Archives for the month of: December, 2012

I should have known not to worry.

Who minds waking up to presents?

The stocking was good – “I got my own whisk! I have a tape measure!” – and the presents were, too. She liked her sleeping bag much more than we could have predicted. It was a good day. After all, who doesn’t want to feel warm and snuggled and loved? That’s Christmas, in a nutshell – or in a sleeping bag.

Sleeping bag

It’s like our Christmas Eve. The stockings are hung (sort of near, not) on the chimney with care. Our child is nestled, all snug in our bed.

Presents are wrapped and under the tree, ready for tomorrow morning, our family Christmas.

Except we forgot to give her any warning that it’s coming. No anticipation, no building to the moment. Nothing.

I’d like to say it’s because we’re trying to downplay the materialism that too often comes with the holiday. That is generally true about our beliefs, but it isn’t specifically true for this moment. We just…forgot to tell her.

But I hope I’m right in thinking, warning or not, finding presents under the tree and in a stocking will be a welcome surprise. And, on a separate note, I do like the reminder that comes with having a small child during this time of the year, the joy and celebration of life and love and family and hope. Sometimes, the best things in life are unasked for and unexpected – and somehow, I know our “Christmas” morning will be just fine. Better than fine, even – I’m sure that, come morning, we’ll make a joyful noise.

She’s a 6:00 – 6:30 girl. On the rare occasion, she’ll sleep past 7:00, but it’s not common. In fact, it’s uncommon.

The past two mornings, she’s woken up (post-6:00 and pre-6:30) and chattered on about various things, including driving to Nene and Poppa’s house. “Do you want to come, Daddy?” she has asked each morning. This summer, the two of us went alone, so it’s a fair question. “Mommy can sit it her seat and you can sit beside me,” she told him. She’s that way, too: things are a certain way, and she likes them to stay that way. When we go to Nene and Poppa’s house, Mommy drives, she thinks – it’s what happened last time. (Besides, she likes her daddy. A lot. A lot a lot. She’d like him to sit by her!)

So, even though we’re not going anywhere for another week and a half, this girl is already jazzed. Santa? Pah. Frosty? OK. Rudolph? She knows we’re going to watch the video sometime.

But just ask her what she’s going to get to try on Christmas. “Gum!” she’ll tell you. That’s our kind of Christmas shopping!

The tree is (partially) decorated, the Advent calendar is up and in use, and we’re reading The Christmas Rose, an Advent calendar of a story. She’s in the season. And for her, it almost always starts between 6:00 and 6:30 in the morning.





(But bedtime was arduous.)

It’s easy to feel like a good parent on the days when everything goes right, when your toddler naps, when all of the games you play are fun, when dinner and your home improvement projects all turn out just the way you wanted to, the first time around.

This was not one of those days.

I cried, and my tears fell onto my shirt. My daughter, the object of both my love and frustration at that moment, had nearly grated her fingers, carried off the cheese I needed for biscuits, ignored at least three sets of instructions, and then methodically picked the blooms off of a stem of silk lily-of-the-valleys. To add to the mix, there was crying on her part, foot stomping, and general caterwauling. And that was just in a three minute span.

She looked up at me, eyes wide. “Are you sad?”

“Yes,” I said, and she hugged me.

“I’m sorry you’re upset,” she told me. I felt better – unprompted kindness does that – and told her I was going to put some water on my face.

She took two wooden utensils from the dish drain and went into the bathroom with me. Ugh – one more thing to have to wash again, to move, to put away. One more thing on top of one more thing.

She climbed onto her stool, stuck one utensil under the faucet, and turned on the water. Water trickled over the face of the wooden spatula, then she turned the water off, stepped off her stool, and started walking towards me, carefully holding the spatula. The water dripped off onto the floor, leaving both the spatula and the floor a little wet. One more thing to wipe up. “I’ll wet your face,” she said. “Take off your glasses.” (Of course, from her, that statement sounds like this: “Take ozh your gwasses.” Obediently, I did, and she gently ran the damp face of her utensil over mine, the curve of its face matching the curve of mine, and wet my face for me.

Never, I think, has something like a wooden spoon been put to kinder, gentler use. I won’t mind washing those again; I won’t mind washing those again at all.