Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tears on Christmas

"Don't you remember, mom, I had a bad Christmas?" Said LittleBug

As an only child with 3 girls, I often ruminate on the sibling experience. What fascinates me is how siblings, even twins, growing up in the same family, same parents, vacations, schools, etc., can have wildly different memories and feelings about experiences in their childhoods. This can occur even when parents try to keep things even or fair.

And then you can just blatantly give your children different experiences to really rock their world, right? Here is the back story:

My husband and I spent a lot of time thinking about what Santa should bring the girls. Well, to be fair, we spent a lot of time thinking about what Santa should bring LittleBug. LadyBug very clearly stated that she wanted another dolly, even though she had dollies, because she loved dollies. QueenBee just kept repeating, more books, more books, more books. LittleBug didn't ever say what she wanted. She would pick out things here and there, in catalogues or at a store, but nothing seemed to stick. We didn't want to just buy her some crap toy that never gets played with. Then we had it - knee-high dark brown leather boots! Nice boots (nicer than mine, to be honest) that she could wear every day. This is our child whose favorite colors are black, brown and purple. Pink is just not her thing.

So we are all set - spent the same amount of $ on each. Fast forward to Christmas Eve. We open all the presents from relatives and friends on Christmas Eve. Take about toy-poluzza! Fun, fun, fun! Later, after the girls are sleeping, we get out the Santa present. As we look at the gifts: a box of 8 books, a new doll with a wardrobe & clothes, and the brown boots, I made the crack - so, which child do we love the most? Even though the gifts all cost the same, the brown boots were not looking so keen next to the wardrobe and doll. Hmmm.....and now I realize something else. As much as she will love the boots, you can't play with them. Hmmm.....

So Christmas morning, there is lots of excitement and fun with the stockings and then it is time to open Santa's presents. QueenBee is totally content with her books. LadyBug is over the moon with her doll and clothes, etc. And LittleBug, who clearly likes the boots, starts looking around, "Is there more?" Not in a snotty, I want more toys way, but in a genuinely puzzled way. Oh dear...

Then it is time for presents from each other. And I start to realize that there are no toys from us - I tend to buy clothes or other things since they get toys on Christmas Eve and Oops.

Seeming to sense LittleBug's mood, her sisters say, "Open the present from us!" She does, and to her delight it is a toy - a cute remote control doggy! That doesn't work. I kid you not, 4 adults and many batteries later, we pronounced it DOA. LittleBug doesn't whine or throw a fit, but she sits there, sucking her thumb, holding blankie, with big tears rolling down her cheeks. Heartbreaking.

So, the next day Daddy took her with her Christmas money to the toy store where, after getting a dog that works, she managed to get some things to play with. And seemed happy. Until when tucking her in and commenting about our nice Christmas weekend, she said, "Don't you remember Mom, I had a bad Christmas?"

P.S. She has worn the new boots everyday.


  1. oh, how sweet and sad! My kid got a busted guitar from Target. I was so mad. Broke right in half. Sadly, my five year old was not so kind about his gifts. He pouted when he got something he didn't like, and as soon as he opened one present, he demanded another. We are going to have to have a big long talk about how to accept a gift before his next birthday!

  2. Oh my god, oh my god! I had no idea it was this bad when you alluded to it on the phone! Poor kid. I can totally picture her, quietly sucking her thumb with the tears rolling down her cheeks. Aaaah!

    Well, she looked no worse for wear yesterday. And like you said, now she loves the boots. I think our kids do this to us -- the making sure to remind us when things went badly. Because they know we care and it pushes our buttons. Little buggers.

  3. I think this is the curse of the "thinker" child. Somehow they have logic beyond their years and don't fixate on a toy they subconsciously know they won't have an attachment to. But come Christmas morning, they are still 5 years old. Such a dilemma for Santa and his elves.

    We had a similar thing with K. Her aunt gave J a toy and K a book. Cue tears followed by a polite yet reluctant thank you. Two weeks later, we've read the book 20 times. The toy? Who knows where it is...

  4. Awwwww... that is heart-wrenching. I have been there, watching my daughter trying to not show her disappointment too much. Last year's Christmas was somewhat similar. "You know mom, I didn't get a single thing that was on my list." Said o-so-matter-of-factly. But sad.