“When can we put up the Christmas decorations?”
“We have all day.” I rolled over. Hoping they’d wait for sunrise and adequate caffeine consumption, although I knew the incessant harassment would continue until we complied…just to make it stop.
This relentless daily request started earlier each year. Possibly due to aggressive retail marketing or just the twins desire to fill our home with gaudy décor; deeming no decoration too tattered, old or hideous to evade exhibition. We tried to delay, insisting Halloween and Thanksgiving came prior. Therefore, once the last person sat down on turkey day, the twins primed to whip out every holiday bauble.
That old bird had nothing on the fat man.
Hence the day after Thanksgiving was deemed decorating day.
The first year, the artificial, rotating tree proved to be the greatest mobile ever. I’d plop the girls down and the multicolored lights and shiny ornaments transported cranky, tired infants into enraptured ecstasy.
Year two resulted in decorations ending abruptly halfway down the tree. Sparkly ornaments continued to fascinate sixteen-month old twins, but were at risk of being eaten or utilized as a weapon.
Their ceaseless removal of every ornament should’ve forewarned me their actual intent was not mere fascination, but the certainty that they were, in fact, better decorators.
None of the ornaments we’d carefully collected over the years were displayed during year three. Instead… we had a rotating display of their toy box.
The tree groaned while attempting to teeter around on the revolving base, leaning precariously due to being overburdened by every doll, block and gizmo crammed into its branches.
A stuffed motion-activated Elmo, which burst into his trademark cackle when anyone walked by, was disturbing, but not nearly as much as the girls favorite doll glaring out from the branches. Known for bringing terror to those familiar with horror movies featuring a murderous, freckle-faced doll sporting a shock of red hair.
But to our girls, who’d discovered dad’s retired, car window, suction-cup, toy meant to intimidate passersby’s; they’d found the only doll they truly loved.
Unable to be lured by the dolls most three-year old girls coveted, oblivious of his past homicidal nature, ours preferred— Chucky.
Not realizing he wasn’t really a good guy, or perhaps thinking his scowl could be eradicated with a little love.
We’d tolerated it when they’d dressed him in doll clothes; propping him in their highchair. We’d endured wary glances at daycare when they brought him in a stroller; those who’d innocently peeked beneath the blanket traumatized by his malicious glare. Our distress of leaving our heirlooms packed away for this year, forcing us to behold not silver and gold, but junk and a red-haired punk was tempered at their joy of their prized possessions being honored on our tree.
That year we realized Chucky was likely the first boy of many the girls may come to love that we wouldn’t approve of, but for them, we’d endure it.