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Let me apologize up front to anyone who was expecting anything KINKY involving this soccer mom and a fat guy in a red suit. You will be disappointed.

As part of my ongoing campaign to wrest the title of “Mother-of-the-Year” from all the other super moms, I decided to ease up on the stream of consciousness warnings and directives that I lay on the kids – to be a kinder, gentler version of my normally uptight self.

Stuff like….

“zip your coat up!”

“did you use soap?!”

“stop making that sound!” (okay, this one says a bit more about my mental stability than any issue the kids have)

“use a coaster for God’s sake!”

“Get.Away.From.Me.” (again, this might be MY issue, but it’s really meant to be a thoughtful warning — as in a “Get away from me before I knock you across the kitchen” kind of thing.

“come inside, it’s getting DARK!”

“don’t TOUCH that!”

You have to choose your battles (or so I’m told), and a little less screeching and shouting would probably make everybody a little happier over the holidays.

SO….last night, the boys were playing up in the driveway and in front of the house…in the darkness that now seems to arrive at 5pm EST or earlier.

I hear tennis balls hitting the house…..and I don’t go outside to yell.

I can see BOTH pairs of sneakers in the hall – they must be in their bare feet….and I don’t go outside.

Scott should be coming home from work soon and might RUN them over if they’re not paying attention…. and I don’t go outside to yell.

My reward?

They come running in, yelling that I need to look out the window at the “guy in a Santa suit!”

Sure enough, some fat guy in a Santa suit is getting into a beat-up Corolla (you know the kind — the wheel rims are black, they have no hubcaps, and the antenna is a hanger?) in front of our neighbor’s house and proceeds to drive away.

“We followed him the whole way down the street from Ian’s house! What a weirdo!”

ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME?! You’ve been trailing a potential pervert up and down our street for the past ten minutes?! Forget TALKING to strangers — I’m pretty sure you REALLY shouldn’t point at them and laugh!

I believe the phrase, “have you lost your MINDS?” was the first thing I said, followed quickly by: