I don't consider myself a "helicopter parent," but if you were to ask my parents what they thought of my mommy-ing, they'd probably say I have too many silly rules about cookies and napping. And the one thing they'd complain about that's bugging them lately: she needs to let that child stay up later, especially on Christmas Eve. Let me explain. My folks, who like to maintain fairly traditional Italian holiday customs, enjoy hosting Christmas Eve at their home. They fry enough fish to feed 20 people and get a kick out of decorating every inch of their house. We don't sit down to eat until 8 or 8:30 and, if they had their way, we'd attend midnight mass and go back to their home for even more dessert. As much as I love my parents, their way of doing things on Xmas isn't exactly compatible with having a 2-year-old. And I can't help but wonder: is there a point where new parents should start taking over the holidays?
Before you remind me that it's totally horrible to snatch a holiday from two people who raised you and deserve to fry as much fish once a year as they damn well please, know that I know. I know. I think my dad has a really great and valid point when he reminds me that my brother and I spent each Christmas Eve when we were younger driving two hours away to visit relatives, and that we often didn't get home until 1 a.m. When my parents wanted to go to their friends' houses and stay an extra hour to have one more drink, well, we were staying, too. Like it or not. Bedtime, be damned.
And I know all about how babies in Paris go to bars with their parents and learn how to sleep in their strollers because they don't have any other choice. I'm starting to wonder if my brother and I and every baby that has ever lived in Paris aren't just "go-with-the-flow" types?
I ask that question because here is what happens when my toddler doesn't stick to her bedtime routine: she wakes at 7, regardless of whether she goes down at 8 or 1 a.m., and then proceeds to torture us by crying, screaming, and acting like an absolute lunatic until she has her nap again -- which won't happen for at least another 9 hours.
Since we spend Christmas morning and day at my in-laws, I can't imagine how dragging her kicking and screaming to their house is any more fair than letting her stay up at all hours at my parents' home the night before. Oh, I didn't mention that she refuses to nap anywhere else but in her crib? Yeah, there's that, too.
Thus, the only solution: Christmas needs to move to our home. If they want it, all parents with young children should be passed the holiday-hosting baton. The pressure to leave a guest's home at a certain time and battle traffic is eliminated. Pajamas can be put on in a timely fashion. And parents can maintain the routines they need while also getting to kick back, relax, and enjoy the holidays.
If you have young children, do you prefer hosting holidays or celebrating them elsewhere?
Image via zaimoku/woodpile/Flickr