I love Christmastime. I will admit, however, that this year it was especially hard preparing for my favorite time of year, across the country from all of our family and friends. So to make things more festive for myself, I tried doing some fun Christmasy activities with the kids. But like most plans you make with a 4 year old and a toddler, they don’t always go quite the way you anticipated.
Last week I took Jackson to see the Nutcracker ballet. I danced as a child, and have seen the Nutcracker many times. So I thought it would be fun to share this with my four year old son. He was really into it the first half – he had never seen a stage performance before, so the lights and action kept him quite captivated in the beginning.
He managed to make it through the second half pretty well, and overall really seemed to enjoy the performance. On the way home, Jackson told me that his favorite colors were now pink and purple. He then told me that when he got home he was going to put on his sister’s red tutu and do his own performance of the Nutcracker. I said, “You know, Jackson, you could be the boy dancer in the Nutcracker”. “Oh no, Mommy,” he promptly replied, “I want to be the ballerina”. Oh boy, my husband was not going to be happy with me.
And sure enough, as soon as we got home, that red tutu went right on, and didn’t come off for two whole days. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!! Thank you Mr. Seinfeld)
The next day we went to visit Santa at, where else, but the mall! (Now that we live in Suburbia, this is our life). I was imagining my two beautiful children sitting calmly and happily on Santa’s lap, wistfully telling him what they wanted for Christmas. It was pretty much exactly the opposite of that. Jackson was terrified of St. Nick, and yelled a very loud and embarrassing “NOOOOOO!!!!” every time we would try to get him to approach the jolly red man.
“Tell him what you want for Christmas, Jackson.”
“Why don’t you sit next to him and pose for a nice picture.”
“Ok, well then, I guess I will have to sit with Santa by myself”. (Aha, reverse psychology. Surely he will sit with me now!)
What??? No, that’s not what you’re supposed to say. You’re supposed to say, ‘No mommy, I want to sit with you too!’
So there I was, sitting next to the big man himself, by myself, like a moron. Will no one sit with Santa and I??? We need a precious holiday picture, dammit!!
Finally, I got Ella to sit on my lap, next to Santa. But this still felt so silly. I’m going to spend $19.95 on a picture of just my daughter and I with Santa? This feels weird. And at the last possible second, before the photographer took the shot, my son jumped in the picture. “Ok, I’ll take a picture with Santa.”
But what about my husband?? He was off camera, planning to stand with Jackson while my daughter and I took our sad, pathetic picture with Santa. So when Jackson ran in there at the last second, Tobey didn’t know what to do. “Come on over!” I yelled, but it was too late. He had already been relegated to bell duty. He had to ring the bell behind the photographer so that Ella wouldn’t leap out of my arms and onto Santa’s fake living room floor.
“Uh, what should we do?” I asked.
“It’s cool, I’ll just ring the bell”, my husband responded sadly.
Ugh. So we ended up with this:
As you can see, Ella is reaching for the invisible bell, Jackson is looking oh so happy about being in a picture with Santa, and I am just hoping no one leaves me sitting alone with Kris Kringle.
In the same location where they did pictures with Santa, there was a gingerbread house-making store. That experience actually went relatively well, and in the end we had a beautiful gingerbread house:
But on the car ride home, the mailbox fell over, the chimney fell off, and the shutter was hanging by a thread. Par for the Christmas course.