Although my daughter cannot be pried out of bed even with a crowbar on most mornings, she was up bright and early on Christmas Day. I was already awake, because the foster puppy apparently needed to get an early start on his evil-doing. He was up by 6:00 a.m. As any dog person will tell you, when a puppy wakes up and starts wandering around . . . you get up, too. You don't just let him wander around because you're "sure he'll be fine." Nothing good can come of an unattended puppy.
We decided to gate off the living room while we opened gifts. The dogs (including the puppy) sat on the other side of the gate, looking very put out. A climbed the gate and then dove in. Santa brought her a bean bag chair and she was thrilled. It's a fuzzy fuchsia affair with sequins on it. Santa also brought her several items from her list, including a stuffed horse, clothes, a DVD, a CD, and I can't remember what else. Her Meemaw and aunties hooked her up, too. My mom made her a beautiful robe. My middle sister got her a sleeping bag with A's name on it. My baby sister got her a shirt from Justice. Santa brought her an ugly rainbow blanket from Justice, so the kid was thrilled to get two things from that store.
I could see a definite shift in how Christmas went down this year. Now that the kid is a little older, there are slightly fewer toys. Sometimes P and I still have flashbacks to Christmas of past years, when we spent the entire day trying to liberate a Dora play set from its box. Just when you think you've just about freed the doll from the box, you find that her hair is actually stapled to the cardboard. Ai-yi-yi. Although some kids hate getting clothes for Christmas, my daughter actually had clothes on her list. I got her some red boots that I would love to wear myself and some cute outfits from Gymboree and Crazy 8. Both stores had kick-ass sales right before Christmas.
After the frenzy of unwrapping was done, we got dressed and headed to our niece and nephew's house for a potluck lunch. My family is far away but P has relatives in the area. We rotate with hosting responsibilities for Christmas Day. Next year it will be our turn. I brought along a casserole and a pastry. A was thrilled to have a chance to play with her cousins. The challenge that we always run into is that A is an only child, our nephew's daughter is an only child, and P's brother's daughter is an only child. So we had three young girls with iffy sharing skills trying to get along. It went well for a while and then eventually all three were mad at each other for various reasons. That's how we knew it was time to wrap things up and head home.
My daughter had a bunch of items on her Christmas list that included the word "maker." Slushie maker, cotton candy maker, ice cream maker, etc. I didn't fall for any of that, but our niece and nephew did. They got her a cotton candy maker. "Thaaaaaaaanks," I said when A opened the gift. I made a mental note to buy their kid a drum kit next year. So, of course, we hadn't even made it back to our house before she started asking about making cotton candy. P decided to humor her and the two of them sat down together to give it a try. He read the instructions while she impatiently waved a paper wand around, ready to catch the spun sugar as it flew out of the machine. Only . . . it didn't fly out. It turns out you can't just dump in the colored sugar. You have to sift it in slowly. P had to scoop it back out and then try again. Eventually, at long last, some wisps of cotton candy began to appear. By that time, the kid had gotten bored and went to her room to play with a new art set. So, I grabbed the paper wand and started twirling it inside the cotton candy machine.
I pulled it out and grabbed a pinch of cotton candy for tasting. "Oh, it's . . . ummmm, gritty," I said. "What flavor is it?"
I tried another pinch but could not place the flavor. I had no context for it, I guess. By then, the kid had re-emerged and swept more of the cotton candy onto the cone. She tried a pinch also. "Oh," she said.
We're going to try another flavor next time. We're also going to try following the directions more closely.
*I asked Santa not to put any chocolate in my stocking, so he tossed in a few mini bottles of booze instead. I'm either vaguely offended or secretly delighted. Or both.