The other day, Chooch’s class got to do the Santa Shop thing. I took him to school with a check in the envelope the school sent home with him, which had room to list who we wanted the kid to shop for, and how much to spend on each person.
Henry figured $3 was enough for everyone, but I wanted very badly to scrawl “Sky’s the limit” next to “Mom” and “.05” next to “Dad.” We also included Blake, Henry’s sister and mom, and Tommy and Jessy got to go under the “special friends” category. Special friends? Isn’t that what the dirty drunk down the street says to all the little girls to get them to lift their dresses?
I have no idea what was going through Chooch’s mind when it was his turn to peruse the tables of merch. He brought back a bag of crap, obviously – I wouldn’t expect anything more from Santa Shop – but the problem was that I wasn’t sure how the crap was supposed to be distributed. Whatever he got for me (and it was the most expensive thing he bough according to the tally on the returned envelope!), he immediately snatched and disappeared into his room with it.
Then there was a hot pink rubber popper, the likes of which I haven’t seen since 1989-era gumball machines.
“That’s for Tommy!” he yelled. Of course it is! He’s a hunter, I’m sure he can find a use for it. (And once he does, I’m calling PETA.)
A tiny alien attached to a parachute, just what Blake always wanted.
Some small stuffed toy, which was originally for Aunt Kelly, but then it was for Grandma Judy. In the end, Chooch seemed to have claimed it for himself. So I don’t know.
Jessy got probably the nicest thing out of the lot – a set of very kawaii erasers, which I’m sure is something she waits for every night on QVC. “Oh please let Smiling Ice Cream Cone Eraser hour be on tonight!” I imagine she says every night when she dons her Hello Kitty robe and curls up with her manga collection.
And of course – cat toys. He went .50 cents over budget for motherfucking cat toys! Ew, I was so pissed.
“It’s not about the gifts or the money,” Henry reasoned with me over the phone. “It’s about the learning experience and independence of shopping alone.” Oh well look at Mr. Parenting Handbook. Easy for him to say when he’s not the one who wrote the fucking check to fund this educational experience!
The cats fucking loved their little plush mice, though.
Thirty seconds later, Chooch ripped the tail off one (a toy, not a cat) and then also broke his stuffed toy. (It’s some garishly colored insect – a dragonfly maybe?)
When I was a kid, I bought much better gifts. What? I did! And I’m sure none of it ever turned anyone’s skin green.
“Hey,” I said, holding up the bag. “You didn’t get anything for daddy?”
“Yeah I did,” Chooch replied snottily, sitting on the couch eating a candy cane.
“Well what is it?” I asked, looking in the bag again to see if I missed something. Like an invisible fence for daddies.
“This candy cane!” Chooch said irritably, plucking it from his mouth to show me.
When Henry came home from work that day, Chooch wanted to show him what he got me so he brought it back downstairs all secretly. Then, standing three feet away from me, he hoarsely whispered to Henry, “It’s for mommy.”
“I know,” Henry whispered back.
“It’s a snowman!” Chooch continued in a loud whisper.
“I know,” Henry answered, not bothering to whisper now.
“Don’t tell her what it is! It’s for Christmas.”
At least he brought home change.