Thursday, December 26, 2013

Welcome, Tooth Fairy!

Almost five years to the day after growing her first tooth, Ella pulled one out. She's been working on it since I noticed it looking all wonky five days ago and asked her if it was loose. I really thought that Santa and the Tooth Fairy might rendezvous at our house on Christmas Eve, but she saved some excitement for the day after Christmas.

She's totally excited because she's been waiting for one to fall out for six months. I'm totally excited because she actually lost a tooth while she was five. It gives me hope that her teeth are more like her father's, and not at all like mine. I was probably 7 before I lost the first one and it was bad news until I finally got my braces off the summer before my senior year of high school. I hope for an easier orthodontic path for her.

Here's the obligatory bloody tooth hole picture.

And, also a picture of the tiny tooth that caused us so much heartache five years ago and so much excitement this week.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Santa Update

We had pancakes with Santa last Saturday at a youth fundraiser at our church. The kids were totally excited about telling him their lists - especially the little one, who only refers to him as "Santa Paws" and refuses to be corrected when we try to tell him his real name.

As soon as we got there, he went straight to Santa. I had to stop him from climbing up on his lap with the kid that was already there talking to him. He meant business. The object of his desire that day? An elephant - a fluffy elephant.

Though he has consistently given the elephant answer for a few days, he's also told various other askers of the question these things.
- A shootin' gun (told to the pediatrician)
- A talkin' Santa (told to his preschool teacher)
- A Batman shirt that's grey like skin (told to me and Dave. Sidenote: I assume this means a 1960's Batman costume rather than the morbid image of grey skin that first popped into my head.)

Big sister decided to eat pancakes first while she built up the courage to talk to Santa. Her list this year includes the following.
- A robe
- Clothes
- A new Barbie

Either she's struggling a bit in the creativity department, or she is very content with what she already has. She already got a tricked out Barbie Escalade at our first Christmas celebration of the year.  It will transport six Barbies to and fro at one time, and she's been making good use of it. There's no doubt that she can entertain herself for hours with Barbies, but I've already decided that for every new Barbie that comes into our house this season, an old one has to go. We have so many that we're starting to get duplicates. It's shameful.

I've struck a deal with ole' Santa Paws this year - if he will give the Barbies and giant mammals to some other lucky family, I'll let him come again next year. Otherwise, he gets the axe.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

'Tis the Season be busy. Fa la la la la, la la la la.

And sick. 'Tis the season to be busy and sick.

Since I last wrote, the entire house broke out in a stomach virus. We fell like dominoes. It was almost as bad as the really hideous one we all had in 2011 while our house was being remodeled, but not quite. The good thing about everyone being sick is the rest. It puts a complete stop to the busy, and that's usually what we all need. Granted, we watched way too much TV last week, but we rested.

I'm struggling to keep my Christmas focus. There's the usual holiday distraction, but it seems to be increasing as the kids get older. The toy commercials, the talk about Santa everywhere, the appearance of an elf on the kindergarten hall - those things make our mission to keep Christ at the center of our Christmas celebration seem daunting sometimes.

Someone gave us an elf a few years ago, but we use it to decorate the tree. That's not how it was intended, I know, but my children haven't known otherwise. This is the year when they realize that it's supposed to do things.

We had this conversation on the way to school Tuesday morning.

Ella: There's an elf on the shelf in the kindergarten hall.
Me: (filled with dread) Really? What does it do?
Ella: It watches us and tells Santa if we've been naughty or nice.
Me: (filled with dread) What happens if you're naughty?
Ella: I don't know.
Me: (slightly less dread) What happens if you're nice?
Ella: I don't know.

I sighed with relief; she still didn't know the whole elf deal.

Yesterday, I found out that the elves at Gigi's house had been moving around. And, they have names. Now ours has a name: Candy Cane. As I choked on incoherent syllables while she told me all of this, she reassured me yet again: "Our elf just stays on the Christmas tree like it's supposed to. I guess Gigi's elves just aren't trained right." Yes, yes, that's the reason. We don't need any pesky elves running all around the house while we aren't looking, making more mess than there already is and creeping out little children who can switch from fascinated to terrified in .2 seconds.

Seriously people, all of this elf on the shelf nonsense is confusing them. I've already had to explain that real elves don't make toys, they forge unbreakable swords and impenetrable armor. They live in the trees of Rivendell and they fight against forces of evil. And sometimes they might be enslaved to serve wizard families, but even house elves can change the course of history. Gah.

'Tis also the season to make a Christmas list, and they've gone above and beyond to make a shared list.

Luke: (randomly) And I want an elephant from the zoo.
Me: An elephant?! You think our house is big enough for an elephant?
Ella: No, but it is big enough for a cow or a pony. . .
Luke: And some bunnies!
Me: Where are we going to keep a cow, a pony, and some bunnies?
Ella: In the back yard.

When I got in the car this morning, they had also been discussing adding a pig to that list. At least we reached consensus that an elephant is out of the question.

In all seriousness, it's not that I'm declaring "No fun here!" on Santa and his elves - I'm not. Santa leaves a gift for each of them and they get to visit him and tell him their lists. They are allowed to believe in him and in magical elves. Who doesn't want to believe that? It's just that there's SO MUCH Santa and elf business that I feel like we're holding back a tidal wave that's threatening to wash away the manger and it's tiny newborn king. I don't want that to happen because when the truth comes out in a few years, there needs to be some magic left in the season. I want a miracle baby who was sent to earth to save us to be that magic. If they can believe that Santa is real and that stuffed elves are mischievous, they can believe that the most precious gift of all is the Baby Jesus, but it's my job to make sure that is part of the Christmas magic.
"For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." - Luke 2: 11-12

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Around Thanksgiving Break

Thanksgiving break officially ended today when I carried my screaming preschooler up the stairs and out to the car. As I struggled with the kid in my arms and the tantrum raging in my own head, a single sentence broke through the madness.

"I'm just gonna stay home and work with you today."

I was so glad I didn't unleash my tongue on him.

I worked from home yesterday because he had a doctor's appointment (incidentally, he's grown 2 inches in about 2 months). He thought I was staying home again today, and he had plans for a leisurely breakfast at Daddy's new desk in the basement while he watched 1960's episodes of Batman on YouTube. And, he didn't want me to go. And, I didn't want to leave him. The end of vacation is hard.

Here are some things they said last week.

"Jake just asked me, "Where is Batman?" He was totally talking about Luke." - That's a text I got from Aunt Becca. Jake is Robin. Luke is Batman. Every minute of every day.

"He's mean to me in line, so I'm not gonna marry him." - I wasn't aware that she was already looking for a husband, but apparently one little boy in her class has been definitively disqualified.

When we have a fire on the back patio, the kids like to throw leaves on it to make it flare up. After doing this for about ten minutes, Ella  headed for the back door. I asked her where she was going and she told me, "I need some hand sanitizer. My hands smell like forest."

We were discussing our plans to take the monkeys to see Free Birds, and Ella chimed in to remind us: "We know turkeys aren't free birds. Because we just kill them for Thanksgiving." She tells it like it is.

Luke: My tummy hurts.
Me: What does it feel like?
Luke: (thoughtfully) Cheese.
Some questions are lost on three year olds.

When Dave complimented his full Batman costume before church one morning, Luke informed him: "Batman's not cute."

This Batman is pretty cute.