Twelfth Night – Or, The Case of the Invisible Gloves

Christmas over…

The Christmas festivities are over for another year. The main event in Spain, as far as the kids are concerned, is the visit of the three kings on twelfth night (January 5th). He is still new to all this so thankfully Dani woke up at a reasonable time on January 6th. He had a few presents to open in the morning but most of them were in his grandmother’s house. Everyone agreed it was a good idea that Dani and his cousin Susana open their presents together. We all met up at their grandmother’s house in the afternoon.

There were two equal piles of presents for the two cousins. Susana is only 3 months older than Dani and although they are very different individually, when they are together they both want the same things. To be more precise, they both want what the other one has. For that reason, the presents had been carefully selected so that both kids had more or less the same. The main gift was a kitchen set which included a plastic sink and tap for washing the dishes.

The Invisible Gloves

Everything was going well until Susana’s mum decided to give a non-existent, invisible, pretend pair of washing up gloves to her daughter. Dani noticed the transaction.

“I want some” he said, as he moved in to try and take a piece of what wasn’t even there.

“No!” shouted Susana; turning away empty handed and yet clutching the pretend gloves as if they really existed. Cue the start of a dramatic meltdown by Dani.

In an attempt to head this off, Dani’s mum quickly conjured up a 2nd pair of invisible washing up gloves. “Here” she said to Dani, “now you have a pair”. As if it was going to be that easy. Dani had other ideas. He wanted the gloves that Susana had been given. “No, I want them” he said reaching for Susana’s invisible gloves. She was having none of it. “No!” she protested. Call it quick thinking or complete panic  but Dani’s mum immediately intervened. She pretended to take one glove from Susana and passed it to Dani. “Here” she said, “now you have one each”.

Now why she decided it was a good idea to split the phantom pair of gloves remains a mystery. Getting kids to share real things can be hard enough. Where do you start trying to share out what isn’t even there? It was too late now. Susana had been robbed of one of her gloves and she wasn’t going to give it up lightly. It was her turn to cry and protest. What fun!


Thankfully kids of this age have the attention span of a goldfish – well probably a little more. Just as quickly as it had erupted the situation was calmed by the slightest of distractions. Someone suggested that they need to cook some food before there are any dishes to wash. Sure enough the two cousins immediately went to their respective kitchens to play with the real pots and pans. Disaster averted.

Next year’s presents?

On the bright side, it seems we no longer need to buy real presents. Invisible, phantom gifts seem to work just as well. They are easier to tidy up, impossible to lose and they do not break. Best of all they cost nothing. I am already planning some great presents for next year. There is however one potential problem. Will the mind of a four-year old be as crazy as the mind of a three-year old? We shall see.

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