Christmas at the Chittisters'

(This is long, but the links are to pictures if you want to skip to those.)
Christmas Eve.

Max and I made plans to watch Waitress while he puts together the ball pit and slide that Great-Grandma got Jack for Christmas. Max ends up putting Jack down, because Jack throws a minor fit and wants Daddy, not Mommy. Mommy decides to dye her hair candy-apple-red for Christmas. I thought it would be fun. Anyway, both processes take much longer than expected, so it was 11:00 before I came down, to find Max still making the stuffing for Christmas Day. I hang out with him, helping where I can, and we get to bed sometime in the vicinity of 1am. Max could not put the ball pit together at all, because it is fairly large, but completely unassembled, consisting of about one thousand 6-inch blue rods with yellow tips at either end.
I told Max to put the ball pit box away and we’d construct it during his nap. Max said he’d just leave the box there, and it wouldn’t be a problem, what, with all the other presents.
Christmas Morning.
Jack woke up in the vicinity of 7:30. We both woke up with him. Usually Max wakes up with him, then I come down a couple of hours later. I wanted to be there for his first Christmas as a cognitively aware little man. So, he saw the ball pit box, and immediately wanted it, and the balls. We convinced him to open one present – which turned out to be penguin bowling from his godparents. (Very happy Mommy! I’ve been wanting to get him something like that, but couldn’t justify the expense.) He looked at it, then put it aside to get the balls out of the ball pit box. Then, we get him to open another present, which turns out to be a Nighty Night Doll, from us. He didn’t even look at it. Put it down and went to the ball pit box. And the camera said it had no memory, so I went upstairs to download the pics. (Turns out, I left the camera on video on 12/24 and got a 46MB video of Jack’s hand.) So Max starts putting the ball pit together in the kitchen.
Note: Our house is fairly small. We have a first floor that is one large room we use as a dining room/office/living room, and then a room in the back, which is the family room, and it flows into a small kitchen. We put the tree in the corner of that room, next to the TV, and all of the presents flowing forth from it. So, we were all in the same room, essentially.
Jack kept wanting to “help” Daddy, which was not a good idea. I tried to convince Jack to open another present. I literally had to force him to open something. I chose a gift at random, and he started to open it – a gift bag – and was so annoyed by the tissue paper that he went back to Daddy.
Well, I was able to convince Jack to play penguin bowling for about 20 minutes, then it was back to Daddy. Every time I said, “Let’s open more presents,” Jack would say, “No presents. No presents. Pit ball.”
I actually brought him over to the presents, and he started crying. Fortunately, he saw the owl – Barnes and Noble carries stuffed animals that Jack loves to play with, so, I bought him an owl, because it’s the only animal we don’t have. Max just stuck a red ribbon on its head. Jack was enamored of the owl, and made it fly and hoot. It carried over to later in the day, when he told Nana that she had to see his owl, and he walked all the way up the stairs to get it from his room.
So I had to get him dressed and took him to the grocery store, so we could get milk, orange juice, and hair dye.
You see, the candy apple red dye job was really, really bad. I forgot to comb it through. Consequently, I have a striped head – the front and top are candy apple red, the rest varies in color from auburn to burgundy. I’ve been wearing a kerchief on the few occasions I’ve been out. I’ll fix it tomorrow, in the light.
So, Raley’s was closed, but luckily, I remembered Safeway. Well, Safeway was apparently the only store open in Antioch. The parking lot was jammed – but people were really nice about it – and the lines stretched throughout the store. I figured Max better be done putting the ball pit together by the time we got back, as we’d probably be there an hour at least.
Jack and I meandered a bit and did some light grocery shopping. I could not bring myself to pay $5.98 for cereal that cost $3.88 at Raley’s, which meant I didn’t have any cereal this (Thursday) morning, but I digress. We got a muffin and an orange vitamin water, and went to wait in line. Well, they had just opened a new express lane, so I took third place behind a guy who just wandered up into line. I looked around, and got the attention of two women – both older, and one definitely a grandma – and asked if I should go to the end of the line for the original express lane, which stretched way into the produce section. They said, No, stay there.
Merry Christmas to us!
When we got home, Max had finished the ball pit. We discovered that 100 balls barely covers the floor of the pit, so Jack will get balls for his birthday. Jack had a blast, climbing all over the ball pit, sliding, tossing balls, sitting in balls, etc.
His birthmom called. It was while I was on the phone with her that I said, “I need to order more balls,” which she found hilarious! She has another new boyfriend. Her 17 year old sister had a baby girl last week. Fortunately, baby’s dad is in the picture and is steadily employed. Anyway – S’s son Iggy loved the drum set we sent. She was anxious to know what her present is. I ordered it in plenty of time but it still hasn’t gotten here. I have to call them tomorrow.
I think we got Jack to open a couple more presents, then managed to get him down for a nap.
I took a nap too, and wow did I have weird dreams. I hate dreaming when I nap.
My parents showed up just after Jack woke up, so I sent him down to them, and I washed my hair. Then, we sat down to dinner. Max always makes dinner. He’s very good at it.
After dinner, we did more presents. Jack opened one – a Boston Red Sox Mr. Potato Head from Nana (my mom). He wanted to open it and play with it, so I just distributed presents to Mom, Dad, Max, and myself, and we opened.
I was very happy with what I got this year. My grandmother got me my top three choices on my scrapbooking wish list (a mini-trimmer, decorative trimmer, and heart shape maker). My parents got us money (always appreciated). I also got a new diaper bag (the Royal Heinie), 4 reusable produce bags for the grocery store, socks with toes (I’ve been asking for them for years), some scrapbooking items from my aunt, some face cream (to which I’m likely allergic) from that same aunt, slippers from a different aunt, the Rhett Butler/Bonnie Blue Hallmark ornament, $15 iTunes card, Deceptively Delicious (from Jack’s godparents), a Boston Red Sox 2007 World Champions shirt (from the Swongers, one for each of us), and the Pooh Storybook Hallmark ornament. Jointly, Max and I received a NH ornament and cards from the Albuquerque hot air balloon festival.
We opened all of our presents and Jack was still playing with his Mr. Potato Head. Mom really wanted him to open the presents she had gotten him, so we distracted him long enough to convince him to open a couple more things. He wanted to play with each present he opened immediately. I think we got him to open three presents, plus his stocking, which was stuffed. Mom was getting impatient. She had gotten him a rocking horse, and wanted to bring it in from the car for Jack to see. I wanted to wait until Jack was ready to get another something – he was just so happy with each item he got, I figured we should use that to our advantage. Anyway, I finally said “OK”. The horse has buttons to make it whinny, neigh, and “clip-clop” for lack of a better term. My dad turned them on and Jack’s curiosity was piqued. He came into the front room, and yelled “Donkey!” We told him it was a horse. He didn’t care. He climbed right on. He played with it for quite some time, before my parents decided they needed to leave. So, we had dessert, after which they made a quick exit. We asked Jack if the horse had a name, and he said “Robyn!”. We’re teaching him that Mommy, Daddy, Nana, Grandpa, etc. all have more than one name. So, the horse may be Robi/yn or Donkey, we don’t know.
Jack seemed to want to open another present, so I asked him to open the one from our neighbors. I knew they had gotten him a garbage truck, and I knew that they would want to know what Jack thought. Well, Jack loved opening it, but, by this time (about 7pm), had had a lot of excitement. He was frustrated by how long it took me to get the toy out of the box. He couldn’t immediately figure out the buttons, etc. So, I asked him what he wanted, and he said, “Green one.” And I said, “You want a green garbage truck?” and he said, “Green garbage truck.” I smiled and chuckled and handed him another big present. He opened it, and it was a green garbage truck. We bought that before we knew the neighbors were getting him one. Theirs is orange, and it has a little garbage can with it. Ours is green and has a dumpster with it. They work completely differently. This made Jack very upset and he began to cry. He wanted the green truck to have a little can the way the orange truck did. And he wanted “David.” David is our trash man. He has been on vacation for the last month. Jack is very upset about this. Anyway, Jack was just crying about David and the “green ones” and I tried to help by giving him small items and wrapping paper to put in the trucks as trash. This made him happy until he couldn’t get all of the paper in, so he needed “Mommy do it” and the situation just went downhill from there.
So, we got him in his coat to go say thank you to the neighbors. This made him happy, as he got to go “outside” and see the “lights” and hug the neighbors. He came back and played with the orange truck without incident. Max wanted Jack to open the books and CDs that he had bought, so we did, and we read one of the books, then Jack completely melted down, and Max took him for a bath.
He still had about half of his presents wrapped under the tree.
December 26
I realized that to do thank you cards, I needed Jack to open all of his presents that weren’t from us or his grandparents. Through the course of the day, I got him to open those presents. He still has about 6 or 8 left, and we’ll hang on to those until Max’s parents come to visit in January. I effectively used bribery to get Jack to take a picture. I told him if he let me take a picture, he could have a chocolate from his “book” – an Advent calendar from the neighbors. Jack was happy with it, so Max gave him a chocolate and he was perfection for the photo shoot. I told him he was so good, he could have another chocolate after dinner.
After the photo shoot, I realized we needed to find places for these new things. We’re going to switch the rooms around, so the kitchen and the dining room are in the same place, and then the TV and all that will move to the front, which will then be the living/family room. But, until then, the toys need to be distributed. While doing that, I came to the realization that I could probably get more stuff (and work) done upstairs if Jack had a table and chairs in the computer room. Then I realized that he has a table and chairs outside. So, Jack and I brought them in and cleaned them off. Then, we went to the computer room to clean up. Jack was great. He only got on my nerves a little bit, and when he did, he went to his room to play. When he came back, I apologized for getting cross with him. He really helped, putting things in piles, taking stuff to different rooms as I asked, gathering trash. He had a plastic grocery bag, and he was stuffing papers into it, saying “I got cans”. I was confused at first – then I realized, my Dad comes over every week and takes aluminum cans out in a plastic grocery bag, while saying “I got the cans” over and over again. So, it was really cute. Then, it got to be bath time, and I realized that Jack hadn’t gotten his second chocolate. So I told him to stand at the top of the stairs and yell “Daddy, chocolate, please” which he did! Max didn’t understand, so had to go back down and get the chocolate. But Jack was great for the rest of the evening.
And that was Christmas at our house. How was yours?


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