The Night Before The Night Before The Night Before Christmas

Note: I have pictures to add to this, but the camera was malfunctioning. Hope to add them soon...Read now and come back later for the visuals. They're pretty good....

How to begin again...

I had anticipated so much extra time once school was done for the holidays, but then I remembered: That whole magic of Christmas thing? It doesn't all happen by itself. I am the mom now, which means I am the maker of the magic. So I've been busy. And I'm tired and completely lacking any kind of ingenuity or blog enthusiasm, not to mention extraordinarily weepy and sentimental and ridiculous for absolutely no reason.

But I felt like I needed to post something, if it is just a ramble...

For those of you who enjoyed the tales of Duck-Duck and Fringies, I thought you'd like to know that they (Duck-duck and Fringies) are now calling us (Henry's parents) by our first names. It's rather unsettling to have a plush someone say in falsetto, "Traci, my daddy needs you to give him some orange juice."

Also, Duck-Duck uses the cup holder in the back seat of the car as a toilet. He sat there all during church last Sunday and when we got back in the car three hours later, Henry started giggling like mad and said, "Duckie is still sitting on the toilet!" Then, hardly discernible in his gales of escalating laughter, "He musta hadda go baaaaaaad." Then Duckie's falsetto: "Daddy, I need you to wipe my bum."

Just to illustrate a less toilet-oriented bit of the imagination we're working with in Henry, here's a little scenario from today: I was holding on to a box that someone had shipped gifts in so I could fill it with Good Will stuff and the boys wanted to play with it. I told them they could, but to please not smash the sides in and that they could not punch or cut holes in it because I needed to use it when they were done playing.

Not too long after, the box had turned into a Duckie bedroom and it needed a window. Calvin begged to cut a window and I told him no, but that he could draw one with a marker on the outside if he'd like, and just pretend that Duckie could see out. That pleased him, and worked just fine for Henry, too, and they continued playing.

A few minutes later, Henry was looking for some tape because something needed to be attached to the box. When he couldn't find any tape, I heard this conversation from the living room:

"Henry! What are you doing with the marker! We don't need any more windows!"

"It's not a window. We don't have any tape to stick this to the box, so I'm going to draw some tape. That will work."

"Uh, no. It will not work to draw tape, Henry. Drawing can't make anything stick."

"Yes it can! You made a window! I can make tape! It will work!"

Then I had to go referee the fist fight that erupted as once again practicality and fantasy collided in the bodies of Calvin and Henry.

One of my favorite Henry stories of this season is from a conversation I had with him at the toy store when we were looking for something for Calvin's birthday. Henry spotted a doll house with little poseable figures and furniture and - the best thing - a purple SUV. It's all quite irresistible.

He asked me what it was called and I told him in my best, "Come on, you know what it's called" voice that it was a doll house and all the stuff for it. "Noooo, Mom!" he said with an exaperated jab at the little box of mother and baby. "What does it say that they are called?"

So I read the packaging to him: "Fisher Price Loving Family." And then the "I-want-it-I-want-it-I-want-it" started and I told him we were buying a gift for Calvin only and maybe for Christmas he would get the dolls. Which made me a very undesirable mother. And he has now told various people (and me, several times) that he just wants a loving family for Christmas. Nice.

I may seem full of Henry-ness these days. The funny thing about it is that it is definitely not because he is my favorite right now. In fact, he is going. to be. the death. of me. So contrary, so cherubic, so reverting to non-potty-trained-ness, so sassy, so messy, so dang funny, so tantrum-prone, so needy, so loving. Killing me.

I mean, what do you do with a kid whose shoes you have to put back on his feet every time you stop the car to get out and go in somewhere? And it's not only the kicking his shoes off. It's that he knows not to do it, and when you I ask him why he took his shoes off again, he can actually articulate: "Because you wouldn't stop at McDonald's like I wanted you to." Grrrrrr. The death of me.

And what of Calvin and Christmas? He was the front of the camel for the preschool program. One of the more adorable things I've ever seen. And he thinks that the chorus of "Angels We Have Heard on High" is the best music ever. I've never seen a five-year-old belt out so many glo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ri-a's in my life. What makes it even more endearing is that he thinks the words are "he is here to replenish you" instead of "in excelsis deo." I have no idea where he got it from or how he even knows the word "replenish," but he insists. It's how he worked out what the words were, and it's not far from the truth, if not the real words, so I let him sing it that way.

On the Santa front, Cal is skeptical. He's always wanted things straight-up, no nonsense, and Santa's more than a little fantastical, so he's not necessarily buying it. For a while when I asked him what he wanted Santa to bring this year, he told me very seriously, "You'll find out when you see it under the Christmas tree." Awesome.

And Charlie? He is one squidgy, lovey, wriggly little guy. He has started diving for me from other people's arms, and he puts both arms around my neck, pulls on my hair in the back and sucks the heck out of my cheek. I'm not even joking. He is so delicious. He rolls front to back to front to back to get everywhere he wants to go, babbling and cooing and drooling all the while. And his thighs are enormous and his feet are round from any viewpoint. Scrumptious little bit of perfection.

Beautopotamus tagged me to do a Christmas Hooplah and since I probably won't get another post up until after the holidays, and because I need a little boost, I'm going to comply. The rules are to list twelve things about me that are related to Christmas, to really truly tag someone to carry on the hooplah, and under no circumstances to refer to it as the dreaded blogosphere "m" word. So here goes...

12. I have never been a gift-shaker or present-peaker. I love surprises and anticipation too much and really consider them part of the gift itself.

11. It deflates me when people shake and peak at things I am trying to surprise and please them with.

10. I mostly enjoy other peoples' family Christmas letters, but there is something in my soul that revolts against writing one myself. I'm not really sure what that something is, and I did write one last year, but I'm pretty sure it'll never happen again.

9. I love ornaments. Ours are like little treasures to me and I love getting them out one by one every year.

8. My favorite Christmas albums are Martina McBride's White Christmas (she sings Silent Night like a lullaby instead of to show off), and Amy Grant's I'll Be Home For Christmas is what makes it feel like Christmas every year to me.

7. My favorite Christmas songs are O Holy Night and Mary, Did You Know. Lump in my throat every time.

6. But some of my most profound and beautiful spiritual insights have come from Handel's Messiah.

5.Yep, music is pretty much what makes it for me.

4. I used to be a white light girl, but my husband has won me over to the fun of colored lights.

3. I look forward to New Year's as much as Christmas. To me, it has just as much hope and excitement and love mixed into it, and I love raucously and passionately ringing in the new year. When I was growing up, we marched on the front porch banging pans with spoons. And in Ukraine, there are all sorts of wonderful traditions wrapped up in the new year. I loved it there.

2. The only two things I don't like about Christmas in the DC area are: (1) the annoyingly cheesy and nasally crooned song Christmas in Washington that all the radio stations think is so wonderful to play (it is serious barf material if you ask me!), and (2) that a white Christmas is rare. I so love snow.

1. Every year I try to figure out what exactly is meant by, "I'm dreaming tonight of a place I love even more than I usually do" - is it the dreaming that is more than usual or the love that is more than usual? It perplexes and befuddles me. Every year.

And now for the tag. This is where it gets dicey because I have read exactly no one's blog in like two weeks. Not even Nobody's or No Cool Story's or Liz's. But I'm going to give them the hooplah tag anyway. Ladies, if you've already done this, forgive me. Leave me a link to it and I'll come read it. Hopefully sometime before Easter, the way life looks right now...And if you don't want to support hooplah, I'm good with that, too.


the lizness said...

I will support the hooplah - but it may be sometime this week before I can think clearly enough about 12 things with me and Christmas.

But Merry Merry Christmas to you and your family!


S said...

Oh I have missed you so! Your boys are growing TOO fast for me:) GLOOOOOOOOORIA is so grand to sing, I am glad he has found the joy of that:) I agree with mom being the magic maker and let me tell you I stink at that. Maybe next year has been my motto, and I am sticking with it! Merry Christmas!!!!!

S said...

dang it liz that was cheating:) darn word verification

MotherT said...

The "loving family" had the WonderHusband snorting and chuckling for quite a while!! Kids are great! Have a good Christmas!

someone else said...

It was wonderful to find a new post from you. As usual, I smiled, laughed, said "awwwww", and just plain enjoyed every word!

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Super Happy Girl said...

Aww, you mentioned me! You still love me! I'll comply...maybe? I don't know I can think of 12 things.

I can't wait for the pics :)

Feliz Merry Christmas!!!

Ice Cream said...

I had to laugh about your Christmas in Washington song because over here (in Washington) we have a song called Christmas In The Northwest and it is very much barfy material.

Super Happy Girl said...

Feliz Happy New Year!!