November 29, 2005

Gearing Up

The Season Of Joy (I'd type that in all caps but you might think I've already gone around the bend and it's not even December) is in full swing at Big Arm central. The carpets are clean, the tree (all half of it--we don't have room for a full tree in the den so we have one of those that sits flush against the wall, which really freaks out The Boy) is up and decorated, and if it will ever stop raining I will festoon the porch with faux greenery, huzzah.

In the interest of curbing the amount of crap that will land in our tiny home over Christmas, we have decreed that there will only be two presents per family for The Boy's consumption; i.e., one from Grandmommy, one from Papa, etc. Bear in mind that The Boy has no siblings, both sets of grandparents, an uncle and aunt-in-law, a great uncle, and approximately 472 of my cousins in Camden who will each get him "just a little something." That doesn't count his Santa gifts (limit 3 plus a stocking) or his present from mom and his present from dad. We only have 1500 square feet of space, people. You do the math.

And so the decree went out across the land, and lo, it was received as a pronouncement of doom by the grandmommy, with whom I went shopping last Friday. Here's a sample conversation from the Hot Wheels aisle at the local Toys R Us:

Me: Which race set--the one where they loop the loop, or the one where they fly wildly through the air, drywall be damned?

Mom: He would love that ride-in Batmobile.

Me: Yes, all $300 and nowhere to put it worth. Pay attention - wall damage, or 900 hours of looping track assembly?

Mom: Puzzles! You know he loves puzzles. Or that scooter was nice.

Me: Mom, what have you bought him?

Mom: Well, I got him a portable DVD player on sale...

Me: Uh-huh.

Mom: And a couple of movies, but that's not really much so I'm going to do him a stocking.

Me: Mother, do you know how old I was before I even got a basic STEREO that played vinyl? And you're complaining because you don't think that a portable DVD player for a four year old is sufficient?

Mom: I just...

Me: Stop. Two gifts. That is all. He doesn't play with half of what he's got and he asked specifically for only two or three items, all of which have been purchased. It will be enough.

Mom: (Makes the "my grandchild is being horribly mistreated and it's so pitiful" face)

Me: I'm going for the drywall damage. I can't wait to fly these suckers right off the track.

Mom: I got him the battery powered Lady train.

Me: Stocking. And stop buying stuff.

Mom: Maybe I'll give it to him today.

Me: No, you won't. It's a month until Christmas. One month! No presents until Christmas!

Mom: But he was asking about it.

Me: And I've been asking about a laptop computer and a bigger house. Sometimes you just have to suck it up for a while.

Mom: (Again with the "child abuse!" face)

Me: Let's get out of here.

Mom: I just want to walk through the games.

Me: You're cut off.

Posted by Big Arm Woman at November 29, 2005 01:24 PM

Want to mess with the boy? I'm overwhelmed with the possibilities of owning another "half-tree"....

Posted by: Jimmy at November 29, 2005 02:29 PM

as much as those half-trees make me sad (and yes, you said you don't have space, but they still DO), it would be most amusing if there were a room on the other side of where the half-tree was, with another half-tree sticking out of the wall, at the same place that the half-tree was in the other room.

wait, I'm not explaining this well - here's what I mean:

why not get two half-trees and put one on either side of a wall, so it looks like there's a tree emerging from the wall? It would probably freak out your child but I suspect a number of adults would find it most amusing.

Posted by: ricki at November 29, 2005 03:09 PM

Just substitute your teenaged child as the commenter in place of your mom and you may preview
the years hence.

Posted by: Kim at November 29, 2005 06:58 PM

Here's my new m.o. with my m.i.l. after many wearying arguments: I let her buy whatever her heart desires - and then I give it to Goodwill at the first of the year if it is not something desperately loved or of the best quality. She has been forewarned about the lack of space for toys,(which is saying something about our toy load, since I consider our house HUGE), our non-materialistic values, and the potentially ungrateful attitudes she is cultivating. Still, she loads it on in an attempt to buy the children's love (when an airline ticket to come see them would be cheaper and more effective).

At least your mom gives time, attention, AND gifts...

Posted by: Belle at November 30, 2005 12:16 PM

Seriously, about once a quarter or so, I read a post of yours that convinces me we were born twins and my parents gave you away to someone to be raised (or vice versa). I have a half tree; I LUUUUUV my half tree (I got mine from Hammacher Schlemmer after a google search). Pictures of it are up now if you care to compare.

And what you really have to look forward to, if the Boy has no future siblings, is that when he gets to be Precious' age (14 going on 35) he/she will actually tell you stuff like, "you can't be mean to me 'cause I'm the only copy of your DNA around and you're too old to have more children." At least she laughs hysterically/sarcastically when she does this.

I was forced to explain that while DH might be out of the baby business, I still have eggs left and I could make one ALMOST like her, so not to push it too much.


Posted by: Sheryl at December 1, 2005 11:08 PM

My mother has the same inability to 'go easy.' My favorite way to combat it? Well my parents live close. My mom watches my kids two days a week. We visit often. Half of everything Grandma buys lives at Grandma's. It doesn't keep her from shopping until she drops but it does save my house some occupied space.

Good luck. ;)

Posted by: sandy at December 2, 2005 08:03 PM