Gavin asked Santa for Netflix on his Nintendo DS. (And here is where I say that this is one of my Netflix blog posts, written because I am a StreamTeam blogger but is actually a hilarious story I would have told regardless of whether I was sponsored by Netflix or not, so just keep reading!)
It was the least we could do, really. A year ago on Christmas Eve his original DS broke, and transferring all his account info (including Netflix) was such a pain in the butt that when his second DS broke during Easter, we just never went through all that trouble again. His Christmas wish was just the result of lazy parenting (and an annoying process set in place by Nintendo).
Dan used to tell me about staying up late with his Dad on Christmas Eve putting together toys for his much younger brothers. Apparently, some people’s version of Santa has him making toys in a workshop and not buying them at a store and delivering them in original packaging. (This may be part of the reason why Santa doesn’t really feel that magical to me, but, to be fair, the kids and I totally saw Santa shopping at Chapters this Christmas season so he clearly relies on retail at least a bit.) Times have changed, though, and now Santa sets up all electronics to be ready to be used on Christmas morning. My husband is all like: “I really don’t think you should save all your wrapping for Christmas Eve” when the reality is that we were both up late trying to set up different electronic whatevers that the kids would be surprised with on Christmas morning: A LeapPad for Logan. Netflix on Gavin’s DS. A new (to them) iPad for all three boys (made possible by my new gift coming from Netflix). And, a brand new multimedia room for our children’s enjoyment. (I’ll tell this story in a minute. It is a doozy!)
All told, my kids got three new methods of watching Netflix for Christmas. They can now choose to watch it downstairs on the TV, upstairs on the new (to us – more on this later) TV, on one of two Nintendo DSs, or on the iPad. Meanwhile, Logan has some shows loaded onto his new LeapPad. So you can pretty much give me a gold star for parenting any time now. This morning I caught my not-even-two-year-old watching a Netflix show in their newly repurposed den upstairs while holding the iPad which was playing a completely different Netflix show. I’m so proud.
Needless to say, Mommy and Daddy got an upgraded Netflix account for Christmas. We can now watch simultaneously on four screens since Logan is so insistent on using two at once.
While it does sound like we spoiled our kids for Christmas, we actually managed to do a lot of this on the cheap, and Dan and I are pretty proud of the whole situation. The big boys already had Nintendo DSs. And while Gavin’s broke twice last year, we managed to replace each of those thanks to sales or using customer loyalty points at a store we frequent. Logan’s LeapPad was a gift from his grandmother, and the iPad was supposed to be a free gift when we found out I would be getting a new one. (It became much less free when we decided to replace the broken screen on it, however.) As for the new multimedia room? Well, that was just an idea that seemed brilliant to my husband and terrible to me that ended up being both brilliant and terrible.
I know I’m getting wordy, but I promise, this is a good story.
You see, we have a third bedroom upstairs that used to be Logan’s nursery but gets very chilly in the winter and noisy when it is windy and plus our boys like each other so much we just decided to have them all share a room. Thus, this room has been left empty, mostly gathering junk during hasty cleanups in preparation for guests. Dan’s brilliant idea was to find an old TV being offered up on Kijiji for free, hook up one of the old gaming systems to it, and voila! A new den, perfect to provide another space for our kids to chill so they’re not all on top of each other. A totally awesome, totally free Christmas gift.
The idea sounded promising but it also felt entirely overwhelming. It meant cleaning an unused room, right before Christmas. It meant picking up a massive appliance from a stranger without letting the kids in on the surprise. It probably meant uninstalling and reinstalling car seats. I told Dan that if he wanted to do it, he was in charge of making it happen. My pre-Christmas stress levels couldn’t handle the weight of a television added to it.
He mostly kept his side of the bargain. But, when the only night we could coordinate to pick the television up happened to land on the same night of a meeting I had, I offered to drive clear to the other side of the city to pick it up. This was where everything went wrong. Apparently, the communication broke down somewhere and my husband really didn’t comprehend the massiveness of this free television. I was assured that the guy would carry the television to my van. The family with the television assumed someone a lot huskier than I was coming with an actual moving van. Not a family van full of car seats.
“There’s no way you can help me carry this out.” the guy said to me when he saw me.
“Uh. I went to the gym this morning?” I stammered.
Carry it, I did! Slowly, and not very gracefully. We put the television down on the snow a couple of times. By the time I got back in the van 45 minutes late for my meeting, I couldn’t close my fingers around the steering wheel. I called Dan and told him that this was the worst idea he had ever had and I never wanted to see the television again. I wanted to kick it to the curb in front of our house and absolutely not take it inside. And, by the way, there was not a chance I would be able to help him carry it in and up our stairs. No way.
I was sore for a week.
The amount of stress I felt about this television in the back of our van was immense. Until Dan got some help taking the TV out of our van, there was almost no possible way for our whole family to travel in our only family vehicle. And I seemed to be the only person who comprehended the extreme weight of this item. Someone was undoubtedly going to get hurt carrying it into my house. And who would we even get to help with such a massive and uncomfortable task?
The next morning, our sliding van door broke in the freezing cold. We tied it shut and drove it to the dealership to have it out of commission for the entire week before Christmas… with the massive television stuck in the back of it.
We surprisingly got our van back on December 23rd and on Christmas Eve started a new tradition with friends: Brunch followed by carrying excessively heavy household appliances into our house through doors that aren’t really wide enough for the task. I can’t wait for next year to do this again! Our friends offered to help and brought a dolly, but still, everyone vastly underestimated the weight and largess of this monstrosity. I’m surprised they’re still our friends. (Seriously, why did NO ONE BELIEVE ME when I told them it was too heavy?)
But, somehow, the Christmas gift from hell was in our house and ready to be unveiled Christmas morning. Dan did his part in straightening up that room and we filled it with blankets and pillows and large fluffy stuffed animals. We now call it the “cozy room” because who needs fancy seating when you can snuggle on the floor with soft fluffiness?
And finally, a week after lugging something that kept me in pain the entire week before Christmas, I was vindicated. Everyone who underestimated the weight of this thing every time I complained about it finally came to know the strength I wield underneath my dainty exterior. “I can’t believe Laura carried THAT.” And isn’t that the true meaning of Christmas? (No. Not it is not.)
Heck yes, I carried it.
So, while my kids probably didn’t need an additional three ways to watch Netflix, can we please all just go to our assigned locations, turn on a show, and be quiet? I have some much-deserved rest and relaxation to catch up on.
PS: If you want to encourage rest and relaxation tonight before the clock strikes midnight, countdown any time you want with Netflix! Just head over to your Netflix kids profile and click on the 2017 category image. My kids will probably countdown with Word Party because Logan is a Netflix Nazi and no one can watch anything unless he agrees to it (this is another reason why the second television was needed). But also, I heard a rumour that my husband is going to act all old tonight and go to sleep before midnight, so if I decide to join him, I might count down with the Fuller House crew.
This post was inspired by Netflix. I am a member of the Netflix Stream Team and as such I have been compensated for this post with a complimentary Netflix subscription and a few other perks. I’m honoured to have been a StreamTeam member for the last four years. The stories and opinions are all my own.