First off let me say I got one of my wishes: a computer of my
own! To be sure, it's an ancient Toshiba laptop with no mouse,
running XP, but beggars can't be choosers. It's a computer,
and it's so gnarly no-one else will want to use it!
Today is the last day of Christmas holidays. At the beginning
of the two weeks off school, Delphine was pretty miserable. She
likes school better than home, probably because school notably
lacks an annoying little sister. Also school is thick with
structure and full of activities: she never has to wonder what
to do next at school. So she and I both were a little nervous
at the start of the holiday.
The first weekend we attended the annual Party Across The Street,
the party the whole block goes to. All twelve houses worth! Delphine was feeling sick, though, so she only stayed for a little
while. Sunday she was feeling better and good thing too, because it
was the first day of Hanukkah and we had my friend Kat over
for latkes and cabbage soup and some Doctor Whos. We scared
the crap out of her with Blink and that one with the
gas mask kid.
On Monday Delphine and I left Blake and
Cordelia behind and went downtown to do some Christmas shopping. Delphine
has only been downtown a few times, not counting
swimming lessons on Bloor and Riverdale Farm, so it is still
a big adventure for her. We went to the Eaton Centre, shopped
in vain for a winter jacket for Zaida, got some presents for
Daddy and had sushi and ice cream. Delphine ooh-ed and aah-ed
at the Swarovski crystal Christmas tree, and at the fountain.
I told her the secret to finding a nice clean, empty bathroom
when the mall is busy (go to the top floor of one of the
department stores), and we bought me some underwear. Yay!
On Tuesday we went tobogganing with friends, which is to say we all
went to the park and then I peeled off to do some errands.
I meant to be back in time to toboggan, but by the time I
was finished shopping everyone had retreated to our friends'
place for lunch. (It was the book store, the book store always
takes longer than you think.) Then Delphine stayed at said
friend's house for the rest of the afternoon for some
The next day was Christmas Eve. Due to in-law difficulties (not
with my in-laws, though) we had decided to have Christmas Dinner on
Christmas Eve, at Baba and Zaida's house. (I know, there's just
something weird about Christmas Dinners at Baba and Zaida's
house. We're a modern family.) However, I'm obviously the
big Christmas maven (heh) around here and Christmas Dinner
is my baby, so I sent over three giant bags of food and
equipment in Zaida's car in the morning, then drove myself
and the girls crazy cleaning our house while Blake worked. It was a
pretty rotten morning but it was the only time this whole
Christmas season when I got stressed and overwhelmed, which
is a big improvement over last year when pretty much all of
December sucked. After the house was clean enough I shoved
the girls over to Baba and Zaida's in a very unseasonable
rainstorm, and Baba took over childcare/napping while I
cooked away. I did prime rib (part of our quarter cow), roast
potatoes and Yorkshire puddings and gravy, and Baba did green beans.
For afters we had Christmas pudding (I made five Christmas
puddings this year! That might be too many!) with brandy
butter and whipped cream, and some of the vast selection of
cookies baked by Baba's friend Bob. Bob starts baking in
September or October and bakes, like twenty different kinds of
cookies and bars, and then disseminates his handywork to all
his friends. Hooray for Bob!
After dinner we headed home and did all the Santa juju, with
the cookies and port (no milk for Santa at our house, we do it
English-style), and stockings hung
on doorknobs (Delphine) and dining chairs (Cordelia. Don't ask
me, it wasn't my idea) with care. Delphine declared she was going to stay
up and wait for Santa, but Delphine couldn't stay up if there
were a real live pony in it for her, and within ten minutes
she was gone. Then I got down to the real hard Santa work
and finally crawled into bed by ten thirty or so.
The nice thing about having children who wake up really early
normally is that you're used to it, so when they wake up
really early Christmas Day it's not such a shock. We had
coached the girls that they should open their stockings
before waking us up, so we got to sleep until 7. Christmas
Day unfolded as it should, with some stocking opening, a light
breakfast, opening some presents. The whole family and
a friend came over for brunch, catered by Morgan and Erik,
and there was ample sitting around talking and eating more
cookies and the traditional Terry's chocolate orange and
giant Toblerone bar. Finally everyone left, and there was
more present opening. Delphine declared herself to have
received too many books and activity books (and to be
sure, she did receive plenty of both) but I think she
ended up pretty happy. Her favourite thing was a sewing kit
I put together out of some sheets of felt from the dollar
store, some fine yarn, actual grown-up needles and actual
grown-up scissors. Actual grown-up stuff is a huge deal
when you're five. I think Cordelia's favourite thing was
the baby doll she got from Baba and Zaida (technically
a Hanukkah gift).
Boxing Day was officially my day off: the house was clean,
the fridge was full of leftovers, and everyone was amused with
their new toys and books and activity books. I had nothing
to do! So I read my Christmas book (that collection of short
stories) in the morning and in the afternoon Tanya and her
brood came over and we ate more and compared schwag.
The next day we had Cordelia's friend Henry over for a
playdate and lunch. Henry was a little sick and had a
minor meltdown and he and his Mom had to leave without
really enjoying their lunch, but the kids did get to play
a little bit. Morgan came over for lunch too, and we
gave her her birthday present. Later we had more latkes
with Kat and Baba and Zaida. After the kids went to bed
Kat and Blake and I watched Juno, and I made Kat cry.
Christmas is hard.
Sunday no-one came over and we didn't do anything. Delphine
was happy; I told her on Saturday the Baba and Zaida were
coming over and she said "I don't want any more company!" She
has very specific needs, that one.
Monday my friend Ellen and her million children (actually
three but two of them are louder or more rambunctious than
average) came over. I love Ellen. We always have fun when
she and her kids come over, but after this visit we decided that we
should try and get Dexter and Delphine together sometime
without younger siblings so they can play properly.
Tuesday we all went out together up Mount Pleasant to the
drugstore and the library and the toystore. Delphine spent
her Christmas money, all five dollars of it, on a pocket
sized one of those little magnetic drawing pads. She said
"it's just like Daddy's little computer!"
Wednesday, New Year's Eve, we all slept in until 8. Normally
that would be great, but I had hoped to head down to the AGO
early. I always like to get places early because usually
they're less busy, and so that we can get home in plenty of time
for Cordelia's nap. In reality we didn't get downtown until
11:00. However, an hour at the art gallery is really all
Cordelia's good for. Delphine is at an awesome age for the
art gallery - she is becoming interested in how to draw
things "well", and we can talk about what colours the artist
uses, whether pictures are pretty or not, whether we like
them or not. With Cordelia it's more, "Don't touch
that, Cordelia. Please don't run, Cordelia. Could you
be more quiet, Cordelia?" We went for lunch at the food
court I used to go to when I worked downtown, and I had
a number 4 at New Thai Food: cashew chicken with sticky rice and papaya
Blake and I stayed up late on New Year's Eve, but it
was pretty lame. We ended up watching George Strombouloupoulos's
interview with Sarah Palin because there was so nothing on,
and that's ten minutes of my life I'd love to have
New Year's Day Delphine had a friend over, and the
next day we went skating! I hadn't been skating since I
was a kid, and Delphine and Cordelia have never skated before. Before
we went skating we went to the local skate shop and spent
$200 on skates, mainly for me. I got some of these
new comfort skates. Comfort skates! They're purple! Skating
was very much
fun; I was surprised by how quickly I picked it back up
again. I wasn't up to speed by any means, but I figured out
how to go forwards, how to go backwards, and how to stop. Delphine
got pretty good too, in an hour or so. She isn't
quite skating properly but she can keep her balance. Even
Cordelia did quite well, although when you're that short
and enshrouded in a snowsuit it's hardly catastrophic when
you fall over. Kind of fun, actually.
That brings us to yesterday and today, which was a fairly
regular weekend. I had taken the tree and decorations down
on Thursday and Friday, so the house is all back to normal
and tomorrow is just an ordinary Monday: Cordelia is back to
school, Delphine is back to school, I expect Blake will dig
back into work again and I will be back to my usual, busy,
slightly lonely and boring life. Hmph, there's got to be
something to look forward to. There's choir. I have
a book club meeting on Friday. Music class starts on
Saturday. At some point in the future it will get warm again.
I guess it's not so bad. I think I just have the Sunday
But it was an awesome holiday! I love Christmas.