The Vindictiveness of Preschoolers

When you have young children, you have stories – lots of stories. You have stories that most people wouldn’t believe unless they, too, have had small children. You think you’ll never forget these incidents when they happen. Then a year goes by, maybe two, and suddenly you’re struggling to remember even the most basic details. So, I’m choosing to write down what I can before I forget entirely.

Like this gem:

G was three years old (he’s now seven). It was late at night and we were two water breaks, four stories, and a whole lot of my patience into bedtime. When he came downstairs for the hundredth time, I was just settling in to watch some TV.

“Are you going to make popcorn tonight?” he asked hopefully.

I glanced over at the pot on the stove – filled with hot oil, waiting for my nightly batch of kernels – and then back to my preschooler. Sleep was close; I couldn’t risk undoing hours of bedtime work with an affirmative answer.

“No,” I lied. “Back upstairs.”

“Okay,” he said. “Just don’t make popcorn without me.”

“Sure. I won’t.”

It was a white lie. No sooner had I tucked him back into bed than I had kernels popping on the stove. G was asleep and I was safe to enjoy my habitual popcorn and TV nightcap. He would be none the wiser and I could make him his own popcorn the next day. Win-win, I thought.

Unfortunately, I left the empty bowl with a few tattling kernels on the coffee table. Also unfortunately, G awoke before me the next morning. When I came downstairs, he was curled up on the couch watching the latest episode of Thomas the Train. (Yes, he knew how to turn the television on and navigate the On-Demand section. We teach important life skills early around here.)

“Morning, baby,” I said. Seeing the evidence, I went quickly to the bowl, hoping to remove it before he noticed what had been in it.

I picked it up and immediately put in back down again. There was some watery liquid in the bottom.

“What happ — did you pour water in here?”

“No.” He didn’t look up from Thomas. “I peed in there.”

I stared, flabbergasted, at my very potty trained child who had never peed anywhere other than a diaper or a toilet.

“You PEED in the BOWL?” I could barely get the words out.

“Yes,” he nodded, eyes never leaving the screen.

I took the bowl over to the sink. As I scrubbed it under the hottest, soapiest water imaginable, I realized the thumb-sucking three-year old had just given me a very deliberate f-you.

And I never lied about making popcorn again.

Boston for the Summer!

The Ex, G, and I are off to Boston for the summer! SittingAround has been selected as a finalist in the MassChallenge Accelerator program, which means we’ll be hanging out working from the Boston waterfront all summer long. I’m thrilled! Since we leave tonight and our house is still not packed (oops), I’m keeping this short.

In the spirit of this summer’s adventure, here’s another Alec Baldwin / John Krasinski gem. You’re welcome.

Merry Christmas

I’m Jewish, so it kinda goes without saying, but this time of year was always really anti-climatic for me growing up. I’d experience all the build up of the season (the lights! the food!) and then…. nothing. Hanukkah is alright, but there are only so many potato latkes you can eat to try and fill the gaping void of Christmas.Christmas Tree

And if you think there is nothing worse than being a Jew on Christmas, try being a Jew on Christmas who dislikes both movies and Chinese food. I know, right?! I fancied myself quite the Scrooge.

But now that I have a half-Christian son, I am full-on embracing the holiday. Minus the Jesus part, of course.

Every year since G was born, I’ve gotten a big Christmas tree – one that looks remarkably out of place in my small living room. This time, I swore I was going to go smaller. I didn’t. I went bigger. (See picture to the right.)

I bake Christmas cookies (for G), make a huge, delicious Christmas meal (also for G. and not ham, of course), and play Christmas music constantly (again. totally for G). But here’s the one part of the holiday I don’t get – the presents.

I mean, if you’re a kid, sure. I get it. But adults giving each other gifts on a certain day just seems f-ing bizarre to me. I have a job, I have money; if I want something, I can get it myself. And if I haven’t gotten it for myself, I probably didn’t think it was worth spending the money on. So why would you?

Also, because you’re usually required to give gifts reciprocally, don’t the gifts cancel each other out? If I buy you a $100 sweater and you buy me a $100 pair of shoes, didn’t we both just spend $100 to give each other crap we don’t need?

Today I took G to the mall to get a present for the Ex. Yes, I took him to the mall (and I hate malls) on the last weekend day before Christmas (and I also hate large groups of people). Everywhere, we were surrounded by people buying, buying, buying. Just so that they’d have stuff to give someone who was giving them stuff. The environmentalist in me thought of the waste. The cheapskate in me thought of the expense. And all of me shuddered that I. WAS. ONE. OF. THEM.

We escaped the mall mostly in tact, saying nothing about the damage I had done to both my wallet and my sense of self. But we had successfully snagged a gift for the Ex. A gift that, while overpriced and mostly unnecessary, I think he’ll really like.

Merry Christmas, to all those celebrating!

Put on Your Yarmulke – It’s Time for Hanukkah!

Reference? Why, it’s the Adam Sandler Chanukah Song, of course! And that means it’s time for the Festival of Lights! Or, as my Ex calls it, “The holiday where Jews increase the risk of burning their houses down by 700%.”

hanukkah menorah

Today is the second day of Hanukkah (or Chanukkah, if you’re so inclined). My self-imposed mission? Show my half-Jewish / half-Christian son that Judaism is AWESOME. This is no simple task. First, he has a culturally Jewish but spiritually agnostic mother (i.e. me) whose daily life involves very little in the way of religious activity. Second, he attends a Christian preschool and receives twice weekly instruction in the teachings of a certain carpenter. (You know who I’m talking about.)

I want my son to be proud to be Jewish, so I am launching a pro-Hanukkah campaign. Sure, it’s technically a minor holiday as far as Jewish holidays go, but with Christmas on its heels, I cannot allow Hanukkah to disappoint. That is why, for last night’s present, my son received the oft-discussed and HIGHLY coveted Thomas and Friends “Misty Island Train Set.” Oh yeah, baby. I’d like to see Santa top that. (He won’t, of course, since I plan to have a very serious talk with the Ex and set strict guidelines around what Santa may or may not give our child.)

Each night, G and I are lighting the Hanukkah candles and saying the blessing over them. I picked up a menorah from Target for this activity; actually, I picked up the only menorah from Target for this activity. After passing through an entire quarter of the store dedicated to Christmas, I reached the sad, sole aisle at the back corner of the store where the Hanukkah accoutrement lay, picked over and abandoned. I found the only menorah in the store and brought it home for us to use. I also made a mental note to send an angry letter to the store manager over the anti-Semitic message sent by the placement and disarray of the Hanukkah supplies.

Tonight I will be making potato latkes (aka the most delicious holiday food imaginable). potato latkes The mere mention of those delectable fried treats had G smacking his lips this morning. I’ll put that as another win in the Hanukkah column, assuming we don’t have a repeat of Latkegate 2008. Without getting into details, let’s just say it involved a pound of potato peels and a very expensive plumbing bill.

Finally, there are the songs. Trying to sing “Dreidel, Dreidel” from memory proved unsuccessful and “Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah,” is kind of a downer. A quick appraisal of the situation reveals Adam Sandler’s Chanukah Song to be the best holiday song out there. And so that is what we will be singing. For those of you who somehow are not familiar with The Chanukah Song – or if you just want to enjoy it again – take a look at the video below.

To all those celebrating, “Have a happy, happy, happy, happy Chanukah!”