Here Comes Santa Clause

Sunday, December 26, 2010
We talked about visiting Santa. I explained that Santa was a nice guy and that E didn't have to sit in his lap if he didn't want to. He could just stand next to him. He could just stand near him. All he needed to do was politely inform Santa that yes, he had indeed been a good* boy this year and he would like a bread machine for the kid kitchen and some other gifts. That's it and that's all. Easy, right?

B has suffered a crippling fear of the beard since she was born. No surprise that she's hysterically screaming as if Santa was holding a jar of Vaseline in one hand and a thermometer in the other.

But the thing about pictures is that you can not hear just how loud they are both screaming. People stopped shopping to spectate. We drew an audience. It's like the whole mall came to a halt to pay witness.

My only regret is not having handed my phone to the chubby security guard standing perched upon her Segway and asking her to tape the whole debacle. And yes, at one point in my life I did say (perhaps out loud) that I would never be one of those moms that put her screaming kid(s) on Santa's lap. And guess what? I ate my words. But not because it was such a pain to get my kids all dressed up (no harder than any other clothes) or because I was all hell-bent on a picture with Santa (I don't give a shit about Santa.) I did it because my kids never do anything they don't want to do and every once in a while I think it's good for them to suffer just a tiny little bit so that they fully understand just how good they have it.


Had I known I was going to be in the picture, I would have worn my ugly Xmas sweater and red jeggings.

As we walked away, E was a tearful, boneless puddle. He looked up at me once we were on the other side of the velvet rope and sulked, "I don't even want presents from that man. T and Bangs are going to get me presents. Grandma and Grandpa are going to get me presents. You and Dad..." He ticked off a dozen gift-givers to prove that the presents from that man were inconsequential.

The irony is that on Christmas morning, on at least three occasions, E randomly looked up and like a preacher delivering a particularly moving sermon, he sent a shout out to the omnipotent, "THANK YOU, SANTA!" Hallelujah.

* I take real issue with the whole being "good" bullshit. Number one, is "Santa" really not going to bring anything if you're not good? Number two, I don't want my child to behave because of the looming threat of "Santa." And what do you threaten once Santa's come and gone? Number three, I don't believe in conditional love and I don't think Santa should either. Number four, E freaked the hell out for a few days before we realized why - he would get so upset when he did something "bad" because he thought that Christmas was forever ruined. It was too much pressure for his little shoulders to carry. D brilliantly explained that you just had to be more good than bad and that seemed to appease E and his sense of justice and morality.

Holiday Greetings

Thursday, December 23, 2010
We celebrate Christmas, without a mention of religion or Jesus or church, but with lots of mention of gratitude and compassion and generosity. We have friends from all walks, so I say Happy Holidays to you all!

The Christmas buzz is getting louder and louder around here. E helped me wrap presents while BP took a nap. We finished up our shopping this morning and stuffed D's stocking full of the "the things he loves" like bike tubes and whatnot. E watched the reindeer episode of the The Wonder Pets and will probably watch the 'Twas the Night Before Xmas episode of Dino Dan a little later. We read David Shannon's "The Christmas Extravaganza" before quiet time. We bought Prosecco for mimosas tomorrow, as we are invited to T and Bang's house for Christmas Eve brunch. We are getting pretty excited on Christmas Eve Eve.

Since most of you who are receiving an actual Holiday card from me have probably already received it, here's the picture that we ended up using. We've gotten some complaints - you can't see their faces! E looks so grown up! It looks like E has a lollipop head! - but you can't please everyone all of the time, so in the spirit of the holidays I say Suck It to those of you unhappy with our card. And that third complaint is actually mine. His head looks disproportionately large, doesn't it?

My Christmas present to those of you who celebrate Christmas will be the picture we took on Santa's lap. To those of you who don't celebrate Christmas, the picture will make you glad you don't. I hope you're ready for it. I don't usually build suspense for something in fear of letting you down, but holy crap, it is so worth it.

But for now, you get this. The love on their faces melts my heart every time.

Merry Christmas to you, and you...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010
...but not you.

Can anyone enlighten me as to why it's ok to send a big Fuck You to our Jewish, atheist, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu and other non-Christian neighbors?

While I respect the Mile High Baptist Church for not being bigots and hypocrites, I am still in awe of this marquee. Is this really what Christmas is all about? Exclusion? Intolerance? Bigotry? And here I was, thinking the true meaning of the holiday was getting your hopes up, buying a bunch of cheap plastic crap from China, eating and drinking too much and then finding yourself slightly suffocated by the anti-climactic and somewhat stagnant air that lingers in the moments between the tearing through of presents and the cleaning up of wrapping paper.

Honesty is not your policy

Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Since my first poll was such a huge success - deemed Best. Poll. Ever. by @Jac, April, 2010 - I decided to hold another solicitation for input. And while I didn't even try to pretend that my first poll was "hypothetical," I will make a half-ass attempt at trying to create the illusion that this poll is. Smoke. Mirrors. Convinced? Oh, good. I knew you would be.


Here it goes.

What would you do if someone close to you (spouse, sibling, parent, or child) was actively cheating the IRS by pretending that they were not who they are, by say...changing the spelling of their name or forging their birth certificate or something?

Please go nuts in the comments section if you are so inclined.

Oh, and if you think this post is about you, chances are you are not paranoid because what is the likelihood that this exact post could be about someone else?

Asterisk Alley (finally)

Monday, December 13, 2010
I don't even know where to start. Should I talk about how my maternal love and devotion cured* E of SPD? Or that his dairy allergy** is finally gone? Did I already tell everyone that BP has (finally) started to walk***? Or that she is (finally) sleeping through the night****? Or about how I applied for a job I kind of wanted and then didn't get it, but then got a job that pays twice as much, fits perfectly into my schedule and is super awesome*****? I can't believe how long it's been since I posted and I'm overwhelmed with the prospect of catching up. Maybe I should just never post again. Sigh.

* Actually, my maternal love and devotion did not cure him. At least, it wasn't the cure. It might have helped. Hell, it might have almost cured him. But I still felt like a total jackhole when I rambled on to our amazing naturopath about how yes, I have seen a huge difference in E's behavior and it's hard to know what exactly did it - all the books I read or all the techniques I've thus implemented or how we restructured our daily existence and now include certain activities or how we remodeled our house or put in an indoor swing or the cross-brain exercises we do or the trampoline or the am I still rambling? - and Dr. Alba (god bless her) patiently listened and when I (finally) stopped to take a breath, she nodded and presupposed that based on the time lapsed between when E (finally) went off of dairy and when the signs of SPD started to wane, that perhaps it was all my well-intentioned meddling or maybe, just maybe, it was that his poor little brain was no longer being starved, it had finally reached the ideal equilibrium, the perfect balance of chemicals and minerals and vitamins and now his neurons were firing as they should. And while I worship Dr. Alba and live and die by what she says, I had to respectfully disagree...I really think it was orange Fiskar scissors I bought him at Jo-Ann Fabrics.

*** My mom was visiting and she cooked the entire time she was here (uh, hell yeah.) And the last night, she made bistec empanizado and E was halfway through a huge steak when my brother asked if anyone checked the bread crumbs for milk. "Look at who you're talking to," replied D. "Super Mom." The snark was still lingering in the air as I grabbed the canister and gasped a gasp so vacuous that it actually created it's own black hole, right smack in the middle of my kitchen.

It had been eight months since we'd been on Code Dairy, constantly checking labels, politely refusing to partake in the sharing of snacks unless 100% certain that offered food was 100% dairy-free (but always offering to share whatever we had), avoiding eating with others because it was just so draining to explain and re-explain that no, we couldn't have just one little whatever because it just wasn't worth 21 days of diarrhea, leaving restaurants because there wasn't a single thing that didn't have dairy in it, wanting to cry when conversations with servers made it clear that they could not be trusted to be the purveyor of dairy-free food "Oh, wait. How about the bisque? It only has cream. Oh...yeah. Or the club sandwich? It has butter, but butter is ok, right? Oh, it's not. Hmm, well this has mayo in it, so that's not good..." (True story.) We'd spent eight months with a pantry and fridge that was 100% dairy-free because of the fear of cross-contamination. And with the exception of the McD's fries incident^, we'd been 100% dairy-free for almost a year.

I'm holding the canister of bread crumbs and the look of shock slowly turns to panic. I look over at D and ask him what to do, desperate for an answer. E had already inhaled half a steak...what could we do? We let him finish eating and braced ourselves for the deluge of diarrhea that we knew would ensue.

Well, guess what. Nothing happened. So we waited some more. And then some more. And (finally) we waited a little more before realizing that holy shit, nothing happened. I called the fancy-pants pediatric allergist and asked her Why The Face and she said that he'd probably outgrown the allergy and we should go ahead and test it in 5mL increments.

Turns out that E did outgrow the allergy and that we are once again cow milk consumers. Reluctant consumers, because no one in this house actually likes milk, but consumers nonetheless. We like milk in it's more delicious forms (namely, ice cream) but I encourage the kids to drink their kefir and eat their yogurt so that they get the double whammy of probiotics and calcium.

*** Technically, BP took her first steps months ago, but she has finally committed to the act of walking, although she still likes to use walls, ledges, hands, walkers, whatever. And she does this really cute little hand-waving thing, as if she were winding herself up, when she does walk.

**** Royal jinx of epic proportions, but there it is. I made BP a deal, at our pediatrician's suggestion, that if she would start sleeping through the night, I would nurse her through the winter. I explained that it behooved her to night wean because a good night's sleep a nice mommy makes, and that it was either all or nothing. It was a tough go, but it took about a week (or twenty - I don't really remember) to extend the time between each night feed and viola! She night weaned. And for a while she was waking up at 4:00ish for a very early morning snack and then going back to sleep but for a few days now she's been sleeping through till 6:00ish. As much as I enjoyed BP's babyhood, I will never, ever miss the sleeplessness and brain-muddled grumpiness that marked those 13.5 months.

***** I applied for a job with the SPD Foundation and it was a really part-time job and the pay was a (bad) joke, but it didn't matter. I wanted to do something that I would enjoy, for something I believe in, without compromising my commitment to my children. I didn't get the job. I got an email that sounded like I got the job, but then (I'm guessing) the woman who did get the job applied and they gave the job to her. Which was great, because she was much more qualified for the position than I was as she had been in the field for years and had actually worked for the Foundation before. A couple of weeks later, a friend of mine forwarded a job posting and it was clear why I hadn't gotten the first job (other than not being the most qualified.) It was because this was the more better job for me. More about the job some other time.

^ Sub-asterick - We never, ever eat fast food. But we'd been at a park where all the kids had McD's and E asked for some fries. Feeling bad because I'd constantly been denying him foods, I relented and thought that a few fries would be a harmless treat. Ha! McD dips their fries in milk (and god knows what else.)