Thursday, December 25, 2008

So THIS is Christmas!

AH, so wonderful to relax in jammies all day and do next to nothing. My understanding of Christmas has evolved somewhat now, I'm no longer naive about how much time and effort are involved with creating the festive atmosphere that Santa loves to frequent. I see it in three stages:
Stage one: the Ulti-Shop, might begin months (or even up to a year for the hardy bargain shoppers) with lots of thought about what to buy, when to buy, how to secret the items away until Christmas Day.
Stage two: Sorting, Prepping, and Wrapping. For us this all had to be done in stages, short pockets of time when Toddleator is asleep or somehow distracted enough to be unaware of her surroundings.
Stage three, my favorite, the Eve: Assembling and Arranging. Whatever has arrived in a box "some assembly required" is expertly put together, all gifts are displayed just so under/around the twinkling tree. As I carefully pulled down the wrapped packages from the top of a closet, I was struck suddenly with the certainty that hundreds of thousands of other parents were quite possibly doing the exact same thing. We're all collectively involved with the ritual ceremony that keeps the spirit of Christmas, St Nicholas or Santa Claus, ALIVE.

This spirit is thriving at our house. I was only able to give a couple of toys to 'Tots' this year, I always love to shop for anonymous toy gifts. Fiona enjoyed picking out gifts "for Papa" and then tried over and over to give them to Gary, encouraging him to open them. It was easier to explain to her the "wait until Christmas" rule with gifts that she was giving to Papa, rather than trying to talk her out of unwrapping gifts that she somehow knows are hers. The Rocking Horse that I restored for her was a huge hit this morning, she immediately wanted to ride it, named it Vikki-Pony.

I do NOT recommend contracting a stomach flu within a week of Christmas. First, it can seriously throw off any semblance of schedule. Second, well, it's just NOT fun to vomit for 12 hours straight, then spend the next 48 recovering. I was completely stressed out trying to get the food shopping sorted out, the rocking horse finished, the house chores caught up (still not), gifts was insanity.

ALL that aside, the ham-that-wasn't-really-a-ham turned out fantastic. My raspberry mousse chocolate bombe is also delicious. Fiona has enough toys to keep her completely occupied for days, and Gary & I enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.

I can only hope that everyone on the planet has as much beauty, health, & happiness.

Friday, December 19, 2008


Yesterday just before noon on our way to a cookie party & book exchange, Little Girl starting vomiting. I was just hitting the exit for our destination, heard a gag, and witnessed a massive amount of regurgitated cheese crackers spewing forth, splattering, sticking....
My little truck, no longer the vomit virgin. (The only other time this happened it was a rental vehicle.)

Some days it seems she barely needs me at all, except just to know I'm there. Other days it seems she can't do anything without me. Then there are the days like yesterday. These are days when an immense amount of mommin' know-how is suddenly crammed into the space of a few hours. There's the absolute heart wrenching stress of watching my child dry heave bodily, vomit spasmodically, and there's nothing I can do about it. "Maamaa I neeedt heeallp," she wimpers, I am powerless. Other than hold her hair back, a cool hand on her forehead, rub her back, and assure her that it will pass eventually.

It just so happens that there is a Target at that particular exit. Thank you god-the-universe! Here's how it went. Find parking spot with plenty of room either side. Work to clean babe up as much as possible with wipes already in car. Not too successful. No extra clothes, lovely welcoming Target, I know I can get whatever I need in there. Half-trot with nauseous vomit covered toddler through parking lot to basket, jog into store directly to restroom, she said she needed to potty. "Do you need to vomit? or do you need to poop?" 'cause I know the inevitable end to vomiting is diarrhea or angry poop of some kind or another. Post bathroom trip, back in a basket, frantic trip directly to Toddler aisle for reserve clothing (the one day I haven't had clothes in reserve in the car). Desperate search for semi-correct size, something suitable for the chill weather, briefly consider a whole new coat, decide it's not that cold, turtle neck will do. Poor Little One starts dry heaving, spitting in the basket, grab the already destroyed sweater she was wearing, prop it under her....briefly look around in a PANIC, rake my hand over my forehead, big breath, ok, what's next? I almost burst into tears right there. A bit later I was struck with the vision I must have made to the only other woman in the area, a very pregnant woman. I wonder if that is her first baby. I think, wow, if I saw that scene (mom in a panic with vomiting child) when I was pregnant, I think I might have had some serious emotions surface.

SO, zoomed to infants grabbed cheap blankets, snatched some chlorox wipes for the car, she says she needs to potty again. Zoom to the checkout, thank the goodness for express lane. Then rush back into the bathroom for more certain cleanup and change. Post cleanup & change, decide I need a small bucket for her to vomit in as we are at least one hour from home. Went to the exact wrong end of the store. All Targets are slightly different, the same but different, on purpose probably so that you're more exposed to all those goodies they really want us to buy. At this point I'm out of breath from speed-walking carrying Fiona, the vomit-clothing filled bag, the pedialyte I grabbed, and still panicky trying to find the damned cleaning buckets. She starts to vomit again. I'm really at my wits end at this point. FINALLY, I ask for help. Caught a nearby mom's eye at the end of the aisle, "Are there Target people just around the corner???" Fiona is on hands and knees on the floor, heaving her guts out. Bless that mom and her kids, bless the two young women that helped me. One jogged across the store to get a bucket, the other took me up front, opened a register for me, and gave me a giant roll of bathroom paper towels. Bless them all. God bless Target!

In the parking lot, poor sick Little Girl continues to vomit into the bucket, although not much else was produced. I cleaned her carseat, spot cleaned much as possible the car, cheapo blanket thing in the seat and as a bib under her buckles. Towels line the bucket so absorbent, not to spill, explain very clearly that if she needs to vomit in the car to grab the bucket. She only used it one time before she fell asleep. *massive sigh* Call the doctor for information and instructions.

Talking it out with a good friend on the way home. Discuss the mother's love that endures for children. How painful and scary it is, cuts to my core, to see my daughter in pain, asking for help, and I can do nothing but love her and support her. We love them this much. We would gladly take all their pain away endure it 3 times over, but that is not reality, that is not life's true way. A mommy's love is purposeful, powerful, it has to be this way. It's a good thing, too, because the day before, Toddleator spent a solid 20 minutes flailing, screaming over and over, "NOOO!! I DON'T WANT MAMA!" I was so irritated I had to wait outside the car for a bit before I attempted driving anywhere. Kids Club must've been rip-roarin' hootenanny that day, she only wanted to go home with Miss D. Mortifying somewhat, entirely different kind of heart-wrench.

So it goes. I can't wait to see what happens next! :)
We gear up for Christmas, time of rebirth, celebration, and giving. Wishing not but sunshiny snow, holly and evergreens to everyone!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

'Tis the season for O Tannenbaum

This is our first Christmas. Well, not technically, but it seems like everything we do is new and exciting simply because a brand new brain is actively entertaining and soaking up information with us, or me, everywhere we go. She's 32 months old, or as humans say, she's 2 1/2. Last year this time she wasn't talking near as much, she wasn't singing, she didn't have an imaginary friend named Diver, she hadn't started pretending, she wasn't asking questions yet or expressing needs and wants. In short the whole idea of Christmas wasn't totally lost, but it was certainly not quite grasped.

Yesterday evening we ventured out to get a tree. The moon is bright and full, some snow lingers on the ground, crisp air just chilly enough for coat and gloves. There's a little Garden Country place not too far, very mom n' pop, just the type of place I like to go to hang out in the moist air with the plants. Coy were asleep in the water feature, full-color stone reindeer stood nearby. Fiona was excited! We talked about the sleeping fish so still at the bottom of the pool---I didn't know that coy 'sleep', or hibernate? Greeted the giant frog squatting nearby, looked at a "bug" or two, petted the deer, and inhaled deeply that beautific evergreen scent. It's all I can do not to hug the trees. Gary haggled and got a better than average price for a nice Douglas fir, soft needles, super-fragrant, 7 footer. Which enabled us to also purchase a wreath and some "Retard Needle Drop" solution. At the car, I fielded a squeal, more a scream, 'cause lately Fiona's "NOoo, I don' want Mama!" whenever Papa is around. Which makes things just a bit more interesting for my emotional being.

Back at the house the tree is certainly bigger than I think we were aiming for, possibly the fluffiest, tallest, that we've had so far. That fantastic green smell wafted through the house. I made chicken pizza (crust from scratch--yay!) while Gary fixed our little piece of nature into the stand & positioned in the approved spot. There is something magic about having a TREE indoors. We don't currently have any other plants, potted or otherwise, so this is the first green thing we've had in an abode since last Christmas. Something feral uncurls and stretches in my depths, something joyful that wants to run through the woods, climb trees, burrow into leaves, hunt and gather. Were I small enough I would live in the Christmas tree until it's time is done. I've dreamed about that since I was young. Imagining myself a Christmas tree-sprite, snuggling in boughs, creating mischief. Fiona's first action was to curl up under the tree, even before the lights went on. Of my all-time favorite activities at Christmastime, lying under the decorated tree is THE BEST. Head and shoulders under the boughs, peering intently into the depths of our yearly tree, dazzling ornaments and lights twinkling. Hopefully some eggnog or hot cocoa nearby---outfitted with a straw so I don't have to get up. Now, I get to pass my little tradition to Fiona.

We ate pizza next to the tree as O Tannenbaum (coincidentally appropriate) played on the Music Choice Channel. The Toddleator proceeded to greet the tree, feed the tree, and experiment with different appendages near & far from each multi-colored light. I know it's impossible to keep her from touching, at least we can work on "no pullin/pushing" and "gentle hands". Now, only now has the holiday really begun. Because, Now we have the singular pattern on the wall that only a lighted Christmas tree can cast. Now we have the scent, the sight, and as soon as I can find my cookie cutters, that gingerbread taste to go with the mid-winter celebrations.

I love the season! I love that I get to participate in this glorious passage of time!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


We got a decent snowfall! It started in the evening, then all night, and almost all day the following day. SNOW NICE. I got to shovel snow for the first time ever. *grin* Some people mightn't understand this 'fun' with shoveling or 'fun' uncovering the car. I can't help it though, everytime I've had to un-snow the car since we moved I end up smiling. It's just beautiful fluffy SNOW. I need to look up all the other Inuit word for it so that I don't wear out the only one that English has to describe the fabulous frozen rainlets.

Fiona had a great time out there the first day. While I shoveled the back deck, she positioned her wagon special underneath the deck so when the snow fell her wagon filled, and off she trundled with it. Eventually the novelty wore off, most especially when she took off her mittens to get a more intimate hands on experience, and her hands immediately became so cold she was done. Might be that her hands are like mine in that it's painful for them to be cold.

Last night we saw the Broomfield City & County Tree lighting ceremony, which was sweet & simple. Santa arrived in a helicopter completely distracting the crowd from the city council's singing (or lack of singing), it looked as if the fire truck would drive up behind the stage and Santa would make a grand entrance, but---I'm not sure what might've gone wrong here---he ended up just walking up behind the stage and climbing up to the mic. We were lucky enough to be directly in Santa's path on his way to the city building, and he greeted Fiona personally. She was starstruck! And immediately she said, "But wheres deh reindeer, Papa?" We decided the reindeer were on the roof waiting until Santa was done greeting the kids. (This while I'm kicking myself for missing the photo-op.) In the car on the way to Chinese food, Fiona said, she missed Santa & his reindeer and that "made her feel sad". How far we've come in a short 2 years, it's simply astounding.

Holidays underway, everyone! Our very best wishes out to each and every one of you!