What you can expect this holiday season

As a parent of young children, I know how excited you are for this holiday season. Nothing quite compares to experiencing snow, Santa and sleigh bells though a child’s eyes.

Unfortunately for you, I write about the reality of parenting and am about to crush your expectations.

Expectation: We will listen to Christmas music while we decorate.

Because: Toddlers.

Because: Toddlers.

Reality: The jingle bells from some odd rendition of a familiar tune are merely adding to the noise of a screaming toddler who decided today would be the perfect day for an ear infection. Add to it the crescendos of a whining 4-year-old who is trying to put together the tree by himself because he is too impatient to wait for the baby’s medicine to kick in so we can all decorate together. The tree itself is allegedly pre-lit, but the pre-strung lights no longer work and are basically super glued to the branches. Thus, you can add to our soundtrack my muffled cursing as I take a pair of scissors to the branches and subsequently lead my children to think I am murdering the Christmas tree.

Expectation: These glass ornaments will look beautiful on the tree.

Reality: These glass ornaments have all shattered due to toddler curiosity.

Expectation: We will go Christmas shopping as a family.

Reality: The 4-year-old does not fully understand gift-giving if he is not the recipient, which leads to some very unpleasant conversations in front of strangers. My son announces that he does not like Christmas, he thinks I’m a mean mommy and he hopes that Santa crashes his sleigh.

Expectation: The stockings will be hung by the chimney with care.

Reality: The toddler keeps trying to pull them and their 5-pound stocking holders down on top of her still-forming-and-fragile skull.

Expectation: We will make a “countdown to Christmas” calendar with a two-fold purpose: We not only give the 4-year-old something fun to do every day, but we also get to sneak in a lesson about calendars, patience and counting.

Reality: This is on me, because I didn’t make the chart EXACTLY like Curious George does in his Christmas movie, never mind that George only had 14 days left until the holiday and my child insisted on making his calendar a whopping 42 days prior to Dec. 25. Bad mommy.

Expectation: We can color winter drawings to hang on the refrigerator.

Reality: My son drew an anatomically correct snowMAN that is not suitable for guests or anyone with eyeballs.

Expectation: We can dress up the kids and take a cute picture for our holiday card.

Reality: The toddler loathes clothing of any kind despite my pleading with her to just please put on the cute dress for JUST TWO MINUTES. That’s all Mommy needs is two minutes and a cute smile and then you can go back to being naked again! Please, baby, please, for Mommy? You’ll look so pretty! Can you just try? I’ll give you a cooooook-ieeee! Please? Fine, go back to playing. We’ll try again tomorrow.

Expectation: My son will get excited about Santa and totally understand that he doesn’t come until Dec. 25.

Reality: Me: “You have to behave so Santa will bring you that toy you wanted! His elves are working really hard to make it for you as long as you listen to Mommy and Daddy!” Four-year-old: “Whatever. I saw that toy at the mall. Can’t we just go get it now?”

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