Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Santa Claus Ain't Coming to Town

Ever since that first crucial meeting when she was newly two years old, Abby has not been a fan of Santa. Though she finds the plush toys and figurines that represent him pleasant enough to have around, and has historically enjoyed the telling and re-telling of The Night Before Christmas- savoring the experience of story time as she does with any book that we bring to life in the reading- she has always found the prospect of meeting him in person a daunting one.

It's understandable. Santa is a stranger, after all, jolly though he may be. However, while I expected her level of discomfort and anxiety to wane over time- even if she was never on board with actually taking pictures with a mysterious costumed entity- it has instead done the opposite. The lovely time that we were all having at the Christmas party we annually attend- populated as it is by peers and friends from her playgroup, fun food, and age-appropriate crafts- almost came to an abrupt end when Santa (aka the host in costume) walked through the front door.

My brave and spirited oldest child instantly lost her smile and proceeded to quietly shake, tears beginning to brim in her overlarge eyes. Catching her expression from across the room, I had to rush to her side and nestle her into her father's warm, safe, arms so that he could escort her to the next room and away from the hustle and bustle surrounding Santa as he seated himself and began to invite guests to come sit upon his lap.

Once out of sight of the enemy and distracted with the gifts that Michael and I collected from the exchange for her, Abby seemed to perk up, and the situation seemed to be handled, as it had been in years past. That is, until the declarations began about not wanting gifts for Christmas.

Tom and I were confused at first. It seemed that she was being contrary and saying things she didn't really mean and/or understand. But she persisted, and began to clarify that she wanted gifts for her birthday, which we had to keep reminding her had just passed. After awhile, it seemed to me that what she was trying to say was that she would rather have birthday presents than Christmas presents. In essence, she wanted presents that came from us.

My suspicions were confirmed when she became uneasy about writing a letter to Santa (a task which we assigned at the last minute to pry some details out of her concerning exactly what kind of Anna doll she wanted). She seemed distressed at the prospect of the letter going to Santa. When I asked her whether she would rather it come to us, the answer was an unhesitating "yes."

It seemed clear to me that Abby was now uncomfortable not only with meeting Santa, but also with the idea of him coming to her house. Once again, the concept made perfect sense (it is a little creepy to be letting some old man into your home while you are sleeping, if you think too hard about it), but what to do about the situation came to me a little less easily. I was wholly unprepared for such a reaction to a character that- as a child- I had never held any opinion of beyond pure wonderment.

After some consideration, Tom and I decided to give Abby a choice in the matter. Did she want us to ask Santa not to come this year, to have Mommy and Daddy give the Christmas gifts instead?

She did.

And so, we will.

Though it's not what I had planned or expected, I am happy that it will make her happy to celebrate our Christmas this way. She still loves to ask and talk about Jesus and his birth, and that is the part that is most important to me. Next year may be a new twist and a different story, however, once Michael is old enough to have an opinion of his own. Because it seems like no matter what his big sister might think of the jolly old elf, he and Santa are on pretty good terms.

This year, anyway.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Mobile Moments, 11/24-12/7

I really meant to get to last Sunday's post despite the activity of the day (of which there was a lot, given that we spent the majority of it driving from northern New Jersey to Long Island and back, and celebrating my youngest nephew's baptism in-between), but by the time I'd gotten the kids tucked safely into bed, had a well-earned seat myself, and gone through the editing of all of the pictures I took at the baptism, plus a few from Thanksgiving and even before that, I found I had sapped what little energy I had left.

I actually did take a stab at beginning the editing process of my cell phone snapshots for the post, but as per usual, Flickr was being difficult with me, and two attempts into being thwarted while trying to save my progress, I threw in the towel on a project seemingly doomed to be left unfinished anyway. Though I have, occasionally, just posted a day late, I instead spent my Monday night post-dinnertime cruising down moonlit highways in our mad- but ultimately successful- attempt to make the Big Trip Home as short and painless as possible (that is, until the inevitable moment that we had to stop in the driveway and get the kids from car seat to bed before collapsing into one ourselves).

However, I do still have pictures to share and an abundance of Abby, Michael, and Mia-isms to record for posterity, so Ill just be putting them all together into a big two-weeker this time around. I think it works out, since I've been pretty lazy about taking pictures since we got back home from our Thanksgiving travels, anyway.

As for those quotes- oh, the quotes! Have I got a bunch of talkers sprouting up around me now. Soon, I won't be able to keep up with even half of what they all say...

Feeling well enough to fill her Daddy's shoes again.
Made it to New Jersey just ahead of the Thankgsiving Eve snowfall.
Recovering from the rough trip up (predictions of snow meant lots of traffic, even post rush-hour).
All ready for the feast (during which she was quite the big girl and very polite company).
Not so itty bitty next to the very ittiest bitty.
Fun with Uncle James and the newest foster kittens.
Gingerbread house!
More than enough kitties to go around.
My pickiest eater enjoying some calamari at his cousin's post-baptism restaurant reception.
Second-cousin sweetness.
A friendly snowman welcomed us back to New Jersey.
Wherever I am, the best view seems always to be from my lap...
... especially when I look past my own two (too-oft pajama-ed) knees.

 Overheard this week in the past two weeks:


Admiring our new church bazaar-acquired angel, placed in its proper position atop the tree during nap time: "Amelia is going to be so amazed!"

Attempting to make herself feel better after succumbing to the effects of a fairly strong onion while helping her father in the kitchen: "I think the refrigerator will help my eyes. (while peering inside) "Probably some cranberry juice would be good, too."

Between Abby and me

(Coming upon her as she is in the process of wetting her hair from a running sink)
M: "Abby, what are you doing?"
A: "Trying to make my hair curly, like yours."

Between Tom and Abby

T: "Are you taking the crust off the quiche?"
A: "No."
T: "Then what were you doing?"
A: "I was just touching it. I was about to take the crust off when you came in."

T: "Sorry, Abby, no coffee until you are a grown-up."
A: "Big kids can drink coffee, too."
T: "Yeah, but those are really big kids, like 14 or 15 years old."
A: "Fourteen or fifteen? I need a lot of birthdays to get that big!"

T: "Should we put a Weeping Angel on top of the Christmas tree?"
A: "Weeping angels are too scary for me to understand."


"I want my red apple. It's so good!"
"No, Dad. Pick me up! I want my own apple."
"Put me down! Don't touch me!"
"Put [it] on your egg."

Between Tom and Michael

T: "Are you going to say hello to me?"
M: "Hello me... Uh, hello Daddy!"

T: "Michael, you have a pretty full diaper. Can we go change it?"
M: "No! I want go potty downstairs!"


"Need hug."
"Owls cute."
"Happy stars."

Between Tom and Mia 

(Admiring the new-fallen snow)
T: "Amelia, look- what's all that stuff outside?"
M: "Stuff."

(Looking around the dinner table)
M: "Mama, Dada, Michael."
T: "Yeah, that's right, Mia! And what is your name?"
M: (In perfect robot monotone) "Name."