Well, Simon is currently in the middle of a post-Christmas meltdown and as his Daddy deals with it, I'll keep myself in the Christmas spirit by posting some recent pictures from our Christmas in New York.
It all started with a road trip. We headed out to Philly - about nine hours of driving with two kids. We planned to drive late in the day so that Taly would be tricked by the short days into thinking it was night time. It worked. We even put Simon in a time out for long enough that he fell asleep.
We celebrated Aunt Christina's Christmas Eve birthday. I think that Aunt Christina ranks somewhere very close to Minnie Mouse as Simon's first love (other than Mommy, of course. no one can make Simon pitch a fit like Mommy - the one sign of true, true love).
From there, it was off to New York. We went to Christmas Eve service at the Long Island Mar Thoma Church, where my dear husband grew up going to church. I've never actually been to a service there before, and what better time than when we have two kids in tow, one that yells and one that screams? It was fun to be in the place where Ben was an altar boy, had all of his adolescent crushes (okay, not even close to all), and spent a huge chunk of his boyhood. It was also the only church service I've been to where Santa made an appearance. It was also the only Santa I've met that speaks Malayalam. Impressive, that Santa.
Of course, before we could go to church, we had to buy Simon some church clothes. It doesn't really matter what he wears to our home church, but we knew that if there's anywhere it matters what one wears, it's at an Indian church in New York. That little detour to Target (where we found Simon some clothes that he looked beyond adorable in) got us on the road a bit late, which meant it took 3 EXTRA hours to get to New York. Not fun, but don't my kids look cute? So glad we invested that time in getting them some new duds.
Taly got up about an hour earlier than everyone else on Christmas morning, and like any American child, headed straight for the presents. We managed to hold her off until the party started that evening.
It was soon time for Christmas breakfast, made with love by my mother-in-law. You'd never know she's still recovering from major surgery. She made Ben's favorite, appam and curry. And Sy's favorite - Kix.
Then, we started what should be a Christmas-in-New-York tradition - we headed to the City. It was fabulous that it was such a beautiful day, because 40 degrees still felt like 30 degrees. You can tell Mom was pretty cold. But Taly seemed nice and snuggly warm.
Simon did a great job of entertaining his sister - who was more interested in him than the sights.
THE Christmas Tree:
Of course, Christmas in the City wouldn't be complete without some serious scams to take advantage of parents trying to give their kids a special day. Right across from Radio City Music Hall congregated all of my son's best friends: Mickey, Minnie and Elmo. Simon was quick to inform me that these characters were "Real." Of course they are son, but don't call Mommy a liar when you're old enough to feel disillusioned by your mother. Anyway, these "Friends" (as they are known in the Thomas house) looked just enough like the "real" versions to fool a three-year-old who's only seen them on the small screen, but to the trained eye (i.e., to a parent who has been forced to stare at said small screen for what seems like a third of her life), these characters were obvious knock-offs. Clearly, some very smart con recognized there was money to be made by renting a costume and standing outside at Christmas charging kids for pictures. There wasn't even the obligatory attempt to convince me that there was a charity involved. Luckily for Simon, his dear Appa was there with open pockets and Simon got to meet Elmo, Mickey and Minnie. Odd that as scary as these knock-off characters are (see picture of scary Minnie and look closely - I think Elmo has his tongue pierced), they didn't get any of the fear and fury reserved for Santa.
Can you believe that my son spent the whole day with loads of presents wrapped and waiting under the tree and waited until the evening to open them? He did great, and his patience was more than rewarded by heaps of spoiling by Amma and Appa and Och Poppy and Kochi (to my Western-minded readers that would be Grandpa, Grandma, Uncle Stan and Aunt Sherin).
My son's playtime now includes being a construction worker:
and playing all kinds of Mickey and Thomas board games.
Let me just say that Mommy is a huge fan of the board game phase of childhood. I would much rather play a rousing game of Memory than run around the basement pretending that I am a "Fire" so Simon can shoot me with blue balls that are "Water."
I will close this enormously long post (if you're still with me and you are not my Mom or Dad, you deserve a prize), with two thoughts:
1: I love that Simon was as excited about Amma's new gloves as he was about his loot.
2. If you look closely, you will see a cute belly with a baby that will be 9 months old next Christmas! Hard to believe how fast life happens, and we will have to start saving now to be as generous to this little one as his parents have been to ours! Can't wait to mee him!