Ok, THIS really aught to be the last part. Part 4 brought us to the edge of Christmas Eve, so there’s only so much left to cover, relative to the month of lead-in we had. This was IT….the big days….
The funny thing is, it feels like there’s less to say about Christmas Eve, than the preceding days. I mean, a lot went on, but more of it was all the same kind of thing, if that makes any sense. That, and it went pretty much as Ash had anticipated the night before — and the things done in the morning and afternoon when it was just us, were mostly done together (and fairly lazily, because the day before had left him majorly depleted spoon-wise, and he’d need all the recuperation he could get before the next day), with no one to point a camera at us, and some of the things done later involved family that I only get into just so much, and don’t show photos of, on the blog. There was one period, though, which I was distanced enough from to capture…
Yep, Ash has his own little wooden nativity set. Some women volunteering at a charity Christmas-craft sale set up in the foyer of Steffan’s church had noticed Ash’s desire to play with it as we headed in past the table, last year, and surprised us by having chipped in together to gift it to him when we headed back out. It was one of the little blessings last year, when, by the by, he pretty much just knew that the figures in the set included three wise men, three animals, an angel, Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. This year he knows a little bit more of the context, in a vague kind of way. This lead to the following amusing quotes:
“Baby Jesus was born in a barn instead of a hospital….which is more fun.*”
“And then he lay down in the hay and the animals looked at him and two white men and one brown man** who were very wise came to give him birthday presents, and then someone pushed a button to make the sky light up around him and sing “Silent Night”***….I think maybe it was his Mommy Mary or his Daddy who was named Joseph except or sometimes God.”
* Ash went into a barn during the Pumpkin Farm field trip his class took in October. He got to pet a calf, twin goats, a lamb, and a bunny. This was quite distinctly more fun than his times spent in a hospital. He assumes that baby Jesus and the others share his preference for furry animals over needles and such.
** He is basing this on the paint-job of the figures in his set.
*** He is basing this on a book his Grandma gave him a year or two ago.
I also snagged a few shots while Ash helped with Santa’s cookies. This year his help was a bit more effective than last, after having had the practice with the gingerbread men, along with just more developmental time, in-between.
I think my favorite part of the period when my in-laws were over, was that Ash, fueled by his pride and excitement over having helped make Santa’s cookies, because vaguely obsessed with the idea of being helpful in general. This wasn’t just the usual interest in being helpful via wanting to break in and “help” someone do whatever he realized they were about to do for themselves (often in a counter-productive way, of course), or the also-usual leaping at the chance to do what someone has asked him if he could do for them. This was stuff like him distributing cookies to everyone in the room, along with cups of things to drink, in case the cookies made them thirsty. Granted, the cups he distributed were not always the cups left around by the family members he was handing them to, but hey, he was trying, and it was all his idea.
Christmas morning. Ahhhhhh, Christmas morning. For once, Ash waking up at 7am when he didn’t especially have to, was him waking up LATER than other children. In any event, with a whole two hours or so of sleep painting festive circles under the eyes of us parents, and perhaps the world’s best fuel source twinkling in the eyes of our child, we began our day. The plan was to, like last year, begin with some us-time under our own tree….then get dressed and go over to Uncle S- and Auntie L-’s place — where we’d also do the family gift exchange — for brunch with them, Uncle A-, and Grandma and Grandpa….then come back to our place to let Ash unwind (and possibly open something else)….then go over to Uncle A-’s for dinner with just him and Grandma and Grandpa, since Uncle S- and Auntie L- would be having dinner with her family….and then finish the day with some more us-time at our place. It was a rather full day, but at least it involved a number of flexible escapes, and we’d have the next day to share a more relaxed, just-us-three, Christmas-Day-2. Typically, Steffan works a late night on Christmas Eve, and a very early morning the day after Christmas. For once, he was opening on Christmas Eve, and off the day after Christmas as well. HALLELUYAH! Yeah, we were grateful.
Someone asked, for Ask Ash!, what his favorite thing about Christmas was. I kind of lost track of who, so I hope whoever it was, is looking. In any event, he answered that, “My favorite thing about Christmas is that family is there to have time smiling together….and also, things are sparkly and Santa comes if you’re nice.”
“Santa gave me the bell I asked for when I wroted him my note! And it was like the HeroBoy, because I believe! And it rings for me, and it sounds beautiful, do you hear, Mommy?! And you know, I think I won’t put it in a hole in my bathrobe.”
So….the scratches. See, Uncle S- and Auntie L-’s house has a very, very enticing feature…
Really, it wasn’t so bad. If the scratches hadn’t been bleeding at first, we wouldn’t have bothered torturing Ash with a band-aid on his face. He didn’t care in the slightest that Cole had scratched him. To Ash, no matter what he’s been told, the inevitable occasional scratches from one cat or another, guard as we do, are a sign that the offending kitty was being silly, not a sign that he should probably feel less of a desire to try to pet it….or the next cat that doesn’t seem as interested in him as he is in it. Perhaps if his nociception wasn’t often off-kilter, his eiditic memory would counter-balance his complete lack of danger sense, in these matters. Whoops?
Another thing of note from that part of the day was that Ash ate about half of a Belgian waffle (¼ from Daddy’s plate that Mommy didn’t know about, and then later, ¼ from Mommy’s plate that Mommy was, therefore, extra impressed by)….which was something new for him. He ate plain parts, but still.
An interesting thing about Jingle is that he was first set off by Ash’s uncle, while at their house, before Ash knew what to expect….and Ash was barely startled, and only for a moment, and was not scared. Apparently, Jingle was exempt from the stuffed-toys-or-otherwise-made-decoratives-that-look-like-creatures-and-make-noise-and/or-move-especially-if-it-was-unexpected-the-first-time-are-going-to-terrify-me rule. Possibly this is because the first sound that Jingle makes is a bell-jingling sound, which rather blends into the overall audio backdrop of Christmas anyway. I was intrigued, but mostly glad. I had, after all, told my SIL that yes, I thought he’d enjoy that gift, and I had a feeling they’d pay attention to the abnormality of his reaction, and not any overlooked disclaimers about the manner and timing of introduction, if he reacted horribly a few seconds after they gave it to him.
One highlight of the part of the evening spent at Uncle A-’s for Christmas dinner, was Ash’s continued desire to be helpful, being taken advantage of by me to get him to practice utensil use. Ash is not so good with eating utensils. He has only recently improved when it comes to spooning anything that doesn’t stick to the spoon (like pudding), thanks to cocoa. You’d think that spearing things with a fork would be easier than balancing things on a spoon, but he’s never gotten the hang of forks at all, with anything. Don’t even ask about knives, ok? Some day, we might just see how he takes to the old chopsticks-rubber-banded-around-their-rolled-up-wrapper thing, for the heck of it (I never needed that, but I know a lot of kids….and some adults….that required that trick for early chopstick learning stages, and Ash has far from the average kid’s motor coordination)….but in the meantime, he sticks largely to finger food when he’s feeding himself, whether or not anyone else thinks it is finger food. Well anyway, Ash really wanted to “help” me eat the Christmas ham, so I told him I’d love it if he helped me, but I wanted to eat it with a fork, so he would only be helping if he tried to feed it to me with the fork. Gee, did he think he could try to do that for me? Pretty please with dragons on top? It would be sooooooo nice and helpful for my tired hands… I think everyone else in the room popped their jaws grimacing and wincing, waiting for me to be speared in the throat or stabbed through the cheek. With cues to move the fork very slowly and gently towards my mouth and wait for my teeth to close on the ham before he moved the fork away, though, Ash did a fine job of feeding me without injuring me, and was so pleased with himself that he decided I was hungry for seconds, and would I please cut them up so he could stick them with the fork again? Heheh. Mommy wins.
By the time Ash went to bed that night, the living room looked like this…
The impressive part is that the room looked like that, but not all that much was opened. It’s rather nice to have a child that gets so much out of each gift, and takes such time with each gift, that even without GETTING that many gifts, he still takes an average of one to two weeks to open everything and go through his stocking.
Speaking of which, here are a few post-Christmas highlights, mostly for friends that I know look here…
By the way, he says that lions are his favorite big cat, because the boys have manes which look so soft and fluffy, like his Daddy’s hair used to be. Is anyone surprised?
These ladybug slippers come from Grandma. They match his PillowPet. Ash faces two challenges when it comes to making good use of them. First, he must reconcile himself with the concept of “inside shoes”….secondly, he must master actually walking in them.
Aurora, a velvety-soft, blue and purple dragon with shiny parts, was one of Ash’s belated birthday presents from his “Auntie A-” that I set aside and saved for Christmas so she would lose one excuse to send him MORE for Christmas. Aurora is Ash’s most playful stuffed dragon thus far, a character trait determined when she was so impatient to get unwrapped and pounce Ash that she somehow….magically, I suppose….managed to roar while still in her box, despite it normally taking precision effort to squeeze her neck in just the right way, to produce that effect. As you might have guessed based on Abominable Snowmen, et al, this unlikely feat of impatient enthusiasm on the dragon’s part, was rather counterproductive. Aurora’s box took another day after being unwrapped, to be opened, and it took the rest of that day to get Ash comfortable with playing with her, first indirectly, and then, handling her himself. Had she not been such an endearing dragon, I suspect it would’ve taken much longer.
“This is a mushroom gnome home, do you see, Mommy? It looks like a mushroom, you know, and gnomes are kind of like faeries I think. And do you know, Mommy….Mommy….when you say gnome, the ‘g’ is silent.”
With it already being mid-January, I don’t know if I’m going to get as far as writing a separate holiday-gratitudes post, like I did last year. So here, before I go, I want to add a few thank-you’s:
- Thank you to E, my Fairy Blogmother, and Ash’s “Big sister”….all these years after you needed me to be a Mommy to you, you still always think about how to help take care of us, in turn.
- Thank you to Mo, who sees no reason why saving our asses….sorry, arses….should be enough if she hasn’t filled Ash’s tummy with his favorite pizza yet.
- Thank you to “Santa” for being sneaky again this year, so I have to let you get away with it. You got our medication.
- Thank you to Wolf, for giving us the ability to give Ash the animals that inspire him to aspire.
- Thank you to Mike, for choosing us to be the adoptive geeks for your books.
- Thank you to Moobs, for the sassy fashion show I just put on for my husband, and the chocolate we’re pretending isn’t bulging out from under it
- Thank you to C-, for honoring Ash as one of the only little people you care for at all, let alone adore.
- Thank you to E-, otherwise known as “Emily Elf”, for being insufferable.
- Thank you to Kat for the….uh….reminder to snag a photo of Santa in the act.
- Thank you to the friends and family — some who know about this blog, and some who don’t — who sent cards, sent gifts, have been thinking of us enough to be planning to send things, came to visit, are hoping to visit, etc. etc. etc. Thank you to all who cry with us, scream with us, sigh with us, cheer with us. Thank you for the wishes, hopes, and prayers. Thank you for being you.