In an attempt to save myself from being struck by lightning for focusing too much on materialistic items – such as my Harry Potter “nativity scene” – I tweaked one of our family traditions this year. Considering I was the one who started the tradition in our household, and the sole person responsible for the act of carrying it out annually for the last eight years, I felt that a slight change was my prerogative.
Like many families, we have a Countdown to Christmas. One of my good friends crafted a mitten calendar for us one year, and we have used it ever since. Beginning the first day of December, Dimples would find a small gift each day in one of the mittens.
Now that Dimples is getting older, it’s becoming a little more difficult to find small gifts that she will appreciate for under $1. Gone are the days when princess stickers elicited cries of delight.
I thought this year that I would combine Dimples’ love of technology with a healthy dose of Christmas Spirit. So, each day, I am putting two QR codes in her mitten. One, when she scans it, gives her a Random Act of Kindness to perform that day. The other one gives her a “coupon” for things like “make cookies with a parent” (hopefully, Cap’n Firepants will be “the parent” chosen when she redeems that one).
Well, the QR code idea went over like a remote control helium balloon that is supposed to scare the bejeezus out of your bulldog and all the dog does is yawn.
The first day, Dimples was all like, “What’s this?” and when I explained the whole thing, how she could use her iPod Touch to scan the codes to see her surprises, she gave me a little half smile. The one that means, “I don’t want to hurt your feelings, Mom, but this is the stupidest idea ever.”
The second day was even worse. She looked ready to tear up with disappointment, and I could tell she was really bummed.
The third day I forgot.
It was Saturday morning, so I was the last to get up. Dimples looked at me accusingly, and I knew immediately what was wrong. I didn’t think it was a big deal, though, since the whole concept wasn’t a hit anyway.
The fourth day I forgot again.
Dimples had two friends sleep over to celebrate her birthday, and the whole chaos of the evening, plus the shock of three girls constantly making jokes about passing gas, threw me.
I got the look again. And a short lecture.
So, this morning, I dutifully restarted my dumb idea. No reaction from Dimples.
This evening, Cap’n Firepants mentioned that Dimples was reading to Wonderbutt in the living room.
“Really?” I said, laughing. “Why?” Dimples hates to read out loud, even though she is quite good at it.
“Because her mitten said to read to someone younger or something?” Firepants said – not to sure about this whole QR code thing I had sprung on him without prior consultation.
So, I snuck in and got myself some evidence of Dimples doing her “Act of Kindness” – reading to someone younger. It didn’t specify that it had to be a person.