Slip Slidin' Away

I MUST get a few of the highlights of our holiday season on cyberpaper before the year escapes me. So, sorry for the lengthy mumble jumble - it's for my own peace of mind. And I'll just apologize right up front that most of the stories involve Calvin. I'm very aware of my second son and spend most days tickling, loving and trying to eat him, he is so cute, but this was just a big Christmas year for Cal...

The Tree Did Get Decorated

Morning People

My boys wake up and must. play. now. With or without Mom. With or without proper outdoor attire.
Henry came into my room one early morning last week, snuggled for a brief moment, then barreled off my bed, at which point I made my first stop at the bathroom and he was outside in the sandbox (and 30-something degree morning temp) by the time I got downstairs. He refused to be moved until pancakes with strawberry sauce were mentioned.

The Start of a Tradition

I grew up in a house where cookies for Santa were an irregular afterthought when they did happen. This year, however, our family Christmas was a quiet and relaxed one and the first in which Calvin was aware of Santa, so when we had an hour to kill before bedtime could reasonably be considered, I whipped up a batch of very simple peanut butter cookies (just found out this year that they are Santa's favorite!), instructed Cal in the fine art of rolling and fork-pressing them, and he in turn taught Henry the trade. It was adorable.

And the next morning was even more cute, when Cal stood staring at the empty plate of cookies with hand on his hip. I think we might have to do this every year.

A Few Things About Gift Giving and Receiving

I could NOT get out of Calvin what his fondest wish for Christmas was, and could not think of anything he might like or want or need. Honestly - it was crazy. Soon he started telling me, "Mom, I don't want to talk about this anymore," and other such unhelpful and off-putting answers to my inquiries.

My favorite response was the afternoon after we got a box of presents from Grandma and I asked him again what he might like Santa to bring. He said without a pause, "But Mom, we got so many wonderful presents already. I don't think he needs to bring anything else." (This was before any of the presents were opened or he knew what was inside them, by the way. And he really did say wonderful - it's his word lately - he draws out the first syllable in this darling dramatic way...)

That comment, combined with the time spent on certain activities Christmas morning, taught me that I just need to enjoy and be content, like them - and to just give the 99 cent Pez dispenser (aka "one of those things we saw that has a head that comes up and you get candy out of") instead of thinking I need a second mortgage to really give the kids a nice Christmas.

As it turns out, Cal did have some preferences on what his gifts were. We had a family exchange at Auntie S's house and she gave each of the boys two gifts. Henry opened his first and it was a personalized flashlight with airhorn button and radio. Calvin opened his first gift from Auntie S and it was a sweater. I watched his face fall and then twist into a grimace and he stammered, "This..is...so...weird!"

At which point Uncle K cracked up laughing and said that was the best thing he'd seen the whole season, and the college-age cousins started teasing Auntie S about being the aunt who gives clothes. It was quite hilarious, actually. Cal was trying so hard to not say something ungrateful, but couldn't quite be happy about it. His second gift, a flashlight like Henry's, helped him out a little.

On Christmas night, Cal suddenly ran up to me and tackle hugged me around the legs. As he was running away, he said, "That's the best Christmas present, ever, right, Mom?" Apparently, he had been distraught in Primary class that he hadn't gotten me anything. His teacher had told him, "Just give your mom a big hug. That's the best thing you can give her." And he remembered! (Although I did find out later that he had told his teacher, "But you can't wrap a hug.")

White Christmas

I didn't realize until Christmas Eve that Cal had connected snow with Christmas. We were talking about all the exciting things of the next morning and Cal chimed in, "And I'll look out the window and the snow will start coming down!" Oh, so sad. No, Virginia, it rarely snows on Christmas (here).

The Gift We Opened Early

I am SOOOO not a peaker/snooper/gotta-find-outer and I think it's a rude behavior in general. I really love surprises and anticipation.

Except when it comes to finding out about babies in utero. And as it so happens, I had to have an earlier-than-usual ultrasound the week before Christmas to check on a small abnormality. Everything checked out fine, but I had taken David along with me just in case there was bad news. Then the ultrasound tech said, "Did you want to find out the gender of your baby?" I was kinda thinking of this one being a surprise, because I don't have a particular wish one way or the other, but David must know and she caught me off guard because they usually can't tell anything until twenty weeks or so...

But it's really nothing we haven't seen before...quite definitely a BOY! Tres ninos! (I gotta find a way to have that on a personalized license plate, I think. It plays on my first name so nicely.)

Speaking of Spanish

Calvin has been very into learning languages lately - watches Noddy on PBS Kids and frequently comes to tell me words he has learned in Swahili and what have you. We have a few friends who speak Spanish whom he badgers to tell him words, and he wants to know how to say words like "whale" and "fishing pole" in Russian. We largely praise his efforts and compliment him on his pronunciation, although I haven't been really sure that he understands that it's an actual whole language, not just funny code words for certain things.

I think he "gets it" somewhat, however: The other day, "Feliz Navidad" came on the radio and I started belting out all the words since I was feeling festive. Cal piped up from the back seat: "Mom! You sing that sooooo well! How did you learn Spanish so fast? You are soo smart!"

Then in the bathroom at church last Sunday, he couldn't reach the paper towels and David was busy changing Henry's diaper, so a man from the Spanish congregation that meets in the same building helped Calvin out. Cal turned to David and started to ask how to say thank you, but then remembered and turned to the man and said, "Gracias!"

I find it pretty impressive that he knew what language to speak to the man, and had a desire to say thanks in a way that he was sure the man would understand (even though he likely would have understood "thank you" anyway). It pleased and impressed the man, also, from what I understand.

Jingle Bell Rock

When Calvin was one year old, we played a Christmas CD ad nauseum in the car and he would invariably go crazy happy in his car seat when Jingle Bell Rock came on, and only when Jingle Bell Rock came on. Soon, he was jamming when the very first three notes played. I started playing the first three notes over and over again, just to watch him go nuts, it was so adorable that every single time he loved the way that specific song sounded.

This year we had another fun variation on the Jingle Bell Rock - called the Jingle Bell Spin - on Christmas morning after all the presents had been opened.

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Hope your holiday was just as much fun, and happy 2007 from our house to yours!


Maryee and Jena said...

That was a MAJOR tradition in our family growing up! Thanks for sharing!


Carrot Jello said...

I think I saw the Jingle Bell strut in there. So cute!

someone else said...

What a fun read this was!! I'm convinced Cal is a grownup in a little boy body. He's sooo sweet.

Santa put Pez dispensers and candy in my grandchildren's stockings this year and they were a huge hit. Just goes to show you simple things are the best.

I'm glad you had a wonderful Christmas. We did, too. Happy New Year and congratulations on that approaching new baby boy!

Millie said...

Congrats on Boy #3! I'm sure he'll fit in perfectly with the other two!

I didn't know Santa's favorite was peanut butter - at my house his favorite is chocolate chip (pretty much any time).

Cal using "gracias" in the right context is so smart!

Sounds like you had a fun Christmas. :)

Dawn said...

What fun stories! I'm glad you wrote them all down for your own sake, as well as our enjoyment. So important to remember all the cute things they say.

The other day Care Bear looked at me and said, "Grandma, you're pathetic!" I hope she doesn't know what that means!

Valarie said...

It sounds like your Christmas was just right. Was there some eggnog influence in that jingle bell spin?

Yay for boys!