Having lived with Aidan for nearly a year, I knew I would have to keep my high expectations for an orderly, event filled holiday season at bay. Lucky thing too, because our first holiday season with our baby son ended up being an off-script comedy of errors.
We chose to spend all of the holidays at home this year, without any out of town guests. For some reason I thought that would keep the tumult of the season to a bare minimum. Not so. I knew we were in trouble when I saw my husband hauling glow-in-the-dark skiing penguins out of the attic in October. If it had stopped with the penguins, we would have been okay, but my husband takes it as a personal affront and a challenge to his masculinity when anyone within a five mile radius puts up outdoor Christmas decorations. He immediately runs out and buys more National Lampoon-inspired twinkling yard art to meet the “challenge,” as he sees it. I am more of the less-is-more school of thought, so until about two weeks ago I winced every time I saw my alighted house from two blocks away as I drove home from work. But I was all for the Christmas tree, complete with brilliant lights (the wonder of which completely escaped our unimpressed son), ornaments, and pseudo-ornaments that we had acquired from our travels back before Aidan was born and international travel was an actual, viable option.
I was all for it right up until it came crashing to the floor, spraying pine needles and bits of glass throughout our living room. Somehow, days later, my husband managed to dislodge one of the oil lamps on our dining room chandelier, and that too fell to the floor, spraying oil and bits of glass all over the dining room. We had quite the safety hazard going for our little crawler. How he managed to make it through the holidays unscathed I’ll never know. I guess it’s a Christmas miracle. Note: kerosene was once used as a dry cleaning agent, so on the upside, our dining room was dry cleaned at an exceptionally low cost.
On Christmas Eve we went to the Children’s Mass, much to the delight of my husband who has never quite bought into the magic of Midnight Mass. Aside from my wedding, that had to be the most entertaining Mass I’ve ever attended. Both my husband and my son behaved unusually well, and even sang along with the carols (although they didn’t really know the lyrics, and my son didn’t really understand that he was supposed to stop singing when the music ended). But that was the highlight of Christmas Eve. The rest was a bit noisy. While we found it really cute that Aidan got his top two front teeth for Christmas, the screaming and crying and wrenching that came with the debut of those little chompers was less delightful for us all.
Then came Christmas Day. Back in November, whilst in some sort of state of delusion, we bought a turkey and the full spread with high hopes of having a high class gourmet Thanksgiving dinner, but chickened out and made grilled cheese and tomato soup instead. So for Christmas dinner, we had the good sense to accept an invitation to have dinner at our neighbor’s house. Dinner went beautifully right up until those prunes I gave Aidan to release his Yuletide constipation kicked in. The aroma of honeybaked ham and pumpkin pie wafting through the air was no match for the product of that jar of prunes. I suspect we will not be invited back next year. The good news is, the clean up process was so foul I think it made our neighbor’s two year old daughter rethink her resistance to potty training, and Aidan was all smiles for the rest of the day.
So things did not exactly go off without a hitch, and certainly not as I had envisioned. The mega-planner-control-freak in me wanted to crawl out of that cave I’ve been forcing her to live in since Aidan was born and scream. But the mommy in me wouldn’t change a thing. All things considered, our first holiday season with our wonderful baby boy was pretty much perfect.