Monday, December 20, 2010

12 PDDays of Christmas

On the 1st Day of Christmas my Little Love Said to Me...
Did Santa break into our home tonight Mommy?

Well, he didn't say that exactly, but the idea that someone comes into your home in the middle of the night, even to leave is gifts, is both exciting and horribly frightening to my C.S.. We celebrate St. Nick night. On Dec. 5, Santa picks up the children's wish lists, fills their stockings and then the terror begins. On St. Nick night, C.S. woke 5 times to check on the situation at the fireplace and in the living room and to check again. We finally let them have at the stockings at 5:30 a.m. But it wasn't over yet. He woke the night following, in case Santa came again. And a few nights ever since.

On the 2nd Day of Christmas my Little Love Said to Me...
Will there be anything I can eat at the party?

His anxiety about what he can and cannot eat also increases around the holidays. I'm trying my best to provide substitutes, but I am simply no match to the overwhelming amounts of cakes and cookies and gingerbread houses and hot chocolate this time of year. His usual understanding and acceptance withers beneath such abundance. Being GF/CF, soy and beef free — he can't help but find himself at the much much much smaller buffet, if not out in the cold entirely.

On the 3rd Day of Christmas my Little Love Said to Me...
Can I play Angry Birds at 3 in the morning?

The holiday version of Angry Birds is basically an advent calendar. A new game level is available every day leading up to Christmas. It is a very smart move on the part of the game developers, but now I'm convinced they don't have small children. Because, of course this is a HUGE hit with my son. It is also something that has wrecked havoc with our attempts to limit screen time and use Apps as an incentive. When we relented and allowed him him to play that day's game but only after he had gotten dressed, brushed teeth, etc in the morning before school, there have been some mornings he was ready by 5 a.m. But then there are the other really memorable mornings that he has simply snuck downstairs to the iPad at wee hours like 3 and 4 a.m. Nights like these are starting to make for an Angry Mama this holiday season.

On the 4th Day of Christmas my Little Love Said to Me...
Do I have to watch the holiday movie?

His classroom teacher noticed that while watching a holiday movie at school, every time Santa appeared on the screen, every time, my son would get up and pace in the back of the room. He simply couldn't watch.

On the 5th Day of Christmas my Little Love Said to Me...
I'm the worst kid ever!!!!

My son already puts tremendous pressure upon himself not to make mistakes. He's a smart little guy. But he has incredibly anxiety about tests and spelling bees and grades. December brings the added delight of the first report card and his first concert. And so, winter is filled with even more anxiety that he will not make the grade. As if the naughty and nice list wasn't enough.

Fortunately, we have a therapist on board this year and she suggested a wonderful change of perspective. C.S. has agreed not to shout out things like "I'm stupid!" but to say instead "Whoopsie!" acknowledging that mistakes happen and that mistakes are OK. So far so good, but C.S. is still asking "where does Santa get the coal and banana peels?"

On the 6th Day of Christmas my Little Love Said to Me...
How far are we driving!?!?

Deciding to travel on the holidays is nerve wrecking for all of us, but of course, especially the children. And so we put every effort into planning and figuring out how to make the trip as smooth as possible. For example, we decided to break up a 13 hour drive over 2 days. Another part of the planning is to gradually begin to describe our plans to C.S. as soon as possible so he knows and gets comfortable with what to expect.

But it is amazing what can get lost in translation. I finally figured out there was a severe communication error when C.S. told someone we were going to the North Pole for Christmas. When I asked where he got that idea, he explained we must be going to the North Pole since it would take two whole days to get there. Aha!, He thought we'd be driving non-stop. That we were stopping at a hotel with a swimming pool had somehow gotten lost or confused with Mr. Popper's Penguins, the book he's been reading. No wonder he was so anxious about making the trip!

On the 7th Day of Christmas my Little Love Said to Me...
How will we get our presents down to NC?

Every aspect of the trip planning eventually gets explained, in detail. Some details end up getting repeated more than others

On the 8th Day of Christmas my Little Love Said to Me...
Can we pray before dinner?

I had finally gotten around to getting candles in the advent wreath. The creche isn't out yet and since we're traveling for the holiday, I'm not certain if it is coming out. But we've been to church and we've sung many many songs about the birth of Christ. I guess I shouldn't be surprised by such a question. But there's nothing that can stop you in your tracks like a child's voice asking to pray. Little angels are so incredibly powerful. No wonder Christ came to us as an infant.

On the 9th Day of Christmas my Little Love Said to Me...
Will we get to see our cousins

The opportunity to see family truly excites the children with a pleasure unsullied by anxiety.

On the 10th Day of Christmas my Little Love Said to Me...
Will there be a snowstorm tomorrow Mommy?

The forecast is bad, here and in North Carolina. Still, I imagine we'll start driving no matter. Changing plans is not something we take lightly in this household. But the South and their lack of snow plows really throws our plans into question. So far, the mountains where we're heading have been snowed in for days already. I've heard some churches canceled services, and we're talking Bible belt here — so, it is that serious. So, I'll have to be specific, I'm dreaming of a fluffy-dusting white Christmas.

On the 11th Day of Christmas my Little Love Said to Me...

I'll have to keep you posted. But so far, I think I see the light at the end of all the anxiety.

Merry Christmas to you all!


  1. Really nice post, Liz! Such a vivid description of your son's understanding of himself and the holidays. Barbara

  2. Thanks Barbara!!! Happy New Year to you and yours!


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