Santa, you have your marching orders. Good luck.
It was a good week. Finn was able to demonstrate in person for my folks the fact that he can't do anything upon returning to the house until after he takes his pants off and places them on the stairs. In return, his Grandfather dutifully forced him into the bottom of a sleeping bag and dragged him all over the house (as requested/demanded) and his Grandmother helped him make a gingerbread house.
When they left, I asked him what his favorite part of the visit was and he replied that it was giving Grandma & Grandpa hugs & kisses. I found this questionable, since we had also gone up in a helicopter for his Grandfather's 70th birthday, but he was only willing to concede that perhaps those were of equal importance.
One thing we didn't do this year that we did during the grandparents' visit last year? Purchase & decorate a Christmas Tree. This was due in no small part to the fact that I am apparently completely unable to control my stress levels when placed in close vicinity to a grabby 4-year-old and a collection of delicate glass ornaments.
This is clearly a character flaw on my part, as I've been informed by my wife. Though to be fair, I get equally anxious when placing a grabby four-year-old in close proximity to taco shells that I'm trying to open. And that's probably not entirely warranted. I apparently need to learn to relax when Finn is performing delicate operations and let him learn on his own.
To "help" me with this, Kitty has attempted to walk me through an exercise called, "What's the Worst that could Happen"? As it turns out, this exercise is rigged to make me look like a jerk. For example, using the taco shells above, the worst that can happen if he breaks one is one less taco shell, whereas the worst that could happen if I am too domineering would (apparently) be that he would be screwed up for life, never want to try anything new, and resent his father.
Or so I've been told. Oddly, that's the worst that can happen with pretty much all of the scenarios that I've been walked through. Very coincidental.
But, I'm trying to relax. Even when Finn ignored the special box of "Finn ornaments" that I put aside specifically for him while decorating the tree to zoom in on the glass box, I took a few deep breaths and (mostly) managed not to yell & scream. Not a perfect performance, but I was pretty proud of myself. Because no one cried. This year.
Just yesterday, he asked if he could play with a glass ornament that was shaped like a rocket ship, which I'm convinced was a request designed specifically to test my self control. We had a brief discussion about how that was a very special Christmas ornament that we bought for his first Christmas. That it had his name on the bottom and that I couldn't fix it if it broke. After multiple assurances on his part that he wouldn't break it, I had to take a deep breath, ask myself what would be the worst thing that could happen, and let him play.
Turns out that the worst thing that can happen is that he can break the ornament roughly five minutes later. And then spill a glass of water on me as I tried to carefully pick up the glass and avoid yelling "I TOLD YOU SO"in his sad little, remorseful face. Which I did (avoid, that is). Admirably.
So in the end, we lost an ornament, but hopefully I was able to delay screwing-him-up-for-the-rest-of-his-life for one more day, as it did lead to a productive conversation about accidents and replacing broken items. As far as the "special" ornament goes, it's only fair to point out that what I told him wasn't exactly true. This wasn't actually the first ornament we bought for him - it was a replacement for the first ornament we bought him.
Since we had broken the original last year. Probably playing with it.
So it looks like it's time for another "first ornament." We'll probably just keep that little fact from him for now. After all, what's the worst that could happen?