Adventures with the Toddler – Chapter Eighteen: A Very Toddlery Christmas

Santa Claus. He’s a touchy subject these days in the modern world. My sister and I believed in him for a bit and when the time came that I discovered a big jolly man didn’t really break into our house to leave gifts – it made a lot of sense. It also answered that question as to why he had forgotten to bring me the bat-mobile three years in a row. I certainly wasn’t upset or felt I’d been lied to. Santa and the elves and all that guff was part of the magic of childhood and soon after the vanishing of Santa Claus came the end of childhood.

The toddler believes in Santa Claus. I was curious as to whether it would get the Christmas thing at 2, but it took it to like a duck to water and Santa Claus became a wonder. The toddler believes Santa brings a couple of small things for the stocking and mum and da buy the rest. I did have a few questions about keeping the myth going and whether lying to the child about a stranger coming into the house to leave it some presents without having an angle and drink da’s whiskey before operating a spacecraft was a healthy thing – but then I got over myself and figured the toddler could believe in the big guy until that time it asks if he really does exist. I mean really, how dangerous could it be – we aren’t talking about religion here. “Sorry Tommy, it was all balls. Heaven and hell and a cloud fairy that judges you for just for being yourself or playing with yourself or the fun bits of a stranger – a total load of balls. Soz.”

My main observation from Christmas, other than I fall asleep quite rapidly, is that the toddler loves presents. Loves getting them, loves giving them, loves opening them. My sister made the observation that the toddler will open a gift and be amazed by it and want to play with it while other gifts abound unopened which led to me thinking, “are we buying it too much stuff?” Before it was born, I was worried it wouldn’t have enough toys. I don’t know where this fear came from but it was there for the longest time. I really had nothing to worry about as the wooden spoon and cream whisk it pinched from the drawer were the greatest toys in its world for a very long time. Now however, I look at all the stuff it has and wonder where the hell it came from and how I can get rid of it. The wife has packed a heap of it in the top shelf in the cupboard in my office, but there is still so much. Is it too much? When I was little, I had a favourite toy that went with me everywhere – he was called Baa and when I lost him the world would stop turning and the demons of hell would run amuck until Baa was found. I lost that rabbit toy in so many places, whether it was a picnic area that was easy to retrace the steps and pull him out of the grass – to the Sidney Myer Music Bowl where he could have been anywhere. The memories are there of me screaming like the very fabric of time had unraveled – the old man huffing as he went searching for the lost rabbit yet again and my mother trying to calm me down which was like fighting a chemical fire with a water-pistol. Baa was the entire world to me. The toddler seems to have a few toys it favours, but I couldn’t say there was one toy to rule them all like I had with Baa. Maybe it was Bae, but Bae was lost to Paris. At times I fear the toddler may have been given too much in my attempt to ensure it had enough. Balance is key, but since I was born without a moderation switch – I tend to go all out or shrug and go back to sleep. Gene wise I’m okay, (apart from the obesity and alcoholism). The obesity thing is easy to fix and simply requires me giving up beer, which I really like, so I then fall into my other bad habit of total denial in giving up the beer and I’m back to square one.

Balance – I’ll find it right after I find the next job as there is a pressing need to pay the rent and eat.

The wife and I have been discussing the toddler extracurricular activities of late. Discussing – in that I’m floating ideas I want the toddler to start learning karate and piano. Karate so it can defend itself against the growing wave of wankers the world is producing and piano because – well Elton John, Billy Joel, Ray Charles, Alicia Keys, Mozart etc. If rock stardom doesn’t await, then it’s a good back-up for playing in hotel lobbies.

I bought it a kinder surprise last week. As we’ve established, I’m a sucker and will do anything it wants, but it had been so good and was so polite when it asked me for one. So, I got it one. We were having a lovely time the toddler and me. It had swung back to mum being the bees-knees, but today da was the cool one and was getting hugs and it wanted to come to the shop with me. So – there we are stood outside Woolworths – me with arms full of shopping bags and the toddler with a kinder surprise it couldn’t open and had dropped four times at this stage. It was out of its little mind with joy.

“Do you want da to open it for you?”

“Yes,” it says and presses the kinder surprise into my hand with a smile.

Da opens the kinder surprise and separates the two halves and pulls out the middle bit that contains the toy.

This was incorrect.

The oxygen was sucked out of our suburb as the toddler summoned the cry of the banshees. Christ on a hover-board! Even the beggar that sits out the front of the supermarket jumped with the scream. I tried handing the halves to the toddler and this caused a greater flood of tears.

It stood so still as its little shoulder heaved with the weight of the worlds woes and its tear ducts emptied it of all water.

“It’s still chocolate. The toy is the same,” I says, paddling for dear life as the judging eyes abounded. “Did I do it wrong?”

The toddler then did the thing I really fear – it lay on the ground and cried and cried and cried. I really messed up and I started feeling bad. But I didn’t know breaking the thing in two was not the done thing.

“To be fair, you did drop it four times,” I says. This caused a greater eruption of tears that were sliding off its face to pool on the bricks. Pool. On. The. Bricks.

It’s having none of it. The beggar fellow and I are staring at each other trying to come up with solutions and we’re as useless as each other as we make faces at each other and tiny shrugs and gestures. Useless. Then I get the bright idea to press the ends back together – which I do and try and hand it back to the screaming toddler. Nada. It actually cries harder and now goes stiff as it lies prone on the ground. I’m getting accusing looks from those without kids and those with kids are laughing at me. Then I get the bright idea to put the toy back inside the two halves and then close them over. Voila! This calmed it down, a lot. I then pressed some of the foil to the chocolate and this solved the problem.

The toddler does not like its food being broken apart. This doesn’t just hold for kinder surprises or chocolate – it holds for all thing’s food. Don’t mess with it.

With its kinder surprise under control – we went home and put away the shopping before playing the toddlers favourite game of “no” as I tried to dress it and get it out the door to see its mums play.

Long story short – I managed to get a new nappy on it and some nice clothes and out into the world we went to catch a tram. Now this play was something I was a bit apprehensive about. A play that has the toddlers mum in it, is a bit like a juggling grenades and hoping one of them doesn’t go off. We get into the city early so went to see the Myer windows and joined the rest of the wankers in the worlds longest line. The toddler sat atop my shoulders as we took small shuffles forward. The toddler effectively got to see the windows twice this way. Once over the heads of everyone and once between the legs of people. After we’d seen the windows it announced it needed to practice its jumping.

“Your what now?” I ask.

It led me to a planter box and proceeded to jump off it, makes its way around it, befriend another child and they play chase. It can now ignore its dad who was trying to wrangle it and get it to the theatre. Trams are going past, my heart is beating fast and then it finds a slant on a planter box it’s using as the world’s shortest slide. My powers of negotiation are laughable. Then after it has a photo taken by itself on Santa’s chair some knob has squiggled their ignorance on with black spray-paint, we head-off down the laneway full of graffiti, piss and tourists and make our way to the theatre.

It was so well behaved I have to applaud it. It sat on my lap and watched the show for a good 30 minutes before it looked at me and wanted to go to its mum. I explained we couldn’t until after the show and it accepted this. After a brief stint it asked to go home – so we left the theatre and once out the door it said, “I want to watch the show da.”

“But you need to be quiet. Can you be quiet?”

“I promise da. I’ll be quiet.”

And it was. We went straight back in and the toddler sat quietly and watched until its mum scooped it up and it got brought on stage for the last number which we all enjoyed.

Then it was Christmas and now it isn’t. New Year’s Eve is tomorrow, and all manner of goals shall be set. I’ll most likely be asleep with a small knee jammed under my chin and little fingers tweaking my earlobe, because it doesn’t matter what time we go to bed – there is a toddler that wakes up with the sun with a real need to dance.

From all of us lot we wish you and your lot a happy and prosperous new year. May 2019 be filled with beauty, wonder and a heap of cash.

FUN FACT: I felt the toddlers soon to be sibling kick for the first time today.It’s very real now and very exciting.

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