I love December. I really, really do. It's finally cool weather here (sometimes). We are getting a break from soccer (sometimes). We do less schoolwork (always). Best of all, I get to prepare for my most favoritest holiday ever!
I LOVE love, love, love Christmas. It's always been my favorite, from way-back-when when I couldn't sleep all Christmas Eve, both from the excitement and anticipation of what the next morning would bring, and from the upset stomach that my sister always seemed to have all night long on that particular night. Every year. (But that's another story ; ).
Now that I'm all grown up (sometimes, ha!), I love Christmas even more. I love the decorating, the cookie-making, the wrapped gifts, the nativity setting-up, the preparations. Harry Connick Jr.'s Christmas singing voice just is really icing on the cake!
So (of course) it stands to reason that Firefly is an absolute wreck for the month of December--regularly, every December. It's finally cool weather here, and she does.not.like.to.be.cold. Ever.
We get a break from soccer. She NEEDS soccer.
We do less schoolwork. Yeah, I don't think she really has much of a problem with that, truthfully. *wink*
I am super-excited about my favoritest holiday ever. She gets super-stressed out.
The anticipation is not a friend to my Firefly. And to make it more of a "the joke's on me" kind of thing, Firefly's birthday is six days before Christmas. Nice. Kind of like adding fuel to the already-burning-six-feet-high-fire.
But this December I was going to be smart. I remembered the month that was, last December. I had prepared, emotionally and physically, as best as I could.
I completely changed up lesson plans. We took a break from regular schoolwork (except for Math--yes, I am an evil Mommy), and began a Christmas Unit Study, focusing on what Christmas is really all about.
I found www.crossfitkids.com and we spent time each day with some quality, fun exercise.
We tried to keep bedtimes stable.
We didn't travel.
We brought the Snuggie into Firefly's room from the family room and she slept in it.
I tried to not make her wear socks.
We didn't do a countdown to her birthday.
Reward: instead of the month-that-had-been the December before, where heart-wrenching and miserable were our keywords the entire month, we made it a full two weeks into December before we--correction--I--dreaded waking-up time.
This is progress.
Baby steps, people, baby steps.
It IS progress. I need to remind myself of that time and time and time again. I write these posts and I look back and I remember. Our lives when Firefly was two and three and four are so different from what they are today. SO different.
I think that's one of the main reasons I write here. When we are in the midst of it, when those last two weeks of December are full of "eggshell" days, tantrums, yelling (yep, mostly mine), and tears, and the days are SO long and I am SO exhausted at the end of them, it seems impossible. It seems unfair. Unfair that my favorite time of year is marred by my child. Unfair that I can't pass on my love of this holiday to my child. Then I am angry and guilty and ashamed, which of course adds to the miserableness (guess I really like to make up words, huh?) of the whole thing.
And then I look back. Well, first of all, I take a bath, or a locked door, or a trip to Target, or a glass of wine, and I look back. I try to remember. Constant miserableness was age three. Constant guilt and anger and shame was age four. Fights, tantruming, questioning, doubting, anxiety--that was age five.
Now she is nine and we had two good weeks in her toughest time of the year.
Dear God, help me to remember. Help me to see her progress. Most of all, help me to see her. And enjoy her. Today. Help me to find ways to comfort her in the midst of the miserable. Please comfort us both.
Next December, I'm aiming for three weeks. ; )