My two year-old daughter is just at the age where she kind of understands the concept of Christmas, is as much as she knows the players involved – Santa, Jesus, Rudolph, Frosty. She also kind of understood that you can ask for something you want, and if you are good you might get it. Naturally, she asked for a unicorn. Very on-brand for a girl who asks to wear her unicorn dress everyday, and is crushed six days out of the week because we tell her she can’t wear it until its out of the laundry. Monday has become unicorn dress day.
I think there is something incredibly honest about what a small child tells you what they want for Christmas. They aren’t yet concerned about what’s cool or what other kids have. They only know what they like, and take advantage of the opportunity to get it. When my oldest was three she asked Santa for cheese – also very on-brand for her. She got a one pound block of cheddar and was thrilled. Christmas shopping will stay that easy when they are teenagers, right? I’ll assume yes.
After asking for “a uni” everyday, my wife and I recognized the opportunity to hit an easy home run. Stuffed unicorn – it will be fluffy, it will be magical, it will be the glittery whimsy that two year-old dreams are made of. My wife found one online, and showed it to me. It has a rainbow mane, big googly eyes, and giant grin on its dopey one-horned face. Perfect. Clicked. Bought. Done. Ah, the convenience of internet shopping. The ability to buy a unicorn in 10 seconds has its advantages, but would also prove to be a contribution to folly.
Like most other good parents who are prepared for Christmas, I waited until the kids fell asleep on Christmas Eve to wrap the presents. My 4 year-old, who has a much more solid understanding of Christmas, was too amped to fall asleep, so I was wrapping presents at 10:30, when they are usually asleep around 8:00. While I was trying my best not to make it look like Santa was drunk and blindfolded when he wrapped the presents, I was dreading the wrapping the unicorn because it came in an odd shaped box. My wrapping skills are about that of a small child, so anything other than a perfect cube presents a challenge, but Santa doesn’t seem like the gift bag type. He’s father Christmas, not your uncle. So I grab the unicorn and examine the box to think about the best way to wrap it, and I notice something on the back of the package. “Puffy lets out cute little unicorn farts.” Sorry, what?
I read it again. And again. I turned the box around to see if this was somewhere more obvious. Somewhere in giant, unmissable letters. Somewhere where somebody who isn’t a terrible parent would see it and decide that it would not be something to get a two year-old. For some reason it was not. Seems to me, if I was selling farting unicorn, I might go ahead and put that on the front somewhere, or maybe in the name. “Puffy the Farting Unicorn” would be a much better name than just “Puffy”. Puffy the unicorn is great gift. Puffy the unicorn is just begging to snuggled by a little lady as she drifts off to sleep. Puffy the Farting Unicorn is for kids who have poop emoji toys. Puffy the Farting Unicorn is bought by parents who give toddlers Mountain Dew.
But there it was on a toy for my child, in three languages none the less. Pedos de unicornio. Pets de licorne. Unicorn farts.
In a mix of curiosity and dread I squeezed its foot where a little heart was, which I guess as an appropriate icon as any to indicate where you need to push to make a unicorn rip ass. It laughed, it wiggled, it farted, it repeated.
My first thought was that I can’t give this to my kid. My second thought was, it’s too late now. It was going on 11:00 pm on Christmas Eve, there was no getting something else now, and I can’t got give her the one thing she asked for. In a hours she would wake up and unwrap her farting unicorn. Which, of course would be her favorite thing in world.
“What did you get for Christmas?”, Grandparents would ask.
“A unicorn that toots with its butt!” my daughter would say overflowing with pure, childish glee.
Years of judging teachers at show and tells flashed before my eyes. She’ll insist on bringing on car trips. Mile after mile of laughs, fart, repeat. This was destined to be her most cherished possession, I just knew it. From now to eternity I will always read product descriptions. I don’t care if I’m buying a wood block. I will find out that the block is in fact a block, and made of wood.
Christmas morning the moment came. She unwrapped it and was full of joy that she got her uni. She didn’t immediately notice the heart icon on the foot. I was relieved. Her sister did. I was nervous. They squeezed the foot. It laughed. They laughed. It farted. They kept laughing. They didn’t seem to immediately notice the farts, and I certainly wasn’t going to point it out to them. When the cycle of laughter and flatulence ended, they put it down and moved on to other presents. As the day went on and more presents were opened, Puffy moved further and further to the periphery. They may have come back and squeezed it again two or three times, much to my surprise and delight.
It is now two days after Christmas, as as of this morning Puffy as already been relegated to under-the-bed status. At some point will my daughter suddenly remember it exists? Yes. Will she realize that its farting? Probably. But it didn’t make me feel like a terrible parent, and if that’s not a Christmas miracle then I don’t know what is.