"Temporality is part of the truth" -- Chuck Klosterman

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Christmas Tree and Other Irritations

So, mostly I just gush about the boy all the time around here.

But I'm noticing our Christmas tree over in the corner and it's looking sad. In the past, dozens of different kinds of ornaments have adorned its branches. We don't follow any certain style; over the years, we've collected a variety of flavors. Some fancy crystal, some homemade felt. Some green and red balls, some tourist souvenirs. But place them all overlapping the festive blinking lights, fill the room with more eclectic tastes of the season, and the tree appears downright elegant.

Here's what it looks like this year:
That looks even worse than in real life. Here. It looks slightly better with the lights on, but you can't really tell how the ornaments are distributed. It's just such a mess, I'm embarrassed to even post these pictures.

Any guesses why it looks this way?

Generally, Xander's pretty great. But the fact that he's turned our Christmas tree into this mockery of a Christmas tree is distressing. I understand I shouldn't expect much else. He's a precocious toddler with nothing else to do but run amok throughout the house. But he's broken at least four of the ornaments and I've punctured my foot on an ornament hook when he generously distributed a bunch around the floor. It hurt.

So I'm in a mood to discuss a few other annoying aspects of the toddler and his ways.

I wear glasses. Always have. My wife, too. If you're blessed with infallible eyes, I won't be able to explain in words the importance of fitting a pair of spectacles so well that you forget they're on your face. Seriously, when that child doesn't want to be held and he reaches up to grab your glasses when he knows how much it infuriates you...I can't even end that sentence. But once he has the temple in his little vice grip, you can't just move your head or he'll snap the little plastic piece in two. You can't reach up to stop him; your hands are full and busy holding on to his wiggles and squirms. He knows very well he has the advantage. You just have to let it happen. He takes the glasses off your head, and depending on his own level of frustration, might send them flying across the room or restaurant or holds them away from you, smiling broadly, a game of keep away at full tilt.

This happened to me once.
But it was a soccer ball, not a toddler's foot.
The whole issue is aggravated when he accidentally smacks his face or foot or something else into your glasses. Right there on the corner of the frame where the joints are so precariously fitted, so perfectly formed that the glasses stay comfortably on your nose without slipping, without pinching your ears. And when you collect them and put them back on, the chances of them being slightly askew, which means infinitely maddening, are so high that you almost just want to throw them in the trash and start over at America's Best in the morning. Of course, how would you get there if you couldn't see?

And you already know my feelings about the detritus that gathers on our hardwood floors. As the boy gets older and has graduated from a high chair to a booster seat at the kitchen table, the detritus has only gotten worse. He's still strapped down because if he weren't he would hardly eat anything before slipping under the table and running away with a curt "bye-bye" and a wave. So when he's through eating what's on his plate, he simply grabs it and dumps the remaining contents on the floor. It happens so quickly, no amount of watchful hovering can stop it. There is no defense. The food ends up on the floor, and whatever is left on the table is then brushed off with his hands, quick like a bunny, because he's anything if not courteous enough to clear his entire place from the dinner table.

He knows how to say "I'm done," or at least "Down." But he doesn't. Then he runs off and leaves the sweeping to Daddy.

The last item on my list today is the "No" as first response. Throughout the day, your questions might go something like this:

"Xander, do you want some cookies for dinner?" "No."

"Is it time to play with your trains?" "No."

"Do you want to wear your monster jammies or your monkey jammies?" "No."

Xander also does a smashing "Ka-Chow!"
And then all you can do is giggle.
"How about some Cars 2 tonight?" "No...Yes, my daddy." He says "My daddy" and "My mommy." Like, I say, "Say thank you, Xander," and he says, "Denk oo, my daddy." It's pretty freakin cute.

But I digress. What was I saying?


  1. My wife made the bold decision that we weren't putting up the tree this year. I asked her if we were converting to Judaism. I never got a straight answer.

    And I knew, I KNEW, as soon as I saw that first picture of the tree, I thought, "Eh, they're keeping the ornaments out of the reach of someone's little hands." Yeah, I know what the score is.

    1. Also, with that "my daddy", somehow I'm imagining it like the way Darth Vader says "Yes, my master", but I'm assuming it's not quite like that.

    2. Any menorahs in the window? That might give you a clue.

      And yeah, it's not quite Darth Vader breathy, "My daddy." It's more like Roger Rabbit.

  2. Luckily the cute things they do offset the maddening things and keep you from strangling the little buggers with your bare hands.

    I think it's an evolutionary defense mechanism.

  3. Why are all the ornaments at the top? Spread them out!

    When my children were babies, I had to stop wearing necklaces for a couple of years. I wear glasses for distance, and bought Flexons to prevent them from breaking. My son is 14 and daughter is 10, and they've survived!

    Happy New Year!

  4. Awe...parenthood. Daughter number 2-who is now 23- used to behave just like that.

    Hugs and chocolate,

  5. Your blog is an excellent form of birth-control, sir. Sometimes I lament that I didn't have kids, then I read your blog and realize the disintegration of one's soul into something far more depressing and sinister, as if to be broken-down like a Marine boot-camp with no hope of reprieve. Honestly, it reminds me of stories of Vietnam vets I've encountered, how the torturer is eventually actually -beloved- by the prisoner instead of abhorred as a fine example of the Milgram Experiment of the 1950s. Still, parents are blind to it and feel it's their societal duty to have kids despite a population of 8 billion souls on the Earth. Enjoy your fate. Still, I hope your kid knows greatness due to your diligent sacrifice. I hope he becomes president or better, because you're doin' a good job. To each our own fates, friend. Cheers.