Oh, Christmas Tree!

Decorating a Christmas tree is a Sisyphean task with two manic toddlers. As soon as we placed a decoration delicately on the tree, a small hand swiped it away and proceeded to characterize it as their aeroplane across the room until we rescued the ornament and returned it to its dendrological haven. In the end we dressed our tree with our children’s heights as the primary consideration for its design, so that it is all glammed up on top and indecently bare at the bottom where little hands could reach.

This is the first Christmas in which L, who recently 3, is really interested in. He has taken to shouting “Merry Christmas!” to all and sundry and is fan of Dickens’s A Christmas Carol.  M seems to be a right fan of the holiday too, albeit he is mostly interested in attempting to manipulate the Christmas lights to our constant panic.

Unfortunately for L, he expects it to snow on Christmas. He cannot remember snow and is keen to see it. His first Christmas was back in New York and he seemed mesmerized by the snowfall that shrouded the whole city in silence. I informed him our climate does not allow for snow and he seemed rightly insulted by this fact as if the Earth had just slapped him in the face. We will go back to Lake Taco (as L terms it) soon so that he can enjoy in snow, but unfortunately for L, there will be no snow in SF this Christmas.

A few months ago, L learnt the concept of “zero”. I was overjoyed at the time. Months later, my excitement is subdued, to say the least. As our rearing consists of the provision of limited choices (Do you want the broccoli or the carrots first? Do you want 3 more spoons of yoghurt or 5 more spoons? Do you want 3 more minutes playing trains or 10 minutes playing trains before we pack up?) , L has taken up resistance against our regime with “zero” as his weapon of warfare. I want zero! Zero! He exclaims. The one salvation in these times continues to be the timer and L has begun to even ask for the timer. We understand he utilizes our own strategy against us, employing it to garner more time for his current endeavour, but we have little choice but to succumb to the tyranny of its toll. If we tell L it’s dinner and forgot to put the timer on, for instance, he insists that we do so and so we must scourge for our phones and set it, but thankfully, L continues to heed its herald.

I admittedly have slight emetophobia. I believe I was scarred when I was younger by a Plinian eruption from my long dormant stomach during a particularly vicious viral attack. This year my older son threw up for the first time as we weaved our way up the serpentine road to Lake Tahoe (the increased altitude combined with the turns was a perfect concoction for emitting his breakfast). I was surprised that I had no qualms cleaning him up and cuddling up to him, believing at first that I would inevitably throw up myself during the experience. I recently had the pleasure of seeing how far this extended when L woke me up during the middle of the night, informing me he was sick in one cracked sentence and before I had the time to react, throwing up in my mouth as I was rousing from my slumber. Oh, the cruel caprice of the cosmos! Sleeping soundly cuddling a little bear one minute, swallowing vomit the next. That moment encapsulates motherhood. Your children will throw up in your mouth and you will not care. Nobody else can get away with that.


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