Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas morning with Chickpea and Bonzo

I'm not going to add any text because in the ETERNITY it has taken to upload this thing, I forgot everything I wanted to say. Good night, Merry Christmas, I'm off to wash the dishes...

But wait! I did want to point out how completely the kids ignore the train table, while the cameraman and yours truly keep trying to draw their attention to it. How could an item that cost more than everything else combined and took all night to assemble possibly compete with dental floss?

Saturday, December 24, 2011

And to all a glittering night...

Nothing makes you feel more like a real grown-up, I'm told, than going to a parent-teacher conference. An earlier stop on that same path, for us, is staying up late on Christmas Eve to carefully nibble out plausibly Santa-sized bites out of gingerbread cookies and assembling/wrapping/displaying the Santa haul. These are certainly fortunate children, and we are lucky beyond measure too: warm house, healthy family, the luxury of things to give, and time to enjoy it together.

(And with those poignant words I have just earned myself a year of snark in 2012. I will be grim again before President's Day, count on it.)

Scott is putting together a train table in the dining room as I write this, and just announced triumphantly that he has completed all the instructions... on page one. He expressed his dismay that the inside of the instruction booklet was not instructions in Spanish but rather more instructions (or "destructions," as Audrey would say) in English. However, things are definitely looking up from the first few minutes of assembly when I heard him mutter "Attach to B? What B? There is no B!!" If this is what it takes for an MIT-trained engineer to assemble a toy, then I'm afraid there is no hope for the rest of us.

There are many things still left for Mrs. Claus (Mrs. Clause, more accurately?) to wrap and stuff into wads of tissue paper, but I wanted to write down tonight the very clear image of Audrey, turning up to search the sky for Santa and saying, "Shhhhhh! Listen for a ho-ho-ho...." The way her excitement brims right at the very surface of her seems especially dear to me these past few months because that quality is something she'll learn to mask from us much of the time.

Be that as it may, I hope to remember as long as I live the way her upturned face looked tonight: small and eager and full of genuine wonder. After this many weeks of waiting for Christmas she'd just about decided it would never come. When we tucked her into bed, she asked me to be sure that her sign for Santa, lettered carefully in pink glitter, was on the outside of the house, where he could see it.
"I want him to see my words in the glittering night," she said.

Audrey's sign sparkles at the back door, Calvin sleeps oblivious to it all, and we are hoping to head to bed before dawn. We wish you all a glittering good night.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Christmas Miracle: Calvin Agrees to Visit Santa

We were among the first in line to see Santa at the mall this morning so the old man was not yet feeling like a broken-down bean bag chair for fractious children. I completely expected that Calvin would tell Santa just where he could put his sleigh full of toys, but he was actually quite game. Audrey was curious as to how Santa managed to make an early morning appearance at the mall, while also showing up in Somerville last night on the Trolley Tour of Lights at not just one but several of the houses along the route and was also on hand to assist elderly tour-goers off the trolley back at Town Hall and pose for photos.

Later, over lunch, Audrey dictated her wish list for Santa which included the following entry: "A princess chair that is small enough for my behind."

(Yes, grandmothers, you will get wallet sizes of the above. )

Thursday, December 15, 2011

A cuddly scene at story-time with Alexander, Audrey and... wasn't Calvin here a second ago?

Boy if this isn't a thousand words worth of accuracy right there...

Saturday, December 10, 2011

It all goes perfectly

Audrey moves through the world lately like the owns the place. Several other parents at the preschool have commented on how confidently she carriers herself, and I have to say, she doesn't shrink from attention or from new things much anymore. It's gratifying, and at the same time weird, because I don't think she picked up that at-her-ease posture from frazzled, often-insecure me. What an interesting category this is: traits my child has mastered that I have not.

Audrey's confidence really isn't a question of "What did we do right?" but rather "What have we managed to not screw up yet because we didn't think to try to interfere with it and how can we continue to leave well enough alone without realizing that's what we're doing?"

We watched a movie last night that made me think late into the night about this, about the power that a parent has to make the foundation of the child's world seem safe and secure and comfortable, or to make it seem unstable, and threatening and mean. It's a frightening amount of power to wield over another person's life. How do we do it right, if we are so imperfect ourselves, and the world is, in so many ways and for so many people, unstable?

I can't take credit for it, but I am so glad-- so relieved-- to see those flashes in Audrey's personality that show that she trusts the world around her and will strut through it in striped tights and a black leotard and that pink Brett-Michaels bandana thing on her head. Instability-- whether introduced by me or not-- will enter in, but for now, she just wants to get her tap shoes on and dance.

Show them how it's done, my dear.

Lost it.

I'm so distraught that I have lost a scrap of paper on which I had scribbled a whole bunch of entries for the Overhead column and now I can't find the paper, and my mind has totally erased whatever I'd written there, which makes me feel just awful. Not because anyone really needed to here these cute-isms, but because when I lose these things it's like I've lost a little piece of them. (please no one else tell me how important it is to write these things down as that is the entire point-- they WERE written down!)

Here's a couple I can remember: early morning, I am awakened by Calvin, who has just manually pried open my eyelid to ask, "Excuse me, Mommy? Are you there yet?"

And this one's a bit racier, so read on only if you do not blush at the word "bra."

Still there? All right.

Audrey saw me getting dressed and asked me what I was wearing. "A bra," I explained. "What's a bra?" she asked. "Well, it's something girls and women wear to be more comfortable." "Why?" she asked. "Well... it... uhm... it holds their breasts up."

A long and thoughtful pause, then: "What's a breastsup?"

I'm stuck full of pishons and time keeps draggin' on.

You know that feeling, right?

A while back (since we only blog here about things that happened weeks ago now) I was listening to Calvin sing in the kitchen and I heard him croon, "I'm stuck full of pishons." A head scratcher even in a house of toddlers.

I gave it some careful thought and finally realized these were simply the lyrics to his all-time favorite song, "Fulsom Prison Blues." I'm stuck in Fulsom Prison...

Calvin is also a big fan of "Shake Your Booty," and boy, can he.

The picture above was taken in the same pumpkin patch as last year, only this year, the cute little pum'kin threw a temper tantrum right after this photo was taken that drew the attention of shocked on-lookers across a stadium-sized parking lot. And any one unlucky enough to be really close to us also caught a whiff of ... oh, never mind, never mind, never mind. Let's just enjoy the picture.