Thursday, December 27, 2012

Winter Blues

I'm not in a great place right now. I thought I was ready for Christmas on our own (both moms are out of town), but I didn't factor in a little boy with influenza, 5 out of 6 days on my own with my sick son, seasonal affective disorder arriving with a vengeance, not leaving the house since the morning of December 24 (except for emergency trips to the drugstore), being just as burned out as retail manager husband, retail manager husband coming down with influenza on his first day of vacation, two big snowstorms which have meant inability to drive anywhere, sick child meaning that we can't visit with anyone, and Reg's nursing home being on lockdown. All this coupled with my entire support system being out of town has been really hard on me. Christmas Day did not feel like Christmas. I'm burned out to the max, but Bundy's burned out to the max AND has the flu, so I can't really complain. 

This holiday has been really, really difficult. 

I know other people have it worse. I do. I know that. But it's still really hard. And I had to write it down somewhere because I'm really tired of putting on a happy face for the last few weeks. I'm exhausted, depressed, overwhelmed, and lonely. 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dear Moe (34 Months)

My dear, dear Moeling. Another month has passed, and it’s been filled with all kinds of wonderful preparations for Christmas and other fun adventures. 

I went on a business trip to Niagara on the Lake in late November, and when I came home, you and Daddy met me at the airport. Let me tell you, it was pretty fantastic to come down that escalator and have you run into my arms for a hug. I missed you a lot while I was gone. You had a great time at the airport, watching the luggage go around on the carousel. And you watched so diligently for my suitcase (actually Granny’s, a black case with a little bunny attached to the handle)... except it didn’t come. So you strutted up to the WestJet luggage counter and demanded, adorably, “Where Mummy bunny suitcase?” 

We had a lovely visit from Evan and Megan this past month. They had met you once before, but you were only a few months old. You bonded with them very quickly, inviting Megan to sit on the couch with you, and cuddling with Evan while sitting in his lap. It was very special - you aren’t like that with everybody. I know they felt the same way about you, too. 

You have some lovely friends at daycare, but your real partner in crime is Emma. One day, while picking you up at daycare, Daddy noticed that you and Emma actually share speech patterns. :) 

Christmas preparations have been so much fun with you. We went to the Christmas Farmers’ Market a couple of times together. You chose a gift for each of your grandmothers. You loved the live classical music, and when I have you a loony to put in the violin case, you tried to put it into someone’s cello. 

Christmas cookies

We went to help Aunt Janine and Uncle Mark pick out a Christmas tree one Saturday, but you were rather intimidated by the size of the six-foot trees. But then you found this little Charlie Brown tree, only a few feet tall. You declared that it was “just my size!” and hugged it. Uncle Mark and Aunt Janine couldn’t have done anything else - they bought the tree for you, and it is decorated and standing on our front porch. You know it’s your tree and you love it. We may have just started a new Christmas tradition. 

The other Christmas decoration you’ve really enjoyed are some jelly decals that Grandma brought you. Santa, his sleigh and a reindeer are on the back door, and there’s a snowman on the front window. You love repositioning the different pieces and “squishing” the jelly. You have moved them so often that I don’t think they will make it to next year, but we’ll try and find you some more. 

With the time change and the approaching solstice, the drive home from daycare has been quite dark, and it’s been pretty challenging to keep you awake on the ride home. There’s just something about a moving car and the dark that sends you off to dreamland. We have often had to adjust our schedule to your impromptu 5:30 pm to 6:30 pm nap. When you do manage to stay awake, though, you love looking for beautiful displays of Christmas lights. One of the things I love about you is how much you really appreciated beauty. You have no problems expressing yourself about it, often gasping, “So pretty, Mommy! So lovely!” I have taken you a few times past the Southway Hotel with their gorgeous display, and you enjoyed it very much, asking for “more hotel”. 

We attended my work social club’s Children’s Christmas Party together a few weeks ago. I had never been to this event before. It was held at the Canadian Museum of Nature, and it was something special. There were crafts and colouring, and then as if that weren’t enough, every little boy and girl was given a gift! I was stunned at the gift you received - a Bruder log truck. It turns out that there is, in fact, a very reasonable spending limit for each gift, but there are also volunteer shoppers who know where to find the deals. I was overwhelmed. You were delighted. It’s been a favourite toy since it came home. 

One part of the party didn’t go over as well with you, but it wasn’t a big surprise. You were quite excited to hear that Santa was coming to the party, but as soon as he showed up, you panicked and demanded to go into your strolled (aka your cone of safety). I told you we were not going to spend the entire party with you sitting in your stroller, but that you could pick any table you wanted to sit at. You chose the one farthest from Santa. I respected this. When I asked you why you didn’t want to see Santa, you told me, so eloquently, “I love him so much, Mommy, but he scares me.” How can you argue with that? We kept our distance and coloured happily for the rest of the party. 

We also had a lovely day off together downtown. I brought you to the Bytown Museum Christmas Party, and you had a wonderful time. You helped decorate their Christmas tree, you enjoyed sharing a clementine (or, as you call them, lemontines) and you greatly enjoyed your waffle and syrup. We left there to go to the Chateau Laurier, where we admired the beautiful Christmas trees. I want that to be a tradition for us. Then we stopped by my work, and you were very happy to colour at my desk. I hadn’t planned on checking email or anything while we stopped by, but you were so adamant about sitting at the desk with me that I got bored and ended up getting quite a few little things done! 

The fact that Santa is watching has given me some intoxicating power. But I’ve been careful not to play the Santa card too often. I tried it for the first time, and it worked like a charm. Then I tried it later that day, and you looked at me and said, deadpan, “Mommy, stop scaring me.” 

We had quite the reason to celebrate recently. On December 15, your new baby cousin was born! We called Aunt Natalie, Grandma and Uncle Darin to say hello, and you were very happy to say hi to the baby. You had all kinds of questions after that phone call. Could the baby play with you? When could the baby play with you? Could you teach the baby to play with cars? About 30 minutes later, you heard someone at the door, and you bolted up, asking, “Is that Grandma with my baby?” 

You are a very gracious host. You love it when we have guests visit. We were so happy when Cam and Veronica came into town from Vancouver and made time to see us. You greeted these strangers at the door, and said, “Merry Christmas! Come in and see my lovely tree!” They were pretty smitten, let me tell you. (I just about swooned.) 

Daddy and I sent you to daycare on a Monday and stayed home to complete two very important projects. We put up the Christmas tree and decorated the top two thirds. And we completed your basement playroom. The reveal for each was pretty awesome. You had a wonderful time decorating the bottom of the tree and admiring the Winnie the Pooh Christmas lights I hung in the front window. And the next day, when we took you downstairs to see your playroom, you were stunned. “Can I play here?” you asked, mouth open. Your tent is set up down there, there’s a fantastic wooden pirate ship / doll house toy that Daddy bought you, and all your trucks live downstairs now, too. But the big highlight is definitely the “garley”. Daddy brought your sand table in from the back porch, cleaned it out and filled it with barley. So you have your very own indoor “barley table” (which you pronounce as “garley”.) You’ve filled dump trucks, dug up dinosaurs, and poured cement, all in your imagination. It’s been wonderful to watch, even if the barley is a bit hard on my OCD. (I keep wanting to pick up every little piece that ends up on the floor, or on the “non-barley” side of the table. *twitch*) 

Your language continues to develop daily. You don’t often refer to your favourite car as “Kachow” anymore - his name is “Lightning MaPeen” (as opposed to Lightning McQueen, but whatever). You also LOVE to contradict us, even if it means you are totally ignoring the truth. We are also still fighting the good fight against whining, encouraging you to ask nicely for things instead. That may need work, but you do thank people graciously when you are given something. It makes it easy to give you things, when you are so truly grateful. 

You love to help, when it’s your idea. You help me empty the dishwasher, you like to put things in the garbage, bring dirty dishes to the kitchen, and even tidy your toys. (Except when you don’t.) 

Christmas is only a few days away, and we are so looking forward to celebrating it with you. I’ll tell you, it’s harder than I thought it would be, having Christmas without your grandmothers here. But we will do our best to make it magical for you. 

I wish you the merriest of Christmases, my darling, and a 2013 filled with fun, laughter, discovery and learning. Be happy, be safe, be curious, be expressive... so, really, be as wonderful as you always are.