If you’ve been reading along with my other NickMom posts, then you know that life is CRA to the Z around here everyday. But the insane factor revs up to eighty miles per hour around the holidays. Contrary to what my readers may think, it’s not necessarily the triplets that create the most amount of chaos. Nope, it’s the sugared-up, sleep-deprived, off-schedule preschooler. Usually, I try to keep current events a secret to my daughter. For example, let’s say we have a trip to the zoo in the future. I tell her where we are going only when she asks why we just passed that sign with the animals on it. If not, she will talk my ear off about it for weeks.
However, there’s no keeping Christmas a secret. And, outside of presents, going to her grandparents’ houses and playing with cousins is her absolute favorite thing. Nothing would make her happier than if we all lived in a commune together. Thus, many of our pre-party conversations go like this:
“When are we leaving to go see Colin?”
“Has it been thirty minutes?”
“What will the clock say when it’s been thirty minutes?”
“Will Colin be at Nana’s in thirty minutes?”
“Is that what Aunt Lissa said?”
“Are you sure?”
“Did you ask her?”
“I mean, did you ask her on the phone. Texting doesn’t count.”
“What if her car breaks down?”
“But what if it does?”
“Daddy will go get her.”
“What if he can’t find her? How will I play with Colin then?”
“He’ll find her.”
“Ok, Mama. Has it been thirty minutes yet?”
Of course, twenty minutes into playtime at Nana’s, I can’t hear myself chew because of all the cousin rivalry. Between the hair pulling, name calling, and hiding toys, Christmas dinner turns into a scene from Fight Club.
One such Christmas dinner, we were again at Nana’s. The first thing that you need to know about Nana’s house is that the temperature of the house depends upon her mood for the day. If Nana woke up too cold, then the heating unit is turned up to eighty degrees. If Nana is in a thrifty mood, then she’ll turn the thermostat down to sixty and bundle up like an Eskimo. The lesson here is that one really never knows how to dress for a visit to Nana’s. On this particular day, I had dressed my daughter in jeans and a long sleeved shirt. Who knew I should have chosen her bathing suit?
An hour into pie eating, present opening, and cousin fighting, I grabbed my overheated toddler and plunked her down to “Stay put or else!” in the middle of the presents. Surely all she needed was small distraction. Frankly, I was simply tired of yelling, “Stop fighting!” And my husband was getting tired of being a jungle gym.
However, the red cheeks should have clued me in that something was getting ready to go down.
Insert a bit of math:
(Sugar) + (Fighting) + (Blazing Heat)
Only one thing.
My daughter threw up pumpkin pie and ham over her and her cousin’s freshly opened presents. I guess nothing gets one’s point across like a pile of puke on your cousin’s new Buzz Lightyear.
It only took one time of ejecting bodily fluids for me to realize that I needed a strategy change. Now I have in my arsenal one of the most cunning things known to parents around the world: Empty Threats. While I definitely don’t recommend them as a parenting style, empty threats are almost a necessity when the only thing topping holiday cheer is cousin brawling. Need some new ones for your arsenal? I’m pleased to share the following five Empty Threats with you in a printable form. Right click to print the sheet out, put it in your pocketbook, and share it with your sister. You never know who might need it first.