‘Twas three days after Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was resting, not even a mouse.
The stockings were strewn on the floor with no care,
spilling their goods- Saint Nicholas had been there.
The children were hopped up and jumping on beds,
while sugar from sugar-plums went to their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and dad in his cap,
had headaches and dreamed of a long winter’s nap.
Down in the living room there arose such a clatter,
I stood from my chair to see what was the matter.
Into the room I slowly did wander,
only to trip on the crap thrown asunder.
The floor all covered with presents and trash,
all the things I’d bought and wrapped- all that cash!
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but some miniature Legos my bare feet did fear.
What a mess that took over the house so quick,
I blamed in that moment that prick St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles my minions they came,
as they whistled and shouted, I called them by name!
“Now Luke! Now Sally! Now husband! Now Santa!
Clean up this disaster, don’t tell me you can’t!
From the floor to the ceiling, even the walls,
Put it away, put away, put away all!”
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So through the room the pine needles they flew,
from my dead tree full of needles and tinsel too.
On this side the toys on that side the books,
all those presents discarded with barely a look.
As I cradled my head, and was turning around,
on the couch I spied laundry spilling to the ground.
What the fuck will I do with all of this shit?
Put it away? Or just burn all of it?
I can’t drag the tree out of here by myself.
So I’ll just eat a chocolate from up on that shelf.
And why not? Chocolate is fine for breakfast,
says this mom who’s expanding right out of her pants.
These kids have been home for infinity days,
as I’ve wandered around in a food coma haze.
To the stores I must go to make my exchanges,
for sizes, colors, and miscellaneous changes.
My work will not cease, it will never end,
thank goodness for chocolate sent by a friend.
If you think your house is bad on this day,
just take a look at mine and hear when I say,
“You’re doing just fine. The mess does not matter.
I am the mom who will make you feel better.”
This is the view, left and right, from my desk,
the rest of the house is the same, so don’t ask.
Go finish that cake and those cookies. Don’t fear.
You’ll get back in your jeans, first thing next year.
Is this the last year that Sally will call Santa “Ganta Gauze?”*
Is this the last year that Luke will truly believe in the magic without any nagging doubts?
I spend a lot of time frustrated with my little kids. They are demanding, needy, and incapable of doing most things by themselves. Gloves are still impossible to get fingers into correctly. Zippers confound. Food needs to be prepared, fetched, cut up, cooled off. They fall down and hurt themselves constantly. They can’t walk far or fast.
When they’re older these problems will be long forgotten. They’ll be competent, tall enough to reach things, and probably even interesting and funny, (fingers crossed). But the magic will be gone. The wide-eyed wonder at life’s simple miracles. Big kids are cool, but they’re not cute.
Bigness and cuteness are inversely related after the age of 3. Up until then, babies keep getting cuter. You think your newborn is the cutest thing ever, but at 7 months when she’s fat and giggly? Cuter. At 2 when he’s rockin’ his footie pajamas and squealing as you chase him around the house? Cuter. At 3 when she’s brave and independent but still needs to check in with a quick hug and kiss? Cuter.
Luke is nearly 6. Don’t get me wrong; he is still maximally cute. But as he becomes more worldly, “cute” is no longer his biggest descriptor. He uses words like “literally” correctly, which is more than I can say for at least half the people on Facebook. He’s smart, sensitive, energetic, impossibly stubborn, and kind. He has always been all of these things, but cute trumped them when he was the tiniest person walking down the street at 10-months-old.
Sally is at her peak right now at 3. Her ratio of “baby” to “big kid” is in exactly the right proportions to leave a wake of people swooning wherever she goes. But as she approaches 3 1/2, she’s aware of this power. Damn.
This slow decline in cuteness is why people have more babies. It is responsible for that insane thought: “Oh, we can have just one more.” We think this even when the two we have feel like more than we can handle. (Don’t get your hopes up, Mom.)
I’m letting go of Luke, slowly and reluctantly. He’s in school now, leading a life I’m not a part of. And he’s getting easier and easier as he gets older. Sally is different. I’ve been begging her to stop growing up since she was about 2 1/2. She refuses to listen. For now, she still wants to hold my hand, even if we’re sitting next to each other watching a movie. But I know what’s coming. While Luke gets easier, she will get harder. Her inevitable pull away from me will break my heart. Maybe she won’t spill a cup of milk daily anymore, but she also won’t take my face in both of her little hands and tell me that she loves me “go, go, GO much!” (Refer to Sally/English Translator below.)
So I’m relishing this Christmas. My kids are going burst with excitement when they see that Santa came. They’ll tear into toys and games and then they’ll play. There will be tantrums, tears, audacious complaints of boredom, and sibling fights to be sure. There will be food fetching, butt wiping, and spills to clean up. But there will be magic.
* Sally/English Translator: replace all pronounced G’s with S’s.
These were actually all taken on December 1st when we got and decorated our Christmas tree. But I just downloaded them and thought I’d share a few. This is how we roll in the WTF household.
It was a perfect snowy day for the Christmas tree farm.
Notice that Luke is always running. HE.IS.ALWAYS.RUNNING!
Of course we always wear masks here.
We’re sort of like The Incredibles that way. We’re The WTFs.