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Balancing Act: Modern twist on classic carol

With apologies to the 18th century carol whose beauty and symbolism celebrate the time between Jesus Christ’s birth and the Epiphany, I hereby offer a modern twist on “The 12 Days of Christmas,” as it would be sung by my children.

Son: On the first day of Christmas, my mom gave to me ... a Shopkins 5-pack ( with a Lizzy Lace-up and one mystery Shopkin that I hope is ultra-rare.

Daughter: No fair! You already have 14 ultra-rares and a Lizzy Lace-up! Trade you a Mobile Mary for your Roxy Ring.

Son: Nope.

Daughter: On the second day of Christmas, my mom gave to me ... two scoops of gelato for breakfast from the Mariano’s next to my school because we were super late leaving the house and I never got breakfast and she felt bad that she raised her voice at me about never wearing socks.

Son: On the third day of Christmas, my mom gave to me ... three french fries from the McDonald’s drive-through after floor hockey practice, with a promise that I could eat the rest of the fries after we got home if I ate all my broccoli, which she and I both know means one bite of broccoli.

Daughter: On the fourth day of Christmas, my mom forgot to move the Elf on the Shelf.

Son and daughter together: On the fifth day of Christmas, our mom gave to us ... Five! Golden! Minutes to stop fighting over her iPhone and come up with a plan to share fairly or she would take it away for good. (For good, you guys!)

Son: On the sixth day of Christmas, my mom gave to me ... six pairs of new socks, like that’s even a gift.

Daughter: Seriously. Neither are navy blue leggings to wear with my school uniform. That’s just, like, your job to buy those.

Son: On the seventh day of Christmas, my mom gave to me ... the seven Shopkins she found around my booster seat when she was vacuuming the car.

Daughter: The ultra-rare is mine.

Son: On the eighth day of Christmas, my mom gave to me ... eight reasons why I shouldn’t go ahead and open all my Advent calendar windows on one day, and all eight reasons had the words “delayed” and “gratification” in them.

Daughter: On the ninth day of Christmas, my mom gave to me ... nine reminders to pick up my room if I expect Santa – or anyone else, for that matter – to bring me more toys and clothes when I leave the ones I already have lying around the floor for weeks on end and expect other people ... something, something, something. (I stopped listening after “other people.”)

Son: On the 10th day of Christmas, my mom gave to me ... 10 separate envelopes of cash for my teacher’s gift, my teacher’s assistant’s gift, my student teacher’s gift, my book fair, the schoolwide collection to buy toys for underprivileged kids, coffee and doughnuts for the school staff, a fundraiser for the eighth-graders’ trip to Washington, D.C., milk money, snack money and the money she owes that one mom from the other day at flag football practice.

Daughter: On the 11th day of Christmas, my mom gave to me ... 11 things to remind her to do before we leave the house. (Sign the Girl Scouts cookie selling permission slip, RSVP to Josh’s birthday party, call the contractor about the bathroom tile, grab the secret Santa gift for my trampoline teammate, text the sitter about next Tuesday, turn off the oven, put the sheets in the dryer, water the Christmas tree ... I forget the rest.)

Son and daughter together: On the 12th day of Christmas, our mom gave to us ... 12 hugs and 100 kisses and a promise to cherish us forever and remind us daily that she wouldn’t trade a minute of the madness for all the turtle doves and golden rings in the world.

(That last one is my own epiphany.)

Contact Heidi Stevens at, or on Twitter: @heidistevens13.