The Great Hanukkah Melt-Down

A friend and fellow blogger had the brilliant idea of bringing together the Jewish blogging community by creating #hanukkahhoopla – an opportunity for those of us of the Jewish faith to blog about Hanukkah this holiday season. I’m jumping in with a little kvetch about Hanukkah melt-downs. There is also a nifty give-away tied in to this post (please see below & don’t forget to comment!)

Holy shit my kids are so freaking crazy. So. Freaking. Crazy.

I mean they are really, really bat shit crazy sometimes.

Tonight was the second night of Hanukkah. My kids are like aggressive animals about Hanukkah presents. It’s not like they are in need of more toys or books or anything whatsoever. And it’s not like they are brats on a regular basis. It’s the wrapping, the surprise, the suspense. It just gets under their skin. And the waiting until sundown is just too much.

(Aside: Last night, after the Eldest made a small complainy noise about wanting to open more presents after she had already opened a bunch from my brother & sister-in-law, my husband got The Concerned Psychotherapist look. I saw him take the Eldest aside and talk to her. I got his Marital Look of Disappointment thrown my way. It read: Reign these brats in. I know, I know. I break the one gift per night rule every year. It irks the husband.)

Anyhow, tonight was a whole new level of crazy. My father, Papa, took the kids to see the godawful new Chipmunk movie and brought them back home to give them his Hanukkah presents. (My husband was working late and thus didn’t get to see that they each got one and only one present) This is what ensued:

The Eldest got a really cool, but very goopey and smelly, Make Your Own Slutty Lip Gloss set. She was stoked.

The Middle Guy, whom you may remember from this post, got a Put It Together Yourself Solar System Mobile. Now let me tell you, this kid is completely obsessed with all things planetary. He also has extremely bad fine motor skills and the patience of a jittery heroine addict who needs a fix.

Here is an example of his dedication to the solar system:

Anyhow, the Middle Guy, who was still coming down off all the sugar that Papa gave him at the movies, had quite the reaction when he opened the gift. He tore half the paper off, saw a picture of the solar system, started screaming at the top of his lungs, ran to me and burst into tears of joy. Then he ran to Papa crying, Thank you, Papa, thank you!!” It was weird. Very, very weird.

The Eldest, who has Asperger’s, was completely freaked out by this display of Middle Guy emotion. She didn’t like the Middle Guy’s loud excitement, so she covered her ears and put her head down smack in the middle of her stinky, gooey lip gloss making stuff. Then, when she saw his tears of joy she launched into a 15 minute discussion about tear ducts, and the varying reasons that one might cry, and asked me ten to twenty times if she’s ever cried tears of joy.

The Littlest, seeing that the Middle Guy had gotten something with planets (a.k.a. colorful balls), abandoned his cool new recycling truck, and began to beg loudly, Gimme Sun! Gimme Juperterter! Gimme Saturn!

All the while I was trying to make dinner. I really wanted to get some chicken nuggets into the Middle Guy before his blood sugar plummeted even lower and there would be no return from the pool of tears/Solar System induced hysteria.

So Dear Old Papa tried to put the Put It Together Yourself Solar System Mobile together with the hysterical Middle Guy (whom I’d given two Calm Yourself Down Time Outs already). But Dear Old Papa is an engineer. And engineers are never in a rush. They analyze. They inspect. Not quite the speed of a hysterical glucose deprived freakish Middle Guy.

Here’s what it sounded like:

Middle Guy: (wailing) It’s never going to work. We’ll never figure it out!
Me: It’s okay. (Trying to shove a chicken nugget in his mouth) Just calm down.
Littlest: Gimme Sun! (Launching his body across the table) Gimme Jupiterter! Sun! Sun!
Eldest: Have I ever cried tears of joy? I think maybe in 2009! Maybe when you got me that Pillow Pet. I was really happy. I might have cried tears of joy. Remember?
Middle Guy: (whimpering) Papa, you’re doing it wrong! That’s not where Saturn goes!
Littlest: Gimme Shaturn! Gimme Sun!
Eldest: Can you help me with the lip gloss?
Papa: (Working quietly, trying his best)
Middle Guy: (Crying) The labels won’t stick! OH NO WHERE IS VENUS?!
Littlest: (Running out of the room with tiny, sized for choking model Venus)

And so it went until the solar system was put together, albeit crooked and with labels falling off. Exhausted, the Middle Guy retired to the sofa with a book about the solar system as the Littlest tried his darndest to sneakily pull the tiny planets off the newly constructed solar system. Dear Old Papa, lips shiny with slutty pink hand-made lip gloss, took his leave of the hysteria, and I wrapped up the second night of Hanukkah with thoughts of a gin & tonic.

Thank God I will be at work for the third night of Hanukkah. Good luck, honey!

By the way, #HanukkahHoopla would not be possible with out the generosity of our sponsors.  I would like to thank Streit’s and Doni Zasloff Thomas a.k.a. Mama Doni, the lead singer/songwriter of The Mama Doni Band for providing each of the 16 bloggers involved in #HanukkahHoopla with a little cyber-swag. Their cross-promotional alliance is designed to celebrate Jewish culture with the young generation, a mission of both Mama Doni and Streit’s.

How can you win?  Leave me an awesome comment on.  On January 5, 2012, I will select one winner at random.  Be sure to subscribe to my blog or subscribe to the comments on this page so that you can find out if you are the winner!  If I don’t hear from you with 48 hours after announcing, I will select another winner.  Please don’t make me work hard to find you.

Prefer to be contacted via Twitter?  Leaver your Twitter handle in your comment and I will tweet you if you win.

Not interested in winning?  You can still leave a comment!  I love to read your words.  Just write: “No prize necessary” in your comment.

Thanks for reading and I look forward to your comments.

Happy Hanukkah!


48 thoughts on “The Great Hanukkah Melt-Down

  1. Haha! That is too funny! We totally break from tradition here. My husband has been working pretty late at night, and the last thing we want to do is give my daughter a gift at 8 at night (because my husband HAS to be around to see the gifts get opened) then send her off to bed. So, we’ve been giving her gifts at 8 in the morning before my husband leaves. It’s been really working at well. We light the menorah at night though. I’m not totally breaking with tradition!

    Happy Chanukah!

    • My quirky friend, I think that’s a brilliant idea. Who says the gifts have to be opened at night? I’m going to try to sell that idea to my husband!

      Happy Hanukkah to you!

  2. Pingback: A Little #HanukkahHoopla « Lessons From Teachers and Twits

  3. Omigosh! Have we not all have nights like this? I love the video of your son talking about the sun. You certainly captured a little of the chaos of the holiday! It certainly can be crazy-making. But, oh, it is a joyous crazy, no?

    Thank you for participating in this. The greatest, unanticipated little piece to our #HanukkahHoopla has been meeting all of you fabulous Jewish bloggers.

    • Hi Renee,

      I agree, it has been so much fun meeting the other #hanukkahhooplah bloggers.

      And to think just a few weeks ago I didn’t even know what a hash tag was!

      I hope you are feeling better & enjoying your family :)

  4. It may have been a crazy night (and we have *all* been there!) but I found it so touching how appreciative your kids – Middle Guy in particular, even if it was sugar induced – were. A sort of, not really, but we get together anyway because our kids are approximately the same age, friend recounted the story of this year’s first night of Hanukkah: her kids opened their present. Elder child went into a fit because said item was not on her list. Younger child didn’t like it and threw it at his parents. So, at least you didn’t have that on top of everything else!

  5. The whole time we watched the video, Henry is yelling bakaball, bakaball which is code for every type of ball known to man. Soccer, basket, base, foot, golf, bouncy, testes, etc… He was very upset when it ended.

    • Hey Robbie,

      Papa is pretty great when he’s willing to stay for more than an hour at a time. I usually have to feed him to keep him happy. The chaos can get too much for him. :)

      I hope you are having a same holiday, friend!

  6. Oh i love the video of Middle guy! And the fact that he appreciates his gifts. kids when they do that melt my heart! and then i’m laughing (with you of course) in regards to the whole engineer trying to put together a model and “Give me Jupiterer”! thank you for my daily dose of crazy fun

    • Brianne, I was blown away when he freaked like that. The tears of joy were rad. The look of disdain when I gave him a chess set last night? Not so cute. But who wants a chess set? Dumb me.

      I hope your Christmas is excellent with that beautiful babe!

  7. Pingback: Candle 3: #HanukkahHoopla « Lessons From Teachers and Twits

  8. This brings back soooo many memories that I was sure I had buried completely! Somehow you have helped transform them into amusement. Thanks!

  9. I thought I was reading something about my own family. Finally, a family that behaves in a normal way, and not like an old Hollywood sitcom. The assembly of the planets reminds me of so many frustrating experiences of toys that did not measure up to their commercials. Do you remember the phrase about “wanting the moon?” Well, when I was a baby, I literally wanted the moon, and screamed all night because my parents would not give it to me. Then I wailed because they would not let me play with the garbage. Ah, childhood!

  10. I love your girl thinking she MAYBE cried tears of joy in 2009.

    And I kind of want Jupeterer, too. It sounds way cooler than Pluto.
    Which turned out to not even BE a planet, anyway.

    So cheers to surviving Night 2 and to being wise enough to work on the third night.
    (Side note: gin and tonic is never a bad idea.)


    • Julie,

      The kid forgets nothing. It’s kind of brutal and kind of wonderful all at the same time.

      And yeah, poor Pluto. Demotions are rough.

      I hope you have a merry Christmas filled with glog and flogging ladies. Or leaping lizards…


  11. Your post sounded as chaotic as the kids! Great writing. Happy Hanukkah! Our multi-ethnic family has a few celebrations including a second Ukrainian Xmas a couple weeks later so the chaos runs wild at our house into the beginning of January. Oh well! The kids love it.

    No prize necessary for me. I’m just here to say hi and wish you well for the holidays.

    • Thanks for stopping by!

      Merry Christmas & Merry Ukrainian Christmas to you! I can imagine how stoked your kids must be to celebrate Christmas twice. How does Ukrainian Christmas differ from traditional Xmas?

      • The celebration is on the eve instead of the day. There is a special meal with 11 meatless dishes that are served in a specific order. Traditionally, it is also a time to spoil the farm animals (or pets). Under the tablecloth is hay and there is a special pretzel-like center piece. The tree is decorated with silver and gold thread to represent a story when an angel takes the form of a spider to help a kind/poor family out and covers their tree with silver and gold. Our Xmas spider also leaves gifts for the kids but that’s just our family tradition.

  12. Oh My Gosh, I felt like I was right there in the middle of this! Love it :) L.’s solar system knowledge never ceases to amaze me…I want him to be an astronomer and name a star after his mama! And Miss R.’s reaction reminds me of El’s…what are the 20 million ways we can connect something going on RIGHT NOW with some long, lost thought/memory from the past – like a giant dot-to-dot. T. is just trying to keep up with his sibs!

    Happy Hanukkah to you all! (It’s funny – we have “adopted” the tradition of opening one present a night leading up to Christmas in order to avoid the over-the-top-I-think-I’m-going-to-explode excitement of opening 5 presents at once.. I guess even the one present is a lot! The thought was that maybe crazy spread over 8 days is better than crazy at once?) And no prize for me…I just wanted to “visit” your “zoo” today :P- haha!

    • Hi Aud,

      Thank you so much for stopping by the petting zoo! It’s comforting to hear that R.’s way of interacting with the present moment is similar to E’s. There’s no memory that can’t be recalled with a little effort. Pretty amazing.

      I think Foundation School may have rubbed off on you a little bit & that’s why you’re spreading the gifts out over a number of days ;)
      xo to you & yours!!

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