Thursday, December 27, 2012

With thanks to Tracy for the cute pajamas!

Night Before Christmas.  Inesa puts on a deserving face and poses with her present from her brother.

Christmas morning.  Inesa opens her gift while Sasha looks on, barely resisting the urge to do it himself.

And it's...a tiara!  With a wand!  He chose it himself, and she was mighty pleased.



Unbeknownst to me, Sasha also wrapped up a gift bag for Jon, complete with an ornament he'd made at school (and kept secret for five days) and a necklace made out of a Hot Wheels car and yarn.


Santa brought both kids a Big Dog.  Sasha named his Tiny, at Jon's suggestion.  Inesa named hers Sparkles, because that's the name of the dog in her current favorite Barbie movie.  Sigh.


Christmas afternoon, playing with their new toys on their new blanket. 



Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve, and one creature is stirring

The other one is laid out flat on the couch with a horrible cold.  I've been mentally preparing myself for a few days of insane energy, rambunctiousness, hysteria, etc.  So of course, instead Inesa is completely wiped out.  She keeps kind of wimpering, "I don't want to lay down all day!"  I tell her, "You can get up for a little bit if you feel up to it, honey," and she answers, "But I'm too sick!"  Her nose is red like Rudolph's, with dark circles under her eyes, and she keeps pulling her blanket over her head because the daylight is too strong.  She's used up most of a large box of kleenex, and refused breakfast.  I coaxed a little homemade mac and cheese down her just now, and she was done after five bites.  She doesn't even want to watch a movie or have me read to her.  Sasha just told her, "If you feel this bad tomorrow, and you don't want to open presents, you can open them another day."  It's a sign of how miserable she is that she didn't panic at this thought, but just said sadly, "Tomorrow is supposed to be a fun day."  Poor baby girl. 

The smartest thing we've done lately is NOT put the presents under the tree.  There are a half dozen there, from friends, the kids' gifts to each other and dad, but not the insane number of presents Jon and I got them, nor the ones my family gave us.  There is a fair amount of excitement around those presents, but because they know what half of them are, and there's only so many times you can shake a box, they are able to not obssess about them. 

With one out of comission, the other one has been slightly easier to keep calm.  He finished his project for Papa this morning, and when I got out the art box, consigned me to cut out a felt seal which he then added a face to.  He used the garlic press to "grate" me some cheese for the mac & cheese, and I brilliantly killed a half hour by telling him to take a bath.  Oh, and he got clean doing that too, I guess, though I tend to think of bath time as a non-electronic way for Mama to get a half hour break.  Now he's outside with his skateboard and his remote control car.  This is probably a combination that should be supervised, but instead I'm sitting with my sick kid and writing this.  He re-watched his video from Santa (Portable North Pole sends amazing, personalized videos for free), and we checked out both Reindeer Cam and NORAD's Santa Tracker. 

This is fun.  Well, not so much for Inesa.  But being a parent at Christmas time--definitely a good thing.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

We believe.

We finally got the tree in the house last night.  I was initially stressed, because years ago when I had a particularly large tree, I bought a big tree stand, and ever since, we need to wedge things between the tree and the stand so it fits, and the whole thing is invariably precarious.  So I wanted to get it set up and strung with lights before the kids got involved, but they saw me too soon, so I was kind of snapping at them to back off.  I didn't have Christmas music on yet, I hadn't poured myself a glass of Baileys, I wasn't ready.

Then I mentally shook myself and adopted a more welcoming tone of voice.  Jon suggested we put the ornaments in piles, so they'd have an equal amount to put on the tree, and the more fragile ones could be in our piles.  There were literal gasps of amazement as they started looking through their piles.  They were thrilled with the whole process.  When I pulled out the pottery manger scene my sister made in the early '70s--the one the artist herself didn't claim from my parents' house because it's so wobbly and the angel is gone and the wise men's crowns are all snapped off--I told them what the figures represented, and that we should put the wise men a little bit away from the manger, because they aren't there yet.  The immediately got into it with the same enthusiasm I had as a kid, putting them over on the piano and deciding to move them a little closer day by day.  Jon showed them how to step back from the tree and eyeball the bare spaces instead of lumping everything together. 

"It's the most beautiful tree ever!" said Inesa.

"I think Santa will like it best," said Sasha.

They each got to pick out their own ornament a few weekends ago.  Sasha's says "Merry Christmas" in silvery script.  He said, "We need to put this so Santa sees it and feels happy to be here!"  We set it up facing the fireplace, so he'll notice it first thing on entering the room. 

One ornament got broken, by a small girl who didn't realize what would happen if you squeezed the shiny glass ball.  She was immediately contrite and became very vigilant about how she was handling them from then on.  I never did get the holiday music going, and we didn't get our festive drink until after the kids were in bed.  But it was perfect.  I keep telling myself to keep my expectations low, that the stimulation and novelty is going to lead to chaos and meltdowns.  All the same, the magic of the season is very much alive.  Writing Santa, choosing their stockings, buying the tree, making cookies, and now decorating the house--to see the joy in their eyes makes it more than worth it. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

Maybe we're doing okay

Sasha came home today with a paper crown, which Inesa was wearing when I got home.  She came into the kitchen to help me cook dinner, then asked me to bend down so she could give me the crown.  She gravely said, "You make us food, lotta food, and you keep us safe.  You the queen."  I gave her a big hug, then she yelled, "So I'm the PRINCESS!" 

Can't argue with that logic.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Best of times, worst of times

Today was kind of  a crappy day, both by parenting standards (I dragged Sasha down the street with no shoes on) and by kid behavior standards (he refused to put shoes on after refusing to stop yelling, "mom, mom, mom" after refusing to fold laundry after popping a bag in Jon's ear after tormenting his sister after...)

We also got a Christmas tree, and that was really exciting and special for both kids, and thus for us.  When we paid, they were giving out free hot cocoa and candy canes, and Inesa blissfully sighed, "I finally get to try a candy cane."  Another little boy looked at us sharply and said, "You've never had a CANDY CANE?!?"  obviously thinking we were the meanest parents ever.  We just grinned at him, to busy with our minty goodness to bother explaining. 

I would also like to point out that all four members of our household are sleeping on clean sheets tonight.  And that I spent about two hours helping both kids actually clean their rooms, as opposed to merely stuffing everything on a shelf so they can vacuum the floor like we do most weeks.  And that Mama and Papa got to go to a raucous holiday party tonight, where Mama scored a bottle of vodka in the white elephant exchange.  The kids were kind of jerks to grandma while we were gone, but hey.  Free bottle of vodka.  A reason to wear eye makeup.  And since grandma got to witness them on their very worst day ever, our first day home, nothing can shock her now.  (Well, I maintain that the trip home was their worst day ever, but when grandma came over to relieve us the next day so we could sleep, the kids still hadn't been to bed, so it was all one stupendously long bad day.)  Plus, I remembered to be Tooth Fairy for Sasha, who had six teeth pulled Friday, so he should wake up happy tomorrow, instead of ticked off like today, when I forgot. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012


This morning, Inesa and I were watching Reindeercam, a live feed of Santa's reindeer.  Santa came out at 8:00 to feed the reindeer (and his black lab!).  Inesa was fascinated.  Then she looked up at me and said, "Julia in my class says Santa isn't real." 

I said, "Well, SHE doesn't know what she's talking about!"

Inesa nodded and said, "We just SAW the real Santa.  Her computer must not show this station."

C'mon, Julia, let my kids have at least ONE year, okay?  Luckily, kindergarteners are aware that their classmates spread misinformation at times.  My real concern is the 2nd grade classroom, and I suspect that if it gets ruined for Sasha, he'll make sure Inesa doesn't get to believe either.