I think the best part of watching your child grow up may be introducing them to the holiday season. I can remember the magic that the Christmas season inspired in me as a child. The excitement and anticipation only occasionally tipping into over-excitement and making myself sick thinking about what Santa was going to bring me this year.
Clara is not quite two and a half and this year - she gets it. Gerald and I get to introduce her to all the things we loved as children and we get to watch as she experiences it all for the first time. We have seen so many of Clara's "first times" but this one takes the cake.
The season started with the Advent Calendar. I loved advent calendars so much as I child that I would make them for myself. I would draw a multi-windowed mansion and draw a picture behind each window. One wasn't enough. I had one at home, made one for everyone in my family, and had one in my locker at school. The last time I made one was sometime in my late 20's. Turns out - Gerald has an amazing advent calendar where each door in the Christmas tree opens to reveal a Christmas ornament, and later in the month, the figures from the Nativity.
As you can imagine, Clara is bonkers about opening tiny doors and revealing presents. Every day she asks for another "match." I think the "reveal" reminds her of turning over cards in memory games. She also isn't too fond of the whole one-advent door-a-day thing but we've managed to talk her down so far. Last night, the first figure of the Nativity was revealed - a tiny king carrying gold. Clara carried it around the apartment referring to it as "her Queen." That's fine by me.
We have also talked to her a lot about the concept of Santa Claus and what's going on with that. She already loves presents but the idea of a guy in a red suit and a beard bringing her surprise presents one day makes her hit the ceiling with excitement. Now whenever the doorbell rings she yells: "Oh! Oh! Is it Santa!!!??"
A few days ago we took her to our Union's Holiday Party where Santa was scheduled to put in an appearance. She talked about Santa the whole ride down on the Subway - to me, to strangers, to anyone who would listen. At the party, Santa was in a special room. We walked in and Clara paused, suddenly shy. Santa asked if she wanted to sit on his lap and after a brief hesitation, she squared her shoulders and went for it. She sat on his lap while Gerald and I took a hundred pictures. When Santa asked her what she wanted for Christmas, her nerves betrayed her, and she whispered in a tiny voice into Santa's ear: "A princess...and play doh."
Santa said: "Ho ho ho...I think I can help you out with one of those requests, little girl."...and he pulled a play doh set out of his bag and handed it to Clara.
Clara's eye widened - it was true, Santa COULD magically provide you with you heart's desire.
Clara shrieked: "Look Mama! Look, Dada! PLAY DOH!"
It's possible the best thing about being a parent, and I know Gerald agrees.
|Gerald, posing with the new tree.|
|Chatting with Santa.|