Toddlers and Christmas go together like pickles and peanut butter. Sure, you can have the two together, but does the combination really mix?
Addie’s first Christmas as a toddler was very memorable… for us parents. For Addie? She doesn’t remember anything.
That Christmas was the first Christmas we spent completely away from our families, as in more than a thousand miles away from our families. It was supposed to be our first Christmas as a true nuclear family and we were looking forward to the occasion. Addie actually somewhat understood what Christmas was about. She didn’t completely grasp the whole Santa concept, but she grasped the concept of presents under the tree that were meant for her and likely filled with toys.
Christmas morning came and Addie began to open her presents one by one. She received presents from us, from both sets of grandparents, and from her aunts and uncles. She had so many presents that her pile of presents more than doubled Casey and mine and Casey’s presents combined.
The kid plugged away at unwrapping the gifts until she was finally done. When the last gift was unwrapped, Addie looked at the gifts and began pushing one of the two toy strollers she received and then she melted down. This meltdown ended up being one of the bigger meltdowns of her life.
The kid was overwhelmed from all the emotions that came with Christmas and it just became too much for her. There wasn’t anything else that set her off. There wasn’t a missing favorite food. She wasn’t being told she couldn’t do something she wanted to do. It was just a sudden meltdown of epic proportions.
This was that first year that Vivi had some comprehension of the Christmas holiday. She didn’t really understand what Santa was about, but she knew she wanted to sit in his lap and that he was the big guy who says, “yo-ho, yo-ho,” and brings presents to the house.
Vivi and Addie ended up with about the same number of presents and we pretty much let them unwrap their presents at their own pace. Casey and I didn’t have much unwrapping to do, so we just enjoyed watching the two kids as they discovered what they got for Christmas. Addie was done unwrapping presents in about 30 minutes. About 4 hours later, Vivi finally unwrapped her last gift.
The kid slowly and meticulously went through each of her presents until they were all gone. At the end of the ordeal, Vivi began to melt down the same way Addie had several years earlier. I rushed Vivi up to her bed for her afternoon nap and cut off the meltdown before things got too out of hand.
Two toddlers later we now know for sure that Christmas and toddlers don’t really mix.
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