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Some Assembly Required… December 20, 2007

Posted by emsgeiss in Humor & Satire, parenting & family, Uncategorized.
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This three-word phrase is one that instills in parents greater fear than a root canal. It is also a phrase that connotes a parental rite of passage, when the night before Christmas, after the wee ones are tucked in their beds envisioning sugar plums with one ear open for the sounds of hooves upon the roof, mom and dad are trying to quietly find the tiny screws (and a screwdriver with a small-enough nib), correctly sized batteries while reading pictogram directions that make no sense in any language.

After delivering naturally, going through months of changing diapers, occasionally being peed upon, pooped upon and spit up upon, nursing in the middle of the night, learning how to live with sleep deprivation, suffering alongside our son with immunizations and many other things that new parents endure, we thought that we had been initiated into parenthood. But no, the true initiation came on Christmas Eve.

After tucking our son back into his crib after returning home from midnight Mass, we scurried downstairs to start the parental assembly line. With the monitor turned up, praying that he didn’t awaken, we tore into the boxes sent by our son’s grandparents, ready and freed the toys that we’d bought from their hiding places to tackle the task ahead of us. Sure, we’d assembled toys and other things before, but on Christmas Eve, it’s different. There is the added pressure to not only get it all done before dawn, but to do so with extreme stealth so as not to break Santa’s spell. One toy, upon being assembled played its happy song loudly and we had to quickly find the off switch. We then sat, ears pressed to the monitor for any signs of stirring.

We have since learned how to navigate the Christmas Eve Challenge and for those parents who may be anticipating their first Christmas inititation, and seasoned ones who might need a bit of help to de-stress the Christmas Eve Challenge, I offer some tips:

  1. As soon as humanly possible, check the boxes for the tools you will need. There’s nothing like heading to the squeaky hall closet for the batteries in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve or trying to locate a teeny tiny Phillips-head screwdriver.
  2. Tell Daddy to skip the power tools and eat his Wheaties. Can’t use power tools when you’re on a stealth mission.
  3. Buy a ton of batteries in every conceivable size before Christmas Eve. You will need a nice arsenal of AAAs, AAs, Cs, Ds and 9-volts.
  4. Lube the closet door hinges in case you’ve forgotten to do 1 through 3.
  5. Make coffee (or tea) ahead of time…you will need it.
  6. Put on your pajamas before doing the toys, that way if the wee ones wake up, they won’t wonder why you’re not in your PJs like they are in the middle of the night. It also makes sneaking back to bed easier.
  7. Place all of your toy-building, Santa’s-Workshop-Annex tools in a small box and put it where you can get to it easily once the kiddies are tucked in and sound asleep.
  8. If the wee ones are old enough to have left milk and cookies out for Santa, don’t forget to make them disappear (whatever that means for you and your waistline), otherwise, it will be “a tell” that either there’s no Santa, or worse, in the morning, the wee ones may think that Santa didn’t like their little gift.
  9. Switch any on/off buttons to “off” before starting or turn the volume control to low, otherwise they might all start singing and moving at once in a grand chorus that’s bound to announce “Christmas is here, get out of bed!”
  10. At least one parent should get to bed to make it through at least one full sleep cycle (90 to 100 minutes in the average adult) before the little ones awaken.

And above all….Have a very merry Christmas.

Copyright © 2007 Erika-Marie S. Geiss



1. Arachne Jericho - December 20, 2007

I bookmarked this entry in del.icio.us. It may be useful to other folks. 🙂

Thanks for the valuable info! 😀

2. Soccer Mom - December 20, 2007

I can totally relate to this one! One year, I forgot to remove the cookies and milk before going to bed. I realized it as I heard the children stirring. I bolted down the stairs, crammed four cookies in my mouth at once and poured the now warm milk into a large potted plant.

Eating four cookies at once is neither easy nor fun. Gack!

3. emsgeiss - December 20, 2007

I can imagine! And how did the plant fare after the milk bath? I’d love any miracle cures for my plants. 😉

4. Soccer Mom - December 20, 2007

The plant was fine, just slightly smelly and these strange little gnats circled it for about ten days. I wouldn’t recommend it unless you need to feed a Venus Flytrap.

5. emsgeiss - December 20, 2007

ROTFLMAO! I can’t say that I have a Venus Flytrap…but after reading Bodie’s blog (http://kateboddie.blogspot.com/) I might be tempted to add it as a lawn minder. 😉

6. indianamatt - December 20, 2007

Great post. I suggest numerous treats/rawhides to keep the family dog busy. Otherwise the canine will be very interested in the change in behavior, at least until a leaf blows by a window sending the dog into a maniacal barking fit (waking the kids, of course).

7. emsgeiss - December 20, 2007

Matt…so very true! I completely forgot about the dog (and cats prone to tree climbing and loud, crashing ornament removal)! 🙂

8. Writing the Cyber Highway - December 21, 2007

Very funny! I remember when I was a child on Christmas morning. Either I was totally oblivious, or my parents were the best Santa(s) ever! My mom even wrapped a few of my presents from Santa in fancy wrapping paper (that she didn’t use on any of the other gifts) and put unique name tags and bows on the tops of the boxes. She also “wrote like Santa.” Ah, those were the days…

Awesome tips by the way 🙂

9. emsgeiss - December 21, 2007

Thanks! That’s so funny, my mom used to do the same thing! I imagine, that when our son’s bigger, I probably will too. 😉

10. Melaniehoo - December 21, 2007

I will bookmark this for future reference!

Soccer Mom – 4 cookies at once? Yikes!

11. swededad - December 25, 2007

One other piece of advice: don’t assemble them in a room that has a balcony where one’s daughter can lurk and observe.

In addition, one ought to classify anything that really takes a lot of work to assemble as something where the assembly is most of the fun and therefore it should be left to the children.

12. emsgeiss - December 26, 2007

Hi dad! For the record, I was not the lurking daughter, ’twas the babysis. 😉

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