11.30.2009

He's watching our pants with the eye of the tiger.



I have, what I refer to as "The Crazy". Every time I had a baby, I heard a lot of talk about depression...but not so much about crazy. I kept reading those online screening tests.  Apparently someone, somewhere thought to themselves "Clarity and accurate judgement- that totally describes the clinically depressed.  This self diagnosis thing is fool proof." Just a hint Mr. Depression Test Writer, asking women who are dealing with the hormone induced free fall that is the post partum period the question: "hey crazy lady, are you crazy?" might not be the best screening mechanism.  Just a thought.   The problem for me was that these surveys seemed really concerned with things like "crying for no reason" and "fear of death", but "head exploding into flames when the three year old spills her juice (again)" - not so much. I figured, therefore, that crazy was normal... and therefore I was normal... and therefore - problem solved.

During the first few months after my third child was born, I finally realized that being bossed by The Crazy really wasn't normal (and when I say "I realized", what I mean is that my husband made an appointment for me with my doctor, drove me to said appointment and told my doctor not to let me out of her office until I agreed to a pharmaceutical exorcism.)  It was practically a reality television show...but it worked, and The Crazy was fired from being the boss of me.  Until this weekend... when we put up our Christmas tree.

Every year I manage to convince myself that this is going to be big fun for the whole family.  I picture my children gathered around the tree looking like 3 little models for The Gap.  In my mind there's usually a lot of dark washed denim and  layering of vintage tee shirts and hoodies and maybe the occasional piece of corduroy.  I picture matching ornaments that each child hangs in a predetermined "decorating zone" that leaves plenty of room between siblings to avoid elbows and whining.  The ornaments (of course) coordinate with the stockings that I laundered and packed away carefully the previous year.  I picture everyone snacking on cut up vegetables and whole grain crackers and warm cider.  Oh, and there's music.  Handel's Messiah - all 2 hours of it - which we can stream from the NPR website.  (This is not product placement for NPR - I promise.)

But...

 Every year I find myself staring into a box of ornaments which contains a grand total of 14 glass balls in 14 different colors (8 of which are missing the tops and hangers), 1 Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer made from 2 old-school clothes pins and a piece of red felt, 1 glitter covered canning lid with my picture from Kindergarten in the middle, some white wire snowflakes, and a handful of green jingle bells.  Every year I try to figure out where I put that other stocking.  Every year I end up totally annoyed because my kids insist on hanging every mismatched ornament in the same 8 square inches of space and I find myself saying things like "just wait until after I hang this part up and then you can help" over and over again, while feeding them left over Halloween candy and yogurt for lunch. (Thank goodness they trick-or-treated in a good neighborhood this year.)

So this year, in an attempt to include my children in their childhood memories, I let them help me.  We assembled a chain made from silver and gold paper that I found in a box during our move.  (I did half, they did half.  Then I fixed their half when they weren't looking).   I also let them help me fold origami star ornaments (my attempt at a coherent tree theme)  from brown paper lunch bags (seriously, I had tons of them and they were free) - or in other words, they watched me fold origami star ornaments from brown paper lunch bags.  (For some reason they weren't totally on board with the "organic look" of brown paper lunch bags.)  I also let them help pick the decorating music.  We each got to choose a song.  I picked The Messiah.  I went first.  After 30 minutes of my "song", they caught on, and my son started asking "is it my turn yet Mom?", "how 'bout now?", "do we get to hear my song now Mom?".  Hoping that it would be a short selection and then we could get back to Handel, I consented to play his carol... which turned out to be "Eye of the Tiger" by Survivor.

As I watched my son take his power stance and start up his air guitar to the "dun... dun, dun, dun... dun, dun, dun...dun dun duuuuun" riff at the beginning of his chosen song,  I gave up.  I decided what he needed was not a crazy mother and a perfect Christmas tree.  I decided that what he really needed was... an awesome drummer.  He smiled at me as I sat down next to him and did my best Tommy Lee (wrong band - I know).  I smiled at him as he rocked his head back and forth and made a face that clearly said "I am the best air guitarist ever".  Then I smiled at The Crazy and waved goodbye to her... and her tree.. and her memories...until next year.






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8 comments:

mrs. olson said...

Seriously, why are the things that are supposed to be bonding the ones that make me so irritated?!

The Laundry Queen said...

Hmmm. I'm pretty sure that if you look in the dictionary next to "The Crazy", my picture will be there. You mean it's really not normal?

Amy Jo said...

Love it, and thank you for teaching me a little lesson at the end. I picture my future full of those Gap model children, but what they really need from me is not perfection, but fun. Thanks for making me think.

grammy said...

Every house needs a kid decorated tree....except grammy's house! I love that I went through the homemade decoration phase and kids decorating the tree (I loved the candy canes) and now....I only have to look at the trees decorated by the grandkids! It's an awesome evolution. Enjoy it, because only too soon - your tree will be perfect, but life will be less interesting!

ZenCrafter said...

What a laugh-out-loud post! I can completely relate to The Crazy. I'll have to tell you that our tree has totally mismatched ornaments hung crazily in clumps, and my son gave up after folding one origami star last year. But funny thing is, now the little one is taking the decorating into his own hands, and I think he may have caught The Crazy early. :)

Genet said...

Boy, this sounds like my house last night. I didn't get super-cranky until Sarah broke the second stocking holder so now it only reads "PEA" instead of "PEACE." Also, they need to administer the "said test" during the middle of the night or about 5:30 when hubby is still not home and I'm covered in spit-up while changing yet another poopy diaper -- not at the doctor's office when all my kids are at the babysitter and I'm actually ALONE!

e. said...

amen

Jadie said...

AWESOME post...I'm laughing 'cause you also mentioned NPR...

A few things:
1) those paper bag stars are darling,
2) I just might be able to relate to The Crazy--my husband would concur,
3) "Eye of the Tiger" as Christmas Carol--how great is that??!! Rock on, Mac!! (Fer shizzle?)