In Our Sleighday

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I have approximately 8 weeks of pregnancy left. Yikes. I’m so anxious to meet our new little guy, but I keep reminding myself not to wish time away, because life is much simpler with him in my belly. Plus I’m trying to cram as much playtime in with the boys as I can before I face the excitement and guilt of caring for a newborn while feeling like a complete traitor to the other two.

I think it’s a sick joke that during these last couple months, when I want to boost my reserves, I’m destined to flop around in bed all night like a spooked moose, trying to find comfort.  Listen here, my little womb-mate. I know what I’m up against. You, on the other hand, will like me much better when rested.

This morning, I gave up trying to sleep about an hour early, lit a fire and tackled some of the Thanksgiving aftermath in the kitchen.  Within 30 or 40 minutes, everyone else was up and we lazied our way through breakfast, showers and more tidying up.  I had the idea that we’d go to a mall and window shop for Christmas gift ideas, and maybe snag a few bonus sales. We piled into what Ian calls the “new van” — a Ford Flex we picked up in August — and headed to a mall I remembered seeing about 40 minutes away. Thirty-five minutes and two sleeping boys later, my mommy brain reset and I realized that the place I was thinking of was actually 45 minutes in the other direction. We circled the nearby shopping plaza, only to find that they were the exact same stores we had – maybe slightly bigger. Since the boys were still sleeping, we decided to head back to stores near town.

We ate some ultimo-delicious Five Guys burgers and fries and squeaked in some totally fruitless shopping that looked more like two frazzled adults dancing around a hot toddler hive, clumsily trying to untangle kid leashes from one end of the mall to the other. At one point, Ian and I broke free of Dillard’s, and while waiting outside for Brian and Isaac to emerge, Santa walked by and stopped at a cluster of kids. Ian asked me where his sleigh was. I told him I wasn’t sure, but he could go ask Santa. He seemed to think that was a good idea so we walked over to Santa, very, very cautiously, of course. Santa said hi and handed Ian a small toy. I prompted Ian to ask his question. He murmured “Where’s the sleigh?” and Santa said it was at the North Pole getting ready for Christmas. Always the skeptic, my brain launched into self-dialogue, demanding to know how he got here without his sleigh, but my prefrontal cortex managed to keep my lips closed. Ian asked Santa if he’d found Marty’s truck [One of Ian’s favorite books is Santa’s Peppermint Rescue. Marty is the delivery mouse for Santa’s candy]. Silly Santa thought Ian was asking for a truck. Is that how Santa deals with his primary candy supplier — feigning ignorance? Or…do we have an impostor on our hands?

As Santa walked off, up trots a horse pulling a fancy Cinderella-looking carriage. Ian tries to hop on. I try to rein him in as I crane my neck to see if the guys have made it out yet. Just in time, Brian and Isaac walk up and we all climb on the carriage and under a blanket for our complimentary ride around the parking lot. The boys love it.

Back home, Ian dashes to the refrigerator for a snack. A couple weeks ago, he ripped the child lock off, and has since enjoyed his unfettered access to Snackland. He pulled out the egg carton and begged for an egg. Brian hands him an egg. Ian holds the egg at arm length and announces, “Now a chicken’s going to pop out. Bawk bawk. [Sniffs] It smells like an egg.” Then he gets a look in his eye and starts to dash after Isaac. Brian swoops in to rescue the egg and cooks up a snack for the boys. Ian repeatedly asked for ketchup, honey and peanut butter on his eggs. I resist on moral grounds. He begs some more. Sigh, who am I to tell the boy what he likes.

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