In other words, this is the December that will forever be known as the one that kicked me down. Naturally, I have only my complete lack of organizational skills to blame, because I didn’t even start shopping until somewhere near the 10th of this month, and I finally finished today. Hubs and I spent an hour and a half in Wal-Mart this evening with every other person in Small Town, USA, and we were almost to the point of experiencing severe Cart Rage.
Because really? When the shoppers at the store total a number greater than China’s entire population, is it a good idea for women who accidentally run into their friends to stop, smack-dab in the center of the aisle, and block it off to all other cart pushers?
In happier times today, our darling friend, Henley, is here from College Town, visiting with her little family for Christmas, and she called me this morning and said, “Is there any chance you might want to babysit for an hour today?”
Liv is the cutest fourteen-month-old you’ll ever meet, and the boy and I were thrilled at the prospect of having her all to ourselves this afternoon. The boy may have even bragged a bit to his friend, G, about it. And G may have announced, “I want to help babysit, too!” So the G-Bird came home with us, and Henley dropped Liv off, and the afternoon promised to be so! much! fun!
Until Henley walked out our front door, and Liv, having never been left before, burst into tears and started to sob.
Liv cried her heart out, believing that her mama had left her for good with us, and that she’d be stuck living in our dysfunctional family forever. The boy and G tried to play with her. They brought her toys. They offered her snacks. They warmed up her bottle in the microwave and tried to give it to her. And little Liv was having absolutely none of it. She just cried louder. And louder. And louder.
Naturally, the boy and G gave up, and they left little Liv with me, so the two of us rocked. And rocked. And rocked.
And then Liv fell asleep in my arms. The little girl passed out cold, and she took a great nap, while I sat on our living room sofa and rocked her, and patted her back, and felt my ovaries aching from all of her sweet little cuteness and that overpowering, wonderful smell of baby lotion! And then I secretly plotted ways in my head to escape across the border with Liv and keep her forever and ever, because she’s so perfect!
And when she woke up, she was as happy as a clam!
She giggled, and she carried on, and we were head over heels in love with her.
After Henley and Liv packed up the diaper bag and the half-eaten tub of Cheerios, the boy and G decided to do some indoor sledding. Or surfing. Or whatever you want to call it. They hauled out the sleeping bag and blankets, and burned umpteen thousand calories running up the stairs, over and over, so that they could slide down, again and again.
After having used the sleeping bag for eighty-two runs down the slopes, the kids tried the big, blue lid to an enormous Rubbermaid tub, and blam! Only Clark Griswold’s greased-up saucer sled went faster. Their hair blew backwards, and they screamed like they were on a roller coaster.
In the words of King Julien, “Raise your arms, Maurice! It’s more fun when you raise your hands like this!” I’m pretty sure the kids would have raised their hands high in the air, if they weren’t so busy clutching the Rubbermaid lid for dear life with them! I got a little carsick just watching the extreme sledding, and I kept shouting out, “Watch out for the sofa at the bottom of the stairs! Break left! Break left!”
And really? Don’t y’all remember when Christmas vacation used to be FUN, because you didn’t have to drive yourself to a hundred different stores to spend every penny you don’t have on gifts for people?! Christmas vacation is a time for sledding — whether you do it outdoors or right down the stairs to your family room!
When the kids had exhausted the stair sledding, the boy looked at G and said, “I was supposed to clean my room today.”
Oh, people. I was so disappointed in him for saying that, because the boy KNOWS (he knows!) that G actually ENJOYS cleaning, and he takes full advantage of that small fact whenever she comes over. I looked at the kids and said, “But the boy can clean his room later. BY HIMSELF.”
However, G simply said, “I don’t mind.” And she pretty much gutted the boy’s bedroom and organized things, while the boy pretty much watched her work. When it was all done, he said, “You know, G, I have had so much stuff piled on my bed this week, I can’t even remember when I last saw my quilt. Thanks!”
Oh, people. Santa’s been watching that boy of ours, and I think he’s going to find nothing but packages of new underwear in his stocking on Christmas morning.