge, obviously having defeated some dangerous and difficult varmint that had been hiding in the bag.

  11. janie Says:

    We have dogs instead of cats, because I am allergic to cats. One of our dogs, a cockapoo rescue, seems to have some cat characteristics. He chases lights, whereas our other dog looks at him like “you idiot!” when he does it. He also crawls into bags and slays imaginary foes, and has a selective hearing problem which greatly resembles my husband’s. It may simply be due to inadequate training.

  12. janie Says:

    Oh, yes, I was going to mention that my almost-four-year-old granddaughter is also a drama queen. I recently broke the news to her mother that generally this is not outgrown and wished her the best when she turns 12 or 13.

  13. Children and cats have in common a great love of packaging. They can both play with boxes, bags, and ribbons for hours.

    Even as an adult, I love to unwrap things. I don’t really care what the gift turns out to be. Observers have remarked that I unwrap gifts in much the same way that I eat dessert … very slowly and meticulously, with an obvious desire to prolong the experience. My mother, knowing this about me, has occasionally given me small gifts wrapped in several larger boxes, so I have to really work at it to get to the actual item.

  14. pandemonic Says:

    Grandpa is a genius! One of these days, RG will see that and smile.

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