A Very Short Christmas Story, or, Mary, Joseph, and the Babies Batman and Bob Long

my daughter pleaded.
"Tell us a good story. Not a bad one. You haven't been telling very good stories lately."

- "Thanks for the confidence-booster,"
I said.
"And by the way: who are these dolls that you guys are playing with?"

She and her brother each turned around to reveal twins: she holding a footlong plastic girl baby doll; my son holding an identical boy baby. He waved the naked doll at me, stating unnecessarily that "…it's a boy, and it can pee."

(I still have no idea where these came from. Dug up from some toy elephant graveyard in our home, I suppose)

"These are our babies,"
my daughter said.
"My baby's name is Batman. Batman Long."

- "She's a girl!"
I said factually.
"Why not…Batgirl? Or Batwoman? Or even…Marsha, or Gertrude, or Jemima?"

She stood her ground. "No. Her name is Batman. Batman Long."

My son leaped in. "And my baby is Zoe."

I raised an eyebrow. "Zoe? Your baby boy's name is Zoe?"

He nodded enthusiastically, then changed his mind. "Actually…his name is Bob. Bob Long."

"Tell us a story!" my daughter brought things back around.

- "Fine. I'll tell you a short story about…a couple long, long ago. Their names were Mary and Joseph, and they were traveling to Bethlehem because Mary was pregnant, and they couldn't find a place to stay for the night. Being pregnant can be very uncomfortable, so they badly needed a place for Mary to sleep - "

She interrupted. "You don't KNOW that it's uncomfortable."

- "What?"

She explained. "You haven't been pregnant, so you don't KNOW that it's uncomfortable."

I explained. "I've also never fallen off a cliff. But I imagine it would not be very comfortable. I've never had the bubonic plague. But I'm guessing it's fairly uncomfortable. I've never had my arm amputated. But I'm thinking it probably doesn't feel too good. And yes, I have never been pregnant, but I have been around plenty of women who are pregnant and I happen to KNOW that oftentimes it's not very comfortable."

She refused to acquiesce. "You just don't KNOW."

I roared with accuracy: "I have been married to a pregnant person! And just so you know, your mom has set a very high standard for being pregnant - she hiked Beacon Rock two weeks before your brother was born, and went camping less than a month AFTER he was born, and I NOW that carrying a baby around in her belly was not always comfortable for her. I KNOW this."

Calmly. "You don't KNOW."

- "I know. And I know that Mary needed a semi-comfortable place to stay. So finally an innkeeper let them stay in his stable. So they did. They had a baby. I think his name was Jesus. The End."

"That was a bad story,"
my daughter said with exasperating honesty.

"Yeah, that was a bad story,"
her mini-me sibling chimed in.

"What's happened to your stories lately?"
she asked.
"You've been telling really bad stories lately. You better get back on track."

"Yeah, I will, I said.
"And I'll tell 'em to little people who won't interrupt every sentence of my really good stories. Also, we're skipping Christmas this year. The end."

They ignored me and continued playing with Batman the Girl and Bob the Naked Boy. I'm going to throw them away while they're sleeping.


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