One of my most-dreaded holiday traditions has begun. The week of Thanksgiving, my third grader presented her three-year-old sister with a hand-wrapped gift, the contents of which were completely unknown to me. As I watched my three-year-old excitedly unwrap a wrinkled, half-filled coloring book her big sister got two Christmases ago, I knew it was upon us; for the next month, various members of the family would be intermittently receiving bulky packages containing a smorgasbord of cast-off items from around the house. When it is your turn to play "gift" recipient, you are expected to respond with an appropriate level of effusiveness and surprise. It all started three Christmases ago...
My daughter was five years old and extremely preoccupied with Christmas presents, as one might expect. Since it is a long stretch from Black Friday to Christmas Day, she came up with a fun pastime to fill the giftwrapping void.
At least once a week, often once a day, she would collect items from around the house and either wrap them up or put them in our stockings, and then exclaim delightedly that we had to open our gifts.
As is the case with many parenting experiences, it was equal parts endearing and annoying. Particularly after the fourth time opening a package filled with coasters, tea lights, or one's own half-used moisturizer.
One particular Saturday morning, my daughter woke me up and invited me to come downstairs with her. Daddy and her three-month-old sister were sleeping peacefully in bed. As I was nearly always the parent allowed to sleep in late on the weekends, I thought it would be generous to allow my husband a few extra winks. You know, in the spirit of giving and all.
We crept quietly out of my bedroom and down the stairs. Once out of earshot, she began to shout excitedly, "Santa was here! He left presents for you and Daddy!"
I attempted to muster up some enthusiasm for this tiresome game, and poured myself some coffee as I dutifully joined my daughter under the tree. I halfheartedly opened my brightly wrapped gift, to discover some makeup and cough drops that she must have swiped while we were still asleep. Sneaky little bugger.
We let Daddy sleep until 8:30, and then she impatiently declared it was time to give him his gift from Santa. I heard the baby stirring, and agreed it was time to wake him up. I slid into bed next to my husband and my daughter assumed her traditional parent-wake-up position two centimeters from his face.
"Daddy! Daddy! Santa came and he brought you this present!" she said breathlessly, offering him the bundle. Groggily, he sat up and registered the situation, an unfortunate yet essential skill for all parents to develop, lest they be awakened in a stupor to deal with yet another bodily fluids crisis.
As he began to tear the paper off the top of his "present," I instantly recognized the bright orange cap poking out. I began to giggle uncontrollably. My confused husband continued to pull away the remaining paper until he revealed the much-needed and oft-used bottle of KY liquid lubricant. At this point I was hysterical, laughing so hard tears were rolling down my cheeks. I wasn't sure which was funnier, the look on my husband's face as he realized what his present was, or the mental image of my daughter craftily swiping the bottle of lube from our bedside table while we were sleeping.
Our five-year-old regarded us triumphantly. Kids have a way of knowing when they have done something inappropriate to make grown-ups laugh. If a grown-up is laughing that hard, it must be something really bad.
"It's bottom lotion, isn't it?" she asked knowingly. Because that is the logical conclusion a five-year-old would jump to: all things taboo lead to bottoms or poop. Given her tendency to label my ladyparts in the lump category of "bottom", she wasn't far off, and I became even more incoherent.
Our Secret Santa beamed with her ability to cause both her parents such glee, and continued to chant, "Bottom lotion! Bottom lotion!" It seemed that without even trying, she had come up with the perfect gift for Mommy and Daddy! Sing it with me ladies:
"All I want for Christmas is ... decreased vaginal dryness!"
I guess if your child is going to snoop around your night table while you sleep, they are bound to come across some goodies. And let's face it, along with the Lanolin, KY liquid lubricant is a postpartum mommy's best friend.
So to all the moms and dads out there, I'm wishing you much patience as you endure whatever potentially vexing holiday traditions your children are subjecting you to around the clock this season (Curious George's Christmas, anyone? I'd like to kill that monkey.), and of course, this final holiday wish: May your days be merry and lubricated.