Regular readers of this blog may recall that our five-year-old holds a certain reverence for Abraham Lincoln. The boy was affected by our visit to Ford’s Theater and has since speculated upon the secret burial place of the 16th U.S. president.
I bought a PEZ candy dispenser collection of five presidents. PEZ has many presidents, in groups of five, but I was lucky enough to find the group spanning Lincoln to Garfield. I gave it to my son for Christmas.
The boy doesn’t know the other gentlemen behind the plastic cover with Mr. Lincoln, but I thought this might inspire him to learn. His one-year-old brother doesn’t know any of them, but one thing Buster does know is a PEZ candy wrapper when he sees one. He also knows that he enjoys PEZ pellets, regardless of what stranger’s neck they’re issuing from.
Likewise, the five-year-old enjoys a PEZ pellet or two (or an entire sleeve), so by mutual agreement (rare for them), they decided to forgo any collectors’ item value of the set and break out the precious ingots of candy.
They each chose a dispenser. The big boy chose his favorite, Mr. Lincoln. The little boy chose the nearest, Mr. Garfield. I filled each with half a sleeve of candy and off they went to extract treats from the neck and chest areas of former chief executives.
I was relieved that nobody chose Mr. Grant. It would have added insult to injury to have children pull lumps from his throat.
The big boy wields a PEZ dispenser with ease, but Buster had to work to get his candy. That’s probably why toddlers don’t use the phrase, Like taking candy from a former president, when describing something easy to do. Buster worked hard and was rewarded with PEZ. At length, the candy was gone and the two dispensers set down, their beneficiaries little imagining the tragic link between the two figures.
That was the apex of our Christmas peace. The strife began when the big boy kept wanting to play with the little boy’s favorite new toys. Being that the little boy’s favorite toy is whichever one the big boy happens to be holding, this was difficult to rectify. We steered Big Brother on to other playthings; each time, Little Brother was vexed at being left with a cast-off toy.
At last we hit the point known to parents of toddlers as TMC: Too Much Christmas. This is when the sensory overload of the day causes a tiny tot to go completely off the rails. It is at this moment when my wife annually declares that we are converting to Judaism before the next Season of Joy to avoid it’s screaming fits.
A good nap often alleviates the symptoms of TMC, unless Big Brother jades Little Brother’s fresh, well-rested outlook by accidentally flying his new RC helicopter into Little Brother’s head. Then, even Abraham Lincoln, with a gullet full of PEZ, can’t emancipate us from tears.