My little adopted girl has been home now for one year. This is the first Christmas in which she understands what presents are all about. She is a very determined and strong-willed young lady and isn’t afraid to tell you what’s on her mind.
This year, she is going for gold. She wants an iPad.
When we started talking about Christmas wish lists before Thanksgiving, her brother hadn’t really thought much about it — I think he believes he’s already got it pretty good. But for our little princess, there was no doubt.
The desire for an iPad had to have been brewing for weeks, perhaps months. Her “request” rang with the kind of certainty and conviction to which Mitt Romney could only aspire.
She’s also figured something else out about how Christmas works: I think she knows where the really good presents come from. When we visited Santa over Thanksgiving, she told the big guy a different story.
She said she wanted a baby doll. I was shocked.
Either she realized something that the Republican Congress has failed to understand — that over-reach never gets you what you want — or she has put together her own little list that she’s checking twice.
I think it’s the later.
If you want a little toy made by elves with little hammers in workshops at the North Pole, that’s Santa’s department. If you want Steve Jobs’ latest creation assembled by workers in Chinese factories, you go straight to Daddy.
I struggle with technology and our kids. On the one hand, I want their upbringing to be gadget-free, with their imaginations tasked to inspire and fill the down time between school and dinner.
On the other, we live in a different world, with different demands that will require a different skill set. And while we do not want to raise spoiled children, we don’t want to raise them in mid-century utopia either.
We are starting to have discussions with our children about the notion of giving as a part of Christmas. We stopped giving presents to family several years ago in favor of charitable contributions. We support a healthy trade in cows and chickens for Third World families and sponsor a few kids not fortunate enough to have families of their own.
Thankfully, our children are on board with the idea, even if it means giving up some of the bounty they might be getting for themselves. I think we must be doing something right.
The princess, though, doesn’t want to give up her dream of having her own iPad. It’s a big dream for a 4-year-old. It’s also a tough spot for Daddy. Santa’s probably going to come through on that baby doll, while Daddy likely is going to be a major disappointment.
I’ll have to get used to it.
MICHAEL TEAHAN is a business owner and lives in Glendale. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.