Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas Grandma's

Christmas wrapped up at my Mom's or Onermark Gram's house as Alyce likes to say it.  The family went out earlier to do the immediate family Christmas while the extended family would show up for Christmas later.

Before we opened presents Alyce found Grandma's dancing singing snowman, set it up, and started it up.  Before long both she and Jack started dancing to "Jingle Bells" as sung by a snowman and his trusty dog.  After a while even Grandma joined in on the fun.  Kids, unlike adults, never seem to get tired of hearing the same song over and over again and this was no exception.  Alyce and Jack played and danced to the song at a minimum 10 times before we intervened as our ears were starting to bleed.  We redirected their excitement to presents!

There were two big presents for Alyce and her cousin Jack that they wanted to open first.  The kids must have learned somewhere that the biggest presents were the best and didn't want to waste time with the small stuff.  We told Alyce that she needed to wait and that we were going to open the big one last.  Alyce, not very happy about that, threw herself on the ground, started crying, and tossed her other still wrapped presents away from her.  Not knowing where that came from (lack of nap being the culprit) we decided to redirect her by having her help me open one of my presents.  That seemed to do the trick because after helping me with one she was back to unwrapping her own.  When it was time to unwrap the biggest presents Alyce and Jack were not disappointed.  Alyce and Jack both got their own Cozy Coupe!

This is when things get a bit hairy.  Jack immediately wanted Tom to open the box and assemble the coupe however, they were going to send this gift back home UPS and an assembled car is a lot more expensive to ship than an unassembled one.  I offered up Alyce's car for assembly and we could "call it" Jack's to smooth things over.  Tom and I took the coupe parts downstairs for assembly soon to be joined by our cousin Jared.  All three of us got to experience a rite of passage, the assembly of Christmas toys that were not ours.  We poured over instructions and set to work.  Even before we had the wheels on the car both Jack and Alyce were trying sit in the empty shell.  We spent just as much time keeping them away from construction and from pushing each other as we did assembling the car.  When the car was finished Tom and Jared went upstairs and I was left to be the referee of the coupe.  I made Jack and Alyce take turns riding in the coupe while I pushed them in a lap around basement.  After they had 3 turns each I had enough "kid" time and wanted some adult conversation.  I declared that the car was tired, needed to rest, and that it was time to go up.  Surprisingly I didn't have a single complaint.

Christmas dinner was a blur and none of the 7 children ages 3 and under ate much dinner.  It was amusing seeing all my cousins trying to shovel food into their children at the kids table while the grandparents were at the big kid table having calm conversation.  We managed to get a few bites into Alyce and then she was off to play with one of her other cousins who managed to sneak away from the dinner table.  Mom and I decided not to push the point and let her enjoy Christmas how she wanted and we took the opportunity to eat at our own pace.  Alyce, always the good child, didn't get into any trouble while out of our site even though we continued to check on her.

Following dinner (around 7:00) is when things started to get rough.  The youngest of the kids were starting to hit their bedtimes and crankiness was starting to set in.  Alyce's Strawberry Shortcake toy was the hit of party for 2 - 3 year old boys.  Rex and Jack both wanted to play with Alyce's toy and sometimes Alyce didn't want to part with it.  Naturally this led to a lot of tears and all parents saying to their children "you need to share".  This scene played out over and over again with different toys so much that the theme of this Christmas could have been You Need to Share.  Once the White Elephant Gift Exchange started the kids seemed to find an equilibrium and there wasn't much fighting over the toys while it was going on.

Once the gift exchange was over the spell was broken and all the kids in attendance had given up on controlling their emotions.  This was the sign for the parents in attendance that it was time to leave and get the kids off to bed.  We corralled all toys and presents into a big pile and loaded up the car the best we could.  We took our kids already in the pajammas, loaded them up into the car, and set off for home.  They were both fast asleep before we hit the interstate.  Alyce found one more use for her pig, a pillow.  In her overtired state she whined for her pig while in the carseat.  After we handed it to her Alyce wrapped her hands around it in a big hug, laid her head down on it, and was out.

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