Christmas Toy Box

Early in our marriage, we spent a few years of tubular living. Our trailer 12′ x 60′ with an 8×10 push-out addition. This is not a lot of space for two adults, a baby, and two St. Bernards.

When Amanda was a toddler, she was very prone to ear infections. These frequently went from she was fine and happy to she was feverish and screaming in pain in a matter of a few hours. All too often this led to midnight trips to the ER for treatment.

That’s what happened around December 23rd in the late 70s. But this time she developed a nasty cough along with her other symptoms. So in addition to a course of antibiotics, she also got a cough medicine. With the excitement of the impending arrival of Christmas, Amanda was also not sleeping well, and the cough medicine led to toddler hallucinations after bedtime on Christmas Eve. I assure you, that was not fun!

Russell had built a toy box for her for Christmas. We didn’t own any fancy woodworking tools, so the toy box was a simple pine affair. But remember I said we lived in a trailer? It’s pretty hard to hide something that big in a home that size. My idea was to hide it in plain sight – simply put it in the tip-out and cover it with a blanket. Treat it like that big thing was always there, and the child wouldn’t notice it. Believe it or not, that actually worked well.

So back to Christmas Eve. Amanda’s screaming, not because she’s in pain, but because “there’s birdie feet on my blanket.” YIKES!! It was after midnight when I finally got her calmed back down and laid down (again) for the night.

Here’s the thing. Santa couldn’t come until after she was asleep, of course. And if I had to walk back and forth in front of her bedroom door carrying things and she wasn’t sound asleep, I’d wake her and both blow the Santa thing and risk more birdie feet. But I was exhausted, too. I had to get some sleep ASAP. (Side note: Amanda wasn’t the best sleeper under normal circumstances, and I’ve always needed a lot of sleep. She did learn early on that she had to stay in her bed and be quiet, but she didn’t have to necessarily sleep immediately upon being put down.) What was the answer to this puzzle?

I put on my warm bathrobe over my jammies, went to bed and turned my side of the electric blanket on high. I figured I’d be sweating enough to wake me up in a few hours, and I could make sure that Santa filled the stockings, placed the presents under the tree, and enjoy the milk & cookies.

That, too, worked like a charm. Christmas morning arrived to happy smiles all around, and the toy box was a delight. And well used for decades.
Other posts you might enjoy…

Christmas stockings

Christmas stockings

1 comment to Christmas Toy Box

  • Jumbo might debate how well used the toy box was, or at least how properly used it was.

    On at least one occasion I definitely forced him to get in it, shut the lid and sat top of it until he learned the alphabet, or learned to read a particular book. I would sit on top reading or coloring and periodically advising him that I didn’t care if he cried–he wasn’t coming out until he did as I instructed.

    Any wonder why Jumbo was never a big fan of traditional education? Or why I never, ever, even for a second considered a career in teaching?

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>