Sunday night Zoe, Parker and I went to a Christmas gathering hosted by my mom’s Goddaughter and longtime family friend. It was a white elephant party, and I felt pretty good about what I was bringing.
First was a recorder. You know the kind- the instrument everyone tortures their parents with in the 4th grade?
Next was a KISS Pez dispenser.
And finally, A Justin Bieber Santa hat.
We brought 3 gifts, because Zoe and Parker wanted to participate in the gift exchange also. Kind of like the three Wise Men, without the wisdom or the men.
Right before dinner our hostess announced, “Just for full disclosure, these meatballs are half venison, half beef.”
I said, “Oh. I haven’t ever had venison before.”
She said, “Well if you’ve been eating any of that summer sausage over there, you have.”
I had eaten one piece, but Zoe had eaten several.
She wandered into the kitchen and I said, “So, that sausage over there? It isn’t beef.”
She said, “What is it?”
My friend said, “horse meat.”
Zoe’s eyes got huge.
I said, “She’s kidding. It’s not horse meat.”
“What is it?”
“You know that head hanging over there in the living room?”
“You liked it, it’s fine. A lot of people eat venison.”
My friend said, “This isn’t that deer. We ate that deer a long time ago.”
She wandered out of the room in a horrified daze.
Later, as we were filling our dinner plates she pointed towards a chafing dish and said, “Is any of this part horse meat?”
“None of it is horse meat.”
“Is it deer?”
The chafing dish contained mashed potatoes and vegetarian sausage.
I watched her scoop two meatballs out of the crockpot, but said nothing. What you don’t know can’t hurt you, right?
After dinner we played the white elephant game. I attempted to explain the directions to Parker, but all he knew was there was a pile of gifts and he was going to get one of them.
I was number 1, so I got to go first.
I got a Magic 8 ball.
Parker was number 7.
His first choice ended up being a red lunch tote. He was not thrilled.
When someone stole the magic 8 ball from me, I stole the tote from him, so he could either steal or grab another gift. That’s the kind of nice mom I am, so when they try to tell you otherwise, remember this story.
For his second choice, my friend veered him in the direction of what turned out to be a giant footlong candy cane. We decided we might have to lock Parker and her 3 year old daughter in a room with the candy cane and the recorder to see what sort of mayhem might ensue.
But still Parker was unsatisfied. The allure of the unopened gifts, his insatiable greed left him discontent.
When my lunch tote was stolen, I took the candy cane from him so that he could get something else. I tried to talk him into grabbing a gift card. Someone offered him the recorder (NO!!!) and tried to tempt him with wooden puzzles. But no- there were untold treasures still wrapped.
As he reached for something my heart sunk. I knew it was a candle. I said a quick prayer that it would end up being a box of frangos (For my sake as much as his.) But no- my instinct was right. It was a candle. A very nice Yankee candle. But still- a candle.
Greed had made Parker a loser in the White elephant game.
Zoe had stolen a fuzzy blanket and Christmas mug from someone and was contentedly wrapped up. No one was going to attempt to take it from her.
My friend’s father -in-law got the Bieber hat, and proudly wore it the rest of the night. My mother got the KISS pez dispenser. She said, “Oh I love this!” And I said, “No you don’t.” I am expecting to see it reappear tomorrow morning somehow.
As the game came to a close, there were two remaining gifts that had been brought as extras in case someone forgot.
Parker didn’t feel the game could possibly be over with two remaining gifts. He had a great trouble accepting his fate.
He pulled his sweatshirt up over his head and pouted on the couch as people began to leave. He made some references to cheating, because in Parker’s mind, when something doesn’t go his way, someone must have cheated.
And then he turned on me, accusing me of stealing all his gifts.
I tried to explain that I did that to help him, to no avail. I told him he could keep both, I didn’t care, but there was no reasoning with him. So I left him on the couch.
After saying our goodbyes I went down the hall to my friend’s 3 year old daughter’s room, where she and Zoe had gone.
I opened the door and heard music. It was dark in the room and they were sitting on the floor in front of the tv.
“Are you watching ‘Little Mermaid?'”
The three 3 year old said in her tiny voice, “She want to watch ‘Bambi.'”
I looked at Zoe, who looked sheepishly back at me.
“Feeling a little guilty about eating deer? Watching ‘Bambi’ as penance?”
She didn’t answer, but continued to look chagrined.
As I walked out the door I couldn’t help but throw back, “It’s not like you were eating Rudolph.”
It’s little joys of parenting that sustain me.
Thank you to all of you who have supported me through these first 6 months of my blog. It means a lot.
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and here’s to a fantastic 2014!