For the first time since Molly was born, this year we finally included a “year in review” letter with our Christmas card for friends and family. The previous three years featured only a picture (nice and easy!), but this year, Kit picked a Christmas card which had space for some text. Just a little space, actually. It turned out to be a challenge to fit all of 2013 into a few sentences. Brevity is the soul of wit, and what not. So here it is: 365 days in 126 words.
2013 provided us with literally no dull moments. Molly (age 4) amuses us and confuses us every day. She is by far the smallest and loudest member of our family. Claire (age 8) is a patient and kind big sister and a My Little Pony aficionado. Claire started 2013 believing adamantly in fairies and ended the year wistfully wishing they were real. Kit continues to practice pathology. We keep reminding ourselves that pathology is a family-friendly specialty. Pat still works for Verizon and has moved into mobile apps. Other skills mostly involve shuttling kids around town. When not keeping Austin weird, travels this year have taken us to London, Chicago, and both Washintgon’s (DC & WA).
Driving Claire to a birthday party, just the two of us, Claire brought up the topic of Santa Claus. She started out asking in a roundabout way, “So what’s the deal with Santa Claus?” I provided a non-committal answer. After a little back and forth on the topic, Claire finally asked outright: is Santa real?
So she had figured it out. Of course I gave her a straight answer to a straight question. She said, “I knew it! I knew it!” with a big smile. Then she went through all of Santa’s presents and stocking stuffers from this Christmas, one by one, to ask who thought of each one. She seemed to really enjoy this game, sort of an inside track on a big secret. She asked a few more details about who easts the cookies we leave out, etc.
When Claire was done enquiring for details, I asked her, “How did you know figure it out? Did a friend tell you? ” She said nobody told her. She just figured it out herself. She said there were little clues. What really gave it away, she said, was the “believe in Santa” movies. They gave the most glaring clues. We’re talking primarily about The Polar Express and Elf, favorites with the girls this Christmas. If you watch the movies, you’ll see what we mean.
I congratulated Claire on figuring out this fun little trick, made a point of saying this was basically the only thing we had ever mislead her about, and asked for her help to keep this fun kittle secret safe for Molly. Claire agreed with a big grin on her face.
Claire and Molly put this together, with the help of Grammy, as a Christmas present for Kit and me. Most of the listed family attributes (laughter, kindness, loyalty, magic, generosity, and honesty) are taken from My Little Pony’s Elements of Harmony. Molly added “loving”.
We had Christmas as usual in Austin. In addition to Kit, the girls, and myself, we also had Kit’s parents, my parents, and Kit’s Uncle Bob. So it was a party of nine. Us adults can get pretty boring at Christmas, but not so much with the kids in the mix. The sneaking around to hide presents, stuffing stockings, leaving cookies and milk for Santa were all still in play this Christmas.
Claire reminded us several times in clear terms that Christmas is not about the presents. It’s about togetherness, Claire says, and she is right. At one point for fun, Claire and I asked Siri on my iPhone what the true meaning of Christmas was. Siri said it found a related article on the web. That is always her lame answer! Claire and I had a good laugh at that. Siri is great, but she should know the true meaning of Christmas from her heart, not some web page! 😉
For her part, Molly basically is a Christmas elf. She has exactly the right size and energy as an elf. You don’t get to have an elf join you for Christmas every year.
Even Molly didn’t ask for presents for Christmas, and she didn’t snoop and poke at the presents under the tree. That may be because there was basically nothing under the tree until December 23 or so, as is our tradition. By the time Kit and I had agreed on what to get everyone, bought all the gifts, wrapped and labeled them, and transported then down to the tree, it is a miracle that Christmas has not passed by already.
Probably the best part of Christmas was seeing the girls have nice long days with all their grandparents, doing art projects, games, cooking, etc. It was almost perfect. Then there is the overlapping sound of different TV shows, music, etc. on the TV, the computer, someone’s iPad, etc. Kit made a rule that only one show/sound could be played at a time. In general, World War II documentaries dominated the TV. At one point, Kit and I resolved that there was going to be a goddamn Christmas movie on for Christmas. We put on White Christmas or something. Within an hour, it was back to the war documentaries. But that’s okay, at least it was one sound, and we all settled into it. And the kids had already seen plenty of Elf and The Polar Express in the weeks leading up to Christmas.
Okay, so we have established that Christmas is not about the presents. You can stop here if you don’t care about presents.
Okay good, since presents don’t matter, I shouldn’t even mention them. But since they are kind of a time capsule, here are a few highlights… Both girls got sleeping bags for camping. They also each got a big fancy box from Santa to keep their stuff in. Many of Molly’s favorites were actually from Uncle Bob, including a 530-piece (!) paper activity set and some plastic princess shoes which Molly calls her glass slippers. She also ended up with a giant floor piano you play with your feet and a musical marble stacking/rolling thingy. Claire got some cool sets for designing clothes and making her own custom dollhouse. She also got her some shoes and roller-skates for her beloved Fluttershy stuffed pony. And a sewing machine that doesn’t work so much, or at all (oops!).
So there it is, Christmas 2013… Sometimes a little too fast, sometimes a little too slow. But this was still a real kids’ Christmas full of magic and togetherness. See the brief Christmas video too. Also, the girls’ very sweet present to Kit and me.
When getting undressed in the bathroom for bedtime tonight, Molly flung her shoe in the air behind her. It was just a little moment of panache for Molly, who was in a frisky mood. The shoe flew in the air and landed right in the toilet. Molly briefly looked like she was afraid she was going to be in trouble, probably because of a previous incident where she had put a rock in the toilet on purpose. But we all started laughing and taking pictures, etc. Then we reminded Molly it’s not okay to put stuff in the toilet. But this was pretty funny.
Molly decide to start a naughty & nice Christmas list for Santa Claus. Claire got into the idea. She wrote down all the items on the list and added some of her own. Molly’s list is dominated by things or people from school (naughty) and princesses (nice). Claire’s list of full of My Little Pony characters (all nice).