Thursday, December 13, 2007


Christmas is well underway here. The house is decorated inside and out, the gift shopping is nearly done, Christmas baking has begun, Christmas music is playing, and pictures of Christmas' past are up. My daughter believes that her first Santa picture, taken when she was four months old, is a picture of Santa Claus and Baby Jesus.

I don't have beautiful Christmas pictures or crafts or tutorials to share, as I've seen all over other blogs. Maybe later. (Probably not.) We have really been enjoying the season, however, and I thought I'd share a few recent highlights with you.

Our daughter participated in her first Christmas program (first program of any kind) on Sunday night. She refused to wear the sheep costume that the well-intentioned program directors tried to force her into. I knew she wouldn't wear it. She hates dressing up. That's the primary reason why we didn't go trick-or-treating this year. Costumes bother her. So...I knew she wouldn't do it, and I am not going to force my daughter to wear a costume just so I and other adults can say, "Ooh, how cute!" I'll make her wear a coat against her will; I will not make her wear a sheep costume. Anyway. So I did my part - knowing it would be futile - and tried to calmly talk her into wearing it. Nope. So I informed the program director that if she wanted a happy two-year-old on stage, she would have to settle for a non-costumed two-year-old. That is when all adults involved in the production, and some who were not involved, surrounded my daughter, apparently believing that they held some magical influence over her that I do not hold. One mother used comparison guilt: "Look at my son, he's in his costume. Don't you want to be like him?" (Incidentally, that particular little boy was carried off the stage screaming.) I sat there holding my daughter, doing my best to deflect the pressure being placed on her by the well-meaning, intimidating adults. She was not misbehaving. She was not throwing a fit about it. She was just saying, "Mommy, I don't want to", over and over again, in a scared little voice. And I sat there, holding her, asking the other adults to please leave her alone, all the while wondering why in the world we put such pressure on our children. She's two. Leave her alone. In the end, my little girl walked calmly to the front of the church in her Christmas dress and sheep ears headband (but no costume), sat on the stage steps, ate her animal crackers (one teacher wisely brought a bowl of animal crackers to, um, encourage the younger children to remain on stage for the entirety of the two preschool songs), clapped whenever the adults clapped, and adorably shouted out, "Happy birthday, Jesus!" during a quiet moment between the two songs. I was proud. Of the four two-year-olds in the program, one wore the costume and stayed happily on stage the entire time; two did not wear costumes, but stayed happily on the stage the entire time; and one wore a costume, but was carried off stage screaming bloody murder. So I think my girl did just fine.

Hm. I hadn't intended to write a book about the Christmas program costume incident. All that just to say - my daughter's first Christmas program was precious.

Another recent highlight was my daughter making wreaths for her grandparents. We picked up two chipboard rings from a craft store, along with a big bag of pompoms. She has been having a great time. She dabs the ring with a glue stick, then pushes a pompom onto the glue with all her might. So far, about three pompoms have stuck. I hope Grandma and Grandpa like minimalist wreaths. Well, we'll work on it. Mommy might help out with a hot glue gun.

Another highlight: pigtails. We've done barrettes, we've done the sides of her hair pulled into a ponytail on top, and we've done a ponytail. This week we tried pigtails. I love them! They're cute, and they're clean. My daughter has an amazing ability to get food in her hair, which makes for - well, really gross hair. Pigtails keep her hair clean. They're fabulous.

And, the last but not least highlight: Last week, my husband was told that he "personifies the servant heart of a ninja". These words were spoken during a Christmas party by an elder in our church. He was speaking in a very serious tone, and everyone was kind of nodding and listening reverently, until he said "ninja". Then the room erupted with laughter. He went on to explain that Andy serves in a variety of ways, always professionally and thoroughly, but in a quiet manner that does not draw attention to himself. And this is true. I was very pleased that my husband received such a compliment, and very proud that the words were accurate. Good job, honey.

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