Today feels like I’m 14, and it’s the first day back at school after a long Christmas break. I’m answering emails and getting the scoop on everyone’s holiday celebrations, but not getting much done. But I’ve got makeup on for the first time in a week and a half, so vacation is officially over. For two weeks anyway, then it’s off to Disneyland. Yippeee! Sweet Pea is beside herself. I think she may have just endured the holidays to get to the magical space of time “After Christmas” when the promised trip to “Cinerella’s house” would be taking place.
Ok, that’s not exactly true. She loved herself UP some Christmas. And how could she not have? It was obscene. It a good and fun way. < - - - How is it that I can make a description of Christmas with a two-year-old sound like a porn reference? It’s a gift I suppose.
So our madcap recap has to start with the 23rd. My dad sent Lauren a very cool retro tricycle from the LL Bean catalog. It’s a red and white Radio Flier, plastic tassles on the handlebars, little ringy bell, the whole bit. She loves it and has been tearing around the living room on it for a week, but she goes backwards because she can’t reach the pedals completely. And for some reason backwards is easier. Anyway, it came in a box. Which made me nervous because Mr. Golightly isn’t exactly what you’d call a born handyman. Not that he isn’t capable of such tasks. He just doesn’t seem to enjoy them much. And he’s an expert procrastinator. So I was having visions of red wine tipsy me having to put it together at 2 AM on Christmas Eve while he slept peacefully on the couch. So I made him put it together a couple of days early.
Brilliant, except that then, there it was. And it was too big to hide in a closet or the trunk of his car. And I was loathe to have it sit in the icy rain for a day and a half. But I was remembering how I hid in plain sight a few nights before during our marathon Hide and Peek session. So I stuck it under the counter in our laundry room, threw some stuff over the top of it, and put a laundry hamper in front. It was pretty well hidden really. Except that the next morning in my OCD cleaning frenzy I moved the hamper. And about a half hour later while I getting out of the shower I hear her say to her daddy, “Daddy, is that red bike for me?” Oops. The nice thing about her still being two is that we just said, “Yep, but it’s a Christmas present so you can’t see it until tomorrow.” Which she totally bought. And then when she saw it under the tree on Christmas morning she was just as happy and excited as she had been the first time she saw it. Sweet.
We did pause from the gift frenzy to go to Mass on Christmas Eve morning. Sweet Pea was actually thrilled to go, because of her aforementioned obsession with the Baby Jesus. They sang carols, and since we’ve been singing the Gloria part of Angels We Have Heard on High and Away in a Manger for the past few weeks, she was excited to know some of the words. When the collection plate came by I gave her the money to put in, which she did gleefully, because she knew that was a task reserved for Big Girls.
But then…when all the singing had stopped and Father was getting to the serious business of consecrating the host for Holy Communion, my girl – her father’s daughter no doubt, shouts out, “Mommy, I want my money back!” Not once, but three times. She was not pacified when I told her it was for Baby Jesus. In fact, she was not buying her role as a good steward of the church until I informed her that Daddy had “lots” more where that came from.
Christmas Eve day was spent mostly doing nothing in particular. I made crepes for Christmas brunch and Chocolate Gingerbread for the big soiree at my Sister in Law’s house the next day. My mom and dad delivered Sweet Pea’s gift – a beautiful child sized table and chairs that my dad lovingly sanded, stained, varnished, waxed and read poetry to for the last 8 weeks. My mom made chair cushions and table linens out of Elmo fabric that Sweet Pea picked out and bought a set of dishes for her to have as her very own. She loves it. She doesn’t even want me to take the napkins and table cloth off to wash them, so I have to do it at night.
For dinner we got all dolled up and joined my parents and my uncle at a fancy schmancy downtown restaurant. Sweet Pea wore her Christmas dress, bringing the cost-per-minute-worn down into the respectable range. (We were hoping to get some mileage out of it at our company party, but she stripped about 10 minutes in and spent the rest of the night in a tank top and her tights.) Dinner was excellent. Dessert back at Grandma and Grandpa’s house was even better – my mom Martha Steawarted out with a berry cobbler topped with stars made out of pie crust. Natch.
After dinner I forced everyone into the car to view Christmas lights. Lo and behold they actually obliged. And I think they may have even enjoyed themselves. Then we went home, put Sweet Pea to bed and staged the visit from the big guy. And yes, I was red wine tipsy as anticipated. Yea! M and I have this really funny tradition whereby we stake out a corner of the house to fill each others stockings. We act like the other person is desperately trying to ruin the entire holiday season by sneaking a peek that their sock. A problem compounded by the fact that we have the stupidest stockings on the planet. You can’t actually get anything into them, so you have to sort of arrange all the items around the sock. So we turn off all the lights in the living room and then bark orders at each other about where we can and cannot look so as not to spoil the annual I got tic tacs and he got underpants surprise. After that little drill we collapsed into bed.
Christmas morning I overslept and then had to creep downstairs to get quiche made quickly enough to get back into bed so that Sweet Pea could wake me up. Didn’t work. But she did drag her daddy downstairs to see what Santa brought. She loved her Cinderella dress and Little Mermaid doll, and was absolutely giddy over some Disney Princess band aids. (Note the theme.) My parents and uncle came over for brunch and presents, and this is when things start to get fuzzy. There was a lot of wrapping paper in piles. There was a flurry of tissue paper and ribbon. There was animated oohing and ahhhing. There was a two year old who got royally ticked off if anyone opened a present without her help. And there were mimosas. I got my Nano. So I can only assume that M reads my blog. Sweet Pea doubled her possessions in an hour and a half. She may not have noticed though, this was definitely the year of rip and tear and notice what was in the boxes later.
Miraculously we got her to calm down enough for a nap in there at some point so we could regroup and head to my SIL’s house for round two. Kudo’s to Q, by the way, for an excellent meal. The prime rib was perfect, and her house looked beautiful. It’s not easy to feed a gourmet meal to 20+ people, but somehow one of us manages to pull it off beautifully every year. Maybe when it’s her year I should send her to the spa afterward, and she can reciprocate when it’s my turn. Or, you know, what the hell. We can both go every year. I want to go here please and thanks.
Christmas with kids is just plain fun. My niece and nephew were already making good use of the toys they had received that morning. The kids played and played and played until they were too tired to be nice anymore. And then my 6 year old niece kicked all of our butts at Disney Trivia.
Sweet Pea got her favorite gift, and my favorite gift. My fave is a little pink rocking chair that my SIL painted with her name and a fairy Princess design. It’s darling, and so thoughtful. Her favorite gift is a Bissel electric sweeper. It wasn’t even for her, but it was the only gift that made her squeal with joy. And my kitchen floor has been spotless for a week. So I’m on board.
The rest of our vacation week was filled with lots of time together doing more of nothing in particular. Interestingly enough, I think that Sweet Pea’s vocab has increased exponentially this week. I’m trying not to think too hard about that, lest I should send myself into a working mom guilt spiral. I’m making myself feel better by noting that she didn’t sit on the potty voluntarily one time the entire break, setting back the potty training by a couple of months. So hanging out with me 24/7 is just going to make her mouthy and incontinent. Plus, she says “crap” now. Not in reference to potty training, thank God. But in perfect context. Of course. I am also not devoting a lot of brain power to analyzing how a week at home with no responsibility was so full of things to do that I couldn’t come up with a blog post the entire time, but now that I’m back at work I just churned out 3 pages.
Oh well. That’s life as we know it.