Every year on Christmas Eve my kids get to open one gift, the "First Gift of Christmas!!!" if you will. It is always the same thing: Matching Pajamas for all three boys. Hey...I like me a good tradition, I like practical gifts, and I like a good photo op. This covers all of the above.
Each year around Thanksgiving I say to myself, "Self? This might be the year it all falls apart." There are seven years between my oldest boy and my youngest boy, you see, and eventually I am just not going to be able to find affordable matching pajamas that fit all of them. The big one will be too big and the little one will still be too little and I will have to move on to plan B. I am not looking forward to plan B. Plan B involves one of the following: Paying a premium online for matching pajamas (would it kill retailers like Target to carry matching pajamas in big boy and little boy/toddler/baby sizes? There is a market for this I promise...if you offer it we will BUY!), buying matching t-shirts and sewing pajama pants myself (I don't know how to do this), or giving it up altogether (which is unacceptable!).
This year I was especially worried. The older boy just keeps getting older, and the youngest one is still in toddler sizes. As the mom in a family of all boys I feel like it is important for me to keep these traditions going. I need to give them something to remember fondly/chuckle about/tell thier therapists/do with thier own children when they grow up. So when I approached the task of looking for this year's pajamas I was already in a state...I'm not saying this excuses the insanity that follows but maybe it EXPLAINS it a little.
Stage 1: The Beginning. Monday Night, 11pm
An online retailer with very expensive pajamas is having a cyber monday sale. I have never ordered from them before but my friends who have love their stuff. It is a pretty good sale (40% off with an additional email code for 15% off which makes me feel better about shipping because I really hate to pay for shipping. HATE IT). Thinking that I don't want to spend all of December searching for pajamas that I may not even be able to find anyway, I buy them. I like them (although I don't love them) and it feels pretty good to have the job done so early. And, with all those discounts and the rave reviews of this brand, I must have gotten a good deal. Right?
Total cost for Stage 1: $88.00.
Stage 2: The Grass is Always Greener: Tuesday Morning, 10 am
While at a mall I find pajamas for the boys that I love. LOVE. The smallest size might be a little big for the 4 year old and the largest size might be a tad small for the 11 year old but these pajamas are really cute. There is only one in each size that I need. PANIC! I call and cancel the online order while standing in the store holding the new pajamas in my hands, just in case someone with the very same idea might walk in at that exact moment and snatch them up. I then go to purchase the new ones which I think are on sale (there are signs all over the store proclaiming 30% off this and 50% off that!) but SURPRISE! these ones are not on sale. Of course. I talk myself into buying them anyway because a) I have already cancelled the others and b) They are really cute and c) If I wait for a sale they will run out of the sizes I need for sure and d) she has already rung them up.
Total cost for stage 2: $140.00
Stage 3: Regret: Tuesday Night, ALL FRAKIN' NIGHT LONG
I do not sleep well Tuesday night. I have shady, unspecific anxiety-ridden dreams that wake me up several times. I can't remember the dream and I am just awake enough to know I am anxious about something (Did I set the alarm? Do I have a dentist appointment? Did I lose one of the children?) but not awake enough to figure out that everything is actually fine (at least everything important) and after some half-asleep fretting I lay back down only to wake up an hour later and do it all over again. ALL. NIGHT. LONG. The first words out of my mouth upon waking are "I"m still really tired" followed immediately by, "I've got to take those pajamas back". My husband (who did raise his eyebrows at the amount spent in stage 2 but is willing to indulge me in my need to MAKE CHRISTMAS MEMORIES! FOR THE CHILDREN!) suggests that if I'm having trouble sleeping he can help with that...if I know what he means.
Total cost for Stage 3: One good night's sleep
Stage 4: Where the Crazy Sets In: Wednesday Morning, 8:30am
I call expensive online retailer back to reorder my less than 24 hours ago cancelled order. The lady on the phone is super nice and assures me that this kind of thing happens all the time. I have no idea if this is true or not but it makes me feel better so God bless her for saying it anyway. We get throug the ordering process and my total is more than it was on Monday. The 40% off sale is still going but the 15% off part was a cyber Monday special and she can't honor it. This takes away the feeling that I am getting a really good deal and "free" shipping. Still the new price is less than the $140.00 worth of sleep deprevation I am currently paying so I go for it.
Total cost for Stage 4: $105.00-ish...something like that. I was pretty tired.
Stage 5: Total Insanity but SO WORTH IT!: Wednesday morning 11am
I head back to the mall to return the expensive pajamas. I can feel myself relax as soon as they hand me the receipt for the refund back to my card. Whatever it is in my psyche that can't stand to pay full price (and over-priced at that) settles down. On my way out to the car I stop by another store and there I find a third set of pajamas. The sizes are right, I have bought that brand before so I know the quality is good, I like them less than the pairs I loved but equally as much as the ones I currently have ordered and the total cost for all three pairs (they are 50% off) is CHEAPER THAN ONE PAIR FROM FANCY ONLINE RETAILER.
Yeah. I called online retailer back AGAIN and cancelled the order AGAIN and they were very nice about it AGAIN. Seriously, they get points for nice over there. I then bought the pajamas for this year and I slept the sleep of the bargain-finding-just, yes I did. I also took all the tags off and washed them because I have had enough of thinking about this thank-you-very-much.
Total cost for Stage 5: $36.00. Boo-ya!