29 November 2007

Happy Birthday, Mooti

It's my mom's birthday today. Hi, Mom! My mom is awesome and I don't know what I'd do without her. She gets a lot of credit for how I've been able to handle this crappiest of crappy years. She took care of all the details of life for me when John died and helped me get my routines established and my mind somewhat clear in the weeks just after his death. How do you thank someone for that kind of love? I know of no way to adequately express it.

That said, I didn't try very hard this year. I was a slacker and didn't manage to send my mom a card until today, her actual birthday. Since she lives in Oregon and I live in Massachusetts, it seems unlikely at best that her card will reach her on time. I know she doesn't care, and we did talk on the phone earlier, but I regret that the card will be late and that it's just a card, no gift or anything. I'm counting the days until the twins and I go to Oregon for the holidays and we can just be together and enjoy each others' company. Cheesy as it sounds, that's the best gift of all.

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On a related note, I'm seriously not into the holidays this year. Well, revise that. I like seeing the lights on the houses, and I've already gotten a few cards, which I enjoy. Yesterday, we got a gift in the mail from friends of friends, a very sturdy cardboard "gingerbread" house filled with cookies. The twins had fun opening the box with me and eating the cookies as an after-dinner treat. So that was nice.

What I'm 100% not interested in is buying gifts. I have no motivation to exchange gifts, go shopping, wrap anything etc. I can't wait to enjoy the lights on the tree, eat my favorite holiday foods, and be with my family. But with every passing year, I become more annoyed by the commercialism. This year, I'm pretty much at my limit. I have a gift for my stepbrother's kids, and I got a few little things for the twins. But I don't think I'm doing anything beyond that.

I feel a little guilty about this. My family does so much for me, and we're pretty big gift-givers. But I can't do it this year. I could, but I really don't want to. So I'm not going to. And that is that.

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I've started using the counting/time out technique in the book 1, 2, 3 Magic with the twins. Last night, they were throwing bath toys out of the tub at me (that was the clincher), so I calmly said, "No throwing toys at Mama. That's one . . . That's two . . . That's three . . . " and then I thought, "How the heck can I give them a time out in the tub?" I usually put them in their cribs for one minute, but they were in bath seats, half washed.

Then it came to me. Just pull the shower curtain. So I said, "Now you will have a time-out in the tub," and pulled the curtain closed. I sat right on the other side, of course, and told them I was there. It still caused Riley to have a total meltdown. I only left the curtain closed for about 30 seconds, and he recovered fairly quickly. Frankly, I was proud of my quick thinking.

The episode made me think of Tertia and her bathtub posts. I'm hesitant to link to them because they caused to so much controversy, but hopefully the hubbub has died down a bit.

25 comments:

lct said...

I am 100% with you on the gift-giving this year. I have no good ideas for anyone on my list, which makes the whole thing feel like a chore. And that is lame.

Anonymous said...

just a thought....riley and maddie are the best gifts ever this christmas ...can you gift wrap a lovely photo of them for each of your family. they'd love it, i'm sure.

and then sit back and enjoy your two very precious gifts, knowing that John is watching you and is so very proud of all that you have achieved this year.

you are a star and a real inspiration to so many of us out here....wishing you christmas peace....maggie x

Anonymous said...

The first Christams after my 15 year old son had died, everyone got gift certificates. It was the quickest and least painful way of dealing with all the excitement and joy radiating from everyone else. Took me about an hour, and I was done. Still give out a whack of gift cards, so much easier...

Glory Laine said...

Hey if it's helpful, and your mom lives close enough to make it worth it, your welcome to borrow some baby items. We are staying in town this holiday so if you need to borrow pack n plays or a double stroller (I have two) Even a basket of clean toys and books, (lord know we have enough to share.) let me know. I live in Salem. beccariddle@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

1-2-3 method is awesome and still works on my kids who are now 14, 10 &10.

I so completely agree about the commercialism of Cmas and had a good talk with the kids about it. I far prefer to spend the season doing things together (baking, making things) than shopping and getting all stressed out about that part of it. We have all agreed to a simpler season this year which works as we will be spending it with my MIL who recently had a stroke. The kids so excited to see their cousins and family, gifts secondary.

Julia said...

It's no wonder gifts are not making your list of important things this year. But the photo idea is pretty good, if you wanted to do that. It is a very popular gift in my family. :)

Jolene said...

Happy Birthday Mama Snickollet! :) I hear you on the gift-giving. In fact, we've always been big gift givers as well but this year, we all agreed to no gifts and simply have a nice dinner together. So that's what we're doing. Well, the kids will still get gifts but no adult gift-giving will happen. I love the photo idea. You can get really cheap but beautiful frames and put a black and white picture of Maddie and Riley in there...or color...I just love black and whites. :)

Angela said...

Wishing your Mom a very Happy Birthday. Your Mom sounds like a wonderful and special woman, you are both so lucky to have one another.
The twins won't notice if they don't have gifts, I'm sure they will just be excited to surrounded by so many people who love them, that's great that you'll be home for the holidays.
I have also used the counting technique and it works wonders for me too, good for you.

halfmama said...

Happy Birthday Snick's Mom!

1-2-3 worked well for us when the twins were fighting with each other -- it still does!

I'm over the commercialism too. Especially because all I want to do is donate half their toys and clean house right now.

This & That said...

you are celebrating your Christmas in the most perfect way with people you love and simplicity. enjoy!!

the 1-2-3 still works around here as well (11 and 5)...in fact sometimes they say don't get to 3...or you are counting too fast! kinda funny.

Anonymous said...

Our church has an "alternative giving fair" where they provide information on different non-profit organizations and then give you the opportunity to donate on behalf of someone as a "gift" to them. I think they give you a card or something to give to the person. Maybe you could pick a charity and donate a certain amount for each person you would otherwise give a gift to. Or pick an appropriate charity for each person...

Heather said...

Not sure how you feel about this, but I get my dad something from World Vision every year. Basically it's a donation that represents an animal, clean water, school supplies, etc. which are given to people in developing countries. One year we got "him" chickens, another year my family got together and got "him" a goat. He loves it (he asked for it in the first place) and you know it's doing some good in the world. Plus, you can buy the items online and it's a snap. They give you a certificate to print out and everything.

OTRgirl said...

I agree about not doing gifts. It's so silly when we already have most of what we need.

BrooklynGirl said...

Well that confirms it--you are officially my parenting guru: I've been doing time outs with The Boy for awhile and lately his worst behavior has been in the tub, and I've been at a loss about what to do. The shower curtain suggestion is just brilliant.

mlg said...

Hi Snick. The kid was diagnosed 11 years ago around the holidays. That fall was the worst season of my life ever. I have never really been the same around Christmas. I don't like the comercialization as it is, so the over kill of lights and crowds and the pressure of gifts just puts me over the edge.

The best Christmas we have had since then was a year we had a tree in a pot to be planted in the yard. It was a charlie brown tree for sure. We sat one saturday with cotton balls and foil and thread and glitter and glue and colored paper and made very small, light ornaments for our little tree. That was nice and reminded me that if we participate in the season, it should be like that.

Do what you need to do for yourself and the kids. Everyone will understand and just being with you and the twins will be gift enough.

glove said...

Hi. So, you gave ME a gift this year (a total stranger! How's that??) A friend went from happily married to my-wife's-been-having-an-affair-for-months-and-wants-out, in the blink of an eye. So I thought of your primer for the grieving, and it really is helping me help him. I even made sure to put vegetables in the casserole I made, like you said. I think, in a roundabout way, your words have caused comfort for a very sad person. So, Merry Christmas! Thanks for the gift of knowledge and practical compassion. - Gillian

Sara said...

Smart idea with the shower curtain....I'm impressed!

Anonymous said...

The strategy that has worked the best for my nearly 3 year old twins is that:
I shampoo their hair as soon as they get in the tub, so if they mess around too much, then bath time is over. If they throw toys out of the tub, then they don't get the toys back. If they repeat, then bath time is over. Likewise for standing, splashing too much etc...

I have to say that I am enjoying Christmas this year more than in the past, because my boys are getting really excited. They're old enought to get excited about the lights, the ornaments and the trees, but not old enough to ask for a bunch of toys. I hope your holidays turn out better than you ever expected.

For the grandparents, I am making postage stamps with the kids picture on them. Practical and what grandparent doesn't like pictures/

Kathryn said...

That last bit made me think of a very silly card I saw today, in which a large dog was sitting in the shower singing
"And now, the end is near, I stand and face the vinyl curtain".

Having got that out of the way, I think you are doing exactly what is best for all of you this Christmas...and being with people whom you love and who love you is really what it's about.

Wabi said...

1-2-3 Magic is really a great book. I'm astounded that your not-yet two year olds respond to it, since my daughter didn't seem to get the cause/effect/choices model until she was closer to three.

Then again, my oldest was especially, spirited as a toddler. (I say with one eyelid twitching at the memories ...) Hopefully your kids are more mellow!

Yankee T said...

The Attorney and I have stopped the gift-giving effective immediately. We sent a donation to our charity-o-choice in the name of each family member, and have asked them not to send us anything. The reaction (from those who reacted at all) has been positive.

SadOatcakes said...

The couple I nannied for used 1-2-3 Magic with their kids, and I ended up owning a copy of the book.

I'm glad that it's working for you. I liked the idea of it, but it didn't always seem to work with those kids (or maybe it was just me). The younger boy especially didn't understand that some crimes merited immediate time-out, and would freak out because I "didn't count to threeeeee" before sending him to time-out for biting his sister. Or me.

Oh, I am the meanest nanny ever.

liz said...

After seeing my niece happily shout "FOUR!" after my sister counted to three, knowing it would make my sister laugh...I chose to count backward.

I ditto the picture idea. I think noone will expect you to feel up to any more than that this year.

Anonymous said...

please dont hate me for writing this cuz i actually think you have handled the last year amazingly well - better then i ever could but PLEASE dont close the shower curtain on those babies - you have to keep your eyes on them at all times - it only takes a second for one of them to slip and fall and bang a head and black out. A time out in the tub is not a good idea. I have a 14 month old, I know they can drive you crazy - never mind two of them.

Sam said...

I haven't really been into Christmas since 2000 - we don't even get a tree. Just toss some presents on each other's beds and call it a day.