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Sunday, December 5, 2010

The week that was

I've been meaning to blog for days, but as usual I have to rely on stolen moments. Right now, as a matter of fact, my children are lingering neglected in the bathtub. They sound pretty happy to have some free play time in the water. I usually manage to call off the festivities somewhere between "pruny toes" and "frigid water". It's all good...

So, it was a busy week, and yet one in which I failed to take pictures. You'll have to pretend that I'm writing you an old-fashioned letter. You know, multimedia-free. You'll live.

Early in the week, I took the kids to the Mall. We never go to the mall. I rarely have both discretionary income and surplus patience, and it's just not part of our normal routine. But Stepson the Younger required a ride to meet friends, and we decided to stick around for a while. We had a good time...a little window shopping at the Disney Store, a long romp at the play area, a pretzel from Aunt Annie's, a very long look-and-play at the toy store, a ride on the Christmas train. Yeah, I was feeling indulgent. They were happy. I was relaxed. Life was good.

And the Big Man was there. C was ready. The kids have never done the meet-and-greet with Santa before (C because of age, T because of paralyzing bashfulness bordering on panic), so it was a big deal, for both C and me. T rolled his eyes, said, "Find me in the toy store when you're done", and removed himself from the scene lest he be pressured into an uncomfortable peer-pressure situation.

C was utterly adorable. I held back from taking pictures out of respect for the fact that I'd just refused the overpriced package of "professional" shots they hawk, but my memory-camera was working overtime. He seemed fascinated with Santa's white gloves, and kept twining his fingers with the ol' man's in a sweet and affectionate way. My heart about burst. This is our only child who's done the Santa thing with any enthusiasm (the stepkids were 3 and 6 when I met them, but even then they were largely meh about the whole idea), so I was eating up every precious little moment of it. <3

Afterward, we found T at the toy store, where I promptly surprised both of them by purchasing slide whistles. Which I let them use right away. Other mall patrons may not have been as amused as I was, but for that moment I was embracing joy.

Okay, kids are clean, dry, jammied, and snacked. Next chapter.

Mid-week, I had C at the dentist. Again, first time. Again, refer back to T and his tendency to completely wig out in unfamiliar situations. (We only recently had our first professional haircuts, and that was a huge milestone.) What prompted this visit was reports of pain. This kid has an incredibly high tolerance for discomfort; by the time he complains it's usually pretty bad. This was no exception. He has a number of cavities, two of which require root canals. One was taken care of at the appointment in question, the other will be fixed at a later (like, a few days from now) visit.

Yeah, I feel about *this high* as a parent.

The upshot is, he was SUCH a trouper about the whole experience. He's like a negative image of his brother in the drama department, I swear. Not only did he have no qualms about the whole "new experience" and "strangers" thing, but his only concern going in (and we'd discussed in detail what was likely to happen) was whether he'd get to see and touch the tools. He was curious and patient and other than a moment of intense WTF panic during the numbing injection (no surprise: I do that too, poor baby!), he seemed relaxed and easygoing and took it all in stride. At the end of the very long visit, he even hugged the dentist (who I will say had the best bedside manner of just about any medical professional I've ever met, with the possible exception of my favorite midwife).

That part of the week, not so joyful.

But we picked it up again almost instantly. That same night was the tree-lighting ceremony here in our municipality. We'd never attended, and I was curious. It was an indoor event with a moderate crowd. The middle school choir led a holiday singalong, the mayor introduced a number of local politicians etc., and hey--there's Santa again!

After a brief stop at the refreshment table, C demanded that we stand in (an ungodly long) line to talk to Santa again. Because...well, because he was right there! And besides, he was sure he'd forgotten to mention an important wish list item during their last conversation. I grudgingly agreed. And then...got to chatting with the woman in line behind us. She has two kids (5.5 and 1) and C was instantly BFF with her daughter. Oh guess what? She's homeschooling too. Well, now we HAD to get to know each other. LOL We had a lovely chat and after the kids had their turn with Santa, we said our goodbyes.

The event was held at the Community Center and the kids and I still had energy to burn, so I took them to the walking track (as seen in a prior post about running). Hey! Our new friends were doing the same! Needless to say, there were a few "races" and then everyone migrated downstairs to play on the basketball courts. We went to bed that night tired and happy. :)

The final Big Excitement of the week, I actually did photograph. Perhaps once I get these darling rugrats of mine in bed, I'll make a new post with pictures. If not, well, I am suck. The event? A Christmas parade! In my hometown! Much love.

I don't know that I've ever actually seen a Christmas parade live-and-in-person. Oh sure, I watch Macy's parade on Thanksgiving every year, but battling the traffic and crowds to drag small children to the city? (Pittsburgh!) It's never seemed like my idea of a good time. Small town, though, I can do. And no, I was never in the spectator role when I lived there. I marched in that parade as part of my high school band, but I'd never seen it from the sidewalk.

It was BIG fun. I may have had more fun than the kids, and exhibited an excitement at seeing the many fire trucks that was probably unbecoming in a woman my age. Once the kids figured out that many of the vehicles would be carrying people who throw candy at you, I did not have to worry about complaints about the cold (and it was cold!). Early on, C suffered the little-kid indignity of not being fast enough and watching the big kids get the lion's share of the goodies. But he soon got his game face on and became aggressive. And proactive. Yes, my child chased several floats. What a proud moment, LOL.

All in all, the bulk of the week was about building holiday memories. The whole "damaged teeth" thing was a bit of a bummer, but all things considered even that wasn't as awful as it could have been.

Okay, I have GOT to get these kids into bed before they turn into Gremlins. Peace and joy, everyone!

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