The holiday competition


With Santa, we had no problems, but it took a lot more explaining to assure Edan that the Easter bunny could and would be visiting her at two houses this year. For whatever reason, she was convinced that the elusive pink quadruped was going to Grammy's house – and Grammy's house only – where I wasn't invited, and any assertions I made to the contrary were part of a vicious, Communist conspiracy to de-flower the bunny's otherwise pure intentions.

Seriously.

Holidays are weird in our house.

Not only because those ushered in by fictional merry-makers require more elaborate lies than they would have for just one household, but because Edan will spend the real day at one parent's house, and have a make-shift, always-a-bridesmaid-never-a-bride version of that celebration with the other. I'm fairly certain Edan has no idea, and – to be fair – she makes out like a bandit in the process, scoring twice the amount of presents, candy, et al, while living under what must be the only logical presumption for a toddler in her circumstances – that Santa, Easter bunny, Cupid or whoever must love her more than other children. Hooray!

When the reality is that she's probably getting spoiled rotten by all involved.

But I'll worry about that some other week, because now I'm still in the throws of competition. (What? Did he say competition? Over a holiday?) Damn right I did. I don't like admitting it, and I'm fairly certain Edan's mother reads this column, which may put me in an awkward position when we meet later this afternoon. And I recognize that this is silly, immature, juvenile, unhealthy – will get me into big trouble when Edan's older and can use this to her manipulative advantage – but blah blah, whatever. I want our holidays to be better.

There, I said it.

I'm tempted to rattle off a series of justifications/defensive list of excuses for this behavior, but I'd rather just accept that I'm going to parenting hell, and vow to act on these impulses as infrequently as possible.

So how does one make your celebration "better" than someone else's?

This is complicated. Enjoyment is already a subjective thing, and when you try and understand the nature of that enjoyment as experienced by a 2-year-old girl, you've wandered into uncharted territory – inhabited only by fairies, the color pink, and the more complex pieces of Chaos Theory. I scoured both our local supermarket and Uber Mega Ultra Big Box Store for the best jellybeans, eggs, and cheap, plastic, seasonally-appropriate toys that money could buy. Even the "sparkly duck" that Edan was convinced the Easter bunny was bringing her – a toy which, obviously, has nothing to do with Easter – but damnit, I found it. Her basket was stuffed, the paw prints were cleverly laid out on the living room floor, the house was covered by "hidden" eggs – this would be the best Easter, ever, so help me resurrected Jesus!

(I am so sorry for that last joke, but I really couldn't help myself.)

And in spite our efforts, what was the big hit? What's the first toy she asked to play with when I picked her up daycare yesterday? Not the duck, no, she expected the bunny to bring that, so it was really no surprise – just one more soldier in the army of stuffed creatures she's mounting at the foot of her bed. It was, in fact, the $4 bubble-machine that I picked up – more or less at random. Wow, does she love that thing.

So the competition is complicated.

In fact, it's kind of impossible.

It's also something I really need to let go of. Because it's fun now – and honestly, I'm a pretty lazy person, so it's helpful to have the motivation. But there's at least 2 decades of holidays, birthdays and more, all of which will be here before we know it. And I'd hate to become so wrapped up in being better, that we forgot to have fun, and enjoy each other's company.

That doesn't sound much like celebrating to me.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.