For Cwistmas from Santa

We play up the Santa thing for Christmas so much, and I have a lot of fun doing it, that I can’t believe I considered not doing the Santa stuff at all before Sophia was born. Every year some friends host a Christmas party and have a Santa show up. For the last three years Sophia has made a wish list for Santa by cutting out the things she wants from toy sale fliers. I’ve had Santa send them a letter stamped from the North Pole, and for the last two years we’ve gone to a Christmas light festival that also has a Santa. We hang stockings around the wood pellet stove, watch A Christmas Story and Charlie Brown Christmas, read T’was the Night Before Christmas, and bake cookies to leave for Santa on Christmas Eve.

This year at our friends’ Christmas party when someone came by to tell all the kids that Santa was here Lukas actually lit up, stopped what he was doing, and had me take him through the crowd to Santa. Once we got to the front of the line it became too real for him and he didn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap though, and even though she sat on Santa’s lap the last two years, neither did Sophia. She forgot her list and didn’t know what to do without it.

Misfit Christmas

I was dragging the clinging-to-my-leg Sophia Christmas-Story style to Santa. Santa was tickling her.

We went to the Christmas light festival two days before Christmas this year. Lukas rode the ponies again, two times in a row in fact. There wasn’t a line so he was allowed to stay on his pony for another round. We rode the train, saw the lights, and posed for pictures. Near the end Sophia wanted to visit Santa. But, again she forgot her list. She only knows the items by the picture and didn’t have the words to describe them. I remembered what she pasted on her paper because I’m Santa’s secretary and I do all the leg work, “Tell him you wanted a loom, a spiral pen, house design set, and house decorating set.”

Sophia wreath
Lukas wreath
Lukas on the pony

Before we got to the front of the line for Santa I told the kids, “Look Santa is giving out candy canes tonight.” So when we got to the front and Santa asked Lukas what he wanted…”I want a canny cane.” Sophia said nothing. She was frustrated that she didn’t just have a list to show him.

Santa photo

The morning of Christmas Eve Sophia came down stairs, “Where is the big present?” Santa puts the big gift in the toy room unwrapped…Christmas morning. She was a little confused about what day it was. Christmas morning we woke up to some serious cuteness overload. Sophia woke up and I heard her go into Lukas’ room to wake him. Lukas, “Is it Cwistmas?”
Sophia, “Yes brudder. Let’s go see what Santa brought us.”

I wasn’t able to capture their delight at Santa’s gifts to them because the video part of my camera died. I tried to prepare with our other video camera and even made sure to charge its batteries, but never bothered to turn it on to see that it was going to be an ass and ask me to set the date and time. I also wasn’t able to video Kurt reading Santa’s letter to the kids, but that’s ok since neither seemed overly interested in it this year. The first year Sophia was Lukas’ age and completely captivated. Lukas didn’t seem to get it. Maybe next year.

After playing with his new work bench from Santa for a while hunger got the better of Lukas and he noticed that the milk and salted caramel stuffed snicker-doodles we left out for Santa were gone except for a couple of crumbs. Yes, he noticed that crumbs were left. Of course if you ask the boy what Santa brought him he’ll tell you, “A canny cane.” Because that is what Santa handed to him personally. The boy hasn’t connected all the dots yet.

Mediocre Birthday Cheese

Dinner was at Red Robin last night, or “Red Roo Robin” as Sophia calls it. I have no idea why she adds the “Roo”. I took Lukas’ hand when we were called for our table. He looked up and shouted, “Pizza!” and then added, “I want own pizza.” In previous trips to Red Robbin we had the kids split a kid’s meal.

Very recently Kurt was able to convince Sophia that she would like the grilled cheese sandwich, so we’ve ordered two meals with two different things and gave each kid half of the other order. Lukas, who is just as much a cheese lover as Sophia would not eat the grilled cheese sandwich. It’s unbelievable to me that we actually have to convince them that their beloved cheese and bread don’t turn into something horrid when put together in sandwich form. These kids are so weird. They’ll eat cheese that I wouldn’t even eat as a kid. I never liked cottage cheese by itself, Sophia loves it. I probably wouldn’t have eaten feta cheese and her age, both Sophia and Lukas like it. Lukas is even odder than that. He’ll eat blue cheese. Yes, BLUE CHEESE. He doesn’t like the blue veins, but he’ll eat the white areas and bits of the blue. Bizarre child.

As part of every trip to Red Robin no matter the day, there was a birthday somewhere in the restaurant and every unlucky server had to clap and sing their birthday song…

Happy, happy birthday, on this your special day.
Happy, happy birthday, that’s why we’re here to say, “Hey!” Happy, happy birthday, may all your dreams come true.
Woah! Happy, happy birthday from Red Robin to you.
Hey!

On this trip Kurt was inspired to create his own version to the same tune…

Mediocre birthday,
That’s why you are here,
You can drown your sadness,
With lots of beer.

Mediocre birthday,
You’re finally thirty-two,
And now you’ve finally realized
That no one cares for you, HEY!

Child Dump

Sophia’s preschool recommended that I concurrently enroll her in a mainstream preschool to help with socializing. Well, I never got around to it until this summer, so it’ll be non-concurrent daycare instead. And since I was enrolling one, why not the other as well? At least that way I can get some house cleaning done without someone simultaneously undoing it all.

I took the kids to check out a daycare in April. I dropped in without any previous phone call. I’ve decided that’s the best way to interview a place. Pop in unexpected and don’t ask many questions. I just let them uncomfortably ramble on and tell me whatever it is they think is important. This person valued security so much that she told me the kids aren’t allowed to so much as go to the bathrooms alone. They need an adult to escort them. Now, I can see that for the toddlers but she was actually referring to the group Sophia would be with, the kids that will soon enter kindergarten. Their bathroom is just off their classroom. Really not an escort worthy trek, but whatever. Exposure to mild paranoia never killed anyone as far as I know.

After going over their policies and receiving a tour of the place the woman said, “Oh and if they ask any difficult questions like where babies come from or why Jesus dies on the cross we write it down and tell them to ask their parents.” I almost snorted. We’ve already gone over part of the “Where do babies come from” with Sophia. That other question won’t likely come from either of my kids, but it’s nice to know that this daycare attached to a church will leave it up to us to fill in the gaps as we see fit.

The one daycare I was looking into that was not affiliated with a church was cheaper, but they didn’t have a part-time option. They had drop in, but I was looking to have a dedicated day off that wouldn’t have us bumped if someone seeking full-time came in. This church affiliated daycare was recommended by Sophia’s preschool so I pretty much knew my kids would be going there as long as they didn’t have to do full-time.

After we left I asked Sophia if that seemed like a fun place and she enthusiasticly said, “Yes”. She told me she wanted to go to school there. Super! It’s settled then.

A couple of months later the first day of daycare arrived. It went much differently than expected. That morning Sophia asked what would do for the day and I told her she was going to the new summer school. She cried and refused to eat breakfast. Lukas ate his breakfast blissfully unaware that I would later be dumping him off.

I get them all packed in the car, drive there, and in the parking lot…

Sophia, “I don’t want to go there.”
Me, “You’ll have fun and get to play with other kids.”
Sophia being defiant, “Mom I’m not going to have any fun!”

Lukas was thoroughly confused about what was going on. He couldn’t piece together why his sister was so upset, but it was causing him to cling onto me. On the way in I saw a familiar kiddo. It was Sophia’s best friend from preschool. Yeah, sure you aren’t going to have any fun at all. I told the director that Sophia knew this girl and so she was called over to help Sophia transition into this new place. I signed the kids in and dropped Sophia off at her room, prying her Go-Go-Gadget arms off me. It was like she had not attended preschool for the last two and a half years.

Lukas didn’t cry at all. He very quiet snuggled closed as carried him to his room. In hindsight I realize Lukas probably thought this was like going to the park or the kid’s museum where they just play and I’m within view .

When I came to pick up the kids at the end of the day Sophia was ecstatic about her new summer school and her day and the pictures she made. Sophia and I made our way to the play area for Lukas’ group. I thought for sure I was going to get a big smile of joy that I’m there to pick him up, nope. His tiny face turned upside-down. He broke down and cried as if he thought I was never coming back again. Way to lay on the guilt little man.

The second day I really wish I had brought a camera. Lukas was thrilled to pieces to be going to school just like his big sister. He insisted that the old Elmo backpack that was once hers be put on his back. The two of them walked in front of me with backpacks on. The only thing that could have made that scene any cuter was if they had held hands. The Sophia drop off was a piece of cake and I thought Lukas would be also. He was just fine until we actually went into his room, but at least he knew what to expect.

Just like big sister

Picture taken July 18th after picking them up from “summer school”

Vomitorium Cleaning Team

We recently completed a fun family competition of who-does-the-best-volcano imitation. I had no idea who won, but I feel like Lukas really lucked out for opting to not join the rest of us. It began with me, which is odd. You would think that one of the mini petri dishes would be the ones to bring this shit home, but it was the one person in the family that pretty much never throws up, ever. Even with two pregnancies I only ever threw up once and that was due to brushing my tongue setting off my ridiculously-sensitive-during-pregnancy gag reflex.

Kurt had just gone back to work on Monday after three days at home with a bad back when I called asking him to come home. The next day I was fine and Kurt went to work. That night the germy baton was handed to Kurt. He was up every hour on the hour. My plan for that day was to take the kids out and keep them out of the house while dad recovered. That plan was tossed out when Sophia came downstairs telling me her tummy felt funny and asked me if she was going to puke. That turned out to be my cue to rush her to the toilet and teaching her the fine art of bellying up to the porcelain and simultaneously keeping ones hair out-of-the-way. Who knew it was actually moms that teach their offspring the party years etiquette?

Sophia was hungry for breakfast despite her puking first thing in the morning and so I gave her some. It is better to have something to puke than to have dry heaves after all. Her usual breakfast has been one peanut butter toast and one cinnamon toast for the last few weeks, so that’s what I gave her. It’s a great way to make puke a little more sweet-smelling on the way out. It also shows up nicely on the yellow walls of our bathroom. There was no guessing where that round of vomit landed. Don’t you worry we have a few years to remedy her timing and aim before the drinking years begin.

Everyone was fine or in recovery the next day but I was so tired I didn’t clean the vomitoriums until the following day. I got all my supplies ready and received a rather surprising request…”Can I help?” Sophia asked excitedly. Yes, she was excited. She even requested to specifically clean the toilets. *wiping a tear from my eye* That’s my little girl. To Kurt’s amazement I had some yellow cleaning gloves in a size small for her. I intended them for helping with dishes, but hey we can start with bathrooms first. Good thing I got her more than one pair. (I don’t mix dish gloves with house cleaning gloves. Those are totally separate animals.)

Sophia with yellow cleaning gloves

Sophia was bizarrely happy to have cleaning gloves. She’s doing her ballerina pose for the picture. Looks more like a karate crane stance to me.

I didn’t let her clean the toilets because I wanted to use bleach in them after the rigorous use they had just been through and I didn’t want her to get bleach on herself or not get the toilet as thoroughly scrubbed as I’d like it. She did the sinks, counters, shower, and helped with the floor. All done with vinegar.

Mother’s Day Train Ride

My mother’s day began with a half-dressed Sophia waking me up, “Mom you have to be downstairs for your surprise.”
“Ok sweetie.” I dragged my groggy ass downstairs as per the instructions of my primary mini boss. I sat on the couch awaiting further instructions.

Sophia arrived wearing, for the first time, a dress I made in the beginning of April. I had asked Kurt to put the bug in her ear about that one. I just wanted to see her in it. She looked great in it and that fabric she picked out suited her style very well.

She handed me the gift she made at school telling me, “It’s soap” before I even had the chance to open it. I was busy opening the card that was two Sophia hands that. On one hand it read, “I love you” and when opened up had paper between the hands that read, “this much.” Very cute.

sparkly soap with anise seeds

Kurt called her to have her help him make french toast for breakfast. “Just a minute she told him.” And she promptly changed out of the dress. Well, at least I saw her in it. I didn’t know that was going to be so short-lived or I would have had my camera handy. She said it was too “itchy”. I told her she could put a t-shirt underneath, but that was a no-go.

Breakfast was done and Lukas still wasn’t awake. We had gone up to the cabin the day before and he went without a nap, so we let him sleep in. At 11:30 we had waited long enough. We woke the drowsy sweat-head boy, fed him, dressed him, and went on our way to ride the historic train.

Just before we arrived Sophia asked, “Do they have a Disney train?”
“No.”
“I want to ride a Disney train with flashy eyes.” (Flashy eyes is her way of saying eye lashes.) Oh boy. We passed by the train bone yard. Some very cool retired antiques slowly rusting away lined the side tracks.

We saw the train that we would be riding. “Look there is the train.”
“I don’t want to ride that.” Sophia said. Oy, this is going to be a long day then. We parked the car, stood in line for tickets, and let Sophia choose which car to ride in.

Lukas and I sitting in the train

Sophia insisted that I wear a “hat with a hole” so that I can put my hair through it like a ponytail. She started doing this the day before and wanted us to look the same for Mother’s Day. It’s the closest she has come to wearing a ponytail herself since our trip to Hawaii when she was two.

Sophia in Hawaii at age two yearsSophia in Hawaii at age two years

Lukas sitting on the train bench seat

Kurt sitting in the bench seat train car he picked out

View from the train

Sophia handing dad her tickets

Sophia on the wood bench seat of the train

in the display train

Sophia in the conductor seat in the display train

Lukas at the controls

All aboard!!

I’m pretty sure she was shouting, “All aboard!” when I snapped this one.

peeking out the window of the display train

Climbing on the train on display

Choo-choo!

Lukas was moving his hand up and down saying, “Choo-choo!”

That sign behind Lukas read, “For your safety and ours No climbing Staff Only beyond this point” This engine was on a side track that ran along right next to the tracks used by the tour train. I assume it was actually structurally safe to climb on, but that they didn’t want kids climbing up and maybe trying to reach out to the mobile train as it passed by since there was another engine off the tracks that had no such sign and there were kids all over it. With that in mind I didn’t think it a big deal at all that my two-year old sat on the bench looking seat there in the front.

After taking about 20 pictures of Lukas sitting there calmly and very nicely with me standing two to five feet away a busy body nice concerned lady came by, “You know he shouldn’t climb beyond that point, right?”

While probably sneering and thinking, “You don’t even work here do you?” I said, “Yeah he can’t climb anyway.” He really can’t. He simply doesn’t have the strength, and I wasn’t exactly hosting him up in the air from five feet away.

“Oh ok I’m just covering my bases.” She said. Really? You know you’re just coming off as an ass you ever so delightful do-gooder? I mean I’m just covering my bases by informing you that I can fucking read and my two-year old isn’t causing any property damage nor putting himself or others at risk. Why isn’t she lecturing the parents whose children are trampling the new grass clearly marked off by the very beaten down plastic orange fencing? Oh wait, there are too many of those for just one lonely meddler. Bitch.

Just so you know, I didn’t actually feel angry at the busy body. I just like to rant. A good day was had by all despite the train not being a Disney one with “flashy eyes”.