So, Christmas break finally rolls around and not much has changed.
Rafe manages to buy back twelve more pages of his notebook.
Mrs. Donatello keeps encouraging Rafe. Ugh.
And, of course, it's report card time. That joyous time of year.
Rafe spends most of winter break outside waiting for the mailman to deliver this impending important bit of doom. Along with this little piece of paper filled with C's, D's, and F's is a note from Mrs. Stricker asking to discuss Rafe's "academic performance" after break.
Okay, so Rafe figures it's not fair for Mom to have this hanging over her head at Christmastime, so he does the sensible thing—he takes Ditka on a walk and he burns the report card and the letter and throws the ashes down a drain pipe.
Hey, he's only thinking of Mom, right?
Ho, Ho, Ho
This chapter is just a cute picture of Bear (drawn as a literal bear), Mom, Rafe and Georgia in front of an awesome Christmas scene (with loads of presents) at home.
Short and Sweet, But Mostly Just Short
Christmas wasn't exactly like the picture in Chapter 42, but it wasn't so bad.
Bear was around on Christmas morning, so that was a little weird. Mom got presents for him from the kids. Rafe had to pretend to be excited about the Chicago Bears sweatshirt that Bear bought for him.
Dinner was nice and Rafe got to stay up late watching TV.
Then Mom found out about his grades. Not so merry and bright.
Lost and Found
Turns out Hills Village Middle School doesn't solely rely on the mail to get grades home to parents. They also have them online. Who'da thunk it?
Mom finds Rafe's grades the morning after Christmas and she is none too happy. Bear thinks the problem is that Mom has gone easy on Rafe for too long. Not so sure Bear is the parenting expert here.
Anyway, Bear tells Rafe when school is back in session he's gonna come home and do his homework and Bear's gonna check it.
Rafe doesn't like that arrangement (because Bear is the worst) and the two of them start arguing back and forth.
Mom is super-frustrated that everyone can't just get along, but she also realizes that she isn't home to help Rafe with his homework in the afternoon. Bear's gonna have to do it.
Rafe feels betrayed. He gave up Operation R.A.F.E. for her and this is how she repays him? By turning him into bear food?
First day back from Christmas break doesn't go super great for Rafe. About two seconds into the day, he runs into Miller.
Turns out Miller has read his book and he's upped his price to $1.50 per page. Rafe better hurry and pay him or he's gonna start telling Jeanne Galletta that he likes to draw little doodles about how much he loves her.
Okay, at this point, Rafe has had enough. He runs at Miller and jumps on his back. Miller slams him backwards into the wall and Rafe lets go.
Just then, Mrs. Stricker peeks her head out and pulls the two troublemakers into her office. Oops.