Sunday, December 22, 2013

Because we need a little cuteness, right this very minute

This year, Walter is very intrigued by holidays. He watches with great interest as decorations in our neighborhood go up and down. He asks lots of questions and pays close attention to everything going on around him.

Saddest little robot since Marvin
He hated Halloween.  The only thing that saved it from being a total disaster was that we got to spend the day with best friend Henry and his family.  That part, he loved.  But really, he would have been happier if it had just been a normal day of visiting and playing at Henry's house.  Sure, he liked the candy eating aspect of it.  But the decorations and the costumes were way, way too scary. He still won't go to Walgreens because of a decoration he saw there. Our line to reassure him was, "It's just a toy."  Every time we pass Walgreens, now, Walter says, "Just a toy at the pharmacy? It all gone now?"

Christmas, on the other hand, is an entirely different story.  He was suspicious when the stuffed snowman replaced the scarecrow at daycare, and thought maybe he'd be scared of it.  But very soon he realized that this season is not a scary one, and he has embraced everything to do with Christmas--religious and secular--wholeheartedly. This has led to some really delightful moments and quotable quotes.

"Hi, Magi!"
Umma and Baba got Walter an Advent Calendar with magnetic pieces to put together into a Nativity Scene. He loves it.  The Advent Calendar one-piece-a-day aspect was a little advanced for him and quickly abandoned.  But he loves playing with the pieces and changing the scene around (he's especially fond of putting sheep up on the roof of the stable.)  My heart melted when he went to play with it recently and greeted his favorite characters with a very fond, "Oh hi, Magi!"  He knows all the key players and names them every time a creche crosses his path. He saw a picture of Curious George wearing a blue towel on his head the other day and gleefully proclaimed: "Mary!"

"Is there a LEGO in Santa's bag for me?" 
Walter's understanding of Santa is terrifyingly advanced.  One day he went to daycare with no knowledge of the jolly one; that afternoon he came home with just enough information to make him dangerous and hungry for more.  I'm being a little dramatic, but Walter's interest in Santa surprised me and Sean ... we hadn't figured out our Santa strategy, yet, and still haven't really codified it or anything. We think we'll encourage him to enjoy the Santa tradition and all the fun aspects of it without ever insisting that Santa is real.  Walter is great at imaginative play, so I think he'll understand that Santa falls into that category, too.

He hasn't directly asked for anything for Christmas, but he did ask Sean if Santa had a LEGO for him in his bag. Pretty brilliant, I'd say.  My plan was that Santa would just bring pajamas this year.  Obviously, Santa will be bringing pajamas and a very small DUPLO set.

What I was really unprepared for was this question: "Mommy, are you Santa Claus?" That one came during a time out.  I wasn't sure I'd heard him correctly at first but when I didn't respond he asked again, clear as day. My response: "Walter, you're on a timeout.  We'll talk when it's over."  He didn't ask again. The question itself doesn't worry me too much, because I have several good answers in mind. But I have no idea where the question came from.  I'm in awe of Walter's thought process.  I took a few moments of that time out to appreciate it, while simultaneously trying to figure out how I was going to survive another minute of the awful defiance and total lack of listening that led to the timeout.

"Walter get a present for Baby Sally?"
Something else I probably should have expected but that totally took me by surprise: Walter told us one afternoon that he wanted to get a present for Sally. Oh. Oh yeah.  Getting presents, we'd expected he'd be into that. Giving presents, presents that he got to choose and that really came from him ... that part we hadn't considered.  Since then, he's mentioned wanting to do it a couple of times, but he never wants to go to the store. I think I ruined it by suggesting Sean take him to Walgreens to shop. But they'll go to Fleet Farm tomorrow after daycare and brave the crowds to pick out some little things for Walter to give to us all.

"LOOK! Ribbons! Look! Our Christmas tree over there! Look, more pretty lights! They're bright a little bit! Look, a STARRRRR!"
Walter loves, loves, loves Christmas decorations. The patter of observation and appreciation is almost constant and always adorable. When he saw our tiny Christmas tree, at first he seemed unsure, maybe even disappointed.  "It's a little Christmas tree," he observed. After a minute or so of thought, he said, "I like it!" Since then, he's decided he really likes it, and he's let us know that, too.

Sean and I were talking today about how wonderful it is when Walter is really enthusiastic about things.  First thing Saturday morning Sean took Walter out on a bagel run, and handed him a fresh, still warm sesame seed bagel to eat in his car seat on the way home. "This is really, really good." Walter said. "This is so good! Did they make this for me?"  It makes me so happy every time Walter looks up at me and says, "I like it, Mama!" Last week he said it about the Cream of Wheat I microwaved for him, and I was like, yeah, I'm an awesome cook.  Rock on, Mama.

"OH! Jingle bells ..."
You will not be surprised to hear that singing composes a large part of Walter's Christmas enjoyment. He knows all the words to the chorus and first verse of Jingle Bells; two-year-old versions of the words, but they're all there and it's clear he's got most of it right.  He also does a beautiful "Away in A Manger" and "Silent Night," as well as many delightful Walter originals. The files are still cooking, but as soon as they're processed I'm going to post two new holiday favorites: "CHRISTMAS SONG!!" and "The Christmas Bagel."

I also hope to post a video of Sally giggling.  It's not the biggest baby giggle you can watch via the Internets, that's for sure.  But it's a sweet sound indeed to my ears.  Walter started giggling at just shy of three months, so I've been on the lookout for Sally giggles.  Last week I got her to give me a solitary "ha!" now and then, but on her actual four month birthday she bust out the actual guffaws.  Beautiful. We got a video of the second half of the first ever giggle fest ... mostly we managed to capture the sound of my laughter and raspberry-making-on-the-tummy which pretty much obscures Sally's little laughs, but it's a fun video if only for the look of pure parental pride and joy on my face, and the good-natured, patient little smile on hers.

So, stayed tuned. =)