Holidays=Compromise, A Rant

I think I might be gearing up to hate holidays. And that is so, so sad, because really I love holidays. But, pretty much every holiday since the Toddler was born has just brought me angst. My Man and I have the same argument every time, where we both want to provide her with the experience we remember and cherish, each obviously thinking our way is best.

It pretty much comes down to candy and cheap plastic toys. I hate both. I mean, true secretly I have a junk food tooth, but it’s certainly not something I want to encourage in my own kiddos. And c’mon! For breakfast?! Are you kidding me?

My little girl has had nothing, almost literally, but pure sugar in the past 24 hours. We went to an Easter party last night and she had a massive candy eating episode, then of course, My Man couldn’t resist seven different kinds of candy for her Easter morning. I’m sorry, I just can’t believe that’s okay, any day of the year.

And the cheap plastic toys. Why do they plague me so? Or, better said, why don’t they plague everyone else?

To me, Easter means dying eggs, and then hunting for them Easter morning. I seem to remember we would each get like one chocolate bunny or something. I don’t remember us having these plastic eggs filled with more and more and more candy. And we would each get maybe one stuffed animal or toy. I’m cool with that, I can ride that wave. But a glut of toys and candy equaling a holiday sits like a rock in my stomach.

I guess this cuts to very heart of marriage. A subject I have been trying to find the right angle to approach on this blog for some time now. Marriage is the twining and fusing of two (usually disparate) family traditions, expectations, and general style. It gets messy.

As humans we are attached to our own way, which we always assume to be the right way.

This subject is never tackled in parenting books.

So, assume you’ve thought and thought and read and read and talked to everyone with any opinion, and finally sussed out your own idea of How Best to Raise Your Children.

Ooops. They’re not your children. Assuming there was a consenting partner, you then have to figure out how to balance what you believe to be right, with what they believe is right. Goddamn it.

And, get this. If you respect, admire and love your partner, which since they are the father/mother of your child, you’d really better consider, you have to give at least some credence to the idea that they might be right as well, or even (yeep!) instead.

Of course, in this particular case, I am right. Right?

10 thoughts on “Holidays=Compromise, A Rant

  1. Calamity, there are literally millions of blogs out there, but you are number one on my list. Your logic is sound and your straightforward and humorous way of relating it makes my day. Thanks

  2. You have such an awesome knack for articulating the gaps between the fairy tale and the realities of daily life! LOL. As always, your humor and candor are so appreciated!

  3. I remember those days… As the mom of 4 girls I think those are the conversations that are hardest – developing your own traditions is a blend of both parents, and a hard one to compromise. I grew up with certain quirks, he did too, and over the years we have developed our own version. I will say that as I move toward a simpler life I am very careful as to what comes into the house. I look for long term playthings (books, music, puzzles, outdoor things, etc). I’m drowning in a sea of stuff, so I understand the loathing of plastic junk. Finding the compromise is something you have to talk about in advance. Hang in there. I enjoy your blog.

  4. i like your version of easter, esp. all the “doing”–i’m looking forward to making cookies with s and dying eggs. and you know me, i hate holidays on principle!! i actually loved our easter though–we went to the UU service and there was a human rights speaker (Charlie Clements, about solidarity w/ El Salvador) then went to a friend’s house. she invited a bunch of other friends from work and we had a collective easter egg hunt for the kids outside on a beautiful sunny day.

    i would have a really hard time with all the plastic and candy, for sure. s ate three starburst and a gummy bunny yesterday and he was really grouchy in the pm (i think from the sugar, and not having much of a lunch). we don’t have candy at the house and i don’t actually get around to baking much so the only sugar he gets is in the fruit he eats so i think he’s esp. sensitive.

    maybe the compromise conversation is worth having about the sugar–like what if you decided together ahead of time how many candies…and then stuck to it. in my mind this is also a good control exercise for the littlies–saying something like “you can pick 3,” letting them choose which ones. s is littler than your toddler so i just raided his easter basket yesterday–i pulled out all the candy i didn’t want him to have, and the toys, and just left it at my friend’s house for the older kids. and, if i’d brought it home i would have ate what i wanted (:P the chocolate) and thrown the rest away. i think your toddler is of an age she might protest (righteously so!), perhaps that wouldn’t be a good solution for her.

    re: the plastic shit. maybe not high on the list of compromise conversations. i think you’re right, and what a terrible example for the kids and the waste and the blablabla… but, let’s say you’re cleaning the house tuesday before toddler wakes up and all the plastic ends up in the garbage can. no biggie, y’know?

  5. I totally agree with the excess and plastic toy crap. But, I just can’t get worked up about the candy. Candy for Easter, candy for Halloween…it just doesn’t destroy a child. It makes these times special. My kids are all approaching double digit ages, and they have all come through holidays with flying colors. But, candy and crap as part of your regular day, that’s a problem.

    Go a little crazy on a holiday…that’s what they are for.

  6. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts about the candy debate. It’s one of those little arguments that sometimes shape our relationships with parents/husbands.

    I don’t think adults can say “no candy” for the kids if they are not willing to accept the “no candy” rule for themselves. Since Mr. Daisy and I are both chocolate lovers, we’ve been working on buying better quality and less junk. I think it’s been working out okay.

    Along the way, we’ve been trying to keep up some of the holiday traditions of our families. Quite frankly, I don’t think all this holiday plastic stuff was around when I was a kid. I remember making candy Easter “nests” with my mom and sisters when we were little as well as dyeing eggs. Boy loves that now!

    Some years we are more successful than others. It sounds like you are also traveling this long road . . .

    Making things like home made Easter cards, cookies and grass raised in egg shells have made avoiding the plague of plastic easier, too. The kids have never felt like they had less of anything – just not the junk.

    As for grandparents, we let them buy Easter dresses and Easter baskets. Those are things my girls can keep and use with their own children someday.

  7. Yup, hubby thinks the more choccy the better on Easter. Don’t get me wrong, I have a very sweet tooth, but you CAN have too much chocolate. And then I get caught up in the whole fair trade thing too, trying to find fairtrade chocolate easter eggs is tricky.

    The point in my favour is that I do the shopping and baking so it’s me that makes the decisions of what to get or make for Easter. We also managed to agree on one point – good hearty breakfast BEFORE any chocolate!

    And after a few years of dealing with disgustingly grouchy children after a morning spent gorging on chocolate, hubby is coming round to the idea of less is better.

    Patience – you’ll work out your own compromises.

  8. I hear you! The only answer I have to the piles of unwanted candy and junk toys is to let them have at it for the day, deal with the sugar overload moods and move on the next.

    I slowly pull fist fulls of candy from the piles and toss it when no one is looking. If I find a plastic junk toy on the floor I toss it again when no one is looking. A few days and things are sort of back to normal.

    I just step up the greens and fluids for meals. It does no good for me to tell all family my views on candy and plastic. They all have their own memories and what they think is important to recreate for the little ones. It’s just 1 day in the life. I don’t like it but there it is.

    Also want to say the garden is looking very nice! It’s just about time to start seeds here so spring is coming. Looking forward to more posts on the garden this year.

    OX Karyn

  9. meant to respond to this ages ago but real life has been wooing me away from the puter…

    i was always a fan of may baskets rather than easter baskets, and tried that for a few years, but relatives will send things for easter so i consolidated. i did the whole ‘grow your own easter basket’ with grass seeds for a few years – that was cool but i wasn’t together enough to sustain it. i did try to use this sort of holiday as an excuse to get things for the kid that i wanted to get her (or she needed) anyway, and for the most part her proper easter basket was full of small presents (also the tooth fairy left little presents, not money – a ring, or a lip balm, or a little change purse, like that). easter baskets were a good opportunity for sidewalk chalks, bubbles, pocket kites – warmer weather anticipation. (seeds, small person garden tools? magnifier, bug box, new hat, spotters guides to critters and plants…) i did get some candy stuff sometimes – but we lived near a cool candy shop that had creative stuff – hollow sugar eggs with bunny families inside, that sort of thing. she was allergic to some food dyes, so that was a natural limitation.

    and i got lucky. she was just really not that into choc. and she had a good self-regulatory switch (and only had to eat til she hurled once to get the picture =). before halloween i’d have to beg to throw out all the uneaten easter crap (likewise halloween candy come spring), when we had any, and when she got older and i ran out of creativity she was really bummed when she got easter baskets with just candy in, no presents. that was the sweetness, for her. and i think sometimes we tried to also think about making small baskets or other crafty things for other people and to decorate the house so it was more a seasonal excitement thing than a loot/chocolate reception frenzy. the magic cabin catalog was a source of lots of ideas.

    i think i didn’t limit chocolate in any way (in any rules-based way) – other than she had to avoid things with certain dyes, which she was cool with surprisingly young. the only thing i really imposed parentally was that treats weren’t ever really bought one-per-person (till she was older – 5ish-6ish? and not always then). we would get an ice cream cone to share, or cupcake/etc to share – probably also with choc, but memories are somewhat fuzzy. i didn’t make a big deal about it, it was just a given – ‘let’s get an ice cream’ or whatever. i’d just get one of something and we’d snarfle joyfully. this might have had a positive effect on attitudes to consumption generally, dunno. (and portions are so huge, and littles often don’t finish things anyway…)

    sorry for the ramble – i think my point, if i have one, is that the hallmark holidays can be got through without gnashing of teeth in spite of parental cultural differences and well-meaning relatives – it just does take a little more on-purpose-ness and consultation than expected.

    compromise i could talk about for ages but won’t (you’re welcome) – but i will say that the real thing is excellent, beautiful, rare, difficult… but often what people do/discuss is more along the lines of mutual extortion (i’ll do this thing i don’t like for you, and then you do something you don’t like for me) – and so for years i hated the idea and thought i was incapable. single motherhood suited me very well in this regard =).

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