Not So Much about Santa

Posted: December 9th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Friends and Strangers, Holidays, Housewife Superhero, Miss Kate, Mom | No Comments »

The rains are here. Well, not at this moment, but they arrived yesterday and today is all gloom and impending showers. So now I’m charged with having to translate my concept of a white Christmas to a wet Christmas, seeing as it’s the first year we’re staying in California for it.

In the past, I never worried if I wasn’t in the Christmas spirit as I was working through the month of December and doing my Christmas shopping in palm-tree-lined Union Square. My single-gal tradition was always to go to Brooklyn for a couple days to visit with Mike and Lorin before heading home to RI for the holiday. And if I wasn’t absently humming The Little Drummer Boy before, I knew I’d get a turbo dose of Christmas once I touched down in NY. There is something about the cold, and the frenzy, and the hanging with Mike for our traditional holiday fancy dinner out, and sure, the store windows in Manhattan, that mere mortals can’t combat. Like it or not, Jewish, Islamic, Catholic, you get swept up in it.

This year we’ll be here. And Peggy is coming which will be great. But there won’t be snow or good bagels, or Aunt Mary’s Christmas Even 7-fish feast, or my mother’s sausage stuffing that Marie always makes, not to mention Marie’s exceptional pumpkin and apple pies. She somehow got the pie-perfect gene from Mom.

So yesterday I took Kate for her picture with Santa. She’s been looking at Santas in books and ornaments and storefront displays, and can even say something approximating Santa. But seeing him in person sent her into utter freak out. I mean, sure, the guy was some fifty-something unemployed hack with yellowed teeth (the ones he had) and an intermittently surly attitude. But still. Here we were, driven to Marin, where we’d met up with Shauna and Baby Kieran, our Yeshi-midwife friends who we’d fallen out of touch with and had Santa pics taken with last year. And once we got into the little Santa hut and I approached him, Kate clung to me like a panicked koala. And just moments after I’d told Shauna while waiting in line that Kate only nurses at night and before naps, she starts frantically signing for milk while looking at Santa wild-eyed.

Ultimately we got a shot where Kate’s halfway on my lap and Santa’s and I’m leaning out of the way. Kate isn’t actively crying, and nor is Santa, but both of them look like they need someone to cut them a break. I think we’ll reserve the Santa pics for the grandparents this year, and come up with Plan B for the Christmas cards.

Kate slept on our drive home, and as she was waking up I pulled into the Safeway parking lot, feeling ambitious that I’d make dinner. After unbuckling Kate from her seat to put her in the Ergo pack, she looked up at me innocently and let loose a fury of vomit. Twice.

I was drenched, she was drenched. And the diaper bag with the wipes was on the floor of the front seat, buried under 4 large shopping bags. It could have been buried in the ground and would have seemed easier for me to get to.

For the first time since having Kate I was truly stumped. How do I move the two of us, her on my lap facing me with her legs wrapped around my waist, with a pool of puke balanced between us, to get the wipes? And really, even if they were right there at hand, the wipes seemed an utterly inadequate tool to handle this job.

Someone pulled up in the parking spot next to me in a huge SUV. I was sitting with the back car door open, mentally floundering about what to do. I considered yelling out to the woman for help at least getting the wipes. But she was worlds away and was gone before I summoned the words.

So I clutched whimpering Kate to me and waddling around the front of the car, balancing her and the pool of puke. I managed to open the front door and prop myself against the seat edge pushing back all the shopping bags. Then I started stripped us down. Kate’s jacket, her beautiful handmade sweater from Mrs. Brown, her sweet ivory velvet dress (all fancy for her Santa pic), and her also-sopping tights. Without a better thought at hand, I dumped the clothes in a pile on the ground in the parking lot.

At this point Kate is cold and crying. And then it starts to rain. (Of course.) I peel off my cashmere sweater and add it to the heap. Thankfully I’m wearing a tank top.

Amazingly I had a change of clothes for Kate. I’d brought it in case the dress got annoying for her to stay in. So, while she bawled at top decibels now, I dressed her, and with one hand while holding her dumped the contents of one of the shopping bags on the car seat and piled the puke-strewn clothes into it. At least were only 5 minutes from home.

So we’re three days into this little virus thing, which the nanny called on Thursday night to inform us she too became plagued with. It’s got to end soon.

Undeterred by it all I have every intention of forging on with holiday-spirit-making activities. I got up early with Kate and readied myself to make about 5 different kinds of Christmas cookies–some from Mark’s family traditions and some from mine. I may even tackle the Italian filled cookies that are a bear to assemble, but my mother always diligently produced. And unless she’s looking Martian green, we’ll trundle Kate off to a Christmas tree farm to cut down a tree and ride on their little Christmas train later today.

If it kills me, and all of us, we will get in the Christmas spirit, damn it.

Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain!

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