Great Expectations

As mentioned in my previous posts Julian has been kind of hard to control this past month. Excitement, presents and the onset of Santa have all had him bouncing off the walls and crashing hard.

Tears, tantrums and some serious sulking have taken over his kind, loving nature.


So I was pretty happy when the big day was looming near. In fact, I was so excited and so proud of him for being so good near the mountains of presents he had been staring at for days, that I suggested to everyone at our Christmas Eve dinner that we let him open one or two.

His smile said it all. Finally – a present!

He unwrapped eagerly.

“Super Mario PJ’s – cool!!” He put them on immediately and looked around for something else to open.

“Okay, just one more.”

My Mother-in-law grabbed one from her enormous pile for him and he ripped it open.  I was excited, it looked like the one I had ordered for her to give him, a super mario plush toy to go with this others.

He opened up and it was one of the more obscure characters of the three I’d gotten. It sort of looks like a mixture of a dwarf and that scary face from Scream.


He looked up at us, his face crumpling, “I don’t like it.”

Oh no.

Mortified that my child would say that out loud and feeling sorry for my Mother-in-law, who I’d given the present for her to give because I thought he’d love it, I didn’t know what to do or say.

“Julian we don’t ever say that we don’t like our presents. We are just thankful, say thank you to Abuela.”

“But I don’t like it!!”

Oh no.

My Mother-in-Law hurried over to her pile and handed him another one. Unfortunately as he opened it we realised it was another plush figure, the princess.

“This is a girl’s toy!”

Oh dear.

“But you said you wanted it? You asked Abuela for Princess.”

“I don’t like it.”

Another present was handed over and unfortunately it was one we’d all been iffy about. He insisted (after seeing many ads on TV) that a My Little Pony was just what he wanted to ask Santa for. This was a month ago and on opening it he was not impressed.

“I don’t like it.”

“It was on your list.”

“Sometimes I change my mind. I want to take it off my list.”

We were rolling around laughing now as I tried to instill in him the virtues of being kind, grateful and thankful.


After a good sleep and upon waking Christmas Day I told him we’d give it to Leo. As I tried to open it for him Julian decided that maybe he wanted the pony, which sat in a remote controlled car after all….also the Princess and Shy Guy (the first plush figure opened) are dutifully carried round just like all his others.


So maybe he has learned his lesson?

How do you deal with situations like this? I am sure I will have more of these cringe-worthy events to come and would love your input!


  1. I don’t mean to be negative, but your post really made me think because of this sentence, which I found really interesting: “Tears, tantrums and some serious sulking have taken over his kind, loving nature” .

    I’ve been meditating on sensations, feelings, thoughts and the nature of lovingkindness daily for a year, and blogging about it, especially what triggers craving and also its dizzying opposite, euphoria. Recently, I’ve found that my anticipation and enjoyment of the Christmas holiday was due to those incredibly strong storms of emotion I experienced as a child, in the run up to opening presents.

    Just a thought and question: do you think it’s the nature of this season? We introduce our children to craving material things, and then we bestow the gifts on them, to see them satiated and dizzy with happiness. It gives us a kick. It certainly did me, I remember the moment of waiting for the moment to happen, and once ripping into presents (because my mother was horrified at how quickly I ran through them) I can’t really remember them now. (I now take ages to open a gift!)

    This post has really made me think about the value of this modern commercial Christmas, which sadly, I only see as adding value to the commercial enterprises, and not our inner lives. The other day a businessman on BBC openly said ‘We never want the public to forget Christmas, it’s when we really make our money.’ smirked, and then laughed maniacally. It really pulled me up.

    I wonder if that is what your child sudden shift in mood reflects.

    I think I’ll be changing my approach to this holiday as a result. Thanks for your post.

    1. Interesting observation. I am actually relieved the season is over now. I think half the problem is the treats and sugar. I think there are two ways of thinking about it – that it is commercial and filled with greed and wanting or this is a life lesson in waiting and anticipating and non-immediate satisfaction – at three probably the first real test he has experienced. As they get older we do talk to them more about the spirit of Christmas and giving and hopefully that is a life lesson well worth learning. I do love christmas…..

      1. Three!!! 🙂 Well then yes of course he would act like that, though it is still interesting to see the consciousness absorb that state of mind, and the behaviour that develops. A lesson we all had to learn. Thanks.
        I hope you have a great 2013.

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