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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Do you believe in Santa?

We were in the car driving to school this morning and Ryan was playing Christmas music.  There was singing and laughing as Bing Crosby brought out lyrics to songs we had either forgotten or never heard before.

And I don't know how it came up in the conversation, but at one point Ryan jokingly said "I don't think Santa visits Cairo."  And I was absolutely horrified.  My heart actually jumped into my throat a bit, a mixture of the audacity of such a statement mixed with, don't let Q hear that, and my inner child's desire to keep believing after all these years of knowing the truth.  (I'm the sap that still cries every time that bell shows up under the Christmas tree in The Polar Express.)

So I turned to him very seriously and said, "Of course he does, Santa goes anywhere that has people who believe in him."

And my poor husband, who knows me so well, took one look at my face and said "You're right, of course Santa comes to Cairo."

This led to a discussion in the car of when each of us found out the truth, ie, when the real magic of Christmas was lost.

Ryan was six (my serious, logical guy), Nick was eight (caught his dad leaving presents under the tree) and I don't remember exactly how old I was, but I do remember that Christmas perfectly.  I remember opening the gift marked "From Santa" only to find a present inside that I had snooped out in my mom's closet a few weeks beforehand.  Sorry Mom!  And I know that opening the present was just a clincher of doubts that had been gathering in my mind for the past year.  But what I remember the most about that moment was how the magic evaporated instantaneously.  The excitement writing out a Christmas list, the struggle to fall asleep on Christmas eve, the way I listened for the bells on Santa's sleigh whenever I woke up in the night.  And most of all that rush of pure joy on Christmas morning to race to the tree and see what he'd brought me.  It was all gone.

I went through the motions the next year, mainly for my family's sake.  Pretending I still believed, but with the magic lost, my heart wasn't really in it.

And as the years went by, my love of Christmas gently evolved into a desire to believe, instead of a child's innocent faith, I now had an adult's yearning to restore the magic that had been lost.  So I watch Christmas movies and tear up, I listen to carols and let them stir that part of the heart that can only be brought to life with cookies and hot cocoa, ornaments and stockings. And most of all, yes I will be telling my son about Santa Claus.  I will perpetuate the myth because I still want to believe.  There's nothing in the world that can replace the memories of all those years. They were a gift of magic, excitement, anticipation and pure innocent joy.

Do I want that for Q, even if it's only for a short time?  Absolutely.  So Santa, we're going to be in Japan this year for his first Christmas.  His penmanship is a little lacking at the moment, but he told me he'd like a new book and some big boy shoes.  We'll be listening for your sleigh bells, and the milk and cookies will be on the table.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Epic Parenting Fail

Soooo... Ryan and I realized this morning that we're dumb ass parents.

We changed up our usual routine for after school with the express purpose of going to this shopping center to buy a Christmas gift. This is our last chance to buy the gift before we leave for the break, so it was really important that we take the time to get there.

Ryan has been working late after school everyday this week getting things ready with the student council for their talent show next week.  I've been going home at the normal time with the baby and taking care of dinner, bath and bedtime.  It's not the best schedule, since Ryan doesn't get to see Q hardly at all, but it's what we've been having to do to get through this week.

Last night we changed it up a bit. Ryan still needed to stay late, but not quite so late as usual.  Q and I hung out in my office listening to Christina Perry and playing with his fingers. We left the school at 5'ish to head over to Chilis, which is in the same shopping complex as the store we wanted.

Now here's the thing, We aren't the sort of parents that have a hyper rigid schedule Q must follow during the day.  He eats when he's hungry, sleeps when he's tired and has us wrapped around his little finger for whatever part of the day is left.  But over the course of the last six months, his days have fallen into a pretty predictable pattern.  He wakes up and has a bottle (did I mention we're done with the boobies?) then we go to school, where he eats oatmeal and some kind of fruit.  He takes a long morning nap, usually at least 2 hours, he's up again wanting another bottle, some play time, then it's down for his afternoon nap, basically rinse repeat.  By the time we get home at our usual 4:30, 5ish time, he's already getting tired.  Sometimes we can get a bit of play/reading time out of him before he eats some dinner, but most of the time it's into the bath, one last bottle and then bedtime.

This child is usually in bed and asleep by 6pm.  And he stays there without a peep of complaint till 6:30 in the morning.

So yeah, he's pretty much the best baby on the planet. Don't worry I knock on wood every time I even think about his sleep schedule, because I know there are people out there with 2 year olds that still don't sleep through the night, let alone put themselves to sleep without a fuss.

So I knew already that yesterday was going to be less than ideal for him.  We were leaving school at the time we're normally starting our bedtime routine.  But I figured he can nap in his car seat and we'll just put him straight to bed when we get home. It will be a one night thing that we just have to get through.  Go to the restaurant we don't even like anymore, just because it's close to the store, buy the Christmas gift, and get our baby to bed.  Khalas!

He was a trooper all through dinner, rubbing his eyes and doing the zombie "stare into nothing" face, but not really fussing. Until we got into the car where he wailed piteously.  Ryan claimed it was the hunger cry, but I knew he was just overly tired.  It was already 6:30, and he wanted to be sleeping. We cranked up his favorite lullaby cd by Nicolette Larson, who I just learned is dead... which makes me sad because I'd really like to thank her for this music.<insert tangent here>

Within minutes he was out, which led us to a predicament when we got home, our beautiful babe peacefully asleep in his car seat perched on the dining room table.  Do we let him sleep out this little nap or wake him up now?  The thing was, we both knew we couldn't put him straight to bed without another bottle.  There was no way he'd sleep through the night without a full belly.  So we woke hime up, which brought out the most heart wrenching, whimpery cry I'd ever heard... he was so tired. Once we got a bottle in him he calmed down though and by 7:30 he was in bed putting himself to sleep.

Haaaaaaaaaaa.... cue parents scurrying around the house much later than normal to clean bottles, organize laundry and diaper bag for the next day, then collapse into tired puddles onto the couch.

It was a long night, and we both hated hearing him so obviously upset about having his schedule messed up, but you know, you gotta do what you gotta do.

So, why are we dumb ass parents?

We forgot to buy the Christmas present after we left the restaurant... It was all for nothing....

Epic... Parenting... Fail