Sunday, November 9, 2008
Buying Books instead of Toys
I sprung the news on my girls today. I gathered them around me, put on my serious face and I said:
"You know how you girls write letters to Santa Claus telling him what you hope he might bring you for Christmas if you are good?"
The girls nodded.
"We haven't written to him yet," Oldest said.
"He's not sick is he?" Angus asked.
"Is Christmas cancelled?" Youngest asked in a panic.
"No, nothing like that," I assured them. They all let out relieved sighs and sat back.
"Well, this year, I wrote a letter to Santa Claus. I asked Santa Claus to do me a big favor. This year, instead of bringing toys, I asked him to bring you books."
Angus and Oldest looked devastated. Only Youngest jumped up and started cheering.
"Hurray! More books! I love books!" she said.
Angus glared at Youngest. "She's only saying that to kiss up to you, Mom."
Youngest then kissed me, proving Angus right.
Oldest stood up, ready for her lawyer speech. "But Mom, you said that the rule was no more toys for birthdays anymore, only for Christmas. And you have already told everybody in the world not to buy us toys, only books and clothes. But now Santa can't bring us any toys? That's just not fair."
"Yeah! And I was really looking forward to the Mermaid Barbie swimming pool set for Christmas and now I can't get it!" Angus geared up for the big whine-fest.
I raised my hands and glared. The continued pain I have been enduring from root canal number 2, must have given my glare extra fierceness for they all shut up real fast.
"First of all, there are way too many toys in this house and I'm getting ready for another donation pile round up next week." Muffled groans quickly quieted. They know the rules. Twice a year, I make donation piles for the local homeless shelters, more if toys begin to accumulate outside the delegated toy areas. Protests only make the piles larger, and might cause the loss of a favorite toy also.
"Second, most toys do not have any usefulness outside of the 5 day play period." (This is my theory that most new toys only gets played with for 5 days before it is completely forgotten about.) "They are a waste of money, time and space. If you want a toy it better be the most awesome toy in the universe which you can prove to me will be played with all the time." (I believe there are only a handful of toys the kids really play with and cherish, the rest just take up space.)
"Third, if a toy passes the awesome test, and if you have done well in school, household chores, and manners, and if you have saved up enough of your allowance money, you will be allowed to purchase said toy at my discretion."
"What's discretion mean?" Angus asked.
"It means when she feels like it!" Oldest rolled her eyes. (Smart girl.)
"That means never!" Angus whined.
"NO it doesn't!" I exclaimed. "Follow my rules and there is no reason I won't take you to Target when the time is right and you have enough allowance money."
The older girls still don't look convinced. Youngest is perfectly happy, but only because I have a sneaking suspicion she doesn't really understand the ramifications of my rules. As they go back to whatever they were doing, I can hear Angus and Oldest whispering to each other. With my bionic Mom ears, I heard them say:
"We should write to Santa Claus and tell him Mommy is in a bad mood because of her root canals and to please not listen to her," Angus said.
"That might work. Especially if we are really really good," Oldest agreed. "You know, she's been acting kind of weird ever since the root canals." They walked into the kitchen and began raiding the pantry for snacks. I walked over to the wall between the kitchen and the living room to spy on them through the wooden blinds in the window.
"Yeah, who writes Santa to tell him not to bring toys?! Doesn't she know his workshop is for making toys!!" Angus was still mad. "Where's he going to get books? He'll have to go to the bookstore and buy them. That's just too much work to ask him to do when he's so busy. I think she is being unreasonable!"
"That's a great idea!" Oldest said. "We'll tell him the books are too much of a bother so just to give us the toys he has in his workshop instead to make his life easier. I bet he'd appreciate that! We'll get brownie points for being considerate too!"
They nodded eagerly and conspiratorially at each other. I tiptoed back to the sofa, laughing gleefully under my breath. I can't wait to see their faces when they open Santa's gifts this year!