5-year-old Chaos also found Santa Claus completely fascinating this year. Every school day in December, his teacher would read his class a new and exciting book about Santa or the reindeer or snowmen or the North Pole, so when he decided that we had to leave carrots for the reindeer on Christmas Eve, I wasn't completely surprised.
Enlisting Mom's help because Santa always visits the kids at Nana and PaDaddy's house, I requested that she have available milk, cookies, and carrots. In true Nana-fashion, she exceeded expectations and bought the really good milk in the yellow jug that my kids can't get here in Ohio and cookies with reindeer on them and 2-foot-long, dirt still in the creases, organically grown, leafy top still attached, beautiful carrots. I have an amazing mother.
We finally arrived in Tennessee and Christmas Eve was upon us. We started to prepare the meal for Santa and the reindeer in the kitchen. We poured milk. We put cookies on a plate. I walked toward the sink with carrots in hand to wash them when Chaos shouted, "No! Reindeer like carrots fresh, like in the wild." Okkkkaaaayyy...
This presented us with a few problems.
1) For weeks, Chaos had been telling me that he couldn't wait to see what kind of teeth-prints the reindeer would make on the carrots.
2) I knew that I alone would be called upon to make the teeth-prints on these carrots.
3) Ever observant Chaos would notice if these carrots were washed before teeth-prints were made.
4) I am a child of the 70's and 80's and I know that there are starving children in Africa, which would prohibit me from spitting out the carrots after I'd made these teeth-prints.
5) If the reindeer did not eat most or all of the carrots, Chaos would use this excuse to reinforce his anti-vegetable stance.
6) Reindeer do not dip their carrots in ranch.
Chaos wanted to put 9 carrots on the plate. You know, Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen, but do you recall the most famous reindeer of all? That's right; Rudolph makes 9. Remind me to thank Chaos' teacher for his thorough reindeer education.
I talked him down to 2 carrots, citing that the sleigh is miniature and the reindeer are known as "8 tiny reindeer" and could not possibly eat a carrot of that magnitude alone. Who knew parenting also required a working knowledge of Christmas carols, Christmas poems, Christmas stories, etc?
That evening, at midnight, after the children (and their father) were fast asleep, I sneaked around my mother and father's den, playing Santa and enjoying my cookies, room temperature milk, and carrots, while my father, Wayne Olinger, watched and laughed. Notice he didn't offer to eat a carrot with me.
Remind me again why Mom didn't buy the cute matchstick carrots that go in salads.