I’ll be adding to this as Christmas goes on, but I figured I could share what Jingles will be up to for the 2016 Christmas season. (Okay, really, Plus One will add to it for me, because computer stupid Q.)
First, Jingles had to become poseable. Get some floral wire and velcro. Rip a tiny bit of his seams at his arms and legs. I did it near the top joints in his red part. Then, cut the floral wire to fit his length. Stitch it closed. Hot glue (or be smart and buy velcro with a sticky back) to his white mittens. Yay – poseable elf!
Next, I had to plan ahead. This isn’t always my strong suit. But, I’m so afraid it will be Bubba’s last year really believing in the magic of Santa. So, I did it.
I ordered snowflake balloons from Oriental Trading. (Plus One here. These are the worst tasting balloons ever. I can’t feel my lips and my mouth tastes like gasoline. Q agrees. Try Amazon for these instead.)
I’m prone to leaving a load in overnight. I need to do this one when I don’t need to do laundry the next day.
Bury him in a bowl or canister of sugar.
Hide him in a stack of toilet paper.
Hide him in my coffee cups.
Hide him in a tissue box.
Feed the ducks
Make blue jello, and get some rubber duckies. Luckily, I had leftovers from Smash-N-Break’s birthday. Set the Jello with the ducks in it overnight. I then enlisted Plus One’s help one morning to have Jingles sit on the edge of the Jello, throwing croutons onto the Jello.
Reading a story to stuffed animals
Set up a cocoa bar.
I found a recipe online and will set it up the night before, so it’s ready for them in the morning.
Wrap him in lights trying to decorate.
Bring out the Elf movie, and have him sitting ready to watch it with the food Buddy makes.
You’ll need to make spaghetti the night before. You’ll also need syrup, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, mini marshmallows, and chocolate fudge pop-tarts.
Have him leave a note “Write on! Your good behavior hasn’t been overlooked. Here are some Christmas pencils!”.
I LOVE Dad jokes. I googled a bunch of Christmas Dad jokes. I put together a list. I cut out squares of two-sided scrapbook paper. Then, I printed the jokes on labels. One side was the question and the other was the answer. Tie it together with a ribbon. I’ll link to my Joke List once it’s done.
Movie night, with Jingles spilling popcorn.
Hide him in a jar for the kids to carry around and play with him. Leave a note “I’ve stuffed myself in a jar so you can take me with you! Don’t pop my lid, or I’ll fall out and lose my magic! I’m so excited to see what you show me today!”
Get a Mylar balloon. Tie underwear to it. Put him in the underwear.
Something that I’ve kept abreast of are grandparents’ rights. It happens when your mother-in-law (MIL) decides she knows better than you what is best for your child. You know, the child she tried to deny was your husband’s baby. I’ll eventually get to my point about that. First, allow me to introduce MIL. I’d use her name, but Google and anonymity.
In The Beginning
Short story time! Plus One is his mother’s only child. When Plus One was 14, she and his dad divorced. She didn’t date again that Plus One is aware of. She did commit what is now known as parental alienation. Even I heard about what an SOB her ex was, how he never paid child support, how he never kept visitation, how she’s sure he cheated on her, blah blah blah. I’ve met my father-in-law. Could he have done more with his son? Probably. But, MIL prevented it whenever possible. Hard to fight for more in those days, too. So many states were so pro-mom and golden uterus. Suffice it to say that my father-in-law is a decent guy who did try, and has been SO GOOD to both Plus One and I when we desperately needed it, and has been a good grandfather to our kids.
But, she didn’t really LIKE Plus One all that much either, unless he was doing something that made her look better. She DQ’d him in a swim meet when he was like 1 body length ahead of someone else for an imaginary second-pull underwater. Even his coach agreed there was no second-pull.
Then, Plus One meets me. His parents have been divorced 8 years. In that time, he had become the man of the house. Mom needs to vent about Dad? Plus One hears it. Mom needs to vent about work? Plus One hears it. Mom needs someone to be her Emotional Prozac? Plus One! Come here! In other words, emotional spouse. He was hers. And I was an interloper. She was nice enough at first. I knew she wasn’t a fan of me. One example – I had a severe kidney infection. Like, raging fever, hallucinations, etc. Plus One fell asleep on the couch with me. I’m SICK. Nothing happened. She flipped her shit about how it was disrespectful. Okay, her house her rules. I can dig it. But, don’t tell me the next time I see you about how you used to send Plus One to his girlfriend’s house in middle school or high school when her parents weren’t home, and she would come over here and sleep/spend time when you weren’t home. Isn’t that special? (Church lady voice) She also invited an old ex-girlfriend was still friends with over for a weekend. A weekend I was down from college. And wanted Plus One to spend time with said girlfriend. Funnily enough, I never saw her visit again. And, I KNOW this was just a friends thing with Plus One. They’re still friends. But, I am 99% sure that was the only time his mom reached out to her. When Plus One and I were in our home together, she would still call him to come over and take the trash out, take her tires out, mow, etc.
Here Comes The Bride
Fast forward – we get engaged. We tell Plus One’s family. Lots of congratulations from everyone except MIL. She is frowning and playing with her mashed potatoes. She’s obviously upset. Planning the wedding, she tells me that the wedding isn’t about the bride and groom, but the parents of the bride and groom. She then continues by telling me that the most important person in attendance is…..the mother of the groom because she’s losing the most. Now, I have all boys. I will be the mother-in-law one day. This is so obviously NOT TRUE. We discuss the guest list. I was bad – I didn’t allow her to invite anyone. To be fair, neither did my parents, but I knew she was mad. She told me she needed to have her friends around her if we were going to invite “her ex”. Not Plus One’s dad. Her ex. Not what’s best for your shared child. I held firm. She whines to Plus One to not invite his father. He tells her that if it’s that big of an issue, she doesn’t have to come to the wedding. She decides to threaten to sue for back child support “so it’s uncomfortable for him”. I’m guessing she either 1) decided not to, 2) there was no back child support, or 3) found out it would go to Plus One and dropped it. My guess is either 2 or 3. I don’t have enough faith in her as a person for 1. I show her my wedding dress while it’s still in alterations, trying to include her. Her response? “Oh, you’re wearing white.” While planning our wedding, we also bought our first house. Her response wasn’t happiness. It was, and this is a direct quote, “You will fall flat on your face within 6 months and THAT WOMAN isn’t allowed to move in here when that happens!” She lurves me so much.
Our wedding – she behaved. Well, mostly. The only pictures I have of her smiling is when she and Plus One are standing at the altar alone. She has a creepy mega-grip on his arm. Everywhere else, it’s either frowns or an obvious fake/forced/barely there smile. Yes, we got married in the stone age before digital cameras, but come on. Every picture but the ones with just her son? Also, she walked around our reception asking if anyone had “dirt on Q” that they wanted to share.
Before The Kidlets
One Christmas, Plus One finally had enough seniority at the police department to take time off at Christmas. Now, we had been together for almost 7 years. In those 7 years, we had spent ZERO time with my family or his dad’s side of the family for holidays. Well, we did spend one Christmas with his Dad. I hadn’t met him yet, and we were getting married in a year. So, she had had 6 Christmases, 7 Thanksgivings, 7 Easters, etc. When Plus One had to work, I was sure to go to the holidays in his place, and we found time to celebrate with his family around his work hours. Mostly – I mean, he did work graveyards and swings a lot, so it could be challenging. So, Plus One tells her that we are having Christmas with my family. My brothers were flying into Colorado. We had a niece who was almost one that we wanted to meet. I was so excited. MIL gets angry and tells me I need to learn to be fair with holidays. Excuse me, what, twatwaffle? Ummm, fair would mean 7 years of holidays with just my family, and then 7 years of holidays with just Plus One’s dad’s side of the family, and then 7 years of holidays alone. She asserted it again that I needed to be fair with the holidays, that she was alone and my mother had other children. No, bitchflake, you don’t get to claim all holidays for all eternity because you got divorced and only had one child. Life doesn’t work that way.
Plus One gets a chief’s commendation at work. Big deal – ceremony type award. Families are invited. It was for a call that had a bad result in that a child drowned in a creek, nothing he could do to change that. Plus One had the child in the creek call ongoing with a wildfire burning, and handled it like a champ. MIL tells me that Plus One really shouldn’t get an award because the child died. Something 100% out of his control to her meant he shouldn’t be recognized for being a badass dispatcher and handling all other emergencies while taking a very difficult and challenging call.
I finish college and we move to the other side of the state. Just in case I wasn’t aware of how badly she hated me and how much she did complain about me to others, one of her friends was quick to confirm it. I was in line at a grocery store buying some packing type supplies. Lines were long, so I’m chatting with strangers. If you haven’t noticed, I like to talk a lot. One woman commented on what I was buying, and asked if I was moving. I said yes, and named the town we were moving to. Now, it was a small town that many people wouldn’t just move to. The woman looked at me and said “OH! You’re the bitch stealing MIL’s son!” She knew enough about me, what I looked like, where we were moving, and had heard enough “bad things” to warrant calling me a bitch in public. I did respond “You say that like it’s a bad thing?” but I was fuming inside. Plus One had made it clear to his family that this was me moving and he was just having to follow, and she had obviously lapped it up like a dog that I was “forcing” him to do something else.
Plus One graduates from college. He went to school while working full time. We moved across the state in the process. I’m super proud of him. We go to his graduation. He is like 5 people away from walking across the stage to graduate. She takes THAT MOMENT to go call a restaurant for a reservation that was still 2 hours away! She missed it! Then had the audacity to ask me NOT TO TELL HIM! I did, but not right away.
The Crotch Fruit Ripens
Once upon a time, I was pregnant with Bubba. We had tried for 3 years to get pregnant. No, we didn’t share our struggle publicly. But, come on. It should come as no surprise to anyone that we announced a pregnancy after being married 6 years and together for 10 years. When Plus One called his mother, instead of the normal “Congratulations”, he got this: “(silence)…A baby, huh. Well, you know Q was working out of town a lot in January.”
Now, Plus One, God love him, isn’t fluent in bitchspeak. I, however, am. I knew what she meant was “it’s her audit manager’s baby!” Plus One instead say “I know! Isn’t it great!?” She couldn’t really argue with that statement. She even sent a card to say congratulations. Oh, wait, no. It didn’t say congratulations. Instead it said “A baby. Wow.” I’m her favorite! Can’t you tell!? I snatched Plus One and magiced him away with my fancy hoo-ha. It’s sparkly. Then, I “made” him a college graduate, got him a white collar job, forced him to move away from a dead-end town, and made something out of him other than “her son”.** I’m awful. I know.
Anyway, fast forward to having Bubba. That’s a whole dramatic issue of his mother cannot handle not being the center of attention and made me smack Plus One in the face mid-contraction due to her antics. Seriously. I didn’t want her at the hospital during my induction. Plus One did. In the interests of being “fair”, I allowed it with the understanding that she wasn’t to see me until baby was here. I knew she’d like seeing me in pain. Plus, stress stalls labor. That was ignored, and she was back in the room. However, she didn’t get to see me in too much pain. As soon as she was in the room, my contractions stopped dead. I was on pitocin, and they stopped dead. She’d leave, they started back up. Our biggest request was she was to handle her side of the family, and Plus One would share information with his father, so that he could share it with his side of the family. She’s been divorced for 18 years at this point. Not a huge expectation to allow the sides to find out from their respective person. She calls my father-in-law’s mother to share that I’m being induced, and am in labor. After being explicitly asked not to do it, she did it anyway. This upset my father-in-law, who called Plus One to complain. I’m mid-contraction and can’t talk. He’s on the phone with his dad because his mom HAS TO do things like this. He finally realizes I need his help counting through the contraction. Trying to make up for his huge lack of judgment and the fact that his mother has proven me right yet again, Plus One starts holding up fingers for me to breathe through like a quarter inch from my face. Not being able to talk, I just hit him to make him back up. She also had two grandma showers for my baby. I wasn’t invited or aware of them, but that’s okay. I’m not tacky. Well, not THAT tacky. I do have metal yard art that I find adorable, and Plus One finds tacky. While I’m recovering from my emergency c-section, she’s bringing out thank you notes for gifts I’ve never seen for people I’ve never met and expecting me to write them.
Oh No You Didn’t
Then, she starts her mental abuse on my child. Mama Bear decides to roar. When her ugliness was directed at me, fine. My kid? All bets are off. Bubba is named after Plus One’s dad and grandfather. MIL hears his name and announces, while holding my hours old newborn, “I’m just going to call him Nabisco instead of that name.” (Nabisco. I still don’t understand that comment.) Oh, Q has a raging fever and an infection at her surgical site? Please sit next to me, Plus One, and I’ll hold your hand as comfort. No, no, don’t go towards your wife or child. Pacifiers are bad. Dirt is bad. Shouldn’t you do this instead of that? Sure, I’ll visit to see him, but can I wait until my son is there, too? Oh, my son is here! I’m going to ignore everyone but my son! Use a thimble to cut his gums to alleviate his teething pain. Just rub it back and forth until you see blood. Tee hee, I always have rights if I don’t like what you are doing. Isn’t he a little small? Plus One was never that small as a baby. You aren’t going to raise him as a Republican are you? Oh, no, I don’t really want to hold him. Let me sit by my son and hold his hand instead. My son needs a backrub. Come here, Plus One, *I’ll* rub your back. Do you clean, Q? Oh, with nasty chemicals. Uh uh uh (that disapproving sound some people are masters at). Bubba was about 6 months old the last time she laid eyes on him. Back and forth issues occur. We sent our boundaries (which really were simple things like don’t talk so negatively about my wife that a stranger calls her a bitch, and other things). She refuses to respond, insisting it’s abusive. Well, cuntcake, if it’s abusive to have boundaries, imagine how abusive the behavior that is causing the boundaries has been. We eventually send a cease and desist when she started sending us junk mail certified. She did it a few times. Once, I signed for it. About 2 or 3 other times, I refused it. But, since the first one was junk mail, I don’t really care what was in the other ones. She also sent Bubba a birthday gift after not seeing him for 6 months (or being interested in him the first 6 months of his life). RTS that sucker, too. No relationship with the parents means no relationship with the kid(s).
Negativity Be Gone!
After a full year of no-contact (it was glorious), I got a unicorn up my ass and decided to reach out to see if she had had time to reflect on missing her son and grandson. I knew she didn’t want me involved, but I’m part and parcel to the family. You get me, too, or you get none. I sent an olive branch email. Her response was to have a divorce mediator contact us. When I contacted them, they stated that it was to mediate and sign a contract for her relationship with her grandchild and to mediate a potential divorce. News to me! News to Plus One! Needless to say, we declined that gracious opportunity. And this is when I learned about grandparents’ rights. Sad when you have to have an attorney retained just in case your batshit crazy mother decides to force you to legally have a relationship with her.
It’s been mostly silent from us from then on. We saw her once when Plus One’s grandfather broke his hip. I emailed her when pregnant with Smash-N-Break. She said best wishes. We moved out of state to Texas. She broke her silence to wish us a Happy President’s Day. No, I’m not kidding. 7 years of silence, and HAPPY PRESIDENT’S DAY! She has sent her flying monkey minions our way to tell us to bury the hatchet, be the bigger person, she doesn’t know what she’s done, is this Plus One talking or is it Q, she didn’t raise you like this, blah blah blah blah blah. I told you my hoo-ha is sparkly!
Anyway, I’ve rambled. I’ll put part 2 of my opinion on Grandparents’ Rights in a new post.
**I didn’t make him do anything. He is an awesome person who finally had someone supporting him instead of dragging him down into the dirt about how he couldn’t do whatever he set his mind to. Seriously, in my opinion, his mom is as abusive as someone who beats the crap out of their kids. She did a number on his mental health. He’s stronger than her and that, though. He’s healed a lot. He’s a great man. I’m so proud to call him my husband.
***Plus ones note: I post all of the blog posts because I haven’t taught Q how to yet. I didn’t edit anything and agree with it all. My mother did everything she said, and I was a jackass. I am still trying to apologize for what I did. Q deserved better, I needed to be a man.
A mom of three boys, two with special needs, before she gets her morning cup of coffee. Autism, no coffee, lots of love, tons of fun.