Yes, this holiday week our spirits were bright — and so was the sun. Can you believe it was 86 degrees in Southern California on Christmas? Too bad Santa didn’t bring us a Slip ‘N Slide. (Though I’m not sure our Northern California wool sweaters would have had quite the same effect on wet plastic as lycra.)
Lesson #1: When you’re stuck in the car for 8 hours, you can’t help but do some deep thinking. Little’s road trip insights? Phineas looks like a woodpecker. And Ferb has a giraffe neck.
Lesson #2: While Pink may be as girly as they come, she’s constantly proving she’s no shrinking violet. When we turned on Tangled in the car so she could have a princess movie, both boys got really upset because it’s so scary. Pink handled it like any proper sibling would. She turned to them and started shouting, “Cry, Big, cry!” “Close your eyes, Little!” Though they both did as instructed, I found her a bit scary and changed the DVD right away.
Lesson #3: It’s amazing how cousins can live hundreds of miles away, be years apart in age, and have so many quirky personality traits in common — and in matching birth order, no less.
Lesson #4: If tackling is a sign of affection, my kids and their cousins have a whole lot of love for each other. (Which may explain why one of the cousins seems to end up in the ER every time we come to visit…)
Lesson #5: Since we didn’t get Pink the doggy she told her teachers she wanted for Christmas, spending a week with her grandparents’ puppy was the next best thing. For her, not him. This pup didn’t seem to find her nearly as endearing as she found him. Maybe because she was asking us questions like, “Can I lick him, too?” and “How about I give him a massage? Just a little one?”
Lesson #6: Nothing makes you feel old like going to sit at the kids’ table (where you were formerly the “cool” aunt), and hearing all the kids shout, “No! You can’t sit here!”
Lesson #7: Paying extra for expedited shipping doesn’t really matter if you can’t find the package come midnight on Christmas Eve. (And then, on Christmas night, discover that you shipped it really, really fast to the really, really wrong address.)
Lesson #8: You can’t help but laugh when a toddler refers to her grandparents as “Grandpa and Grandpa”. Unless you’re the grandma, of course. (Or “the other Grandpa”, as Pink prefers.)
Lesson #9: Come to think of it, nouns and pronouns really tripped up Pink this season. She also seemed to think “Grandpa’s chair” was actually “my chair”.
Lesson #10: Though there’s no way to know for sure, I think my guess that Santa comes at 2am must have been about right. I mean, I didn’t get to bed until almost 1am on Christmas Eve.
Lesson #11: Nothing warms a parent’s heart like hearing their kids’ exclamations on Christmas morning. My personal favorite came from Little, “Hey, these are the Legos from Cheeky Monkey! How’d Santa make that?!”
Lesson #12: For the first time, the true joy of the season was in watching our kids give gifts to each other and us. They were both so excited about bringing joy to other people. A true Christmas miracle!
Lesson #13: When you spot a Christmas tree on the top of a car come December 26th, you have to hope they got a really good deal.
Lesson #14: Spending time worrying about making things even among your kids is pretty pointless. Pink lost all interest in opening gifts long before we were done, and used her still-wrapped gifts as a footrest for the drive home from San Diego. The good news? Her birthday shopping is done. (Snowflake wrapping paper will still look good in May, right?)
Lesson #15: A roadside McDonald’s is about the last place you want to be when your toddler insists it’s time for her to ditch diapers and go in the big girl potty.
Lesson #16: You know your kid’s feet smell bad when you turn the car to recycled air as you drive by the cow farms and the aroma actually gets worse.
Lesson #17: Just when you think your kids are handling their independence quite well, you unpack a suitcase full of dirty clothes and clean underwear.
Lesson #18: When you tell your kids you’re going to spend the day cleaning out old toys to make room for the new ones, expect to wake up to find them playing with each and every toy imaginable so they can prove they deserve to stay.
I hope all your family’s holiday wishes came true, and that your stockings were stuffed as full as your bellies.