Against my husband's sage advice and my own sound judgment, unable to refrain from sharing the truth that is my life, I give you The Christmas Letter:
Dear Person Who Actually Reads a Form Letter,
Another Christmas, another child. Oh, yeah, Jesus—him, too, but I meant our child. Madeline Kate was forced from my womb on April 22, at 1:53 p.m. She came out screaming so loudly the nurse asked two pediatricians to examine her. Madeline’s father shrugged and muttered, “Her mother’s daughter.” After the first hour or so of life, however, Maddy stopped crying, and has not cried since. It took four kids, but it appears we finally got it right. Madeline is the best baby, the kind who makes you want to have a houseful, except that I already do. When we’re not fawning over Madeline, we are working to develop some way to harvest her massive amounts of drool as a renewable energy source.
Benjamin is off and running, with preschool as well as developmental adaptive physical education. In class, he gets to interact with other little boys, and to learn life skills for the common male. So far, these include: how to break toys, how to pee in a urinal, and how to avoid clean-up time. When he’s not at school, Benjamin is interested in touching his sisters’ stuff, telling strangers their breath stinks, and stapling things. He also has an astounding vocabulary, saying “horrible” instead of “bad,” “ruined” instead of “bad,” and “correct” instead of “right.” It’s the family motto: “Why be normal?” After Madeline arrived, Ben moved down the hall to a new bedroom. Months later, he still refers to it as “the guest room.” I’m glad the boy understands his status remains day-to-day.
All in the same week this fall, Elisabeth turned six and started kindergarten. Surprise, surprise, she likes it! Out from under the wing of her know-it-all big sister, Libby has really blossomed into the know-it-all she, too, can be. She reads as well as the teacher and ties other kids’ shoes, whether they want her to or not. The mandatory uniform has been a blessing; we have not had one argument about her ever-changing outfits. I don’t think Elisabeth has yet thought to stow away a costume change in her Hello Kitty backpack. I’ll give her till first grade. Among Libby’s most treasured possessions are her faux leopard jacket, her leggings with zippers, and her lip gloss.
In second grade, Amanda is all about the “clubs.” I wouldn’t exactly call it “Heathers,” but Amanda and her buddies seem to spend their free time plotting for and against each other. There’s a Rock Finding Club, which makes sense since rocks are surely contraband weapons in today’s elementary school. Then, there’s another Rock Finding Club, which involves stealing rocks from members of the first club. Last week brought the inception of the Jump Rope Club; I’m not sure what happens there. Most recently, I’ve been hearing about the Christmas Name Club. That works for Amanda, whose given middle name is “Noel.” Not so cool, however, is her friend who took on the moniker “Advent.” All clubs meet under the slide during recess. Must be crowded.
I'd be remiss not to mention the Andersen Windows guy. True, he is not actually a member of our family, but Pete spends so much time here, he might as well be. After three years, there’s still no definitive answer as to why the sliding doors leak like an incontinent mother of four, but Pete is on the case. We’ve also had other workers around the house, building a deck and improving landscaping. They started in April. The last guy finished on Wednesday.
My working man, Todd, is on to his third company for the calendar year, after the last two went belly-up. For a while there I blamed the economy… but I’m starting to think it might be him. I hoped his time off would be good for getting some of the many projects done around the house. Instead, Todd filled his time by going to “networking lunches” at Chipotle and perfecting his crazy skilz at Rock Band. He did, however, find time to assemble an animated moose for the Krinkeland Christmas display.
As for me, I officially entered “advanced maternal age” which translates to “gray-haired woman lugging an infant.” I fill my days shopping at Target and yelling at the neighbor kids. Me and the mister enjoy curling up under the covers to watch “The Bold and the Beautiful” and “Glee,” two television programs with some amazing character and plot similarities. We are looking forward to the arrival of new living room furniture… and to never letting anyone sit on it.
While I don’t actually expect to get it, my one Christmas wish this year is for a decent night’s sleep. Well, that, and a breast lift—nothing dramatic, just enough to keep them from dragging on the floor. Those things and the vacuum cleaner are a dangerous combination. May your days be merry and bright, and may all your body parts be tight.