Before having kids, I anxiously awaited the time when I would be a mom and my kids would be in those wonderful years where they truly believed in Santa and the magic of Christmas. I dreamed of angelic children, wearing pretty party dresses (and gorgeous red coats). The trips to the carousel downtown, pictures with Santa, baking and decorating sugar cookies, matching Christmas jammies... I could hardly wait to turn the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas into one long stretch of merriment. Cocoa and carols. Presents and parties. Oh, the fun we'd have.
Now, while we are doing all of those things (and for the most part they're wonderful), this year I've noticed another side to Christmas with kids -- the side of Christmas that causes parents to consume lots and lots of egg nog. At four, my daughter's enthusiasm is on a whole, new level. She seems to have an electrical current of Christmas excitement coursing through her little body at every moment of every day. In years past, we'd have our fun experiences and moments, but the rest of our days went on, largely as any other. This year however, it's a constant, pulsating thump of expectations and excitement.
We do our advent calendar right after breakfast, starting the day off on a high. While that miniscule drop of chocolate is hardly enough to give her a sugar rush, the fun, new infusion into her morning routine is enough to start things off on a wild high. Things pretty much continue on in that vein for the rest of the day. Christmas cards arrive in the mail, the tree lights are turned on and off, inflatable yard ornaments are sighted, carols are heard, Christmas specials are watched on TV...
All of this anticipation-building merriment and excitement has changed her at a seemingly molecular level. She less resembles a young girl and more resembles a top, spinning around out of control until she crashes (or I do -- I admit to calling my husband in tears more than once this season). A four-year-old, bouncing off the walls in excitement is bound to find themselves in a fair number of time-outs and enacting more than their fair share of naughty behavior.
I have found myself so close to yelling "This is Christmas! We're supposed to be having festive, holiday fun, damn it! Start behaving yourself."
A true "Christmas girl" myself, I never thought I'd say this, but I need to find a way to survive the holidays. Somehow, I need to figure out how to calm and center our lives at home, so that we can go out and enjoy the fun festivities without the constant crashes. If Christmas is crack for kids, how do I maintain a comfortable, base-level high, without the wild rushes and dramatic crashes experienced by less-careful drug users?