Monday, December 26, 2011

The Christmas Contact High

Wow. Christmas with a 4 and a half year old, a one and half year old, and a bevy of friends and family to celebrate with, is about as good as it might get. Each year seems to get better and better, and I'm left figuring it's gotta tap out at some point? Start to wane?  But, definitely not yet. 

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Charles and I took our roles of preparing for the kids' Christmas morning seriously.  Though, thanks to one very complicated (with no instructions) City set, it was. not. easy.  (I thought Charles was going to blow Santa's cover about 3 times when he started in at Christmas dinner about how difficult the set was to put together.)  Our Christmas Eve's preparations were made even more challenging by the lingering of a ton of great food and wine enjoyed with friends at their traditional Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes.  The boys were asleep the second their heads hit the pillows, and Charles and I felt not far behind.  But, alas, Christmas "put togethers" had other plans.

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We got a late start in the morning thanks to the late night (cue the hallelujah chorus), but woke up to Christian's excited face.  It made every last piece of that darn City Set worth it.

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And lo and behold...Santa ate the cookies and milk we left for him and the reindeer ate all of the carrots. (Christian insisted we leave the milk for Santa in his "Christian" mug.)

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Elijah had fun opening/throwing his presents...

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Elijah was just approved for Speech therapy and one of the recommended items to help with pre-speech development is photos of everyday items.  Pictures of Mommy and Daddy, of course, but also things like a cup, a spoon, a dog, a cat. The real-life photographs are the first step to help develop speech.  It's such a simple idea, but is so easy to overlook as a parent.  Elijah's little soft photo album for Christmas is going to be our first set of basic pictures, but my goal is to do a whole binder full of pictures of different items.  I sometimes wonder if I'm making it up, but we're hearing more and more first syllables out of Elijah. "Da-da" as he sees Daddy coming, "Mum" for me, and he seems to be mimicking the first sound of some words. (We were showing him a picture of an Octopus and saying, "Octopus, Octopus" and I swear (and the therapist who witnessed it, agrees) that he said, "Ock, Ock".

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But this Christmas was really Christian's time to shine.  He really "gets" it this year and as a result, it was SO much fun!!  It was four days straight of friends, fun, gifts, sweets and late bedtimes.

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Every good thing must come to an end, though.  As we drove home from our Christmas gathering at my parents house, Christian said, "Now THAT was a good day." I couldn't agree more.  I think all of the celebrating and the 'contact high' that a four year old gets from all of this Christmas stuff led to the little voice we heard in the middle of the night..."Mommy, I'm sick."  Groan.  I'm grateful that the "sick" happened on the let down and allowed us a beautiful, exciting and fun filled Christmas season.  I'm already thinking about all that has happened this year and the fresh-start feeling that comes from turning the page onto a new year...

I'm still on my contact high, but it is slowly and gently wearing off.  Now I get to just enjoy my family and some friends over the next week while all is quiet on the work front, and that couldn't sound any better to me!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Dancing with Elijah

I talked in my last post about how Elijah was riveted upon watching some live dance at my dance studio's Holiday Party. Well, tonight I caught some video of him dancing with me- it is a joyous thing to be a part of to say the least! Be still my former dancer's heart. I had to share: (Don't forget to pause the music player at the bottom of the page!)



I hope that makes you giggle, because it was certainly contagious on my part. This season has been so much fun with him. Even though I've noticed a little return to "jelly legs" in regards to his standing (Our PT thinks it's a temporary set back due to a growth spurt), he is continuing to reach new milestones each week. This week saw him under the Christmas tree with ornaments in hand- proud expression on his face: "Look what I have Mommy!!" Then, there is the unwrapping gift Ninja moves: He climbs under the tree, on top of the packages, and unwraps those he can figure out. Gift bags don't stand a chance, and gift tags are easily and happily removed! It's hard to stay firm about the antics, because frankly it's so darn adorable.

Last thought of note: After Charles finished filming the video of Elijah and I dancing, I played it back. Elijah grabbed the camera, pulled his face in a little closer, then pointed at us and looked up at me, as if to say, "There we are!!" He was mesmerized. It was kind of surprising because he isn't interested in the television at all. I guess the TV is not as exciting when Mommy and he are not on it.

I've always loved dancing, but it has a new, sweeter meaning now that I can share it with my boys...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth

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Our holiday cards started going out a few days ago, and it's starting to actually feel like Christmas is on it's way. Work has taken over with abundance the last couple of months, and I've found myself craving time to just "do nothing" with my family. I finally had that chance this weekend! Well..we didn't exactly do nothing... I decorated the Christmas tree with Christian on Saturday, which was about as heart warming of an experience as I can recall. Christian was SO excited to decorate the tree and wanted to hang EVERY ornament. We got out the step ladder and let him get to work! I hung all of the cherished, breakable ornaments that I have been collecting since I was 16 years old, and Christian hung all of the non-breakables. (My Aunts started a beautiful tradition many years ago- in lieu of other types of Christmas gifts, they would send my sister and I a Christmas ornament for our future trees.  I love these ornaments- I remember who each ornament came from and I look forward with anticipation to unwrapping them from their year's hiatus to place on the tree. It is a tradition I plan to pay forward with my own niece and nephews down the line!)  Christian took his job seriously and tried his best to convince me to let him hang even some of the breakable ornaments..."Please, PLEASE Mommy, I will be weally, WEALLY carful!" I just couldn't cave though, because despite his very best- most "carful" intentions, ornaments fell like rain as he tried to place them on the tree. (I secretly rearranged a few after he went to sleep that night- I just couldn't entirely bring myself to endure the whole season with a straight row of: crystal icicle, red glitter ball, red glitter ball, red glitter ball, crystal icicle, crystal icicle...)

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Elijah- who currently seems happiest if he is throwing something, behaved himself rather nicely with the tree.  He takes an interest in it, but hasn't tried getting into mischief about it yet.  Fingers crossed that this theme continues and we won't spend Christmas with a baby gate around the tree... But, the biggest news is that Elijah got his two front teeth!! Just in time for Christmas!!  Just like the song!! Which is why the song is stuck in my head!! And won't come out!! And I taught it to Christian!! And now he won't stop singing it!!  :)
I am really excited about the teeth, though.  Teeth have been a very slow process with Elijah.  It was on that "list" of things that will be delayed due to an extra chromosome, but I was really beginning to wonder.  So, I'm sighing a tiny sigh of relief that more teeth are making an appearance and hopefully moving us closer to additional self feeding stages.  (We had brunch today and tried to mix some mostly dry pancake pieces in with Elijah's tried-and-true "puffs", but he could not be deceived.  He would eat a puff, pick up a pancake piece and chuck it onto the floor, then pick up another puff, and eat away...pancake-floor, puff-mouth, and so on and so forth.)

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Saturday night saw us celebrating with my dance studio for the annual Holiday party with the competition team.  I was curious to see how Elijah would do in a large room full of screaming girls, but he took it all in stride. He flirted where necessary and made himself at home.  Christian, of course, immediately found the group of older boys (one of which, he adores-James, who is the nephew of our babysitter) and was barely to be seen again. At the end of the night, the girls perform some of their group dances for each other and for the parents.  I sat down & put Elijah in my lap even though he was struggling to get away. The music started, the girls began dancing and Elijah was mesmerized. I got teary. I mean, the boy won't watch two seconds of television, but live dancing had him hooked.  I couldn't be prouder.  He watched 3 straight routines with rapt attention, but by number 4, he was ready to cruise on his own again...well, he is 19 months after all!

This morning (Sunday), we attended a "Brunch with Santa" at my parents' country club.  This is, hands down, the biggest perk about my parents actually having a "country club". The brunch is spectacular- The mimosas and coffee are flowing and the food spread is insane- from made-to-order omelettes to an impressive seafood display.  And while we are enjoying the over indulgence, Santa and Mrs Claus make an entrance and come around to say "hi" to all of the kids!  To be honest, I haven't been sure if Christian is buying our "Santa story". Even on the way to the brunch, Charles was telling some story about the Elves and how they help Santa (mind you, in true Charles form, it was a little... elaborate.  Even I was losing the gist.)  Christian cut him off mid-story by saying, "Okay. Sure, guys. Whatever you say."  Charles and I were cracking up, but it was just a little more evidence that he just wasn't buying it. But, when Santa and Mrs Claus came over to our table, Christian couldn't have looked more pleased, or comfortable, or convinced. (Unlike our experiences with the forced grins and ridiculously bad portraits with the mall Santas...)

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Here, Christian is telling Santa that he is almost as tall as him (as long as he stands on a chair)!!

Later, the kids got their formal picture with Santa and a special surprise: a gift hand-picked for each child! Christian and his cousin Davin got these adorable, life-like (actually, a little freaky-life-like) cats that purr and clean themselves. The good news is, they don't piss or smell, so Christian can keep it!  Elijah's experience with Santa was, well, I think the pictures say it best:



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Pure interest. Didn't matter how many times we called Elijah's name or tried to get him to look at us for the photo. He was sitting on Santa's lap and was completely curious: Who is this strange man in a giant red suit??? "Santa" gave Elijah a little xylophone. Perhaps, he can learn to tink out the tune to "All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth"...of course, that might just make the matter worse...

I have so much to look forward to over the next few weeks: a little time off from work, some gatherings with friends and family, more yoga (!) due to said time off, some time for new goal setting, and hopefully the time and frame of mind to soak in the holiday moments with my boys. I feel a little more at peace just thinking about it. 
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