Of course, this is KFP's first Christmas, and in honor of the holiday, we started some new traditions and continued others. He also surprised us with some "firsts" of his own.
My husband, The Gryphon, and I drove here Thursday evening, just in time for me to do my evening assignments. That day was pretty miserable. I spent most of it running around the house, frantically packing (which, it turns out, is a great workout). Turns out that packing for oneself and a baby is not twice as much work but three times as much, based on how much babies require. I still managed to leave behind the portable laptop desk, baby wipes, and The Gryphon's snow boots (practically guaranteeing a white Christmas, but we shall see).
To compound things, I was unable to work on our laptop because The Gryphon had to take it apart and replace the fan, so I holed up in the front room of my dad's office, which my sister used to use for her massage therapy business but which is now a combined computer room and storage area. My sister and her husband had already moved their stuff into the room, including their cat, Ludo, who requires twice daily medication. He also, as I discovered, eats plants quite loudly and mews plaintively if you do not pet him while typing.
So after getting a late start on my assignments, it was an excruciatingly late evening. I moved upstairs with the repaired laptop near the end and only managed to keep going because The Gryphon brought me coffee and nudged me whenever I fell asleep!
With that as a comparison, almost anything would have seemed better, but I truly had a good day yesterday. In the morning, I picked up some extra work, which will help balance out the shows I did not have to transcribe in the evening. The Gryphon and my sister's husband went to the grocery store while I worked and my sister read and sang to KFP. I told her later it was like he got to go to storytime twice in one week (we normally go to the library's Bibs & Books storytime for infants and toddlers on Tuesdays).
When the men returned, my sister and I grabbed our gym bags and headed to the local YMCA, where we used our own YMCA cards to secure guest passes. The woman at the front desk looked familiar from when I used to live here, and the lifeguard turned out to be the mother of a classmate. We got to spread out over three or four lanes, since we shared the pool with only two other dedicated swimmers. This meant that, between laps, we could pause and stretch or my sister could show off her newfound skill of underwater handstands.
Upstairs, we got our pick of elliptical trainers. Again, only a handful of buff-looking men had turned out on Christmas Eve. We did, however, run into an older woman on the way out of the gym, who had apparently been hiding somewhere. We actually had to have the front desk clerk let us out, since she'd already locked the doors. I think if we'd stayed a minute longer, they would have kicked us out.
The woman who left with us joked about how we could now keep each other from running to the McDonald's across the street for an unhealthy lunch.
When we returned, The Gryphon had a video to show me: KFP had begun crawling! He has been creeping forward for about two weeks now, but he had a moment of enlightenment and popped up on his knees to move forward. Again, he grunted with the effort as he pursued out-of-reach toys, but he managed to maneuver impressively. I'll share the video sometime next week after I return home.
We spent a quiet afternoon at home, chatting, taking care of some last-minute preparations, and in the Gryphon's case, cooking us corned beef. I took a nice, long afternoon nap with KFP, who had started to get tired after his eventful day.
Dinner was delicious: corned beef, cabbage, and potatoes. While we ate, KFP played with his baby spoon, which we'd read was a good way to get him used to it. Then afterward, we tried giving him some rice cereal again, and this time he eagerly participated, because it involved the spoon! He still spit out most of the cereal and refused it altogether after a couple tries.
We had some Christmas cookies for dessert, compliments of some of my sister's students. She brought home dozens of cookies and candies she received as gifts. Apparently, they love my sister. I'm not surprised. When I see how good she is with KFP, I can guess that she's one of their favorite teachers.
Much to my delight, the only show I thought I might have to transcribe turned out to be a repeat, so I got to enjoy the first Christmas Eve in about nine years where I didn't have to do any work. My sister put together the treat I'd suggested: hot chocolate with miniature candy canes. This was something we used to do every year after caroling with our Uncle Squash and Aunt Corn and their children. Of course, this year we added an adult component: either peppermint Schnapps or Irish cream liqueur!
Using antique ornaments from Grandma Heritage (Dad's mom) and paper ornaments we'd made together about three years ago, we decorated the Christmas tree. KFP even helped me place some, and my sister got some photos. I'll share those next week.
We watched "White Christmas," which was on TV, and engaged in the Wilson family tradition of gabbing through the movie about little trivial points, such as "Look at those huge menus in the train car. Maybe they're in the wrong scale train." After watching most of "The Miracle on 34th Street," we turned it off so that my mom could read "The Night Before Christmas" to KFP. She used to read it every year to my siblings and I, and I combed the stores for a copy of the book this week so that we could resume the tradition.
Mom practically has the poem memorized and didn't need to look at the text to recite it (although she did get a few words slightly wrong). Of course, KFP had no idea: he was enthralled by her voice and stared at her even more than at the beautiful illustrations in bold colors. My sister captured a snippet of video on her phone but told me later I should have pulled out our videocamera. Oh, well. There will be plenty of opportunities today.
KFP was tired but so excited about all the people he couldn't sleep. I took him in the bedroom at 9, but he kept twisting towards the door every time people laughed. We finally got him to sleep at about 11. Of course, as is typical nowadays, he woke up every few hours and was extremely hard to get back in the crib.
Even so, I cherished those moments with him in the bedroom. As he lay back, I massaged his arms and chest, trying to calm him down. He babbled happily, turning his eyes every once in a while to the big, bright room where his family laughed and talked. I told him, "You have to go to sleep so Santa can bring presents." He smiled and babbled something to me. I thought, whatever he did understand at this age, he was sure to have sweet dreams. If not of sugarplums, then of bright lights, shiny ornaments, sweet songs, and bubbling laughter.
A Christmas tree is more beautiful when seen through the eyes of awe.