Carrie Maldonado – Writer

Freelance writer, wordsmith, and novelist

Ah, Christmas! The most wonderful time of the year, when all the children are so enraptured by the magic of love, and giving, and our Savior’s birth that they are inspired to be their very best selves, thus creating joy wherever they go.

And then there’s our house, where unbearable anticipation meets above average sugar consumption to create a perfect poop-storm of tantrums, unacceptable moodiness, and unrealistic expectations. And the kids are a bit off their game, too. This year, like every year, I’m trying to keep their rampant materialism in check by reminding them WHY we celebrate Christmas and taking the spotlight off the big guy in red and putting it on the bigger guy on the cross (an effort not particularly supported by our media or popular culture, I may add).

Fortunately, our kids go to a preschool at our church so they are aware that we are actually celebrating Jesus’s birthday and why. In fact, Bisky made up a whole song about it. It’s actually more of a ballad, as it takes about a minute and a half to get through it. It starts off with the days of the week song, followed by months of the year which transitions rather abruptly into Jesus and what He did for us, then back into a drum medley and I think some random thoughts about Santa.

The boys, on the other hand are entranced with our nativity scene and play with it for minutes a time (they’re two…this is a big deal). Of course, they appear to be playing some kind of war game between the sheep and the cows and I had to rescue Baby Jesus because it just seems wrong for Him to be used as a missile, but I figure it’s a good start.

And speaking of school and church, once again there will be a preschool Christmas show and this year a Christmas Eve video our church produced. The show involves the New Twos (Frick and Frack’s class) standing in a line, shaking bells and singing Jingle Bells. They’ve been practicing in class for weeks and frankly they’re a disaster. If I was the teacher, I would just claim everyone had the flu and couldn’t perform – it’s that bad.

Just kidding, but it is hilarious watching them practice. They actually all do really well at running to the wall and shaking their bells. They shake those bells like nobody’s business, in fact. Too bad shaking AND singing seem to be beyond them. It’s not like they don’t know the song! #NoBen and #StopThatAiden spontaneously burst into the melody and an approximation of the words all the time, but apparently the jingle bells induce muteness. So the fact that there will be no wall to stand against on stage AND people watching leads me to believe that the New Two’s contribution will essentially be about 30 second of cuteness followed by crying, screaming, and trying to run off the stage, with the teacher valiantly and desperately trying to hold it together and being the only voice actually singing. I could be wrong, but I’ll lay a twenty that I’m not. Come to think of it, maybe they should just do a creative interpretation of Silent Night and just stand there being adorable for two minutes…

Bisky’s class is also doing two songs. I’m sure they’ll be fine. Last year her class did great…all except Bisky who for the first time in her life didn’t want to be in the spotlight and sat down on the stage, legs splayed, staring at her sparkly toes while all the other kids sang “I’m the Happiest Christmas Tree”. Sigh. All I can say is, I hope she wears pants not a dress like last year.

The video, on the other hand will be something else. Our church decided to tell the story of Christmas with little kids telling the story. The asked if Bisky could be part of it since they were looking for “kids with big personalities”. I said yes but warned them that willingness on her part might be unpredictable. At first she was elated, but the day before filming she decided she was shy and wouldn’t do it. I’m not proud to admit that I threatened her by telling her that if she didn’t participate…to the FULLEST…I would postpone Christmas decorating by one day. That did the trick, and she did awesome. I’m really looking forward to seeing the final product.

The only thing that truly saddens me this season is the lack of family pictures I will have to mark this year, as one of my children has refused to wear clothes altogether and I am certainly not going to post nudie shots, even though he wouldn’t mind at THIS age due to his propensity to ‘show his privates’ to any and everyone. In fact, just this week we had a play date and Bisky shouted down that he had, in fact, showed his privates to Bisky’s friend who DOESN’T have little brothers and hasn’t been seeing boy privates for the last 2 ½ years. Bisky was very indignant and explained to her brother “Showing your privates to company is the WORSTEST thing you can do. Right Mommy?”

Being indignant over wardrobe choice is a little funny coming from the Princess, considering that Every. Single. Day she refuses to wear her coat and wheedles to carry it instead, ‘just in case’…just in case what? I always tell her.  It’s literally FREEZING out there. It turns into a battle every time which I usually decide is not worth the mental energy to fight but her determination to resist me encourages me that if there is ever a reign of terror when she is older (and assuming she is not the reign-ER) that she will be a passionate advocate for the oppressed and maybe win the day for the whole world. Until then PUT YOUR FREAKING COAT ON, ALREADY!

I’m sure she’ll concede to coat-wearing at some point, and confident that our little nudist will cover up eventually. Maybe next year we can have some family shots again. Next week we are going to the mall to visit Santa and I’m reasonably sure everyone will be fully clothed. I hope…to be continued, I guess.

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