Christmas 2013

She asked me to read her Stone Soup as her first story before bed. She gets three stories, two we read on the floor and one in bed. But before we start the stories, she crosses off the day. Daddy bought her a whiteboard calendar, and she takes the marker to cross off today and puts the magnet on tomorrow.

“What’s tomorrow?” she usually asks. Yesterday we told her, “Tomorrow is Christmas!” She jumped up and down waving her tight fists for joy. This is her frequent happy flappy dance. She had done this her whole life. It is always charming.

Today the magnet marker is on the triangular drawing of a christmas tree. She must take the marker off and put an X on this long-anticipated day.

She woke after I did, but before her daddy. He’d said he wanted to videotape her seeing her new bicycle. He had done a lot of work to secure one for her. I had to block her from going into the living room while he made himself decent and secured the video camera.

Mornings are not his thing. I thought Christmas might be different. Maybe it is and he would have been way slower any other morning.

“Mommy!I want to see what Santa brought! I want to see my presents!”

“Tell daddy to hurry.”

“Daddy hurry! Stop blocking me mommy!”

“I am trying to get ready!!”

at last he appears and we can see what santa has brought.

She is thrilled and climbs on, It is nearly too big for her, but it fits, and she loves it.

And look, Veronica! Remember the cookie you left for Santa? It’s gone! He ate it!

Her mouth drops open in surprise. Oh, yes he was here!

The presents are very exciting. She wants more and more presents. We do not take turns. She loves everything she gets, and is confused and disappointed when the flow of presents it diverted to Daddy and me. She over comes it, though, and helps us open ours with good will.

Then we open the stockings, we are also exciting. Lucy Dog has a stocking too!

While we sort it out, I bake our specially chosen Christmas breakfast: Pillsbury cinnamon rolls. It’s just as well that we chose something so easy, I am still sick and tired with a cold.

One of the gifts for Veronica is a set of three clearance sale halloween constumes. She has Spiderman Dress, Captain America dress, and snowhite dress. Spider man is tried on first. Then Captain America.

CAPTAIN AMERICA! She looks incredible. She has stars and a cape and is empowered to SAVE THE DAY.

Daddy is a fantastic bad guy. I am princess mommy, and she is going to protect me. This allows me full immunity to hide under the covers with a Kindle.

Eventually we take the new bike to the park to practice riding. She does great and daddy is very protective. The dog wishes she could be more involved but technically she is breaking the rules by being in the park at all. Everyone brings their dogs, just this is the first time we have broken the rules. It’s christmas though.

She is not allowed to run alongside the bicycle as the new cyclist is getting the hang of everything.

I sit and wilt with virus on the sidelines, also the keeper of the camera.

The day progresses through lunch and nap. Then it is time for the second round of presents at grandma’s house. She dons her captain america costume again and we get ready to do it again.

She takes turns this time. We all get to open presents in turns. Of course she has the most of everyone. As it should be, since she’s the least expensive to buy for. We are all thankful and pleased with our many gifts.

Now Judy turns to finishing her dinner preparation.

Uncle Bryan is now the one to be jailed and arrested as bad guy. He is an even better supervillain than daddy, because he has less experience in defending and deflecting. He is totally in her power! She likes that a lot. She jails him in the shower stall.

Dinner is ready, and for the first holiday dinner in her life she stays for the whole meal.  We have a break to run around (Uncle Bryan is once again arrested for being a back guy) and then pie.

Since Grandmother passed away a few years ago, and even before when her eyesight got really bad, we had stopped the after-dinner tradition of playing games. Grandmother was a champion at card shuffling and complacently enjoyed the games with everyone. Back when Chris and I were dating, I made a coup by presenting her with a new game that was adopted into the canon: triominoes. He later objected because the game lacked strategy. I liked it for that very reason. Judy seemed to like it because it required arithmetic.

This year Veronica got Hungry Hungry hippos as a present. She was able to play this game with enthusiasm, and we revived the game tradition with everyone taking part.

And now I read her Stone Soup. Why does she like this book? I don’t know why I picked it up in the goodwill. She likes it though. The Soldiers put one over on the french villagers, and I read the long paragraphs out loud, quietly as I can to spare my rasping throat. As usual, she has her Panda, Doggie and now Dragon on her lap, and blanky covers the all.

She takes the binding of blanky-quilt in both her hands, passing the edges along from left to right. She has done this with this same blanky since she was barely born. It’s been an exciting day and she is quite tired; this is why she is doing this again. She doesn’t do it every night.

I wonder if she will do this her whole life. If she does, I will be one of the few–the only?–who recognize this hand habit for what it is.

This is her last Christmas before she goes to school. Does everything change next year? Or only a few things as we are all basically the same? We are basically happy, and it’s been a good day.