Like a lot of people in the real world, we just put up our Christmas tree, and a fine tree it is, too. A ten foot noble fir that weighs 150 pounds, according to my husband, and has got our house smelling like we’re living right in the middle of Yosemite.

My daughter and I decorated the tree, putting on cute ornaments and remarking on their history. Many of them were, “Baby’s 1st Christmas” ones that several people gave me when my son was born. When my daughter came along a few years later, Christmas was already past, and she only got a couple of them, and she lets me know every year how mistreated she feels. So listen up, mothers to be. When your second and third baby come along, buy up a bunch of those baby’s firsts so all your kids have the same number.

This is good advice for all things concerning children. I only raised two, but there were continual squabbles about who got the most of everything. It didn’t matter if I spent the same amount of money on each kid, if one got 6 presents and the other got 7, there would be a big ruckus on Christmas morning.

Maybe it’s just my kids. They fought all the time, and they always wanted to know who was the favorite. This caught me off guard the first couple of times they asked, and I sputtered and said some stupid thing like, “I love you both the same.” This was not what they wanted to hear. Mainly because they despised each other and couldn’t believe I could like the other one as much as them. Having me say out loud that I liked one better would also give that one ammunition to use to spite the other one.

I figured this out and finally, if my son was the one asking, I said, “You are my favorite boy in the whole wide world.” He was happy because all he heard was that he was my favorite.

You learn lots of tricks raising kids. The best one ever was offering them a choice. For instance, I’d ask, “Do you want to go to the grocery store or Target first?” They didn’t want to go either place at all, but just by getting a little control, they’d forget that the two options were both awful and start arguing between themselves about which place to go. “I want to go to the grocery store first.” “Well I want to go to Target first and I’m the oldest so there.” Finally I’d step in with what appeared to be a fair tiebreaker and say, “Okay, let’s flip a coin and see which one.” They’d call it, I’d flip the coin, one would lose and pout a little but understand that it was out of all our hands, the coin had spoken, and we’d go to the grocery store first without complaints because they had decided what we were doing. Pretty clever, huh?

I’ve got a whole ton of these child-rearing tips and techniques, but I have other business to attend to at the present. Remember that Christmas tree my daughter and I decorated and hung lights, garland, and a million ornaments? I had watered that tree as soon as my husband got it set up, and after we were all done I noticed a puddle. “Dagnabit,” I exclaimed. Not really, I just wanted to type that word for fun. It’s hard getting up under a tree with a water pitcher, and I was pretty much watering blind so I must have missed getting the water in. I filled the pitcher up again, added a little more sugar (keeps the tree fresh) and this time I looked really closely to make sure the water was going into the tree stand. Then I saw a new puddle all around the stand. It leaks! The fricking tree stand leaks! What am I supposed to do now? The tree’s all decorated, I stuck my hand in the Christmas tree stand well and there are only a couple of inches of water left. That tree will slurp that up in an hour.

I am not taking the tree down and replacing the stand. I need something I can put the whole stand in so I can just lift the tree straight up. But what? It’s really a big stand.

Anyway, that’s why I’m ending this post right now, so I can fret over my tree. O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, why are you tormenting me?  O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, why must you pee all over me? Bah humbug!