Fantasy vs. Reality of the Holidays With Toddlers


Ahhh, the holidays! This is my favorite time of the year! Everyone’s so generous and joyful (well, unless you’re upset about a red cup), and there’s just a warm and happy feeling in the air. That is, unless you have toddlers…

If you have toddlers, you know this time of the year can be stressful, frustrating, and make you consume more wine than you’re comfortable admitting.

First of all, to survive, set your expectations low–Actually, don’t even have any expectations and you’ll stay sane.

Yes, of course, with children, I can agree that the season is magical. You look into their sweet, innocent eyes and see wonder and amazement. It makes you feel like a kid again, looking at it all from their perspective…

It can also make you feel like a patient in an insane asylum.

Here’s a list of what we, as parents, expect when we’re stuck in Fantasy Land, and the goddamn reality of what will be in store for us between Thanksgiving and Christmas:

1. Formal Meal.

Fantasy:  I’m going to whip up a glorious feast and my three-year-old will try all of the different options. She’ll be excited to help me prepare some of the dishes. When it’s time to eat, she’ll at least try everything–perhaps without drowning it in ketchup first. She’ll sit there while everyone’s eating, like a perfect angel, clearing her plate, then being content while others finish.

Reality: There will be whining, such as Ewww, I hate turkey! Where’s the ketchup? I HATE mashed potatoes! Ham is GROSS! I don’t want these crunchy things on my beans! What is that!?!?  Stuffing is yucky! Where’s the mac n’ cheese?? Can I just get down from the table?? Can I just have a biscuit!? 

2. Christmas Tree Picking. 

Fantasy: This will be so much fun and memorable!  We’ll be walking around–our little fam, commenting on the trees, joyfully singing carols, and happily laughing while Dad begins sawing down the Fir and making a comparison to himself and Clark Griswold.

Reality: The whining about the cold begins as soon as everyone’s out of the car. Mom and Dad argue for five minutes about just grabbing a tree from the lot, instead of going up the hill to cut one down. Dad wins. You all march up, searching for the perfect tree. The three-year-old has a meltdown about being vetoed over her Charlie Brown tree pick. Mom and Dad argue again about the size, and which one is the most appropriate: The medium-sized, fat one, or the ginormous “I’ll need five feet hacked off to fit in your house” one. Dad wins. Again. The toddler, with snot running down her frozen face, is now crying about being starved. The three-year-old is now sobbing because Dad won’t let her play with the saw. Fa-la-la-la-la this fucking sucks!


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