Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas Failure

I’m afraid that I have done a poor job explaining the rudiments of Christmas to Margaret.  First, her grandmother showed her the various actors in the Christmas story, and she got a wee bit confused.

She learned to identify the mommy and the daddy and the baby and the bird-person, and the shepherd with the pipe (“toot-toot.”)*

But she decided that the manger was a plate, which either suggests that she understands transubstantiation, and has a much better grasp of Catholic theology than we anticipated, or she knows that a manger is called a manger because it is a word with French roots, and manger means eat in French.  Or, possibly, she knows that mangers are plates for farm animals, and is far more concerned about the well-being of the cow and the donkey than of the baby.  At any rate, I feel that I didn’t do a good job explaining, particularly when she did this with our kid-friendly nativity.


Our second Christmas-related failure of communication occurred every time I showed her a picture of Santa.  She would point excitedly at him and say “Fwank!”

So Margaret’s view of Christmas is that we eat baby Jesus, and her grandfather dresses up in a funny red suit and gives her presents. 

We’ll try again next year.

*I’m aware that the pipe-playing shepherd is not precisely canonical, but Margaret’s grandmother’s crèche has one, and Margaret likes it. 

Reading In Bed

Since last we discussed Margaret’s sleeping and reading habits, we have altered her sleeping arrangements.  She now sleeps in a twin bed* with covers.  And every night I go in before I go to bed so that I can put the covers back on her, and this is what I find.



We’ve been trying to cut down on the number of books she brings to bed, but she really does like to read until she falls asleep.

In the days when she was refusing to nap in her bed, there were a few afternoons when I drove her around to bore her to death, and she refused to be parted from her “duck book.”


I’m glad that she loves books, but I do worry that she likes to sleep covered in them.  Or, more often, on them.  It can’t be comfortable or good for her neck.

*For a good while, she slept in it for her nap as well as at night, but then she figured out that she could get out, so we have put her back in her crib for her naps.  This was not a popular decision.

Big Sister Practice Again

Margaret is big into helping other entities swing.  We went to the park several weeks ago, and she took her kitty cat* with her and treated him to quite a good time.


And she didn’t let her solicitous behavior stop at the swings.  She let the kitty listen to the sound of the American alligator.


And she let the kitty watch her drive the playground around.


And when, after an hour of tearing about the playground like a thing demented, she collapsed on the ground, she let the kitty lie there with her.


If my recollection is correct, little sisters are primarily valued for their ability to comprise a silent audience, so she’s certainly beginning as she means to go on.

*Incidentally, this kitty cat was intended for the top of her stocking, but it didn’t work out.  I learned that it isn’t possible to take her with me when I do her Christmas shopping, which was no doubt an important lesson to learn.

In A Tight Spot

Margaret has developed an intriguing habit of climbing into small boxes.*


And she does this an awful lot.


She manages to extract herself, though.  Usually.


I do worry a bit about the Sylvia Plath impression with the oven, but luckily we haven’t had it hooked up to the gas, so she won’t get very far.

*Perhaps it isn’t that intriguing, but it is awfully cute.


I realized a few weeks ago that Margaret is turning into a small copy of my mother.


Part of it is the clothing – my mother wears a lot of red turtlenecks (or the same red turtleneck a lot; I haven’t thought to ask for illumination on that point).  And part of it is the haircut.  But a lot of it is just that they look alike.

This can become unfortunate.  For example, when my small mother clone is doing something she shouldn’t – like standing on the furniture, for example –


one can’t just say firmly “Margaret, stop that this instant,”  because she looks like one’s mother, and one only rarely speaks that way to one’s mother.

So it can be difficult.  My solution – and thus my New Year’s resolution* – is to speak sharply to my mother more often.

*Actually, my New Year’s resolution is to blog more often.  Hopefully once a day.  But more often.  I imagine that the smaller person will give me more material, while at the same time taking away time I’ve allocated. 

Friday, December 16, 2011

Merry Christmas!

(First, I’ve been exceptionally dilatory about this blog, and I apologize.  I will do better in future.  I am currently wearing sackcloth and ashes, which is good because sackcloth is awfully accommodating of bulging midsections, but bad because it’s exceptionally hard on the upholstery).

Anyway, today I learned an important lesson.  It is, for those of you who are interested, an EXCEPTIONALLY BAD IDEA to go to a photo place to get pictures taken the week before Christmas, because you will meet with hordes of people, all of whom have waited for the week before Christmas to get their pictures taken, and the atmosphere is frantic and full of children who are having their hair brushed for the 17th time, and would rather not.*

It took us 2 hours to get the pictures done.

2 hours. 


Margaret had to get her game face on for it.


Luckily for this year’s Christmas card, she took her game face off after just a moment. 

By the end of the ordeal, however, she was feeling quite tired.


Posing is hard work, you know, particularly when RIGHT OUTSIDE the place you’re posing, there is a LEGO TABLE and people are playing at it, making a mess of all the Legos that she had just tidied up.

Before she ran out of steam, though, we got some good pictures.

Here she is in “standing in front of the Christmas tree looking gleeful” pose.  What she’s really looking gleeful about is that her mother is standing behind the photographer, making mad monkey noises and balancing a plush monkey on her head while dancing up and down.




We then moved to a chair, which she had been eying for a while.  When we went in, she went and sat in it and had to be separated from it for the first round of pictures.  And it is a pretty cool chair, and just her size.





We then moved to a “lying on the floor looking at a book” pose. 



The problem with this one was that Margaret wanted to read the book, which meant that we had some trouble getting her to look at the camera, and when we had gotten shots that would work, she wasn’t done reading yet.  Life is very hard.

So they tried to distract her with fake milk and cookies and a weird Santa arm.  And here’s how that one went":

Cookies and milk?  For me?  How kind.


Hmmm, this milk seems to be stuck to the plate.  This is tricky.


Hey, this milk is a fake!  What the heck, Santa? 


We moved on to profile pictures.  In this one, I’m making boinging noises with my mouth while pulling my ears out from the side of my head.



And she pointed and laughed at me.

Then, wardrobe change.




This thing with her hands, she just did.  Good job posing.



And having figured it out, she stuck with it.

After this, we put her into ordinary clothes, and let her organize the lego table while I picked out which pictures to print.  Next year I’m doing Christmas pictures in July, when no one is there.

*I had an appointment for the week after Thanksgiving, but then Margaret began an interesting project of smacking herself in the face every so often.  I try to send out Christmas cards without visible facial bruising.  It’s one of my quirks.