Here are all the things I'm not doing right this very minute: I'm not cleaning Will's room, I'm not sweeping the stairs, I'm not cleaning the bathrooms. I'm not sweeping under the bookshelves in the living room. Not hanging garland on the staircase railing, not hanging tinsel in the upstairs hallway, not putting up more decorations on the mantel.
I am: drinking coffee. Later I will: finish the Christmas cards. Of all the Christmas chores that cause much duress during this festive season, this is actually one of my favorites. I write a silly one-page letter to stuff in the cards, and I add a tiny personal note, and I don't send them to anyone who doesn't appreciate silly Christmas letters and homemade cards. I like addressing the envelopes and putting on stamps.
I have decided the boys will finish the Christmas baking. I made about two pounds of Christmas cookie dough yesterday, which ought to hold us for the duration. Jack is capable of rolling it and cutting out cookies; Will is good at putting on the colored sugar.
On Monday, Jack can bake ginger snaps. The one baking chore I'll do is make the brownies, just because there's a lot of steps involved--I use the Joy of Cooking recipe (circa 1960) that calls for bringing the eggs to room temperature and melting the chocolate and butter and letting it cool--and Jack's a good baker, but there's a limit to how much a nine-year-old boy can get right.
Yesterday I mailed out the tips to our newspaper carriers. We get two papers, delivered by two different people, only one of whom consistently lands the paper on the driveway. The other carrier plops it in the grass in the middle of the yard almost everyday. Since the grass is almost always wet in the morning, my feet are almost always wet when I carry the paper into the house. I thought about calling to complain, but I don't want anyone to lose their job because I have wet feet.
I mentioned this dilemma to a friend, who suggested I might put a nice note with a Christmas tip asking the carrier to at least aim for the driveway. So I did. I tried to make the note very diplomatic and blameless and southern--"We sure do appreciate it when the paper is on the driveway--the grass is awfully wet in the morning!"
We'll see what happens. I forgot to tip last year, so making me tramp across the yard every morning may be the carrier's revenge. Let's hope twenty bucks sets things straight.
I think Jack has finally figured out there's no Santa Claus. He hasn't said anything, but he isn't talking about Santa, either. Usually he's full of speculation about what Santa Claus is going to bring him, but this year he's only talking about what my husband and I might get him. I also think he's been nosing about the closets.
You know, I was such a sneaky kid, always looking in drawers and reading things I shouldn't be reading, that it seems only fitting that Jack should be the same. Maybe it's just the nature of being nine, almost ten. You're figuring out that the world isn't quite what you thought it was. You're suspicious. You start keeping secrets. Hiding your DS under your pillow so you can play it when you're supposed to be sleeping.
I remember being that way when I was Jack's age. I don't know if my parents had a clue or not as to what I was up to, or if it didn't occur to them that I'd peek in their closet at Christmas time to see what I was going to get (I always regretted doing this, by the way--it's no fun not to be surprised Christmas morning!). I know Jack thinks we're clueless, but both my husband and I were such conniving little kids, we know all the tricks. Most of the tricks. Boy, I hope we remember at least a few of the tricks.
The teenage years are going to be the death of me.
Off to my mother-in-law's tomorrow. The Cousins are having a party for all the little kids, which they do every year. All sorts of inappropriate gifts will be handed out--guns for the boys, street walker dolls for the girls, PG-13 movies for the five-year-olds. I used to get peeved by this, but now I just laugh as I'm dumping it all into the trash. The Cousins mean well, they really do. These are my husband's oldest cousins (he has roughly 300 of them), who are in their sixties, their children long grown and gone. They've forgotten a lot about little kids. But as long as they don't forget the barbecue and the hot sauce, everything's cool.
Have a great weekend! When you find yourself feeling stressed, sit down and make a list of all the things you don't have to do right now. Start with not cleaning the bathrooms. I recommend it.