I finally sat Daniel down last week and ordered him to write up a Christmas list. For a kid who constantly wants something at the store, I didn’t think this would be such a chore. However, he pored over it for more than half an hour, nose practically lying on the legal pad.
“I think I need some more Hot Wheels,” he announced. Daniel has been collecting Hot Wheels since he was two years old. Meka and I bought the first ones and let his grandparents know he liked the little cars. For several years, any gift for any occasion, being it Christmas or Flag Day, Daniel could expect to receive at least half a dozen. Unlike me or my brother, he never discovered the art of “making the cars look real” by giving them dents with hammers or rolling them down the driveway with lit ladyfingers lying on top of them. So, the cars just kept collecting – month after month, year after year – until he had enough Hot Wheels to simulate traffic in Los Angeles. I asked if he could think of something else.
“I know!” he said. “Legos!” I cringed inwardly. Perhaps the only thing Daniel has more of besides Hot Wheels cars are little plastic Lego bricks. To be fair, the kits contain lots of parts. A single gift could generate up to eleven thousand little things to step on in the dark with bare feet. Unlike the generic rectangle blocks I had as a kid, Daniel’s Legos tend to be very specific. There are always six or seven custom pieces that are required and that means searching through a 20 gallon Rubbermaid container for two hours, trying to locate a hypothetical needle in a metaphorical haystack.
“Daniel,” I said, “think of something you’d like that you don’t have right now. Is there anything from television you’d like to have for Christmas?” He thought for a bit and a thought did occur to him. He put pencil to paper.
“Dad, you spell ‘Husky’ with a ‘Y’, right?”
“You don’t spell it with a ‘Y’?”
“No,” I said, “you’re not getting a puppy for Christmas.” We had yet another little talk about responsibility. Daniel remembers we have fish and hamsters about once a month. Combine that duty with our two guest parrots; I can’t see Meka taking on yet another animal responsibility… not without getting rid of the other human beings in the house.
After another hour of discussion and debate, Daniel did come up with his Christmas List. It was full of eclectic items, like a neon sign that reads “DANIEL’S ROOM – OPEN”. I can’t say that I didn’t ask for it; he definitely doesn’t have a neon sign right now. I’ll pass it on to the grandparents without judgment and be prepared to buy some heavy duty wall hangers come Christmas morning.