I think we can all agree that kids are professionals at messing sh*t up. Like the holidays. The expectation–> disappointment loop is stroooong at Christmastime. And I don’t even mean for the kids: I mean for myself. I have such high hopes of sharing all my most treasured childhood nostalgia with them: caroling, going to Christmas Eve service, baking cookies for Santa, the works. And how often do they respond the way I want them to? I think you know the answer. This year, December 23rd found me baking sugar cookies from scratch by myself and decorating them in the kitchen alone with my mom, after the kids lost interest after decorating 5.5 cookies apiece. (Although, let’s be honest. It was nice not to have 4 dozen cookies that look like Rudolph pooped all over them. My five-year-old has a tendency to hold the sprinkle container upside down over her cookie until it reaches volcanic proportions. And nobody wants to eat that crap.)

But this year, even Christmas morning was fraught with epic disappointment—first my kindergartener’s, and then, by default, mine. Let me take you on a journey.

First, let’s set the stage. My husband and I decided that instead of spending too much money on dozens of stupid, useless, plastic toys for the kids, we would get them a gigantic dollhouse from Costco to share, along with two other gifts apiece. We knew the kids would love to use the dollhouse for their epic “Lil Woodzeez” adventures. They seriously love playing with those together. It’s awesome. We were so excited to see their reaction. (You can see where I’m going with this can’t you?)

So. Christmas morning. Everybody was feeling festive and joyful. The kids were dying to open their mysterious ginormous package from Mommy and Daddy.

The anticipatory hug. These kids are excited AF.

Waiting delightedly for Daddy to put the present on the floor.

Here we go! How magically exciting! What could it be?

Still smiling! Ooh, this is gonna be great!

Her sister figures it out, and is filled with glee.

Kid #2 is still blissfully in the dark.

Now she’s caught on. Huh.

Well, then. Not so much.

A whispered conversation ensues. Disappointed Child pulls Mommy aside, cups her ear, and says, “Can I talk to you? This just really wasn’t what I was expecting.”

She just can’t even. Flopping atop Daddy with despair is literally all she can muster.

Her morning is ruined.

But people, this is a badass dollhouse. Look at it.

“She’ll be more excited when it’s assembled,” my husband assures me. “It’s meaningless in the box.” “Mmmhmmm,” I say without optimism.

After all, it’s this kid I’m talking about.

The Morning After. Kid #1 arranges all the “Lil Woodzeez”and furniture in the dollhouse.

Kid #2 makes a shitty blanket fort in her room.

I rest my case. But hey, at least she plays with the giant box it came in. Womp, womp . . .

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