Post-Wrapping Roundup

I learned a couple of interesting things this Christmas and share them with you in the spirit of … well, sharing:

  • An eleven year old boy’s wavering belief in Santa will be extended by at least one year if Santa brings him something his mother has vowed, many times, on her grave, to never, ever let come into her house. Despite much wailing and gnashing of young teeth, it has — until this Christmas — been a nintendo (ds lite in this case) free zone in our house. (Why, you ask?  Because I hate the way perfectly normal children look hunched over the damned thing, the way they can’t hear  me say, it’s time for dinner and because  I feared, for a while anyway, they might not ever discover how great reading is if they spent all their time hunched over the game thing.)  So, knowing what a hardass their mother is on this subject, my boys are now utterly certain Santa exists, because I would never allow any real human being to put something like that in their stockings, much less do it myself.  Man, do they love this gift.  As for me — who am I to argue with the man in the red suit, who knows that children, like adults, could use a little escape via super mario kart, which doesn’t, as far as I can see, involve killing a thing and does not keep them from dinner, as long as dinner is something yummy, which is what it should be anyway.
  • My 76 year old mother loves the nintendo.  In particular, she was quite proud of the fact that her brain age is way, way younger than mine.  Too proud, I’d say, if I wasn’t trying to forget that my brain age is about 136.  She’s thinner than I am too. (We need not go into the issues around that, not this time of year anyway.) She also kicked my butt at quiddler, a word card game I loved until I lost. (Actually, she beat me by a mere three points, although listening to her you’d think it was three thousand.)
  • My mother is way, way bossier than I am (which my children found very amusing and sort of stunning at the same time). She also has a killer instinct when it comes to games. But I still loved having her for the week. She really keeps things in line and she never forgot to administer the antibiotics that boy number three needed to take to get rid of a sinus infection. Plus, she’s fundamentally easy going (except when there are cards or a stylus in her hand), having seen it all in her time. And she loves my boys, and is nice to my husband.  She’s never even tried to boss him around.
  • Book stacks? Huge hit. In particular, when nintendo playing got old, the bookstacks were right there, and actually dipped into by children who were tired of going round and round the track with mario.
  • Those little stylus things? Very easy to lose. Good thing Santa gave us, like, sixty million extras.

Hope it was a great holiday for all of you.


16 thoughts on “Post-Wrapping Roundup

  1. Dear Bloglily – what a great post-Christmas post. Whenever my mother comes, I think my son thinks she’s me but perfected. How wonderful to be able to draft in someone bossier! I love that fighting spirit she shows in the game, too. And wise decision on the nintendo – not only does Santa live, but there’s less forbidden fruit to be lusted after as well. The books will look even better when interspersed with endless mario circuits!

  2. I’m glad to see you succumbed to something your boys had to have but were forbidden to have for years. Giving in gradually is not so bad. All resistance to children’s requests goes eventually, and then they get their first car.

    I should have sent this before Christmas since it offers advice on what gifts to get kids.

    My mother was a HA also in most respects but couldn’t resist giving presents that people liked and wanted. She was deprived as a kid and treasured ribbon and pretty wrapping paper that she kept in a drawer forever and got out occasionally with her sister to fantasize with when they weren’t otherwise working, cooking and cleaning on their father’s farm with the rest of the ten children and an iron-boned, sweet, generous mother.
    This is the handed-down advice. My mother had the rule of four for Christmas presents–Something to wear, something to eat (that would be candy), something to read (she was a teacher), and a game (she was a merciless bridge player. She would have been merciless at Scrabble, but wasn’t good at the strategy.) Everyone got these four things except my dad who got four things to wear, two of which were always a shirt and a tie. I think the other two things were white T shirts. He was a stoic and already had everything he needed in his small desk and larger workbench. Some people know what they need, don’t ask for anything, and think Christmas is a waste of money. He was that.
    My dad’s gift rules were definitely utilitarian– a hardware tool (like a multi-purpose wrench), a drafting instrument (like a protractor), and two things to either wear or read which my mother got for him to give to us boys. Sound somewhat familiar yet? Maybe not. Every family is different. Sounds like you did a very good job gifting to everyone and preserving Santa’s credibility.

  3. Courtney, What a very kind thing to say! Thank you. I hope yours was lovely also.

    Hello litlove, Yes on the forbidden fruit thing!

    My dear Smokey, That is a wonderful rule, the rule of four: something to wear, to eat, to read and to play. Your mother sounds very wise. And your dad like an extremely good man. By the way, I only succumbed because Santa forced me to. You can’t very well take a perfectly good nintendo out of the hands of three thrilled beyond belief children. Not on Christmas morning and, therefore, not ever.

  4. I love Super Mario Kart! Do you know you can get it for the Playstation too? My brother and I spent many hours as teenagers playing Super Mario. His job now? Computer game programmer. So, you know, Nintendos can be educational too! Santa had the right idea.

    I miss my Mum. It’s great to have your family around you at this time of year.

  5. Sound like a great Christmas was had by all. Looking forward to playing Brain Age myself. Very curious about it.

    In the end of day, it really is all about the spirit of Santa Claus! Sounds like you family has plenty of spirit!

  6. Super Mario Kart is so fun! Haven’t played that in awhile. I agree with your concerns over kids and games. Like anything, they just need parental help with keeping balance in their lives. The great thing about gaming is, as a reader, there are so many games that are out there with interesting stories that allow a person to experience ‘living’ in a book. It can be a very interesting experience. I love to game, but I’m glad I also love to read!

  7. Carl — You’re absolutely right. I’ve been a little bit of an idiot for quite some time on this subject. I think I failed to see that it is indeed a matter of teaching (and demonstrating) balance. And super mario kart is incredibly fun. I’m so glad I was encouraged, nudged, inspired, to see that there are lots of ways to experience stories,and fantasies.

    And the very same to you dear Rooma!

    Hello To Be Me — Brain Age is sort of addictive, but then it’s a lot of fun too.

    Helen, I’m glad you’re up and around after whatever did you in on Christmas Eve! I love thinking of you — the writer — and your brother — the programmer — battling it out in the little mario karts. xo, BL

  8. My son wanted a gun (play variety), but I resisted. It became an obsession. Finally someone else bought one for him. He shot water out of it for a while, and then abandoned it. A more peace-loving man you will never find. A friend resisted Gameboy, finally caved in. Her son played endlessly for a few months. Now her son hardly ever picks it up, reads voraciously. I agree with litlove about forbidden fruit.

  9. It’s been the first Christmas without my Mom, so I’m glad you’ve enjoyed having yours with you. Like you, my mother was years younger at me. At 86 she was to be seen chatting up a twenty year old in the City Centre whom she’d spotted reading ‘Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets’. “I’ve read that,” she said. “What do you think of it?”

  10. Dearest Lily. I’m so glad you had a nice Christmas and that Santa still comes around. This may be the last year for two of them… I hope they don’t tell the littlest one. I had a giggle at your comment about your mom winning at the “word game I loved until I lost.” That brings back fond memories of a certain card game and train ride in England many years ago. Remember? I’ve heard of that brain age game and it sounds kind of fun, so I want to hear more about it from you.

    Merry Christmas to you, Lily, and to all those wonderful “boys” in your life. Have a happy new year!

    p.s. No Christmas cards this year?

  11. Me, I’m impressed that your 11-year-olds still believe in FC. I’m expecting the myth to come crashing down around my 7-year-old’s feet next year. Glad to hear about your lovely Christmas and I loved hearing about your feisty mother. I hope I still have enough wits about me when I’m that age to be a little bit feisty!

  12. Nancy Ruth, What a wonderful story. I think you’re absolutely right about guns, and right too about gameboy games. I’ve become a much mellower woman in the last year, that’s for sure.

    Dear Ann, Your mother sounds like a wonderful woman, and you are so clearly the daughter of someone with that much curiosity and energy. I hope it was a good holiday for you, and that your mother was present in other ways. For the rest of my life, the nintendo will certainly remind me of mine.

    My dear Debby, As you can see, I come by that fierce desire to win at games very honestly. New Year’s cards are coming!

    Charlotte, If you tell them, as I do, that those who believe are visited by the red suited one and those who don’t must make do with their parents you will see a remarkable rebirth of belief. And that’s all I have to say about that!

  13. I love seeing lists of books! It took me a while, but I just finished putting together a list of all the books I read in 2006: all 110 of them! This is more than double what I read in 2005, due to various factors (explained in more detail in the post). They’re broken down into categories, and I denoted the ones that I liked the best. 🙂

  14. Hi Lily,

    Didn’t I see somewhere on your blog that sometimes, when you suspect you might lose a contest, you’ll try to, umm, gain some advantage outside the rules? (My apologies if not!)

    But if so, my question is: When your Mom beat you by three points … had you tried to work outside the rules yet? Or might you now be looking for workarounds before your next contest?

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