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Oop's Second Christmas

Filed in:Alexandra

Oop's Second Christmas

January 15th, 2005  · stk

There's a lot to be said for the health benefits of breast milk! Not that breast milk is the primary topic for Alex's second Christmas, but had she still been consuming breast milk, she might not have gotten sick. For her first year of life, Alex was very healthy. Not one cold, sickness or anything - the picture of perfect health. Just before Christmas, however, Alex contracted her very FIRST cold. It was a miserable affair and for the first time, we were the proud parents of a 'snotty-nosed' kid! We felt sorry for the poor Oop. What a bad time to be sick.

Alex's cold notwithstanding, Christmas was nearly a non-event in our Edmonton home. First, Rachel was entrenched in final exams, studying day and night, right until the very end of the term - December 20th. Secondly, because of Alex (the curious one), we delayed setting up the Christmas tree - and for good reason. When we finally did put up the tree, just after Rachel finished her finals, Alex was supremely interested in the lights, the ornaments & the wrapped presents. We have gradually 'kid-proofed' our home & we were used to leaving Alex, unattended, in the living room. Not with the tree! Every time we turned around, she was pulling off ornaments. On more than one occasion, Scott entered the living room, only to discover that Alex was actually eating the tops off of the glass orbs. "Crunch, crunch," she went, munching on glass with her 12 new teeth! Yites! (We've heard of college fraternity boys eating light bulbs, but this was ridiculous!)

It took only a few days before most of the ornaments below about 3 and a half feet, were moved to the relative safety of higher ground. We had a very odd-looking Christmas tree - one that was bereft of ornaments below about 3 feet and then, a plethora of ornaments above that point. It looked like the tree had been decorated by someone who couldn't bend over. The top-heavy tree was odd, but you do what you have to, when you have a tiny, curious, tot running around the place.

What's Christmas without a trip to see Santa Claus? We've got a great picture with Santa, on her first Christmas, but we were pushing our luck this year, what with her cold and everything. Rachel took Alex out, as she normally does, when she went grocery shopping. One store led to another and it was very late in the afternoon before Rachel returned home, grabbed Scott & headed out to the Abbotsfield Mall for Alex's second Santa photo. Unfortunately, Alex was bushed when we entered the mall. The cold and her tiredness caught up with her & she wasn't very much in the mood to meet the big fat man. She just wasn't her normal, extroverted self, reaching out to be picked up. She approached Santa, a bit fearful of the red giant, but wouldn't have anything to do with sitting in his lap. She did the normal kid-thing: she cried! Alex was happy to hang out with the head elf (whom we suspect was Mrs. Claus). She was very happy to observe other kids sitting on Santa's lap, while she looked on from the lap of the head elf. We did get the above photo of Alex, as she approached the big dude, right before her big breakdown.

As we've said before, Edmonton may be cold, but that's more than made up for by the generosity & kindness (we call it the "warmth") of our neighbors. On Christmas eve, we were visited by our neighbors, Grant & Diane. They brought gifts. One for Alex (a royal-red bathrobe, with a cute reindeer emblem). And one for us - a tin of tasty chocolate treats! We in-turn, gave them a present for "Roxy", their dog (a huge ham bone). I don't think it was a fair exchange, but then again, if you ask Roxy ... she might beg to differ! "Woof, woof," goes Roxy. "Woof, woof," goes Alex. (She has Roxy to thank for learning what a dog says).

On the BIG day, it was us, the parents, who woke Alex to remind her that it was that very special day - Christmas! (We wonder if this will be the last year we have to do that? Kids are generally quick to catch on to the whole idea of Christmas.) Alex was a bit groggy, as we really DID have to wake her up (usually, it's the other way around and on most mornings, Alex has become our wake-up call). In Rachel's family tradition, we began the day opening our stockings, in bed. (But not before a cup of tea for Rachel & coffee for Scott). Alex enjoyed opening gifts, playing with her new presents (spill-proof sippy cup & socks, among other things). She also enjoyed playing with the wrapping and the boxes that the gifts came in. Toys? Who needs stinking toys? EVERYTHING is a toy for Alex!

By the time we made our way downstairs, it was WAY past Alex's breakfast time. So, the first order of business was to eat. We fixed a special bacon & egg meal and Alex enjoyed her bits of bacon, along with her normal fare - Cheerios as finger-food, hot multi-grain cereal & some sticky banana bits. After breakfast, the phone began to ring & geez, we hadn't even made it into the living room to open gifts yet!

Phone calls were extra special this Christmas. BOTH sets of grandparents got a very special "HI" from their favorite granddaughter. (We've been practicing with Alex for ages, trying to get her to say 'hi' on the phone. She's even got a real phone, just like ours, which we found in the front yard. She'll pick it up and talk into the wrong end. "Hi," she says. Heck, she even picks up the TV remote control & uses it like a phone, holding it to her face & saying, "Hi." So, for all of this practice, you'd think she'd be a pro on the phone. Nope. See, the thing is ... none of her phones talk back! So, when it comes to the real deal, she steadfastly refuses to say ANYTHING & generally just pushes the phone away. Frustrating.

Not today! Each set of grandparents got a very distinct "Hi!" from their grandkid. Their very first 'hello'. :)

With the long-distance greetings completed, it was now early afternoon and we finally set upon the task of opening our gifts. Of course, most of the fun gift-giving was directed at the wee one. Rachel and Scott, acting very much like an old married couple, pretty much knew what they were giving each other. There were few 'surprises'. For Alex, however, EVERYTHING was a surprise! She quickly became quite adroit at gift opening, although the wrapping paper was as fun as the gift inside! She didn't understand the concept that gifts were for a variety of people, some for her and some were NOT for her! (Perhaps this will come later?)

The very first present was one from Santa Claus himself (it wasn't wrapped and was lying out in the open). Grandpa Kimler (the particular "Santa" for this gift) was very insistent that Alex have a 'Popcorn Popper', as it was one of Scott's favorite toys and the grandparents always knew where Scott was, in the house, by the distant and distinct sound of the 'Popcorn Popper'. (Apparently, he was addicted to the toy). Alex received some instruction in the use of this new toy and showed some initial interest, but we must admit, she hasn't yet gotten the hang of the thing and it's been mostly sitting idle, waiting for her to 'get it'. (She has a difficult time driving the thing and it goes great, as long as it's on the carpet and until it runs into the wall, the table, the counter or some other obstacle. Then, frustrated because it's not going where she wants, she just picks it up and drags it behind her ... oblivious to the fact that it's no longer doing it's thing - POPPING.) We think that the cat is fairly happy that Alex hasn't figured out the whole popcorn popping thing, because it means more restful naps for him!

Alex had a very exciting afternoon and at one point, so manic was she about opening presents and bouncing off the walls, that we were forced to get out the playpen and put Alex inside of it. It was the only way we could control which presents she opened and which ones she didn't! We figured that she would dislike being in the playpen, but no, in her normal take-life-as-it-comes way, she accepted her fate with grace. She received lots of great presents - soft cuddly stuffed animals, socks, clothes, toys & even a book (or two). We thank everyone for thinking of Alex on her second Christmas! She had a great time, but it wasn't over yet!

This Christmas was special for us, in many ways. First, it was our very first 'white Christmas' (though we had little doubt that it would be anything BUT white, way up here in Edmonton!) It was still nice to be able to look out the window and see snow. We really didn't even need a Christmas tree, as we have a HUGE live one, smack dab in the middle of our front yard.

We missed not being with family, however. We anticipate that next year we'll have to either have family visit or travel. Phone calls are nice, but not anything as close as actually sharing the day with loved ones.

While we were without our families this year, we were graciously invited to share Christmas dinner with Dave and Andrea's family. (We met these friends through Rachel's nursing program. Andrea is in the same fast-track program, has a daughter 'Jordan' who is only 3 days older than Alex, the age difference between her & Dave is roughly the same as that between Rachel & Scott). Andrea's folks were visiting, as was her sister and her family & another friend (and his daughter) were invited also. So, we bundled Alex up and took her over to their very full house, where Alex continued her exciting afternoon by playing with other kids (there were a total of 4 kids all running around, plus an infant). We had a wonderful turkey and ham dinner, along with lively conversation. Thanks Dave and Andrea, for making our Christmas even more special.

Alex was tuckered out from all of her excitement. She hadn't napped AT ALL, ALL DAY! (She normally goes down for a morning nap AND an afternoon nap as well). Still, as exhausted as she was, there was just way TOO MUCH happening all around her & she couldn't think of taking a nap! Rachel finally did manage to calm her down & she was just nearly asleep, when someone startled her and it reminded her of everything she was missing. Back into manic mode, running around, batting eyelashes at all the adults & being her cute, gregarious little self. Finally, Mom & Dad decided to pull the plug and take their very tired little girl home. It was snowing like crazy as we made our way home and our little girl fell promptly asleep in her car seat. Christmas was over! What a huge, exciting day for tiny Alex.

It will be a day she may not remember, but Mom & Dad will, especially because they ended up taking Alex to the emergency ward at 2 o'clock in the morning! But that's another story, for another day ... (Boxing Day). The excitement never ends!

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Updated: 15-May-2005
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1.flag Karen Lovegrove Comment
You have to remember Scott, Alex is a girl and you were a boy when the pop corn machine was running around the house. She may prefer a grocery cart.
2.flag stk Comment
That's true, but was grandpa Kimler that got Alex the popcorn popper. I don't mind getting her a grocery cart, but I draw the line at the credit card! She'll want to go with it! :D