We are not playing around with Advent this year. Just two days in, and our tree is up. We're spreading Christmas cheer like it's our jobs.
Day One: Santa hat and The Story of Christmas (book)
Day Two: The Nativity manger and animals, plus Room for a Little One (book), church, AND acquiring and decorating our tree
Despite the preschool-age-appropriate theological context we've tried to give the holiday through stories and such (I'm intentionally starting with the churchy stuff in the hope that Felicity will gain some understanding of why, exactly, we're doing all the Santa Claus-y stuff), she has more than caught onto the crass commercialism of the holiday.
This evening, she selected a catalog from our impressive stack, and paged through it, pointing out all the things she liked: "You love this little owl toy. You want the owl! We're going to the store to get that owl tomorrow." Then she decided that her urgent owl needs couldn't wait until normal business hours, and she hopped off the couch, put on her shoes, and headed for the door. "I'm going to the store to buy my new owl NOW!" (She was thwarted by the locked door, but I have no doubt she'll make a break for it on the way to school in the morning.)
Fortunately, she's able to enjoy the simpler trappings of the season, too. After she woke up from her nap, she immediately wanted to come out and visit the Christmas tree (since her request to take the tree into her room had been politely declined). She took a fuzzy sheep ornament (given to her by Allison last year) off a low branch and huddled on the tree skirt. "You want to curl up under the Christmas tree like Clara," she said.
(We've been reading The Nutcracker for a little while, so she's well-versed in the story. I am hoping this translates into a successful foray into the ballet audience, as we're taking her to a kid-friendly, condensed, one-hour performance of the beloved Christmas classic in a couple of weeks.)
I used to wait until a week or so before Christmas to put up a tree and get into the holiday spirit, but now that everything seems to be moving at a breakneck pace all the time, I'm happy to dive in the moment we turn our calendar to December. After all, what's not to like about Frazier fir scent filling the living room; the soft glow of white lights from the tree ("They're like stars!" she said); a weeks-long excuse to bake and eat cookies and watch "Love Actually" a bunch of times; and the quiet panic of fretting over whether you've bought the right gifts for everyone on your list?
Unrelatedly, I need to write this story down so I don't forget it:
Last Friday, I picked Felicity up from school and we hopped on a bus to head down Broadway toward home. She led the way to the back of the bus, and clambered up into a seat. As I was getting settled next to her, she said, "When it's a good day at school, you feel happy. When it's a terrible day at school, you feel sad."
While not conceptually earth-shattering, this was a new conversation for us. So I asked, "How do you feel now?"
She looked off into the middle distance and said, "Neutral."
I had to laugh, and all of the people sitting near us did, too. One woman told me she was going to remember that for the rest of her life, and when she asked how old Felicity was and I told her, she practically shouted with glee. At that point, Felicity realized that she had drawn an audience, so she started hamming it up a bit. "We'll be here every Friday!" I told everyone.
She's started alternating between calling me Mommy, Mama, and Mom, depending on the context. "Mamaaaaa!" is usually her cry when she's upset or she's just bonked herself for the frillionth time a day in one way or another. Mommy is my everyday name ("You want Mommy to give you a great breakfast!"). And Mom is sort of a possessive term; "I'm snuggling up next to my Mom for a story," she'll say, using the first-person as she does almost half the time now (I can't even express how devastated I will be when she stops referring to herself as "you" altogether). Or "You want Daddy to push you in the waGON all the way to Mom!"
Sometimes she says, apropos of nothing, "You're not a kid! You're a little girl." And, by the way, in spite of my efforts to provide her with a wardrobe that offers an array of colors (with a heavy emphasis in the blue family, actually), she now wants to wear some form of pink EVERY. DAY. She doesn't have all that much, so this can be challenging; at times, I have had to sell purple as being really very similar to pink OMG just put the clothes on so we can move on with our lives.
Oh, and another thing that cracks me up is this new turn of phrase: "You want [something] just." Like, "You don't want the carrots; you want the kale just." Or "You don't need to go to the potty; you want to play just."
I want to capture this kid exactly how she is and stretch this moment in time out into forever, just.