Monday, January 4, 2010

A Pre-Emptive Christmas Morning Strike

This year my youngest, AJ, turned three in September. He is the upwardly mobile type, in that he is up and mobile long before everyone else rises in the morning. Usually this only creates small areas of chaos in the kitchen, the worst has been his fascination with removing all the keys from the laptop keyboard, but that only makes his dad really mad so I won't dwell on that.
Since he is three and I know a few things about three year olds, having lived through two already, I knew not to put out any Christmas presents prior to Christmas morning.
Now being a woman with a scientific background (I majored in Biology for a semester in college with aspirations of one day being a science teacher) I felt it necessary to test the limits of my three year old's capabilities.
We had received a few years back a box of books from my parents that was intended for the kids but never seemed to make it into the massive collection of books that they had already given us. So this year I told my parents not to send any gifts for the kids and I would wrap the books that I already had and put grandma and grandpa's names on them. I labeled them with the appropriate child's name, dressed them up with red ribbon and put them under the tree about a week before Christmas Day.
Now this is where having a three year old with a two letter name can be a drawback. He already knows how to read and write it.
The next day being Saturday, Kevin and I were enjoying being able to sleep in until 7 am. At which point the house started to buzz with the activity of my early riser and we reluctantly decided to get up. I was the first one out of bed and in my absence AJ came to our room asking his dad to read him a story. My first thought was, "Oh how adorable. I hope Kevin says yes." But it was quickly interrupted by his dad exclaiming his two letter name followed by a "where did you get this?" That is when I knew something had gone very wrong with my experiment.
He had located the beautifully decorated package bearing his name and since it of course was his decided to open it.
The present was re-wraped and placed again under the tree with strict instructions not to touch it until Christmas morning.
It turns out I wasn't specific enough in my threat.
Christmas morning the crafty AJ again arose early and using his stealth like ninja powers, he slipped downstairs before the rest of us. Now as any parent knows you have to put the presents out on Christmas Eve, nobody wants to wake up to an empty Christmas tree.
My problem is that I should have known to lock the door behind myself.
Eli, our oldest, was the next one down the stairs.
Now, you have to understand that all our bedrooms are upstairs and the floor creeks and moans like nobodies business but apparently you have to have a certain amount of weight in order to trigger the not so silent warning that someone is up and moving and a three year old just doesn't have the same mass as a nine year old and is thus able to slide by undetected.
When I heard Eli going down the stairs I knew it would be time to get up because it wouldn't be long before the other two had descended the stairs and I wanted to see all the fun.
What I wasn't expecting was Eli's exclamation of that now infamous two letter name.
It turned out that AJ took advantage of his sleeping parental figures and helped himself to all of his presents, which even though they had no name on them they were easily identified with the Cars wrapping paper that I knew he would love.
He opened every single one of his presents...and then one of his brother's...and three of his sister's.
Now he is a smart boy and I would like to think that the opening of the wrong presents occurred prior to him realizing that all of his were in the same wrapping paper.
You may be laughing right now about the whole situation, but I'm not, not yet. Maybe in the years to come I will but it is still too close. I wouldn't say that he ruined Christmas morning for me but I was a little less motivated to go downstairs.
He on the other hand was very excited about his presents. They were just what he wanted.
Next year there will be some different rules about Christmas morning because I will be one year older and wiser too.

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