Deconstructing Christmas

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My wise, wise parenting mentor told me that to expect anything other than disaster during the holidays with small children is setting myself up for major frustration. Those words echoed in my ears all long Thanksgiving weekend long and was incredibly reassuring.

It’s smart to set the bar low. Way low.

There was actually a lot to be grateful for. Overall Ian was much, much “easier.” Physical aggression was down, reasoning was up, I got to eat dinner at the table with everyone else, pee whenever I wanted to, and he only broke things that were okay to break (like dry oranges against rocks in grandma’s backyard-I think that was okay?).

I was optimistic enough to buy a real tree this year, and decorate it. With glass ornaments. Yea, that may have been a reach. The vintage bubble light he used for a gun is no longer with us. And the tin Santa driving a motorcycle has been worked into the matchbox car rotation. We also had the gingerbread cookie baking incident (SO much flour on the floor) and we’ll see how the Christmas lights around his bed end up. High hopes, and that low bar was higher than I thought.*

*Update: The Christmas lights were pulled from the ceiling 24 hours after installation, deemed unsafe, and made their exit (without tears, thankfully).

Mom being a lover of food, we have many culinary themed ornaments. These look incredibly real to mister and so far he has bitten off Hello Kitty’s mixing spoon and the frosting on two plaster cupcakes. And some fake starlight mints.

Ian seems to love the holidays while also raging against them. We make holiday crafty things, which he is into, then often destroys. We have multiple, daily discussions regarding that indeed today is not Christmas Day, nor will it be Christmas later today or tonight. The follow up question is if in fact today is not Christmas, then is today Halloween or his birthday? The biggest success thus far has been a felt tree with felt decorations we stuck to his closet door. He can decorate over and over and does, and each time he asks me, “Is it even more beautifuller?”

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Everyone illuminates their felt tree via headlamp and karate chops their snowman advent calender, right?

It’s lovely watching my almost four year-old navigate this time. I can see in his mind that he is trying to have fun while hearing the limits, and he does it until he can’t. And that’s perfect (I just need to remember that). Now onto nutcracker dance workshops and winter preschool parties and gift wrapping! I hope I can be healthy for at least some of it (been sick with stomach flu then cold since before Thanksgiving). I’m the happiest tiredest busiest gratefullest person.

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