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There goes my ski pass!

December 23, 2006

True confession time. I buckled.

I buckled perhaps like I have never buckled before and will now be eating crow for Christmas along with my chocolate covered pretzels. No more baklava unless I make it myself — fat chance of that!

Costco laughed at me earlier this week when I told them that no, I had most definitely not found everything I was looking for because the baklava was no where to be found.

Do you remember the scene in Groundhog Day where Bill Murray is asking the B&B owner why there is no hot water and she laughs a hearty laugh and says, “Of course there’s no hot water today. It’s Thursday. Ha, ha, ha”?

It was kind of like that, only worse. I’d rather take cold showers the rest of my life and be able to nosh on baklava to my heart’s desire.

However. This is not a post about baklava. Unfortunately. It’s a post about what a pansy I am. And as such, it requires a bit of background.

As a refresher, you remember that it was actually difficult for me to drop $10.99 on a tray of baklava, which turned out to be an incredible experience for at least three weeks after that and totally worth it. Ah, baklava. The memories are still causing endorphins to rush through my body.

It will not surprise you then when I tell you that when my daughter wouldn’t leave the robotic horse at Walmart alone that I quickly dismissed it from my Christmas list once I saw that the price tag was $279. AT WALMART! I didn’t realize that Walmart sold anything that costs more than $4.95.

“Put that right out of your head,” I told her.

Okay, I didn’t actually say it like that. It was more like, “Honey, I think that Santa has a cap on how expensive a gift can be that he delivers, and that is a very expensive gift.”

“Oh.” (Which normally means, “Mom, I don’t know what the hell you just said because you were using words like ‘cap’ and ‘expensive’ that mean less than nothing in my humble seven-year-old world, but I’m not going to say that because I’m at least smart enough to understand that sometimes it’s just better to keep your mouth shut . . . unlike you, dumbass.”)

Was she buying it? I couldn’t tell.

A few weeks later I realized that no, she hadn’t bought it because as she and Little Jon sat on Santa’s lap she A) lied when she responded that yes, she had been a good girl all year and 2) that what she wanted more than anything in the entire universe was a Butterscotch pony.

Crap.

So, being the finagler that I am, I decided that maybe we could turn this into a lesson on saving for what you want.

It’s become this huge philosophical thing for me, Christmas giving. I didn’t want to just say, “No, Babs. You can’t have what you want for Christmas.” What if she grows up thinking that there’s no use in wanting something (like a college education or a good marriage, for example) because mom taught her when she was seven that it’s not possible to get what you want? What’s American about that?!

Neither do I want her growing up a la Paris Hilton (ha, as if) thinking that all she has to do is snap her pretty fingers and what she wants will magically appear.

Hence, the compromise. Teach Babs that she can have what she wants, but she has to work and save and contribute if it’s going to cost 10 times more than the normal Christmas gift.

So we started fundraising.

“Babs,” my mom asked her over the phone earlier this month. “What do you want for Christmas?”

“A Butterscotch pony.”

“Where do I find one?”

Walmart.”

At this point I grabbed the phone realizing that my mother probably thought it was some $9.95 toy by Mattel. It’s not.

“Mom,” I totally interrupted. “Butterscotch is an outrageously expensive toy the size of a Shetland pony.”

“Oh.” (Which normally means, “Okay, I’m waiting, Angela, because I know that you are about to instruct me as to what I should do and tell me that it’s my choice but it’s not really because you’re a stubborn, selfish person who wants her own way. So I’m resentfully awaiting further instructions and wishing I’d given birth to a daughter who was more malleable, dammit.”)

What else could she say, really?

So when she asked what she should get for her, I said that if she wanted to contribute to the purchase of the toy that maybe we’d have enough money saved up for it that she could purchase it sometime before she went to college. OR, she could get her WHATEVER her heart desired and we’d be more than happy and grateful for it. “Anything you get her would be wonderful, mom.”

$50 arrived in a card. Babs was thrilled. That $50 — along with the $28 she scrounged in loose change from underneath the car seats (along with assorted McDonald’s french fries and crayons) and the $4 she has saved from allowances and money received from the Tooth Fairy — has brought her closer to her goal. She’s a child on a mission.

And then there’s always the money she gets from the Starbucks drive-thru where they know us as regulars. (About $2.83 at the last count.)

Now comes the hard part.

I bought the toy.

Yep. Last night after plying my husband with really good beef and potatoes, I begged him to go with me and buy the toy. We braved the snow and ice at 9 o’clock at night to load that damn toy into the van before Babs gets home tonight from her other grandmother’s.

One thing I will say about it: It’s enormous. I had to use more wrapping paper on it than I used on everyone else’s gifts combined.

My dilemma now isn’t necessarily that I keeled over and bought the toy (which is disturbing to me on some level in and of itself), but that now I need to figure out that personal responsibility part I told myself I was trying to teach her.

It’s not even 2007 yet. Where’s the postponing-present-pleasure-for-future-advantage in that?!

Do I have her write a letter to Santa explaining that she understands that this is totally above and beyond his normal Santerly duties but that here’s 84 dollars and 83 cents and she hopes it helps?

Do I let her keep the money to buy Junie B. Jones books because Santa doesn’t need the money? Where’s the magic in Santa needing money?

Or do I have her give the $84.83 to the local homeless shelter so that a good Christmas dinner can be had by at least one family?

Over thinking. It’s going to lead me to an early death, I tell ya.

Hopefully I’ll have something figured out by Sunday night. And speaking of hopefully . . . hopefully, she won’t notice the enormous pile of blankets in Little Jon’s room that’s hiding the pony. Ah, there’s no end to the list of things I could worry about.

I justified this decision by telling myself that:

1) The Santa Belief Clock is ticking and won’t be good for much longer

2) $279 is a hell of a lot cheaper than what it would cost to buy and keep a real pony, and

3) I am selfish enough to want to see her reaction when she comes out Christmas morning and that damn pony is under the tree.

For $279, it better be good. But even as I write that, I realize that the joy of sparing my daughter a morning of disappointment is worth ten times that and that if I could wipe disappointment from her life, I would do so in a heartbeat. (And yes, I realize that doing so probably wouldn’t be in her best interests. But dammit if I don’t want to.)

Merry Christmas, all! I hope that Santa brings you all the one thing you asked for this Christmas and wanted more than anything else. As for me, if you find any baklava, let me know. I’m going through withdrawls.

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15 comments

  1. What a great post Ang!

    Imagine how absolutely delighted little Babs is going to be when she sees that by the tree (I was going to say “under” the tree but it would be easier to get the tree under the damned horse it’s so big) on Christmas morning.

    One request — take pictures of the moment and post them. Please?

    You did the right thing. And stop thinking. Just stop thinking. Stop. Stop. Stop. 😉

    Since you got her a butterscotch horse, can I get you a baklava horse?

    Merry Christmas Ang. Love to you and your family. And thanks for sharing this part of you.


  2. lovely blog… best wishes…


  3. You are so funny, I write similar to you – short and long side diatribes explaing the many facets of a thought process.

    Thanks for the add at mybloglog.

    Very MErry christmas to you and yours.

    P.S. My costco doesn’t carry Baklava either!


  4. Whoa, that is one BIG horse! Your daughter’s gonna be tickled. Don’t worry too much, at seven, about getting the life lessons across. Plenty of time for that when, in the mere blink of an eye from now (trust me on that), she graduates to a car.

    Merry Christmas, Angela!


  5. Aw, Dan. You are truly too kind to me. And you’re absolutely right. There is no way it will fit under the tree. It will absolutely have to be beside it.

    I had to do a little damage control this evening, though, when her grandmother told her that Butterscotch didn’t walk the way I said it did. (It doesn’t?! How dare it?!)

    So we had to have the discussion about whether or not she still wanted it, even if it didn’t walk.

    “Not really,” she said.

    “So you want me to tell Santa to bring you something else?” I asked, my heart dropping to my stomach as I realized again how much I’d dropped on this toy.

    “No. I still want it,” she said. “I just probably won’t play with it as often.”

    “Great,” I thought to myself. “Just great.”

    So we’ll see. Merry Christmas to you and yours Dan. And thank you again.

    Debojit ~ I’m so glad that you stumbled across my little corner of the blogosphere. Best wishes to you, as well! I need to come and visit in more detail once the holiday hub-bub dies down. Merry Christmas!

    Mike ~ is that a sweet way of saying that I ramble? ;o) Thank you for being sweet! I have a terrible habit of making a short story long. A very merry Christmas to you, too!

    Al ~ A car! I hadn’t even thought of that. Oh my gosh. Guess this is a good entry into that, isn’t it? Hopefully she won’t to do me what I did to my dad (i.e. total his car before I even got my picture license). My poor dad. Merry Christmas, and thanks for the advice. I could use more like that! Merry Christmas!


  6. Santa has an expensive cap?


  7. I love your blog. You have a great sense of humor. 🙂

    Merry Christmas!


  8. Angela,

    I guess you saw this: Letterman vs Butterscotch.

    I hope you don’t end up battling butterscotch after a while…

    I hope you, you husband and your daugther have an awesome time this Christmas. I just wrote a post on my blog showing a bit of my appreciation for your support through the year.

    A big hug to you Angela. Keep on blogging and living life at its full!


  9. Diesel ~ at my house he does! :o) I keep telling myself that I’m going to stop giving Santa my credit card number and make Suze Ormann proud of me, but dammit if it doesn’t just keep finding its way to retail establishments! Best wishes on your home-building venture. I loved the pictures! Awesome helpers you have there!

    Miao ~ you are too kind. Thank you. After watching that David Letterman clip, my hope is to be 1/100th of the amount of funny he is. Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope you’ll visit again.

    Ricardo ~ THANK YOU for that clip. I hadn’t seen it, but it really sums up the dilemma I had with this silly toy. I tell myself that I don’t have money for this, that and the other (usually massages, housekeepers and lattes) and then I go and drop $250 on this silly toy that may or may not hold my daughter’s attention for more than 20 minutes. Hopefully I can resell it on ebay if she hates it. :o) A very merry Christmas to you and yours, as well. Thank you for these months of friendship and support. I wish you ALL the very best in 2007!!


  10. great post! i think your daughter will love butterscotch–and always remember opening up that giant package on chistmas morning. i like that you made her work towards it a bit; this way she put effort behind wanting the pony and gets rewarded in turn. everyone has memories (childhood and otherwise) of working towards something and then not getting it…whatever “it” is…and that feeling sucks.

    i hope there is a giant package of bahklava under the tree for you.

    merry christmas 🙂


  11. Nika ~ thank you for your warm wishes. I totally agree about the disappointment factor, which I know was what pushed me over the edge in purchasing the pony. Have a wonderful Christmas with your loved ones and thank you again for all the great photos of Tiger Lily. She is one amazing cat!


  12. Look, the joy you’ll experience seeing her excitement is well worth it. You’ll find a worthwhile cause to donate the funds to and that will be a great lesson for her. This was a good post and one that I can readily relate to.


  13. Great post. and, as G said, easy to relate to, on many fronts. here’s what we’ve learned over the years:

    a) they don’t stay puppies long. that’s what we used to tell ourselves when our kids were young, in order to justify the “big” Christmas purchases. b) oh wait! maybe they *do* stay puppies long, since both our kids believed in Santa until they were 12. not only that, BOTH cried when they found out the truth. (yup, we’re terrible parents. just ask our kids — who are still trying to figure out if the “Santa isn’t real” or the “Just kidding! He’s real!” is the truth. c) it is SO worth it to see the look on their faces on Christmas morning. and, d) yes, you can teach them a good lesson down the road. they may not learn anything from it, but you’ll feel better for having tried.

    Merry Christmas, Angela! may it be as magical as that Butterscotch Pony — and every bit as wonderful and filled with joy and love as you are. xox


  14. Neva ~ thank you so much for your kind wishes. You do my heart good!

    I have appreciated EVERYONE who said, “Go for it!” Being raised by a group of true Puritans, this was a stretch even for me, the girl who has spread her wings and flown farther than her parents ever wanted her to. Most notably to the Bahamas and back. They *hated* that one. 🙂

    If you stop back by, I wish you the happiest of holidays and will go visit so that I can tell you there, as well. Thank you for gracing my life with YOU!


  15. […] in the phrase “Baklava Costco” into a search engine (especially AOL) will present a link to yours truly as one of the top options. The joy of this can barely be contained. Just a few more weeks! Hooray! […]



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