Monday 22 December: Children's "Holiday" Office Party
- Bouncy castle
- Inflatable basketball hoop
- Cookie decorating
- Santa + present
- Pizza lunch
Henry did not require much coercing to get out of the apartment Monday morning in order to go to the Santa Party. We hopped onto the Queen Street car at Coxwell, and when we stepped off at Yonge Street and looked up, Henry exclaimed, because he obviously doesn't remember being there just a few weeks ago...
Henry: Wow! What is this? looking up at the tall buildings What!
Elisabeth: You're downtown! You're in the city, now lets go find the office tower where mummy works.
Once the salutations were made, we set his animal friends down on my cubical overlooking the construction site, made him a hot chocolate and set about exploring the activities and meeting people.
Henry was too shy at first to go into the bouncy castle, but when my friend showed up with her children that Henry has known since birth, he climbed right in and wouldn't stop.
To the point where, when Santa came in, he didn't want to stop bouncing!
But once seated on the floor with the other children, he patiently waited for his turn, sat on Santa's lap and happily received a Playmobil race car.
Thanks to the generous folks at work, the parents were given the afternoon off to be with their children, which Henry & I spent basically running errands.
Tuesday 23 December: The Last Day to Get Things Done
- Grocery shop at No Frills
- Make gingerbread train
- Make cookies for Santa
As tedious as this day promised to be, it is actually my most favourite of the week. Henry is easygoing enough (right now) that our chores were easily turned into fun adventures, usually involving him bringing out his alter ego Spiderman.
|Early morning arts and crafts. |
A Christmas card to Luther and Winston.
|As they say, practice makes perfect.|
And it's not perfect. But it will do...
|Meeting shop dog Hazel at coffee shop while the laundry washes.|
|Heat adds special superhero powers to towels. |
|Henry set-up all his animals to watch a movie and then took this picture.|
|Making sugar cookies for Santa. Yum.|
By the end of the day, were were all set for Christmas and that of course is a great feeling.
Wednesday 24 December: Christmas Eve
- Lazy quiet day
- Make more cookies
- Watch movies
- Go for walk
- Prepare holiday hot pot
- Open 1 present
- Go to children's church service
A relatively peaceful day lounging and getting excited, eating lots of sugar and watching Dora, Diego and Spiderman videos. I forced a small pause for us to look at the Red Door Shelter website and we made a donation together to help a new immigrant family. Not exactly captivating fare for a four year old, but it's something to build on at any rate.
After lunch we went for an enchanted walk around Woodbine Park. We played chase the bad guy, found talking sticks, a magic coin, ducks and swans, and raced each other through the winding paths. While I spent a good part of the afternoon cooking, Henry (amazingly) played with his Playmobil toys by himself, displaying quite the budding imagination.
|Someone loves Christmas.|
|Don't use puff pastry on holiday hot pot. |
After it baked, it got soggy and sank.
Things got a little hairy after he opened his one present, when he displayed serious displeasure receiving colour-changing markers and not a Lego toy in a big box. I was perhaps a little too harsh on him, telling him how lucky he was to receive any presents at all as some children don't, and that not all presents would be big and wonderful. Lets just say he got the message. And I will have to learn to better control myself in future.
After church we ate our dinner, watched Mr. Bean's Christmas and went to sleep. It may never happen again, but he passed out by 8pm on Christmas Eve.
I was not too far behind.
Thursday 25 December: Christmas Day
|Picture askew, milk drunk, cookies and carrots gnawed on...|
Thank you Henry for not waking up earlier than 6:30am. Of course the first thing he saw was the present that Santa had left by the fireplace.
Shortly after, he looked out the window and seemed genuinely surprised that it hadn't snowed. What with all the songs, it is quite the let-down to not have a white Christmas. I muted my global warming lecture and said that lots of rain did fall last night and that would all have been snow, but it just wasn't cold enough here in the city.
We opened his and Luther's stockings, had breakfast (he's really into steel cut oats with maple syrup) and then started on the tree presents.
Santa gave him another Playmobil ship, one with red coat soldiers who are chasing after the pirate ship to take back the treasure.
He also received stickers, markers, notepads, a Spiderman hard pencil case, chocolate, a Dusty word bingo board game, books and a stuffed cat that looks like Luther. After our Christmas Eve episode, he was quite content with that and would have called it a day.
Then I told Henry that there was one more present for him in his room, a big present.
Here's the video.
We went out right away for a ride around Woodbine park, where he wanted to follow the paths we had taken the day before. It was quite windy, but he pushed through and made it up some inclines and even trusted his breaks to take him slowly down some small hills. I was so proud of him.
Oftentimes, Henry walks a fine line between cockiness and timidity. He's intelligent so he's able to grasp concepts and tasks fairly quickly in most cases, but he's very frustrated by any perceived mistake and will instantly give up and hide.
There were a few moments where he got frustrated with his bike to the point of quitting, but his excitement thankfully overruled the lesser emotions.
We warmed up back at the apartment, played with his toys, played super hero and bad guy, ate meatballs, mini quiches and watched It's A Wonderful Life, or the first 30 minutes of it at any rate.
It was time to pack up his stuffies, pyjamas, some Christmas cookies and meet his dad out on the street to hand him off for 6 days.
Determined to make Henry's Christmas bright, I kept a smile on my face in an attempt to extract and utilize every endorphin being released. I had been reiterating to Henry that he was going to get to spend time with his dad and his grandma and get a second round of presents and treats. That he was lucky in that regard. And that how can I paint his bunk bed and prepare surprises for him if he's here? That I wasn't going anywhere, just getting some work and surprises done while he goes to his dad's to have some fun.
Of course, I can't promise surprises forever.
But I'm going on mamma's instinct here. That by perhaps giving in and going a bit over-the-top right now, I'm not winning his affections so much as distracting him from and hopefully mitigating deep feelings of sadness or inadequacy or insecurity. That is my motive, for better or for worse.
And so as he walked down the street hand in hand with his dad, he turned around and waved goodbye. My heart melted and I continued to smile through the tears that he was too far away to see.
To have been on a six day Christmas treadmill and to have the Stop button pressed mid-day on the 25th was hard. But he had so many wonderful experiences and was so content and outgoing, that the sadness was only for me, not for him. That made it so much easier to manage.
A run down on the beach, a bath, eggnog and dinner at a friend's was a lovely way to repair the afternoon.
Upon Henry's return on New Year's Day, we will drive down to Buffalo and spend the night with his cousins.
Until then I must:
- Enjoy the company of my old friend from C-ville for a few days, who will help with...
- Paint bunk beds
- Clear out the rest of the stuff at the old house
- Redesign the dining room
- Have Fun
I hope I can check off all of those boxes in a week.