December 25th, 2009
06:46 PM ET

Dear President Obama #340: Setting the Santa trap

Reporter's Note: President Obama is vacationing with his family in Hawaii for the holidays. And yet I continue with my daily letter to him. Who knows? Perhaps he forgot to take a book for the beach.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/21/art.obamareading.gi.jpg]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

As I write this it is very late Christmas Eve night, or very early Christmas morning, depending on how you look at it. The whole family is asleep after a frantic final day of getting ready. We all finished the last of our shopping by early afternoon; in time to rush out to our traditional Christmas Eve dinner at a favorite restaurant, then off to church, then back home to wrap the presents we bought. Actually our two daughters had their wrapping done much earlier than we did, so they pretty much cooled out while Mom and Dad labored away with the tape and scissors.

But now it is all done, including the final touch of every night before Christmas in our house: The setting of the trap.

This takes a little explanation. Back when we lived in Colorado, like most new parents, we went completely nuts trying to make Christmas morning the most dazzling surprise in all of kid-dom. We spent weeks selecting the right presents, wrapping them in bright papers, and arranging them around the tree after putting our first-born to bed so that she would be speechless upon seeing the magnificence in the morning.

Granted, she was very small, and could be pretty easily impressed. We probably could have given her the boxes and she would have been just as happy. Nonetheless, on her third Christmas, just about thirty minutes after my wife and I had finished tacking on the last bow and putting everything in place; just after we had finally nodded off to sleep; we were startled awake by the sound of tiny footsteps in the hallway.


December 25th, 2009
06:48 AM ET

The magic stick

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/24/stick.angle.1.copy.jpg caption="THE ACTUAL STICK"]

Michael Schulder
CNN Senior Executive Producer

My son's most treasured possession these days is a stick. It's an ordinary looking stick. But I’m told it has extraordinary powers.

Can you imagine what powers this stick possesses?

My son can.

He's adept at wielding that stick.

He leaps with it in hand from the couch, to the coffee table, to the chair.

If you're near him (and he knows not to swing the stick when anyone else is too near) you can faintly hear sound effects and dialogue that you can't quite make out. An action movie in whispers.

At one point the other night, in the middle of the action, he paused for a second and declared: "This stick is amazing!"

Why is it amazing, I asked him.

"It can do like 20 things at the same time."

Like what?

"It can be a knife. Or a gun."

But it was number three that thrilled me.

"Look," he illustrated with the fingers of his left hand - "You can even practice cello positions on it!"


Filed under: Michael Schulder • Parenting