A First Noel

24 12 2012

Baby’s first Christmas coincides this year with Matt’s and my first Christmas on our own: last year we had Caleb, and the year before we did pre-Christmas with the little guy and actual Christmas with my parents in VA, followed by an extended post-Christmas tour of Matt’s family in England. This year we don’t see the boy until boxing day, and the girl has no concept and no expectation, so really it’s just us. And Picabo, I suppose; the other two cats have never seen a Christmas either, and will be surprised and disappointed when their tree goes away.

So for all intents and purposes it’s just us: but us with only two hands at a time, and only one of us drinking, and neither of us doing enough sleeping to make much, if any, making out by the tree likely. Matt says this is part of Evanny’s plan to defend her territory: making out by the tree last year is how we got ourselves a baby! Territory defense also involves a whole lot of yelling, which is not really the carols-and-bells sound of things we had in mind, and a persistent refusal to be as acquiescent and sleep-able and calm as her older brother was at her age, which causes fights when daddy wants to turn the discrepancy into a battle of wills with an infant and mummy wants to search the Internet for answers. The Internet is confusing to the researcher and insulting to the man with the psych degree and actual baby-parenting experience. The battles are exhausting for everyone and usually end with the baby nursing anyway (while daddy mutters darkly about how she always ends up getting what she wants). But at least, with ornaments to destroy and pine needles to puke up around the house, the cats are happy!

It’s hard to reconcile this with images–in our heads and all around us in ads that bombard the house, in the cards on the mantle, in our friends’ Facebook posts–of what Christmas ought to look like. Ours looks like ingredients no one has free hands to make into a pie, burp cloths all over the living room, cats in the pack-n-play where the baby won’t be put down, a fridge full of food no one wants to eat because constant baby-bouncing causes indigestion, and a tower of gifts left to wrap–but at least we have until boxing day to try to catch up. And so we’re both a little frustrated and disappointed, although we’re trying to stay upbeat and enjoy what morsels and moments we can. But it’s hard, being so far away: babies at Christmas are supposed to be passed around full houses, to grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and older cousins and family friends, and we’ve gotten to do the latter for a little while one evening (the only way the tree was going to get decorated at all!) and yesterday morning for a nice pre-Christmas brunch, but for the rest of the time it’s been and will be just us, and there’s no family to share her with–my mom’s going to come up for a while late next week, but all the aunts and uncles and the other 3 grandparents are even farther away, so the family gathering of the TV-land Christmas is going to have to stay just that: a story for TV.

It’s too bad there’s no OkCupid for families: we need an online hub to match us up with some old folks who would like to play grandparent, some other stranded families who’d like to pretend to be our siblings so our kids would grow up with “cousins” to squabble with and food fights at the kids’ table. Social networking is nice and all, but it’s really not living up to its holiday potential.

Still, as the evening settles around us, Evvy’s snoring against my chest in her little sling, we’ve managed between the three of us to get one pie into the oven, Matt’s on the phone to England making cheerful small talk with his mum, there are billions of presents, mostly for Caleb and mostly in Amazon boxes, scattered all over the living room, we have a tin of mince pies we’re meaning to deliver to the neighbors if Ev ever lets me put on clothes instead of last night’s pajamas, there are sax-heavy Christmas songs on our hand-me-down stereo (thanks, John-bird!), and the next item on our list is to light a fire.

So it’ll be a while before it looks like the cottages on glittered cards, but Merry Christ-mess, everybody!

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One response

31 12 2012
MaxAnn Twomey

So sorry we are all so fr away too, Dad and I love the pics daily and I’ve a few printed out hanging about my room. Sounds as if you made out well however, we surely did, I had very warm feet during the football sessions and the book was so clever as I am in my second childhood, ha ha ha. You had snow and in my life I have never had a “White Christmas” but that’s OK too.
Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR, it will be another first for Miss Evanny. hugs all around,

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