Everyone knows the deal with Santa: he makes a list, checks it twice, figures out who is naughty and nice. They also know that if you’re on the Nice List you are meant to get the things you ask. For some parents this can be a real nightmare as kids of ever decreasing ages ask for things that are near insane. Like a six year old asking for the latest iPad, it puts the parents in a tricky situation. How do you go about explaining that while it is true the child has been good all year, an iPad is definitely not something Santa can bring?
Some parents use the age-old trick of ‘present suggesting’, starting before Halloween even happens. Ads on the telly or maybe read online are pointed out as ‘interesting’ for the kid. “Wouldn’t that be cool?” they ask, while jotting down the reaction of the kid in question to see if the suggestion has landed or not. Most of the time this sort of thing is a resounding success and the gifts are in the house before the first decoration goes up. It helps takes the stress out of the situation for the parents, no longer required to explain why the mystical magical man from the North Pole with near godlike abilities is unable to bring along the latest games console.
We’ve been pretty lucky so far with Nugget. Her first Christmas there was a distinct lack of speaking abilities, so we just got what we thought she would like. A bouncer that took up most of the sitting room floor. Her second Christmas she wasn’t really clued in on what was happening and the arrival of a little wooden kitchen set (complete with a fridge that spat out blue wooden ice cubes no less) was met with shouts of delight. She still uses said kitchen as well, although sections have been re-purposed to suit her needs these days. The fridge, for example, now is a stable filled with a herd of My Little Pony.
Her third Christmas, that’s when things were going to get interesting. As her speech was up there with most moody teenagers, we expected her to be asking for stuff from Santa. Given that she was two we weren’t worried it would be insane, but kids have an innate ability to throw curve balls at parents.
I’m fairly certain it is a Darwinian thing, keep the previous generation on their toes so you can learn just what will push them into the grave early.
Anyway Nugget asked for normal things. A doll, a teddy and a dollhouse. The last one had been one of those ‘present suggestions’ I mentioned earlier. It was obviously well received and despite it taking us the better part of a month to restore an old dollhouse, Santa was, to quote the main woman, ‘Amazing!’.
Except, she wasn’t talking about the bloody dollhouse.
No, see when we were getting her to write out the letter (little more than chicken scratches on a sheet of paper but you get the idea) to Santa, Nugget kept saying over and over again that she wanted peas. Now, being absolutely hilarious, I kept making my joke about ‘Giving peas a chance.’ (like ‘peace’, get it?) but it still raised a serious question.
Did Nugget want peas from Santa?
We had been watching a lot of Toy Story 3 in the weeks leading up to the letter writing, so I got it into my head that she wanted the three little teddy peas from the movie. I searched Dublin high and low for the little bastards, but find them I did because being Santa is a sacred oath.
Christmas Eve we’re setting up the presents and I placed the peas down, thinking we had just created a magical memory, when I doubted myself. I said the ladyfriend that maybe, just maybe, our kid was crazy enough to actually want peas in a bowl. We poured out some frozen peas and left them in front of the house. The next morning, as we went through the motions of it being totally normal for your house to be broken into at night and find new belongings, Nugget bypassed all the toys and went straight for the bowl of peas.
She really wanted peas.
Not one toy, doll, teddy or house was looked at until the peas had all been eaten and all she told anyone about was how Santa had brought her peas. Even the three teddy ones I found, near having to sell my soul to get them, were discarded. The next year peas made it onto the letter again, although this time to keep things fresh they had to have sweetcorn added in. Team Santa (for it is a team effort in our house) did not fail to deliver.
This year? Oh peas made it onto that letter again, although it was now peas and grapes. Why peas and grapes? Who knows? But after all the presents had been put out for child one and two we dropped down a bowl of peas and slice grapes, because the magic has to continue.
Of course this morning, as we brought down the terror twins so they could see what all their good behaviour had earned them from Santa, we realised that one thing had not been factored in. Both our kids are savages when it comes to food. In a room that looked like a small storage locker from Smyths Toystore, they fought over the solo bowl of peas and grapes. Ignored all the toys and battled it out like street urchins who hadn’t eaten anything in weeks.
Peas and bloody grapes. Nugget even declared, upon seeing the bowl, “Peas and grapes, my favourite!”. I mean can you even…?
I suppose there are worse things to argue with your sibling over, but that definitely has to be the stupidest of things to argue with your sibling over.