Santa Claus must work fast at my parent's house. Between the twins and Kathryn, there's only a 45-minute window the night before Christmas during which all three kids are actually sleeping. Thank God for coffee. If my brother ever has kids, too, Santa might have to switch to methamphetamine.
At one point late in the evening, someone without kids had the idea to go outside and make simulated Santa noises to coax my kids to bed, a technique about as effective as waterboarding in creating a rest-conducive environment. Does anyone remember back in the 80s when Manuel Noriega was holed-up in the Vatican's embassy in Panama? For days we tried to get him to surrender, surrounding the embassy with loudspeakers and playing non-stop rock music at excruciating volumes. Far more effective would have been to send in a two-year-old and, very softly outside, ring a single sleigh bell. Noriega would have surrendered within the hour.
Kathryn's list to Santa was a short and inexplicable affair, the two major items being a digital camera and a mood ring. She got them both and proceeded to use one to snap hundreds of 5-mega-pixel shots of the other, resulting in photographic evidence that she experienced every possible emotion all before 7 AM Christmas morning. Like we needed proof.
The mood ring has been on her Christmas list for months, ever since she found one on the playground of her school. It wasn't hers, obviously, and she knew it had to go to the lost and found, but first Kathryn had to assess the mood of each and every person she encountered along the way. It took hours. The last person to wear it was the principal who, Kathryn reported matter-of-factly, was "aggravated."
The twins celebrated Christmas as countless two-year-olds before them have, by screaming with glee about each present that was theirs and then simply screaming about each one that wasn't. They asked for no specific present from Santa, mainly because they were not yet aware that they could. Santa-wise, the twins were in that blissful state of ignorance that allowed us to set our own rules, kind of like those delightful summers long ago when Kathryn still thought the ice cream truck was the "free music van." It will be sad to see that time go. Still, the twins handled the excitement of the day well, and only sporadically did they gift us with their own special presents of snot and tears, which is probably more than the Vatican can say about Noriega.