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Dec 25, 2010

Christmas and Godzilla: A True Story

My four year old son recently discovered Godzilla.

He was already a big fan of dinosaurs. He also loved dragons. But then he saw a picture of a cartoon Godzilla in the line-up on Netflix. We're pretty picky about what we watch on tv with the kids, preferring educational programs, but he begged, "That one! That one!" every time the picture scrolled by. I gave in, figuring he'd watch one show and that would be the end of it.

Clearly, I understimated cartoon Godzilla's charms. He was shaped like a dinosaur but fifty times as big! He had magical fire breath like a dragon!

"Godzilla is SUPER AWESOME!" My four year old jumped up and down with glee.

Even my two year old son latched on to the show. "I wan Wazilla!"

What have I gotten myself into? I wondered.

When my son gets on a kick, he is the most obsessive fanboy imaginable. He wanted to watch Godzilla night and day, six times in the morning, six times at night and twice again instead of nap. He suggested that he could skip preschool, the better to enjoy an all-day Godzilla marathon.

This alone would have been enough to drive a parent nuts, but for some reason my husband went further. He took a dislike to the show the first time he saw it. When my husband gets on a kick, he is the most obsessive h8r imaginable.

"What? Why didn't he call for back-up? Why does his flashlight work now but not before? No helicopter moves like that!" he would exclaim while watching the show. "I hate this show! They can't even get the laws of physics right!"

Then my husband and four-year-old son would argue about whether the show was "stupid" or not. "Is too!" "Is not!"


Immediately after Thanksgiving, my son put in his first request for a toy Godzilla. I figured the phase would pass, and didn't worry about. But as Christmas came closer and closer, he kept making remarks like, "I hope Santa brings me a Godzilla!" "We have to tell Santa about Godzilla, Mommy!"

"Can't you just pretend your T-rex is Godzilla?"

"T-rex is a dinosaur, Mommy, not a Godzilla." He said this as though it should be obvious.

The problem was that the Godzilla movie came out in 1998. The cartoon came out a year later. It was not exactly this season's hot toy in the stores. I checked every Target, Walmart, Toys R Us and boutique ye olde toy shoppe in the tri-state area, which is even more impressive when you consider that l live on the West Coast. I checked eBay and Craig's list and Amazon, and found a few used versions, but balked at the price. I didn't want a collector's item, and, especially given my husband's ongoing opposition to all things Godzilla, I was reluctant to encourage my son's interest.

When my son wrote his letter to Santa, he listed a number of things he had seen in a catalogue (he's already a savvy shopper, and even advised Santa on the price of things, "I want the one the one that costs three hundred dollars but not the one that costs a hundred dollars, cause that's too uk-pensive."

He didn't mention Godzilla, because Godzilla was not in the catalogue.

Thank goodness for commercialization of Christmas. A bullet dodged.

Then on Christmas Eve, out of the blue, my son asked me where his letter to Santa was.

"We mailed it to Santa, remember?"

"No!" he said. "I need it back. I forgot to add Godzilla to my list!"

I explained there was no way to get it back. His whole face screwed up like a sun-dried cranberry. "Santa isn't going to know I want Godzilla! I have to ask Santa for Godzilla! I need my letter to Santa to tell him!"

"We'll write a new letter to Santa and leave it for him with the cookies tonight," I promised, but I wondered what I was going to do when Christmas morning came and there was no Godzilla toy. Was Santa going to leave a note saying, "Sorry, your request came too late, maybe next year." I thought about what I would have thought about Santa if he'd told me that when I was four.

I had a sinking feeling this was going to be the Christmas that scarred my son's emotional growth forever.

My husband motioned me over to the kitchen. We whispered like conspirators.

"We can still get it," he said.

"We can't, it's not in any of the stores, and there's no way to order it online at this point!"

"I have one," he said.

"You found it? When?"

"I bought it when the movie came out," he said, matter-of-factly. "The movie was so terrible, I had to have one."

I stared at him. He bought a kid's toy for a movie he hated that came out twelve years ago, and kept it all this time?

Apparently, yes.

While my sons watched Rudoph the Red-nosed Reindeer, we put in a frantic call to grandparents, who searched through their entire house, found nothing, searched again and then drove over to our house with something wrapped up in a grocery store plastic bag.

This morning, as my son opened present after present, he kept asking, "Is it Godzilla?"

Godzilla was the last present. Perfect, pristine, brand new Godzilla, looking just like the movie and cartoon. It ever roars when you press a button.

"Santa is SUPER AWESOME!" cried my son.

Yes, Santa, you are.

* * *

Merry Christmas.

* * *

And these were Santa's presents to me: the print version of Conmergence and the ebook version of the first book in my fantasy series, The Unfinished Song: Initiate. Both out today!


Cherri Galbiati said...

Tara, what a beautiful story! Your children (and husband) sound like they keep you on your toes ALL the time!! lol.

Merry Christmas,

Burritoclock said...

And now I have hope that all the dumb things I buy for reasons that really don't even make sense to me may one day turn out to indeed be useful!

Rob G said...

Want to break the kids of their love of Godzilla? Have them watch the movie with Matthew Broderick. That will kill it!