I was watching We Don't Live Here Anymore, but I get uncomfortable when a movie tries to indicate marital/life dissatisfaction via crying children, messy kitchen counters, messy hair, spitting out toothpaste, cereal bowls on the table, fighting children chasing each other through the clutter as the parent pleads ineffectually for them to stop, etc. It gives me too vivid a picture to superimpose over my OWN life, which seems happy until I see the elements of it used in film-making to indicate unhappiness. So I thought I'd take a little break.
Paul was talking with Elizabeth and Edward about Christmas (they don't really remember last Christmas), and it came to light during this conversation that Elizabeth was confidently expecting to receive a unicorn. And not just "a" unicorn but a PURPLE unicorn. Paul tried to delicately extract more information, such as WHY she thought she was getting a purple unicorn, or such as how she knew about unicorns since as far as we know we've never mentioned unicorns before, but he got nowhere except to reaffirm that the child didn't just WANT a purple unicorn, she ASSUMED a purple unicorn. Like, obv, Christmas = unicorn.
This reminded both of us of two Christmases ago when William was in kindergarten, and he revealed to Paul that he was looking forward to the nutcracker he would be receiving for Christmas. This was the first Paul and I had heard about it. So the next day (which was the day before Christmas Eve, and Christmas Eve is the day we celebrate Christmas, so basically it was Christmas Eve if you follow me), I went out to Target with William and was all, "Oh, hey, look at these nutcrackers, is this the kind of thing you're, um....?" and it was a good thing I DID because Paul and I were thinking of a The Nutcracker kind of nutcracker, like this guy:
but William was thinking of this:
I found a gift set that came with a nutcracker and an assortment of nuts (but no scary dental-looking picks), and I brazened it out: I put it in the cart under something else, and bought it right in front of him, counting on his humming-along-obliviously personality to carry us through, and indeed it did. As soon as we got home I wrapped it and "Oh look what's that over there"d it under the tree, and it was the hit of Christmas and I had to buy another enormous bag of nuts for him to crack open because he'd gone through all the ones that came with the set. And happily for me, he didn't even want to EAT the nuts, he just wanted to crack them open, so I got a child bringing me a fresh bowl of snacks every hour or so while I sat there reading my Christmas present books in peace because he was so totally absorbed in the cracking.
With this experience behind us, Paul and I felt motivated to find a purple unicorn. We don't think of Christmas as an opportunity to fulfill a child's every material wish, and in fact we generally find it a useful opportunity to cruelly/kindly teach children about how we don't always get what we want, but there is something particularly irresistible about a child who doesn't understand this yet and who wants something so reasonable.
I went online and found a purple Beanie Baby one that was $15 ($15 for a Beanie Baby?) plus another $5 for shipping ($20 for a Beanie Baby?), but then I found this much larger unicorn for $15 with free shipping:
It's a make-your-own, but I'm just going to make it myself and give it to her already-made. For one thing, she's too young to even want to make it herself, and for another thing, I am not the right kind of parent to assist with that project, because I am not relaxed enough to watch a child stuff twice as much stuffing into one leg as into another, and also because I find the whole thing really gross: you get a limp animal skin, and it seems DEAD, and then you're supposed to coach the child to mess around with the skinned animal's new, fake innards and implant a "wish" and so forth, and you know FORGET IT. I'll do it myself and spare her the dead unicorn skin and me the uneven stuffing.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...