"Get out of here," Smallest One demanded as Chienne and I prepared for a long winter's nap in her bedroom. "This is my room and I want Grandma."
"Sweetheart," I replied, "the sleeping situation is complicated. You can stay in here with me or in Grandma's room with her or in Little One's room with her. But once we start shifting people, everything gets confusing."
"I will hit you," she replied and I laughed, triggering an argument that I completely lost with a 3 year old child. I ended up on the couch while she and Grandma watched Dora in her room. The girls tend to get what they want.
Christmas was lovely. I got up early and thought my thoughts until Mom and Dad wandered down the hall, one going to make coffee while the other fetched the newspaper from our cubby across the street. My variation on the monkey bread recipe worked nicely and I opened two presents that Dad and I then assembled - companionably handing each other pieces of wood and searching for the proper hardware in the tiny plastic bag. Chienne then had steps for an easier climb on beds and furniture. (She is suspicious of the steps, however, and more likely to knock them over when she hops up as she always had.)
Brother and I went to fetch the girls around 9, making the snowy drive up the hill in my Jeep until they climbed in, clad in snowflake pajamas and full of stories about makeovers and tents. I admired glitter on tiny cheeks and carefully made my way back down the hill.
I carried Little One into the house, setting her down so she could run to her grandma and moving aside to take off my boots as Smallest One entered in Brother's arms to stare wide-eyed at the rocking horse in the center of the room. I have shaken my tail with Mickey and danced with Dora. Made necklaces with beads, farm animals with Moon Dough, had fun with the Play-doh factory and helped with a half-dozen Magic Fabric creatures. We've played Who Is It? and Red Rover and Memory games. Done puzzles, made potholders and snowboarded on Brother's Wii. There are makeovers and new movies and naps with pillow pets.
"This is a tremendous amount of merchandise," I told Mom as I tucked my legs underneath me to avoid the mounds of boxes and bags of wrapping paper and miscellaneous packaging. Chienne was shredding a cheap tennis ball (as is her custom) and perking up at the sound of new squeaky toys. The girls' demands for more were eventually unmet as the unwrapped gifts dwindled in the face of piles of new toys. We've cleaned up now - the EasyBake oven put away even as battery-operated hamsters roll up and down the hall in their plastic orbs.
Oh, speaking of chasing down halls!
Dad's sister and her husband came for Christmas dinner. It was pleasant enough - they're unimpressed by my educational pedigree and current professional role (which is irritating, but whatever) but like to talk of herbal remedies and magnet power (which leaves me far more amused than impressed but, again, whatever).
Smallest One had not taken a nap and was being a bit of a brat. I was curled on the loveseat with Little One, watching Curious George, and Smallest did something naughty and Aunt Dad's Sister leaped off the couch and scooped her up in one angry motion, leaving the rest of us slack-jawed with surprise. Smallest One was having none of it, throwing a tantrum that actually did impress me while I waited to see which of my parents would put a stop to the display of adult dominance. Neither did but we all frowned as Smallest One began to cry. She ran to her grandpa upon escaping from his sister and I couldn't resist a glare when Aunt Dad's Sister looked proud. Then again, she's the only one I've seen win an argument with Smallest One.
My parents and I went shopping, picking up wrapping paper and bows for next year. We had pizza and chatted about how Little One was like her Aunt Katie - all focus and easily-hurt feelings and quiet - and Smallest One like her father - social and charming but headstrong and wickedly tempermental.
Aunt, Uncle and cousins will arrive this morning for one last round of gifts and food. My car is already packed - much as I enjoy the laughter and cuddles, winning games and losing arguments, I'm eager to return to routine. Quiet naps and reading (and working) by the fire and petting a stripey cat instead of the pale orange one that resides downstairs.
Until I return, merry & happy & joyful to you and yours.