“And a chick-eh-en in a pear tree…”

Posted: December 26th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Friends and Strangers, Holidays, Husbandry, Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop | No Comments »

A few weeks ago while getting a mani/pedi I picked up some should’ve-been-too-ashamed-to-read-it-in-public mag. You know, something that makes Us read like The New Yorker. And nearly instantly all of my being was sucked into a story about how Mariah Carey–a celebrity I’ve utterly NO interest in (or so I thought)–spends Christmas.
Since I know you too are now desperate to hear just how Mariah rocks around her Christmas tree, I’ll share some highlights.

The girl says she’s all about traditions. Every year when her jet lands in Aspen, she insists her waiting limo has Christmas tunes cranked, and she pops some bubbly for the ride to her home, which Martha-like elves have already decorated. Then off to the slopes? No, no! Too chilly there! Instead she spends at least one day lolling about trying on clothes–figuring out just what she’ll sport on Santa’s big day. (Though I think even Kate could tell her it’ll be some variant of her Spandexy micro-mini ‘n stilettos uniform.) She packs the house with all manner of joyous relatives and friends, and her shopping is both excessive and last-minute, leaving her up nearly all night Xmas Eve wrapping the pressies old school, yo. Unfortunately her personal hand-wrapping results in her sleeping through most of Christmas Day, which she admits is hard on the children. Despite her pleas otherwise, her posse waits for her to wake up to open presents. (“Okay kids! It’s 4PM and Auntie Mariah got out of bed. Now you can open your stockings!”)

There was more, but really. It was all I could do to not to lean over, spread my knees, and barf into the warm water basin my feet were soaking in.

I mean come on, people. Who doesn’t give their limo driver Christmas off?

Despite me not getting my diva on with quite the same excessitude as Mariah, Christmas Chez McClusky this year was indeed quite splendid.

It being a time of wonder and such, here are a few of my own holiday discoveries. (Best for me to jot down some reflections before a Woman’s Day writer tracks me down for a big story next year.)

It’s amazing the impact one mention of Jesus from the old neighbor lady can have on a 3-year-old from a non-religious family (i.e. us). “Is Baby Gee-ziz sleeping in that little box, Mama? Is there birthday cake for Baby Gee-ziz? Does Baby Gee-ziz have a lamby?” For the love of God, Kate!

Odds are we’re the only family with a chicken mask as an angel on top of our tree. Which may be a good thing.

Even after 9 years my husband can write something in a card that makes me cry. (Happy tears, that is.) What’s staggering is he pulled this off twice this Christmas.

Paige sat by the tree on Christmas morning laughing and clapping her hands like a little tin toy monkey. It’s incredible that I’ve managed to resist devouring her.

New friends who feel like old friends are a gift indeed. We spent a warm wine-drenched Christmas Eve with dear friends who we didn’t even know last year.

You know your the-economy-sucks plans to hold back on shopping failed when you find yourself imploring your child to stop playing with her new toys so she can unwrap her scads of remaining pressies.

Sometimes the cheap-o stocking stuffers–like the clear rubber ball filled with water and sparkly green glitter–are the super-fun sleeper gifts that even the adults can’t help but obsess over.

Thanks to a Christmas-gift book, we’ve all fallen in love with a duck named Lemon, who we’re now corresponding with via email. Go figure.

I helped Paige tear the paper off a gift from Mark’s sis and her family. A hardcover book entitled Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustices of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case. Now, I hold out every hope that Miss Paigey will be an early and avid reader, but the subject matter of this particular volume seemed a bit, well, off for the wee gal. (She’s much more a tennis person than lacrosse if you ask me.) Anyway, turns out Amazon screwed up, leaving us to imagine a 65-year-old attorney opening a Fisher-Price plush bowling set and wondering what the fuck his brother had been thinking.

My husband can cook circles around your husband. Proven once again by the amazing pork roast he prepared sous-vide

Hands down the best bad Christmas song is Dominick the Donkey. Thanks to the streaming holiday music channel, Mark, Kate, and I are all possessed by the verses, “Hey! Chingedy ching. (hee-haw, hee-haw) It’s Dominick the donkey! Chingedy ching. (hee-haw, hee-haw) The Italian Christmas donkey!” Sheesh.

Our friend Dave carried Kate on his shoulders for much of our yearly Christmas hike–running in circles, bumping her up and down, and causing her to screech with non-stop glee despite the whipping winds and Arctic-to-us cold. You can’t help but love your own children, but watching your friends treat them with silly gregarious happy love is a deeply good tonic indeed.

And with no relation to the holiday whatsoever, yesterday I managed to solve the damned Changing Table Problem, whereby once you lay Paige down she grabs the stack of clean diapers and starts winging them across the room like a Frisbee-throwing machine (or the paperboy in that old video game you maybe used to play). Yesterday, in what turned out to be a “the obvious answer ain’t always the most evident” situation, I simply moved the wipes to where the diapers were and the dipes out of reach where the wipes used to be. (Duh!) I’m not sure what’s more troubling: that it took weeks of Mark and I running interceptions on flying diapers before I cracked this case, or the fact that this New Changing Table World Order will improve the quality of my life to a staggering extent. (Just more clues that it might be time to go back to work.)
Mariah be damned. Our homey Oakland Christmas was divine and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. My only regret being that now that it’s over I won’t be able to leverage good “Santa’s watchin’” behavior out of Kate any more. At least not for another 10 months or so.

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