Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Holly, Jolly Christmas 2006

Christmas this year was divine. It was full of love, laughter, and good food (as well as a fabulous lavender robe from my mother). It was so good, in fact, that I spent most of today in my new favorite pajamas – and robe - recovering from the crazy Christmas Euphoria that we all experienced yesterday.

(A new medical condition, Christmas Euphoria, is characterized by abdominal bloating caused by overeating combined with sore cheeks from smiling and a sugar buzz. Zane had a really bad case).

However, SRH and I did have a few lessons to learn this holiday season. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: three and a half years is not nearly long enough to develop competence at this whole parenting thing. Hence, mistakes were made, and lessons were learned.

Lesson 1: Santa should just be Santa. Don’t tie him to anything else. Santa brings gifts to little children and makes them happy. That’s it. No conditions. No limitations. He shouldn’t make demands. That ain’t Santa. His gifts shouldn’t be incumbent upon good behavior, or, say, giving up a pacifier.

Before learning this lesson, I listened to Zane’s pediatrician who suggested that giving pacifiers to Santa was a great way to get rid of them. After all, the child wants to get Santa’s approval – that means gifts. And he can’t be mad at Santa – that means that there might not be gifts, so voila! Pacifiers are gone, child gets what he wants in return, and the parents aren’t seen as the meanies who threw all the binkies out of the house. And since Zane only used his pacifiers in his bed at night, I didn’t think it was going to be a huge struggle. (Indeed, I am a dunderhead.)

So, Santa wrote Zane a letter that he would get some of his “train presents” that he’d asked for, if he gave Santa his pacifiers. We set all of Zane’s pacis on the plate with Santa’s cookies.

Zane was deceptively agreeable to our stupid, stupid idea – until he went to bed.

So while SRH and I were downstairs assembling all the cool Christmas gifts that we had been eagerly anticipating giving to Zane, he was upstairs with my mother crying/screaming for his pacifiers. For two hours.

It was dreadful, and my fool self learned never again to set parameters on Santa gifts. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

(On the other hand, he didn’t even ask for a pacifier tonight and went to sleep easily. But it still wasn’t worth the angst of hearing my baby cry himself to sleep on Christmas Eve.)

Lesson 2: Thinking that you are going to get a good “Christmas picture” with the entire family is not realistic.

One should just give up on the idea that the happiness and anticipation you are feeling on Christmas Eve will somehow show up in any photos. I had the brilliant – and original! - idea to get a picture of the three of us while we were all dressed up in our Christmas Eve finery. After all, I am rarely seen out of yoga pants when I’m not working, and Zane hadn’t had a chance to get any ketchup on his clothes – this was the perfect opportunity to show the world that my family is, on rare occasions, both clean and presentable.

Attempt 1:

Where is the joy?! Zane looks like he smells a barnyard. SRH has red eye, and none of us look particularly moved by the Christmas spirit.

Attempt 2:

Okay, we scrapped the idea that Zane would join us in a happy picture – he just wasn’t feeling it. SRH and I look relatively happy, but I’m not sure why my head is tilted back - must be to show off my flowing locks.

Since Zane decided to join us at the last minute, I guess Attempt 2 is okay - it somehow seems indicative of our family life, even though it’s not quite what I envisioned.

(Lesson 2A: Don’t forget to check to make sure that you have enough tape in your video camera to tape more than 5 seconds of Christmas morning. Geez, I’m such a novice.)

Lesson 3: If your kid has an obsession – say, trains – it’s best to just go with the flow. OR My child is a black hole of train need.

Far and away, the favorite gift this Christmas was a spiral train set.

Ooh, I love the spiral train!

And he did also enjoy the engines and freight cars we got him – mostly because they were able to be used on the spiral train set.

Isn’t the spiral train spiffy?

He loved that train so much, that he had his eyes fixed on it most of the day.

I’ll just keep my eye on this train in case mama decides she might want to touch it.

And while he was thrilled with the spiral train track, new engines, freight cars, and caboose that he got, he still managed to make sure that we knew that he still wants a Norfolk Southern Engine. (If he had the vocabulary, we might have heard something along the lines of, What? You are kidding me? I gave up pacifiers, and I didn’t even get a Norfolk Southern diesel engine? This sucks. I’m totally going to negotiate differently next year.)

So that was our Christmas. It was completely fabulous – lessons and all. Hope yours was great, too!


Dustin said...

The perfect Christmas picture is more elusive than a Leprechaun riding a Unicorn giving out honest tax advice. Whenever KJ and I get a Christmas card with the parents and toddler all looking like a J. Crew catalog I immediately think morphine or taxadermy.

Your family photos are classic. Besides, who really wants a Stepford family anyway?

Merry Christmas!

Mimma said...

It was 2 1/2 hours. At least.

Kristi said...

Love the pictures...how hot are you?????

And Zane is a cutie pie...love the curly locks.

You have a beautiful family. Merry post-Christmas!!

SRH said...

Kristi, she is MEGA-HAWT

allrileyedup said...

Let me get this straight -- people assess Zane with speech problems yet he knows what is and how to say "Norfolk Southern Engine"? I think this is what you call selective speech.

The spiral train thingy is cool. If it weren't for the fact that Christmas just happened and we're surrounded by new toys, I'd go out and buy one. As it is, I suppose we'll wait until next Christmas.

As for the Christmas picture, I'm a big fan of sending out the family "as is." In my Christmas pic this year, neither dog is looking at the camera, my husband has gained a few extra chins and my daughter eyes are closed. But I look fabulous. As do you. As far as I'm concerned, that's a successful picture.

As for the head tilt--it says 'look at me, i'm so happy!' I love the head tilt.

Anonymous said...

Glad you had a great Christmas. I agree with "allrileyedup", Zane has no speech problems if he can say "Norfolk Southern Engine". I still have problems saying things easier than that. This will probably be my last comment on your blog being a "working girl". I will keep up reading at home - reading yours and SRH's blogs will keep me sane. That's sad isn't it! LOL

I'll miss you guys!

Tree Monkey

Zany Mama said...

more elusive than a leprechaun riding a unicorn givung out honest tax advice

The imagery on that one is beautiful. I tip my hat to you!

Zany Mama said...

I am so over this blogger beta sign in crap! If you haven't heard from me lately it's probably because I'm having a heck of a time commenting on others' blogs - and sometimes my own.


I find it works especially well to make poor parenting decisions that you'll have to implement. It's much easier on SRH and I that way.

Have I ever told you that you may be my favorite person in the whole world?

Although your comment was a cheap ploy to get lucky later, I still appreciate it. (Although fyi, you're not getting lucky later.)

But after 11.5 years together, I'm just glad you still want to get lucky with me, even if I'm unwilling to deliver the goods. :)

Selective speech, selective hearing, selective sharing with others - my kid is quite discriminating.

FYI, the spiral train thing is a bit of a disaster - I wish I would have checked the amazon reviews before buying it. We think we've figured out how to fix the problem, but it will probably cost at least $25 more dollars. Ugh!

You are now my second favorite person in the whole world - right after Kristi, who thinks I'm hot.

Tree Monkey-
I hope I can still call you that even after you stop working with SRH. Please do keep up with our blogs - although I'm a bit concerned that they are in any way acting to keep you sane.

I can't wait to see what happens for you! Keep in touch.