Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Note to self: Remember this next year

Another Christmas – Ladybug’s second – has come and gone successfully. As I wade through the piles of new toys trying to find them a home on Ladybug’s already-crowded shelves, I realize I didn’t just have fun this Christmas, I learned a lot about toddlers and gift-giving. So before I forget and get wrapped up in the season again next year, here's a reminder of what I took away from this year's experience:

- Practice saying the word “fork” before giving her a play kitchen, otherwise you’ll be apologizing for unintentional obscenities.

- Take all toys out of their packaging before wrapping them. I unpacked and assembled about 80 percent of Ladybug’s gifts beforehand but left the ones with a lot of parts – like a 100-piece food set – in their original boxes. But wouldn’t you know, those are the ones that used the most glue, tape, staples and wire twisties to keep them in place.

- And while we’re on the topic of wrapping, don’t bother. The most successful gifts were the ones that were in gift bags or not wrapped at all. I spent way too much time ripping off paper with a dramatic “oooohhh!” just to get Ladybug’s attention.

- Think Christmas will be finished before breakfast? Not a chance. It took us three days. We started opening gifts December 23, mostly because we couldn’t wait for Christmas. But our anticipation worked to our advantage because Ladybug wanted to play with each new toy before moving on to the next gift. By the time the last one was opened late afternoon Christmas day, I breathed a sigh of relief.

- Bigger isn’t always better. Yes, Ladybug loved that kitchen I spent four hours screwing together. But the one new toy that is always nearby is a little pink plastic camera that “flashes” and says “Smile! You’re as pretty as a princess!” And wouldn’t it figure it was one of the cheapest gifts?

- Keep a running list of toys as you buy them, along with the sounds they make. I didn’t realize how much beeping, whooshing, singing, twirling and flushing we were adding to our lineup until I sat down to start wrapping gifts. Dang, that’s a lot of noise for one house.


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