Happy 2015, mamas! This year, the MOTYs are making a joint New Year's resolution. We resolve to tame our MOTY rage and become Ladies of Virtue. Don't panic! No one is giving up wine or sex. We're talking about patience. Everyone knows that patience is a virtue, and we are making 2015 a year of dedicated effort. Check it out!
It won't be easy. We will fail at least as much as we succeed. But, hey, here's to fresh starts, lower blood pressures, happier kids, and even more reasons to deserve a MOTY award. Cheers!
"He has been climbing, but he has no brains yet, and he'll turn and just step off like he is going to fly or walk on air or something. Like a total fucking dummy. (Sigh...babies.) Anyway, I don't know how high he was but from his screaming, I don't think it was just a couple steps."
In the land of Jerusalem, long, long ago and far, far away (like, as in far away from the United States), there was a Greek King named Antiochus, who tried to force the Jewish people to be Greek and bow down to his many gods. But the Jews refused, and one brave Jew named Judah led the Maccabees against the Greek army to fight for freedom in the land; they won. When the Maccabees went to their temple to pray, they had enough oil to light their menorah for just one day. Miraculously, it lasted eight. And that is when the holiday of Hanukkah was born.
About 165 years later, a beautiful woman named Mary, gave birth to a tiny boy named Jesus Christ. Mary, a self-proclaimed virgin, was viewed as the vessel through which the lord brought his own son into this world. Jesus, a man of peace and kindness, was revered by many, though not all. After Jesus's untimely death, his birthday was celebrated each year by his followers. This is how Christmas was born.
Over a thousand years passed before these two holidays met and our love story began...
One frightful winter night, a lone Jew who had lost his horse came upon a large home. He saw lights inside and heard joyous music and laughter. Feeling a glimmer of hope, he knocked on the big wooden doors and went in, shaking from the bitter cold. The music stopped and everyone stared. In his hand he held a menorah close to his heart, asking if he might borrow candles to light it because it was the fourth day Hanukkah. Taking pity on the man, the hosts allowed it, but demanded he leave by morning and never interrupt their Christmas celebration with Hanukkah again. But it was too late. Christmas and Hanukkah had met, and despite the warning, they fell deeply in love.
O Hanukkah, Hanukkah, wherefore art thou Hanukkah?
Don't deny our heavenly father, choose to celebrate in his son's name.
Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love
And I'll no longer be a Christian holiday.
[Burning candles dimly aside] Oy. Shall I hear more, or shall I cease the driedle, speak at this?
'Tis but thy name that is my enemy:
Thou art thyself, though not a celebration of lights.
What's Hanukkah? It is nor tree nor green and red,
Nor the same days each year, nor any other part
Belonging to a Jesus lover. O be some other holiday!
What's in a holiday? That which we call a candle
By any other word would burn as bright
Long story short, the two holidays refused to forget the other. They merged together in a bundle of love and excitement, creating inter-faith families all over the world who celebrate CHRISMUKKAH. They have henceforth exhausted parents physically, emotionally, and financially, parents who now need to buy both an Elf on the Shelf and a Maccabee on the Mantel. The END.
Dear Elf on the Shelf Mamas,
There's a lot of hate on the Internet directed at you. Some analyze why Elf on the Shelf sends the wrong message. Some want to punch you elf-loving mamas in the throat. And, some just can't even. In fact, a simple Google search reveals that if you type "I hate el--" into the search bar, Google auto-finishes your search to, "I hate Elf on the Shelf!" Which indicates that more people hate Elf on the Shelf than Elton John, elephants, Ellen DeGeneres, or any number of other words that start with "el."
I can't say I've ever felt violent tendencies toward you or the elf. Aside from letting a guilty chuckle escape last year when I saw a Miley Cyrus "Wrecking Ball" elf, I was just your run-of-the-mill Elf on the Shelf hater. I thought your exhaustive Pinterest-inspired elf posts were overwhelming. I had vague thoughts about Elf on the Shelf being too expensive and too much hassle. I resented that your elfie genius was the talk of Roosevelt Elementary and I had to repeatedly deal with my kid coming home asking why we didn't have one. But I didn't begrudge you your fun, just assumed it was one more thing we could never have in common.
Until this year when my daughter's second-grade teacher gave each student a knock-off Elf on the Shelf-esque doll as a parting gift just before winter break. My daughter came rushing home, spilling over with excitement, gushing to her little brother about what it was and what could happen, carefully arranging it on her dresser (with a handwritten note asking the elf to please write "bake") and awaiting the magic. She is so delicately on the cusp this Christmas, wavering on the silver streak between believing and not believing. She hears things at school. Nonbeliever things. She asks questions but doesn't push it. Awaiting the magic is a tense and active state this season.
She went to sleep.
I stared at the elf. The elf stared at me.
What's a MOTY to do? I dressed the elf in doll pajamas and made it hug a small toy. And the next day, it got into her jewelry box. And this morning, I momentarily considered browsing Pinterest. I didn't do it, but the thought was there. You can't unthink that shit.
Anyway, Elf on the Shelf Mamas, I'm sorry I rolled my eyes at you. Merry Christmas!
When you know your child has problems keeping her pants and underwear on, never let her out of your sight in public. Get a leash, bring the stroller, but never enter a store without a means of containing your little exhibitionist. Otherwise, an old woman will pop her head into the store and announce, "Someone needs to use the potty!"
When you look around the column, your child will be baring all -- pants down -- in the store window. It will be the perfect display...of your complete and utter mortification.
"You know you have 'arrived' when the school secretary looks at you with disdain as you stand there with a spoon full of amoxicillin and a Superman lunch pail."
As a "good" Jewish mother, I blurted out "Santa isn't real!" when Munch and I were looking at the Christmas stamps from the stamp catalog today. But as soon as the words left my mouth, my heart twinged with regret. Instantly, I felt confused about my own big mouth and the regret I felt. Maybe because deep down I know Munch is still young enough to believe in the magic and fun of a holiday that we celebrate with her father, even though it's not our holiday. Maybe because I felt a little guilty by force feeding the truth on an innocent two year old, when she wasn't even questioning the authenticity of Santa. Or maybe, it was because my own mother told me she would bring gifts from Santa because she didn't want me to feel left out, and I know that that sweetness never caused me to be less Jewish.
The image of Munch jumping up and down, excited yelling, " Did Santa bring me these?" flashed through my mind followed by a dark gray cloud that quickly erased any sweet innocence. My big mouth had just stolen a little of the joy and excitement that could have been intoxicating and amazing to watch this Christmas -- one of many she will celebrate with her father, grandfather, and friends. My big mouth just ruined the first Christmas where Munch would be able to grasp the anticipation of Christmas morning and the excitement of believing this is what Santa brought to her. Her first Christmas where believing in something not real would have been fun and wonderful and non-harmful to her not-quite-existent budding Jewish identity.
And I felt sad and disappointed that I had stolen that moment from my soon-to-be three year old. I had stolen that moment from her dad. I had stolen that moment even from myself.
Ironically, not even 15 minutes later, Annie shared this letter a woman wrote explaining Santa to her child. Maybe if I had read this first, I would have not opened my big mouth. Actually, I know I wouldn't have because I would have been reminded that Santa is more than just Christmas. Hanukkah Harry is more than just Hanukkah. After all, it doesn't matter what holiday we celebrate, if we celebrate at all, even. But when we partake in gift giving, especially when we give to children, we are all on Santa's or Hanukkah Harry's team. So thank you to this mother who put it so eloquently and wonderfully. I'm just so sorry I didn't read your letter 15 minutes sooner.
Don't suffer from cabin fever during the long winter months ahead. The park may be buried under a blanket of snow, but there's plenty your toddler can explore right inside the coziness of your own kitchen. Repurpose your old baby equipment, grab yourself a warm drink, and it's like a day out for everyone!
"The thought of having to read that book ten times a day is scary!!! Go with the toy!!!"
It's your lucky day, mamas! This MOTY Tip is a 3 for 1! Here we go:
1. NEVER clean out the fridge at the exact time you are supposed to be making dinner and feeding your children. They become ravenous. Like the evil hyenas in the Lion King
2. NEVER leave the cupcakes on the counter within reach of your child. She will get at them at the most inopportune time. And then "share" them -- ironically, the only time she doesn't need to be reminded to share.
3. NEVER think you are in control. You may be completing a chore, or preparing food or even a perfecting a craft (yes, Pinterest!). You may think you know exactly what your children are doing. But don't be a fool, girl -- your children are just waiting for the right moment to put your overly confident ass back in its rightful place: the "OH SHIT" throne (which oddly popped up out of nowhere after your popped out or adopted that first little bundle of shitting, peeing, and crying joy).
We love our kids. They drive us crazy. We write about it instead of going insane.