The teamwork required to tackle a common foe solidifies whatever bond might already have existed. When the victory is won, each partner looks at the other with a newfound respect.
I think assembling toys on Christmas Eve qualifies as this type of experience.
Wyatt’s fourth Christmas nearly got the best of Zac and me.
Up to this point, most of his gifts required nothing more than a box cutter and some batteries. After Wyatt went to sleep, we’d pull out the presents that had been wrapped and stashed away for weeks, arrange them carefully under the tree and have the rest of the night to lounge around in the glow of Christmas lights.
Last year we had a minor incident with a miniature ball pit.
Since we had neglected to purchase a bicycle pump, Zac had to blow it up himself. It took an hour’s worth of hot air to complete the task, less time than Wyatt actually spent in the thing before we deflated it several months later.
This year, Santa dropped off three oversized presents that needed to be assembled in the waning hours of Christmas Eve so that Wyatt could play with them first thing on Christmas morning.
The train table came together quite nicely, but the toolbench and the kitchen brought us both to our wit’s end.
I had hoped to impress Zac with my mechanical skills by putting the toolbench together myself while he tackled the other two projects. Then I realized that the instructions contained no words, only pictures that might as well have been hieroglyphics.
I had been stuck on step two for about 20 minutes when Zac made the brilliant suggestion that we work together instead of individually.
He put the kitchen together in sections while I organized all of the smaller pieces. After I broke a nail tearing apart the miniature cookware, I was threatening physical violence toward the jolly fat man in the red suit.
Occasionally, my mutterings were interrupted by Zac growling something like, “What the heck is part HH?”
It was after midnight before we completed the kitchen. Then Zac helped me figure out where I had gone wrong on the toolbench.
It turns out that I was following the steps correctly. Unfortunately, the instructions were not an accurate representation of how to secure the main sections.
If Zac hadn’t intervened, I might have been able to recreate the pretty picture, but the whole thing would have fallen apart as soon as Wyatt retrieved the toy hammer from its hook.
We finally got to bed about 3 a.m. One of the last things we did was download a video for Wyatt’s new Leap Frog.
While we were waiting, we amused ourselves by scanning a page called “30 Naughtiest Dogs.”
These poor animals were forced to wear signs of shame describing their misdeeds, such as “I ate 13 keys off my dad’s laptop, and now I have the alphabet poops.”
We laughed at the first few because they were funny, but by the end I think we were just delirious. Thankfully, we have 12 months to recover, or at least until Wyatt’s birthday.