12 Jan Sugar, Christmas, and Barbies
By Paul Kvinta
Looking back on it all, the string of spectacularly poor decisions we made leading up to the children’s Christmas party can only be attributed to some mysterious fog of insanity that had settled over Dorrie’s Promise and scrambled all adult brains. We are now calling it the “Christmas Fog” and it makes the Dorie’s Promise staff laugh and smile to tell this story.
How else can we explain our decision to feed the children piñata candy, then cake, then sodas from McDonalds, all in rapid succession, and all after not allowing them to take their naps?
When the time finally rolled around to dole out Christmas gifts to some 37 sugar-addled, completely-jacked-up orphans, we adults never stood a chance.
In the beginning, Ileana and Desi attempted to impose some order on the proceedings. Ileana handed each child a present in front of the Christmas tree, and then Desi tried to snap individual portraits before they unwrapped their gifts. But the kids weren’t interested in being photographed. They wanted their loot, and Desi could barely get off a shot before paper and ribbon was flying everywhere. Soon toy trucks appeared, then stuffed animals, then baby dolls. Someone began bawling because he couldn’t assemble his Transformer. Children were dancing, leaping, shouting. Adults were sprawled across the floor, trying to read assembly instructions. No one had a screwdriver. Batteries were required. Christmas music blared. CHRISTMAS HAD COME! Can you relate? We’re sure you can…
From there the situation deteriorated quickly.
I soon had three toddlers attached to my shoulders and torso, each demanding that I watch her give her new doll a bottle. I made a move for the door, but my escape route was blocked by growing piles of wrapping paper and cardboard packaging. A low-flying attack helicopter buzzed by my head. Someone desperately needed a diaper change. I fought my way to the lunchroom but was stopped dead in my tracks by a truly horrifying site: Desi was pinned to a chair and being forced to undergo a quite disturbing makeover. One little girl smeared lip-gloss across her eyelids; another globbed hot-pink nail polish onto her cuticles. Oh – so cute!
“I look like a drag queen,” Desi whimpered.
I tired to intervene but was cut off by a marauding band of Barbie-wielding six-year-old girls. Desi shot me a look of desperation that seemed to say, “Don’t worry about me! Save yourself! Run for your life!”
No kid went to bed willingly that night, and it took several days to get them back smoothly on their routines. But they were decidedly happy children, children thrilled to receive just one Christmas present. Later, when she had fully recovered, Ileana admitted, “It was so nice to see their happy faces that night. It gives me a warm feeling inside.”
But next year: no sugar!