Now Can I Open a "Real" Present?

Zack hugged himself on the sofa, rolling and moaning. "I don't feel gooooood," he whined, making sure he had my attention.

It's hard to stop my pre-Christmas momentum -- it's Christmas Eve, I have to clean everything up so that we can mess it all up tomorrow -- but it's the holidays so I find a way to roll myself into park and settle next to my little guy on the kitchen sofa.

Poor guy, of course he's feeling  sick.

He was up half the night asking if it was Christmas Eve YET.  Around 6:15 he finally got out of bed (and got me out of bed) egging himself on by this inflated expectation of getting a gush of joy from  opening a gift ANY GIFT today.

 I stalled him until about 7am, but but soon enough he ripped into a present and  for about three minutes it was enough for him to parade around in his awesome new pirate socks.

After that wore off (and while my first cup of coffee was still mostly full, and also still very warm) he looked up at me and asked if he could please now open a REAL present.

Right. I knew that would happen.

Before "Just one present?" became "just one more?"  I packed both kids off for a romp to the mall.

In case you were ever afraid of going to the mall on Christmas Eve, let me tell you, it was tranquil and empty. As late as 10am there were only tiny threads of quiet people wandering among the shops. outnumbered by with bright eyed employees.

The entire trip was uneventful except for the part where Zack set an alarm off on a display while playing with a smartphone. The staff pulled out keys and cheerfully turned the horrendous beeeeeep off and consoled my sobbing red-faced son that this happens "all the time, in fact he was the third guy today!" but I knew that alarm hit his stomach, hard.

That's probably why my little guy is such a wreck, I tell myself, stroking Zack's hair as he sat next to me on the sofa looking sick and slightly moaning.

"You've had a tough day, little guy," I tell him.

Then I ask, "What can I do to make you feel better? Apple juice? Crackers? Want me to put something on tv?"

He rolls over and with suddenly bright green eyes, sits up a little bit and faintly pleaded, "Opening a present would help....."

I pushed him backdown and left him to his misery.

It's Christmas Eve, I have to clean the whole house today so we can spend tomorrow messing it up again