It's Christmas Week in our house. Meaning, "our" Christmas is on Saturday (our kids are too young to know the difference or to have any expectations, so we just tell them they get three Christmases this year). Simon is carefully counting down, and, for the most part, embracing the Christmas Spirit. He requests the Christmas tree to be lit whenever he's in the room. He appreciated how I embroidered his stocking with his name (I know, I just continue to rock this crafty thing) - he keeps hugging it and saying, "I LOVE my stocking Mommy." Seriously, what more could a mama ask for? He looks at cookbooks with me to plan our menu (for like 2 and a half minutes).
And, miracle of all Christmas miracles, he has really enjoyed the element of surprise. He has gone shopping with both his dad and me, and he stalwartly keeps all secrets.
He also did decide that Talya has enough toys and doesn't need any for Christmas. But, then he (I) picked one out for her anyway.
He helped with Christmas cookies, and carefully stays away from the ones with peanut butter in them (poor boy has the one worst allergy in the whole world in my mind).
And he guards that Christmas tree like it's the Buckingham Palace and his creeping crawling little sister is waging all-out war on it. "TALYA NO!" "Mommy Talya's GOING TO TOUCH THE TREE!!!"
Still, I kept my expectations at bay when we joined our small group for an evening of caroling at the old folks (I mean Assisted Living) home last night. Simon was excited, but 6:30 is perched precariously close to bed time, and I've already mentioned how his insecurities usually manifest themselves in rage.
We began the evening with a short "practice" at our friends' house. So many people in a small room was more that my sweet, scaredy-pants boy could handle, so he started screaming at the top of his lungs and spent the practice session in time out. I think I heard some bottom-spanking too. I began reciting my mantra in my head ("It doesn't matter what anyone thinks. It doesn't matter that everyone else's kids are always perfect. You don't need to explain to the room why he's acting like this or what you're doing about it. It doesn't matter.")
Then, off to the old folks home. Simon was out back under control and excited to shake his jingle bell during the singing. I, however, as the genetic contributer to the scaredy-pants traits of my son, began to break into a cold sweat. I'm sorry for this statement, but I'm afraid of old folks' homes (I mean, assisted living homes). I had a bad experience in first grade when my "adopted grandma", whom I expected to act like a grandma and shower me with gifts and praise, yelled at me when I tried to talk to her. Apparently, people let sensitive kids loose in these places without bothering to explain the heavier things in life like dementia, Alzheimers, and loneliness.
So, it was with great surprise that I witnessed Simon come to life at this place. Oh sure, he screamed when the singing started. (I admit, the quality was pretty poor!) But I just repeated my mantra to the tune of Hark the Herald Angels Sing, and we moved on. But, when he wasn't screaming, he was shoving cookies into the hands of these poor people. He smiled at them and talked to them, and didn't yell at anyone.
Mommy couldn't have been more proud. And more relieved when it was time to go home.