Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Holiday Dreams and Post-Holiday Letdown

The holidays are rough, for adults and kids alike.

Sure, kids get the sugarplum magical whoopity-doo part of Christmas, but they also have the pressure of asking for the Perfect Gift That Will Lead To Their Only Chance Of Lifelong Happiness, which means that, other than sending an adorably misspelled letter to Santa, the degree to which they'll be interested in rolling out of bed on December 26th is largely out of their control.

A couple weeks ago, I talked about the Cabbage Patch Kid I needed when I was little in order to ensure my life was complete. I wanted one, needed one, and halfway expected one even though I knew they were expensive and sold out of stores and that my mom might be seriously maimed by other shoppers if she actually tried to buy one for me.

The unexpected turn of events and resulting devastation that year were survivable only because I have the satisfaction of blaming everything on my brother.

The point I made in that post (I think) was that the high expectations and excitement of Christmas are hard for kids to handle, even when they haven't eaten their own body weight in sugar cookies (though they usually have).

As parents, we want our children to believe in magic and wishes, but we also want to protect them from the Post-Holiday Letdown caused by making insane requests and thinking they'll be fulfilled. We're charged with gently squashing their unrealistic Holiday Dreams, without destroying their sense of Childlike Holiday Wonder.

It's a difficult job, and sometimes it makes me wish I could just prevent my kids from having holiday dreams altogether. Especially this year, because Zoe has selected the Perfect Gift That Will Lead To Her Only Chance Of Lifelong Happiness.

She asked for... wait for it... her own ballet studio.

Unfortunately, it's my job to encourage her to want different things, to steer her away from her heart's fondest wish, try to prevent her from having an unhealthy amount of hope that we might actually tack an addition onto our house overnight and transform it into a dance studio - all while somehow still convincing her that Everything Is Possible.

But I know what I'm up against. The holiday dream of a child is a powerful thing. Chances are, no matter what I do, some part of her will continue to believe she might just get that ballet studio.

Zoe, if it's any consolation, one day you'll see all this holiday hype from a different perspective. You'll realize that fixating on one specific material object and hanging all your hopes of happiness on it isn't what the holidays are all about. You'll realize that Cabbage Patch Kids are pretty unattractive and not even remotely cuddly and you'll wonder what all the fuss was about and they're stupid and you didn't even want one anyway, so there.

Oh wait, that doesn't help you at all.

Well then, brace yourself for the crushing disappointment, honey. Hopefully you won't be too upset when you open your presents and find tutus and leotards and tights and real ballet slippers, but no ballet studio. Maybe you'll be prepared for that moment to some degree by the fact that, when you added it to your wish list, I laughed so hard I almost fell out of my chair.

I only did it to protect you.

And because it was funny.

Of course, my holiday dream is for you to click the Top Mommy Blogs banner below -
I hope that's a little more realistic than a ballet studio.
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BadParentingMoments said...

I LOVE that she asked for her own ballet studio. Dreams as big as a house...or, a studio. Also, remember the cornsilk cabbage patch dolls? I was obsessed. OBSESSED. After a year of begging, my grandma got me one and its hair got all mangled and knotted. I'm not sure what my point is here, but, there's a fun fact about my childhood.

The Third Partier said...

In many ways I prefer the ballet studio request to the Cabbage Patch Doll request.

A couple of my own fun facts: I asked for Tin Can Alley for about three consecutive years when I was young. It was an airsoft rifle with a bunch of cans for target shooting. I never got it. Eventually my Dad got me a BB gun, which was only about 1000x better.

part ii to that story is that I got that BB gun a year before A Christmas Story came out. In fact, I think I had only seen it once before you and I got together. I'm up to double-digits now.

RobynHTV said...

I totally forgot about the cornsilk Cabbage Patch Kids - they should revoke my "I survived the 80s" card! And we found a way to give the kid a ballet studio (sort of), and you know what that means - I've created a monster. Now there's nothing she'll hesitate to wish for. Which is good, I guess?

RobynHTV said...

Yes, I do make you watch that movie once or twice a year. Don't think I didn't notice that you slipped out if the room last time...

I swear I remember that tin can alley thing from back when it was popular. Or maybe I just remember it from you telling me. I think that's a sign of a good marriage - you can't tell whose memories are whose anymore. ;)

Sally said...

A ballet studio!? Wow that is quite some wish! It is such a shame that we live in such a materialistic world where we all need the newest, best, largest, smallest, most advanced things that come out - and we are passing this culture on to our kids! And losing the real meaning of Christmas. I am not a mum ...yet... so I can't really advise on how best to let children down gently but I would probably try reading them stories of children who have little and are grateful for what they can get (e.g. Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol). Although I am intrigued... how did you manage to get your daughter a ballet studio??

RobynHTV said...

The girl does dream big! She also has no filter between her brain and mouth. ;) We gave her a more realistic version of what she wanted, which she loves and still uses every day - I posted about it here: http://www.hollowtreeventures.com/2012/12/a-rare-parenting-win-diy-dance-studio.html

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