Last night, Charlie and I were up until 1:00 AM wrapping books.
Because today, December 1, we were due to begin our Advent / Christmas book tradition. (In case anyone is interested, here's a link to almost all of the Christmas books that we have as part of our collection.)
The plan was that immediately after dinner, the oldest born (William) would do the Advent Calendar for today. And then, he would open the first book which I had stayed up until 1:00 AM wrapping. (Did I mention that already?)
Each night after tonight, leading up to Christmas, our children would continue to go in birth order - counting down the days on the Advent Calendar and taking turns opening a gift wrapped book that I was up until ... oh never mind.
Unfortunately, things didn't go quite as I had planned.
(They seldom do. That's what I get for making plans.)
There was fighting and crying and whining and a whole lot of disharmony.
So me, being the bad cop that I am, put everyone directly to bed and told them that hopefully tomorrow - they'll find their happiness so that we can have a fun time together.
While I was brushing his teeth, William was sure to tell me that Dad is nice and I am mean.
Certainly his reaction had something to do with the fact that I not only robbed him of his opportunity to open a present, but Dad had just scooped everyone out a small bowl of ice cream and when I saw William deck his sister, I promptly put his ice cream back in to the carton and got him dressed in his pajamas for bed. When it was time to brush the girls' teeth, I walked in to the bathroom and was greeted by Carolyn, standing on her foot stool in front of the mirror and sobbing.
Sometimes I'll see the girls looking in the mirror and crying at their reflections, because I think (I hope?) that they like to see how their face changes with varying emotions. But tonight was different. My daughter was so distraught it broke my heart. I hugged her close and asked, "Sweet Girl, what is it? Why are you crying? Please tell me what can I do to help you?"
With tears streaming down her face, she held up an empty tube and sobbed, "We. Are. Out. Of. Dora. Toothpaste!" Then she closed her eyes and continued to cry harder before opening them and pleading, "Oh no, no, no. What'll we DO?"
Fortunately, I had a brand new tube of Dora The Explorer toothpaste under the sink, which I presented to my child. But her dismay over something so trivial was undeniable. And it was crazy because her actions uncannily reminded me so much of me - when something doesn't go my way or I run out of chocolate during ... uh ... certain times of the month. I instantly had a flash back to college. When there were four girls living in two rooms and sharing a bathroom. And well, you know what happens under those conditions, right?
For a few days each month, we all looked a little like this...