It's the most wonderful time of the year
It's the hap-happiest season of all...
...And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago
Oh yes, Miss Clara, we will always remember the Christmas when you were 2 years old, waiting in a 2 hour line outside, while it was 27 degrees, so you could see "Ho, Ho, Ho."
And much to Santa's surprise not only at your hysteria, but when we all busted up laughing, because we're no longer shocked by your outpouring of letting everyone know when things aren't going your way.
I've loved to highlight your crying fits and outbursts since birth, but as much fierceness and wildness that you have inside of you, there is as much, if not more, an abundance of love and sweetness. We all have our moments, and dear Clara, you have no reservations about speaking your mind. I hope this becomes an awesome super power in your life, to be a strong, independent woman, but for now at 2 years old, it's quite exhausting, and at times pretty hilarious, too.
This photo ( below) with her head down screaming and crying, I would've bought a different image that highlighted her fit quite wonderfully, but the photographer gave us a minute to decide and then deleted the other 3 shots, and I didn't think we'd get a second chance at another sit down with Santa. But then, Santa gave Clara a candy cane, and she decided to sit next to him, still not certain about the situation, but the candy cane was enough to win her over a little, so the photographer gave us one more attempt at a photo with Santa. We ended up paying for both pictures to remember this joyous occasion.
It really wasn't terrible standing in line for 2 hours to see the jolly old man. We went to The Village. I stood in line for the first hour alone, because Jack was not thrilled with standing there and having Clara in the cold. Even though plenty of other littles and parents were there waiting. He went inside one of the buildings to keep Clara warm, and in all fairness, she seemed to be coming down with a cold, so he wanted to keep her warm. William went off to get hot chocolate. I stood there in line, watching the water light show and ice skaters, while listening to all the happy Christmas music playing. Finally, when I got near a heater, Jack, William, and Clara came over to stand in line with me for the second hour.
It wasn't our planned shot with Santa either. The last few years we've attended the Christmas show at the fairgrounds, and the kids get to sit with Santa and Mrs. Claus, but I messed up the dates this year, and the show was actually the previous weekend. So after fighting the crowds at the mall earlier in the day to get Clara a dress, and William a shirt for their photos, then driving down to the fairgrounds only to find out there was some children's wrestling match going on, we decided to try out The Village.
I adore the setting of The Village. A huge beautiful tree, dancing water set to Christmas music, ice skaters, and a whimsical house built by Disney for the kids to go into to sit with Santa. Although the kids get a lot more time to visit with Santa at the Christmas Show, The Village definitely has the right vibe that makes for some fun memories, too. This might become our new tradition for photos with Santa, if I can sweet talk Jack into the idea and get him on board to stand outside again next year... if, hahaha, of course it's what we'll do. He vowed to never do this again, but you know, I'm mom, and it's Santa, and it's a childhood staple to get the shot. 27 degrees outside, 2 hour wait, snotty nosed kids, my calf muscles cramping up, telling my begrudging teen that he has to come along because it's family time, and 1 second to snap a pic of my toddler crying on Santa's lap for $40. Worth it every year! In the name of tradition, creating memories, and character.
Next year I'll plan on going in the afternoon though, so I can get some better lit shots, and William can have some time to go ice skating. I'll probably bring some Christmas cookies along and a thermos with homemade hot chocolate.
He's begging me to go back over winter break, so he can try ice skating out. He hopefully exclaimed, while waiting in line, that ice skating didn't look hard. This coming from my totally chill, video gaming nerd child, that has always been clumsy and accident prone. All I could do was chuckle, and agree to coming back.
William is drawing a cat dragon, yes half cat and half dragon. He asks me what can it breathe instead of fire. I said, "smoked salmon." Then laughed as I thought I was clever. He says, " no, smoked salmon, really mom?" So I said, " okay tuna breath?" He is currently drawing tunas come from catdragon's mouth onto the people below.
Hush Little Baby
While pacing the floors with Clara in my arms, singing Hush Little Baby to her, William asks, " So how much money does this mother have?"
Example of exhausted mom brain. I was opening this packaged baby bottle brush, and wasn't really reading it,but my eyes glossed over the caution and read it as, "this is not an adult toy.' I was like whaaat? Someone was dumb enough to use this as an adult toy and now it needs a warning, and then I read it again. LOL.... ouch!
The Real Deal: Family Photographs
Today I tried to get some sibling photographs of my 12 year old son and my 3 week old daughter. Which was impossible with my daughter crying and screaming, which is her norm it seems, unless she is either in my arms or attached to my boobs. Pair that with my goofy tween boy, well it makes for quite the opposite of the perfect family photographs you will find all over Pinterest. They make me laugh when I look at them though, and it's just honest to goodness... the real deal.
I instructed, "Please kiss her gently on the cheek." Instead he gave her a big, mushy kiss,because, " mom, she is just too cute."
As I placed Clara on William's chest to position her, she let out an enormous fart, and pooped, William's expression says it all.
Just as I had her face positioned towards the camera, she moved it and tried to start nursing from her brother, his reaction just the second after this shot was hilarious. He cried out, " No! Clara, only mommy has milk, You can't do that to me. I am your brother!"
So, we decided to take a break and try this again some other time. Until then, these may be imperfect, but I love the two people in them, and the memory of trying to get the dreamy, perfect sibling shots. Sigh.
Dude, that is Old
I overheard William (11) and his friend Aiden (9) talking today about being big brothers.
William: “Dude, when my little brother or sister is 5, and your little brother is 6 or 7, we are going to be like 17, we will be old.”
Aiden: “I know.”
William: “One day I am going to call you up and ask you what you are doing and you are going to say, “Man, I’m babysitting. What are you doing?” and I am going to be like, “yeah, me too, I am babysitting, because we are old, so our parents will ask us to babysit and stuff.”
Aiden: “yeah, I know my mom will tell me to babysit all the time.”
William: “yeah, so we will be talking on the phone, and I will just say let’s take these kids to the park, and we will sit on a bench and talk, because we are going to be 17 and old. We will watch them play.”
Aiden: “Dude, that is old.
Read More Funny Stuff Kids Say:
1) Having "the Talk" with William
Having "The Talk"
Having “The Talk” with William
William has been asking for a sibling for years. It hasn’t been easy on my heart to see him be an only child, and all the times he has asked me about the chance of having a little brother or sister, and always telling him, that it just wasn’t the right time, or that it may not ever happen was never easy to do. He is a sweet boy, with a big heart. When we told him that we were going to try to have a baby, he was so excited; like really, really excited. There were many hugs, and questions. Yep, those questions. I have given him the basics over the years, little talks, but he is a bit older now, loves science, and has always been inquisitive, so this time around our conversation was quite a bit more in depth. Off to the library we went.
We picked out a bunch of books on pregnancy and babies. The pictures and design of the books were so easy for me to use in explaining things to him. The conversations lasted almost a week, questions poured in, and each time I kept it as open and comfortable as I could for him, knowing that although he is interested, he was also slightly embarrassed when talking about the “s” word. If you want to check out the books we think are awesome out of all the ones we borrowed from the library, they are Pregnancy Day by Day and the Pregnant Body Book, both published by DK. We also used a few You Tube videos that showed quick videos of some of the things we talked about, and watched a National Geographic documentary about how babies grow from conception to birth.
Of the funniest and most candid things William declared to me was, “don’t tell me when you guys do the “s” stuff. I am just going to watch cartoons. Yuck. I can’t believe you have to do that.” Which I explained back that I would not share that with him, and that thought never crossed my mind, laughing a bit as I said it. The conversation didn’t end there though. He went on to say, “well I guess since you guys are married now it is okay if you do the “s” stuff, but only to make a baby right? I don’t have to do that when I get older unless my wife and I want a baby, right? Because I think it’s gross, and should only have to be something you do when you make a baby. Why did God have to make it that way? “
My response, holding in my feeling of laughter at his cuteness and little pre-teen boyishness, was, “well, grownups have sex sometimes before they are married, and even when they are not trying to make a baby. It’s great to wait until you are married and really know you love the person you are with, and God, according to the Bible made sex for a man and woman that love one another after they get married, after they make a promise to cherish and respect one another. Sometimes, often nowadays, that is not the case. Lots of people have sex before marriage, but what I want you to remember is that when the time comes for you, and you feel ready, I want you to ask yourself some questions first.”
His face looked grossed out, but he was intrigued, and asked what he is supposed to ask himself.
I explained that the time may come when he is a teenager, maybe 16, maybe 19, maybe 20, and that some kids are starting far too early, even younger than 16, so it is important to make sure you are ready for an adult decision, because sex is a big choice.
At that point I could see on his face that this was a lot to absorb and think about. He is eleven, but I try to be honest with him, and understand his level of understanding certain topics. This is a boy that is still not sure if he believes Santa is real or not yet, a boy with a wonderful imagination, a boy that is still a kid, a child I have not forced to grow up too fast, but that I want to prepare for the world too. We talked some more over this week, and I was impressed with how well he did learning and opening up about this conversation. I also got a kick out his faces, oh the faces he gave me during some parts of the conversations we had. Priceless.
Also, true to who he is, a sweet and caring boy, he asked me as we were walking into Fred Meyer to grocery shop, “mom, I know it hurts girls to have babies, I mean I can’t even picture how that must feel, and I think you are brave, but does it hurt when the sperm is swimming in your fallopian tube or tries to get into your egg? Can you feel your egg? Can you feel when that happens? I don’t want you to hurt.” Which I answered with a hug and told him he is so sweet and caring, and no I cannot feel when the sperm tries to get in the egg, but that some women can feel some cramps similar to periods when the egg has been fertilized and is trying to implant in the uterus, but it is not painful, and most women don’t even know when that is happening, unless they are really tuned in, and keeping track every day. He looked relieved and then asked if he could go check out the toys and electronic aisles while I shopped.
I can’t say it is easy to have these conversations. He is my baby boy, but he is growing up, and so all I can do is be gentle in responding, offer guidance from a loving viewpoint as well as a life science/ sex ed perspective, and hope that I keep the lines of communication open with him, because it’s so important for kids to know that parents have their backs, and that they can come to them with anything. In being open with him, our bond feels that much stronger, and he is totally interested in learning what is happening with the baby’s development day by day, which is really fun to talk about, and daydream with him what the baby will be like, or hear his thoughts about what it will be like to be a big brother. One thing I can say is that William is going to be an awesome big brother, and I have no doubt he will be a good dad when he is older…hopefully at like 30. ;)
P.S. At the time of writing this I didn't have a positive pregnancy test, a s it was too early yet, but I could sure feel the symptoms hitting fast, and knew it. ;)
Read more about the Allison pregnancy:
1) Conscious Conception
2) Giving it up to Get Down