There was no reason to get Edith much for Christmas — she has a ton of toys and books already, and she isn’t even all that interested in toys. Her favorite game at the moment is repeatedly filling up and emptying a large clear plastic bucket with whatever odds-and-ends she can find. “Bucket!” she announces lovingly at it, when she enters her playroom in the morning. And of course, I want to raise her free from the gross excesses of capitalist consumption, prizing experiences and people over things, etc. So I planned to get her at most two well considered gifts.
Imagine my surprise then to awaken Christmas morning to an absolute mountain of wrapped gifts beneath the tree. Stranger still, I myself had apparently bought and wrapped at least 90% of them. I’m still not entirely sure how it happened.
Edith has loved having a tree in the house, but she didn’t really understand the gift giving. Christmas has been a wonderful time for her, though — there’ve been many more adults in the house than usual and so she’s had a ton of participation in her nightly dance parties. (Edith has instituted a tradition of wild uninhibited dancing and drumming every night after her bath. It’s an exhausting way to end the day for a house full of old people, but it’s entirely mandatory — every time I sit down, Edith points at me like a Caesar and thunders, “Mama! Dance.” and I obediently get back up and caper. We’re reenacting The Red Shoes every night here. Guests are at first charmed by this, until they realize it’s not going to stop.)
Also I have been off work and focused on Edith for almost a full week and there have been lots of activities. On Christmas Eve, we went to her nanny’s house, which was packed full of happy people and children. Whenever we go over there, my normally clingy child disappears into the crowd like she doesn’t know me and if it were up to her, we would never leave. I see her periodically being carried past on someone’s shoulders or spot her standing atop a table with a crowd of laughing women feeding scraps of chicken into her mouth.
Then, my goal for my week off work was to do something new and fun with Edith every day. On Monday morning, we went to a children’s playground down in San Marcos, and there was nobody there. Edith loved it, and I realized that merry-go-rounds were invented to torture parents. Also, there were these neat tandem swings with a baby swing and an adult swing linked, so that Edith and I could swing together facing each other, which let her combine two of her top activities — swinging and grinning moonily at my face.
On Tuesday, my dad and I took her to a children’s museum down in New Braunfels. It was a little advanced for Edith, but she had a good time anyhow. She ignored most of the cleverly wrought child-size exhibits in favor of gawking at a fish tank, trying to get into the bathrooms, and then running outside to throw her little toy monkey into the water works. It was a neat museum, though, and I can wait to take her back when she’s a little older.
On Wednesday, the whole family went to the Austin Zoo, which is a small rescue zoo. Most of the animals were sleeping, but Edith got to see some monkeys, which was the main reason we went. She also got to feed some goats and an alpaca, which was the highlight of the trip and which she enjoyed very much; second best was watching two turtles eat a salad.
Yesterday, Edith had her first playdate — we met a Mom and a little girl from baby gym at this neat play place that I will definitely take Edith back to. At baby gym the other little girl likes to follow Edith around like a shadow but yesterday, they both utterly ignored each other. Edith had a fantastic time, though, climbing ladders by herself against my protest and wheeling a doll all over in a tiny stroller, and she played the most independently she’s EVER played. She actually fully ignored me for two hours, leaving me free to converse with the other mom. I can’t remember the last time I had an uninterrupted conversation with another adult. I felt a little anxious about it, like I would pay for it later, somehow, but so far so good.
Today I am working and our nanny is still off, so Edith is spending the day with grandpa. While this would have been a real treat several months ago, she is going through a phase now where she wants to be in physical contact with me 24/7 and I can hear her in her playroom wailing as if her dearest love were lost at sea, which I’m sure makes my father feel great about having to wake up early and babysit all day. So I guess Christmas is officially over.