Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas 2008

Yes, I'm posting on Christmas. Ben is asleep, Mike is recovering from eating cheesecake for breakfast -- our new Christmas morning tradition. If he needed proof he should not be eating sugar, this is it. He feels really horrible.

On to happier things. Kaia is using canned frosting to decorate a paper plate (my sneaky way of using it all up, she's not allowed to eat it) She was surprisingly fine with Santa leaving presents at my mom's house. She and Ben loved their gifts. Her favorites include a Bolt coloring book, new markers, and an art supply set from her aunt and uncle, and Ben's favorites include a broom and a jack-in-the-box. Mini boxes of cereal in their stocking also went over well with both of them!

It's the quietest Christmas I've ever had this year. We have no tree, no lights. A few gifts for each kid. The plan for the day is the same as the last few--packing, and more packing. We are getting close to done. The house looks a mess though, and it's hard to tell how much we've done until you go into the bedrooms or open the cupboards.

Mike and I went to bed at about 11:15 or so last night. About 15-30 minutes later, Kaia came running out of her room giggling hysterically -- she'd already ransacked her stocking (and the new stocking for the as-yet-ungotten dog). We sleepily told her she had to bring it all out to us so she wouldn't get distracted and GO BACK TO SLEEP. Luckily, she did pretty quickly. At 5am she climbed into bed with us and we all listened to Ben fuss for another 40 minutes. He slept fitfully, and I brought him out at 5:40--and our day began!

The cheesecake for breakfast was a big hit. Kaia was thrilled, though she was surprised how quickly she started to feel sick, and wasn't even able to finish her first piece, much less her anticipated second. Ben carefully tasted the new edible before grabbing handfuls and filling his mouth. He also got eggs for breakfast, but the unusual amount of sugar got to him and he went down for a nap early.

Granny and Grumpy will be coming up Saturday, bringing more gifts. Kaia's thrilled about her "second Christmas" and the visit. We also move on Saturday, wish us luck in this snow!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, or whichever holiday you celebrate, or not. Merry December 25th!

p.s. I'd post pictures, but since my laptop is on the fritz, I cannot upload any now. I do have some, and will share them when possible!

Monday, December 22, 2008

reality, hello!

okay, I've calmed down. I do realize how very lucky we are. Kaia will have a perfectly good Christmas, and I will chill the fuck out and enjoy it too.

Want to know how to ruin Christmas for your kid?

Step One: Have the great idea to go out of town to the grandparents ON Christmas Eve.

Step Two: Decide to have Grandma buy the gift from Santa, so that your kid doesn't see it packed in the car.

Step Three: Have the wonderful tradition of having grandma also get all the stocking stuffers. It saves you money, and she picks really cool things.

Step Four: Live in an area that never gets snow.

Step Five: Watch as a blizzard hits, making roads completely undrive-able.

Step Six: Wonder how to explain to child how Santa didn't know where you'd be, so he left all the presents at Grandma and Grandpa's.

Step Seven: Think about watching child wake up Christmas morning to no bike from Santa, and no stocking.

Step Eight: Cry, even though it's a totally materialistic thing to worry about, and there are millions of kids out there with no FOOD on Christmas, much less presents and stockings waiting at Grandma and Grandpas. Yes I KNOW it's a stupid thing to be upset about. BUT I AM.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

In Hopes She Will Always Talk With Me

Sitting on the couch today:

Kaia: I hurt my elbow! It hurts like hell!
Me: (stifling a giggle) That's a word you don't use in public, okay?
Kaia: Okay...what about the other word?
Me: What other word?
Kaia: It's a bad word....
Me: It's okay, you can say it right now.
Kaia: Heck.
Me: Well, actually, that's a better word than hell to use in public.
Kaia: Oh...what about the "B" word?
Me: B1tch?
Kaia: What does bitch mean?
Me: Well, two things, really, (I explain the two meanings)
Kaia: Do you know what the "F" word is? (she is excited to be discussing verboten things)
Me: F*ck?
Kaia: Yes! and this means it too! (she flips me off)
Me: That means f*ck you.
Kaia: Fckyoo?
Me: ......Yes.
Kaia: (eyes sparkling) I know the "h" word!
Me: (thinking we'd already gone over this one) What?
Kaia: Hate! and I know the "S" word!
Me: Oh yes?
Kaia: Stupid!
Me: Yeah, those aren't very nice words.
Kaia: Dumb isn't either.
Me: Very true.

and yes, we talked about when and where these words shouldn't be said.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

who thought up this ridiculous redsuited person, anyway?!

Over the years, I've waffled about what I want to tell my kids about Santa. Originally, I didn't really want to buy into the whole thing, didn't want to lie to my kids about a jolly (though mall santas are rarely jolly) bearded man breaking into our house through our chimney (which we don't have) and leaving presents, presents we are allowed to open and eat if they are candy, despite ALSO telling them that eating candy from strangers is ABSOLUTELY NOT OKAY, NO NOT EVER.

Anyway. But as my daughter began talking, I realized that if I didn't tell her Santa exists, I have to tell her he doesn't, since talk of Santa in any group of children is rampant near Christmas. And if you know your average 3 and 4 year old, you know what THAT would mean..."MY mom says Santa isn't real!" So that option was out.

Then I adopted a "less said the better" attitude. I didn't deny Santa his gift bringing myths, I just downplayed them. We didn't go see Santa at the mall (easier to do in Pullman, a small town with no malls. There is a mall in the nearby town, but it was easily avoided.) When questioned, I briefly mentioned how Santa brought stockings that he laid on the ends of childrens' beds at night. For the first couple of years this worked. Santa was in charge of the stockings, the presents under the tree were from mom, dad, and The Grandmas.

Then the year Kaia was 5, it all unravelled on me. We had gone to my mom's house for Christmas. All the presents were wrapped, under the tree, and had been intimately scrutinized by one very precocious 5 year old. As I tucked her into bed, it happened. "Mom," she said. "I can't wait to see what Santa brings me."

"Remember, Sweetie?" I told her, then kissed her forehead. "Santa will bring your stocking, all filled with fun things, and put it on your bed for you to find in the morning!"

"Yes," She said, and grinned. "But Elizabeth at school said Santa ALSO brings the BEST presents and puts them under the tree! I can't WAIT to see what he puts under the tree for me!"

I managed a weak smile. "Okay dear, see you in the morning! I love you, good night."

Shit. What was I supposed to do?! Tell her, well, yes, Santa brings ELIZABETH the best present under the tree AND her stocking, but for you? Just a stocking. Santa must not love you as much as he loves Elizabeth. At that moment, I couldn't think of anything good. So into my mom's room I ran. "Mom! Quick, is there anything you have that we could wrap up for Santa to give Kaia? She's already seen all the presents under the tree, so I can't change a label!" I related then story of Elizabeth and her materialistic Santa (no, I wasn't irritated at all) and she sprung to action, like she always has when I need help. She searched her closet for any little things she had put away for possible gifts later. She came up with a coffee mug that had an Indian horse on it, a matching book, and a chunk of amethyst. "Perfect!" I said. We wrapped them all up in different paper than any of the gifts already displayed, and put them under the tree, proudly displaying their "For Kaia! From Santa!" labels.

It worked. For Kaia at age 5, a mug, a book, and a purple rock could equal "the BESTEST presents" under the tree. She was thrilled with Santa and his strange habits.

So over the next couple of years, Santa put things under the tree. I still didn't mention him if I could help it, and we never went to a mall.

This year, Kaia is 7. And she is full of certain knowledges of what Santa can do. Which is anything he wants to. So this year? She asked for a Bolt bike. Bolt is the new animated movie from Disney, it came out on Thanksgiving, though we won tickets to an advance showing. And guess what? It's not in any way an important enough movie for them to design bicycles with a Bolt theme. There's a few shirts out there, and overpriced plush toys. I told her Santa may not be able to find a Bolt bike, if they haven't made them. She scornfully told me Santa is magic, and can do anything he wants, which most certainly includes the simple task of designing and bringing her a Bolt bike. (I mean, sheesh, her friend Liam? Believes wholeheartedly that Santa is bringing him a room-cleaning robot. Next to that, what's a Bolt bike or two?)

I have assured her that even if Santa does not bring a Bolt bike, he will find the very best bike for her. She remains unconvinced. Andrea (Liam's mom), suggested buying a plain bike and Bolt decals and decorating it myself. Excellent idea!!! Saved!! Or...not. No Bolt decals available.

Then we went to the mall to make gingerbread houses. And guess who was there? yep. In all his redsuited whitebearded glory. And since he had no idea what Kaia meant when she said "I want a bolt bike, okay? thanks!" he simply smiled, nodded, and looked for the next child. She was ecstatic. Santa confirmed her belief! I sighed, took her hand, and reiterated that though I was sure Santa would look high and low, IF he couldn't find a Bolt bike, he would bring her a wonderful bike nonetheless.

Thursday we went to another mall to ride the quarter rides while we waited to go pick up Mike before our doctor appointments. I breathed a sigh of relief as we walked by the empty set-up where Santa would later sit. Kaia wasn't worried, she'd already sat in the fat man's lap and been absentmindedly promised her dream bike.

Then a bit later, we walked by it again. And lo and behold, Santa was JUST THEN sitting down for his evening shift. There were no other kids in sight. The costumed man, at the beginning of his shift, was still jolly. I hadn't even noticed him, but Kaia of course stopped dead in the middle of the hall and grinned at him. Earlier she had found a fake poinsettia blossom on the floor, and was carrying it lovingly with her, grand plans of room decoration in mind. Santa twinkled at her, and crooked his finger... come here! She looked at me for permission (good girl!) and ran to him, the only child around, except for Ben, and plopped herself down. Santa had time to chat. "Have you been a good girl?"

She nodded enthusiastically. "Yep!" Then she had an idea. "Here, Santa, this is for you!" She handed him the bedraggled poinsettia flower.

Santa looked surprised. "Thank you!"

Kaia grinned at him. And he asked the Question. Her answer was the same. He looked a little perplexed, not knowing what a "boltbike" might be. I saw my chance. "I'm sure that Santa will bring you a wonderful bike, even if it's not a Disney's Bolt bike!" I smiled encouragingly at Santa. Being a bit more awake than the previous one, he smiled back. "That's right" he said, not really understanding but realizing I need help, and handed her a candy cane. Ben had climbed up onto the stage and stood about 2 feet from Santa, staring transfixed. Santa handed him a candy cane too, winning Ben over for life.

We walked away, the kids eating their canes, and Kaia talked about how much nicer this Santa was than the other one. The idea of multiple Santas is fine with her. Then I found out why.

"Now I'm getting TWO BOLT BIKES!!!!" She said, skipping happily toward the door. "I told TWO Santas!"

I quickly nixed that whole idea by explaining that Santas talked to each other through email, so ONE bike POSSIBLY NOT BOLT, would be waiting under the tree.

She is still firmly convinced she will get a Bolt bike. I hope this doesn't ruin Christmas for her. Since we're not religious, Christmas is, unfortunately, still about presents to her. Yes, she's excited to see family. Yes, she's excited to GIVE gifts. But, mostly? She's excited about her Bolt bike.

Santa? God? Flying Spaghetti Monster? Any deity or mythical characters out there want to help? There's cookies and milk in it for you....

Friday, December 12, 2008

Day 3

1. Mike finally making it home.
2. taco salad for dinner...yum!
3. Ben being such a hug-monster!
4. agave nectar - sweetened yumminess, here I come.
5. IT'S FLIPPIN' FRIDAY!!!!!!!!!!!!

Evil Mom Gets Back At Bratty Child

Kaia threw a fit when I went to pick her up. A monster fit. A WAY bigger fit than any 7 year old should throw, EVER. So big that to relate it would just piss me off. So I retaliated. While buckling in Ben, as Kaia screamed in the seat next to him, I said, "Well, Ben, I guess we aren't doing that super-fun thing we had planned."

She paused in her wails. "What?! What super fun thing?" I didn't even look at her. "I'm not going to talk about it." I shut Ben's door and walked to mine. After I got in, the new fit started. "Give me a second CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANCE, I'll beHAAAAAAAAAAAAVE!!" I ignored her. Finally she calmed down. "Mom? Can I have another chance? I didn't know we were going to do something fun."

"No," I said. "You don't behave because you get to do fun things. You behave well because you are supposed to. And you are certainly not rewarded for acting the way you are."

She begged me to tell her what the fun thing was. I said no. I said maybe next week, or the week after, we would do it. I said if she bothered me about it, that would add days onto the wait. I said we'd see how she behaved when I pick her up from school, and that I would THINK about MAYBE taking her in a week or two.

Now I just have to think of a fun thing. I had nothing planned at all.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ben wanted to vacuum again today, he drug out the vacuum and was quite adamant about his desire. Who am I to argue with him?!! Kaia took a turn too. Slave Labor!! WH00T!

365 Days of Grace Day 2

1. possibly finding the perfect daily babysitter for my son
2. salted sunflower seeds
3. hearing the dishwasher running and knowing that in 30 minutes or so I'll have clean bowls!
4. heat on a cold day. standing in front of the heater getting roasted
5. being able to IM my husband at work!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008! Day 1

1. the yummy smell of the gingerbread house on my table
2. watching my son giggle while vacuuming
3. my husband bringing my son to be fed in the morning so I don't have to get out of bed for 5 more minutes
4. my daughter finally getting ready on time this morning
5. today being the last day of the school quarter, and not having to do anything in class tonight

drat! cuteness deferred

darn it! I got the cutest video of Ben vacuuming, but it's too big to upload, and I have no idea how to make it smaller!

Friday, December 05, 2008

when did this transition happen?

I am old. I went to the mall. Got totally overwhelmed by all the lights, the noise and the sheer consumerism. I actually got lost. Twice. I did find some of the most awesome mascara ever though. So I don't need to go back anytime soon.

This happens EVERY DAY

Yesterday, around 4pm:

Kaia: Mom, is there a full moon tonight?
Me: I'm not sure, I haven't paid attention to it.
Kaia: Dad, is there a full moon tonight?
Mike: I'm not sure either...can you see the moon?
Kaia: Yes, it's right up there.
Mike: Well, is it full?
Kaia: No, not yet.
Me: Well, whatever the moon looks like right now, it will look like tonight.
Kaia: How do you know?
Me: Umm..I just do. That's how the moon works. Whatever it looks like in the afternoon, it will look like that at night.
Kaia: You never know, Mom. It could fill up more by tonight, and be full.
Me: No, that's not how it works. If it's not full now, it won't be full tonight.
Kaia: You don't know that Mom, it might change!
Me: *SIGH*

This morning, on the way to school:

Kaia: We should go in that car wash sometime, Mom.
Me: Sounds fun, we will soon.
Kaia: It's right there, next to that!
Me: 7-eleven.
Kaia: It could be a eleven-seven.
Me: No, it's a 7-Eleven.
Kaia: How do you know that? You aren't the owner, whoever owns it might have named it eleven-seven.
Me: No, there are lots of 7-elevens around. I do know that it's 7-11, not 11-7.
Kaia: You never know Mom, maybe THAT store is a 11-7!
Me: NO, I DO know, that's not an 11-7, it's a 7-11. All 7-11 stores have the same sign.
Kaia: But HOW do you know?
Me: Well, you know that 2 plus 2 is 4, right? What if someone said they thought 2 plus 2 is 5? You would just KNOW that's it's not, it's 4, right?
Kaia: (grudgingly) yes...
Me: Well, you just have to realize that I have a bit more life experience than you, and I KNOW that is a 7-11, not an 11-7.
Kaia: Maybe it is...we don't know.
Me: *SIGH*

I can only hope this incessant questioning and disbelief will help her become a world famous scientist who discovers amazing things because she NEVER accepts someone else's answer for her truth.