Christmas break is an odd time of year for my family. To start, we're Jewish and celebrate Hanukah. Usually, Hanukah is the same time as Christmas so it feels like we're all in this holiday thing together, but this year, Hanukah was back during Thanksgiving, so even though everyone was off from school and work and what not, we were not really celebrating anything.
Basically, Christmas Break was just an extended period of time to figure out what to do with the kids at home by ourselves, when it's too cold to do anything outdoors.
Plus, everybody we know was out of town, so playdates were not an option.
Try explaining that your four-year-old.
"Sorry, sweetie. Lila can't come over to play because she's in Florida swimming in her Grandpa's pool while patiently waiting for her windfall of presents to be delivered by Santa on Christmas morning. But don't worry. We are going to have lots of fun cleaning out our closets and ordering take-out Chinese!!!!"
Last year, Harlow slept through most of the holidays— she was barely a month at the time. But this year, we've got a full blown toddler on our hands and keeping her happy and occupied is no easy task.
With Mazzy, we have an out. Just put on a movie or give her the iPad and we can relax. With Harlow, you've got to entertain her 24/7 or else.
Or else what?
THERE WILL BE TEARS.
Lots and lots of tears.
I don't remember Mazzy having tantrums at this age. Harlow has started doing this thing where she lets her legs go limp when you try to put her down on her feet. If you try to force the issue, she will put her head back so that she ends up lying on her back on the floor. BAWLING. It's the most pathetic thing you've ever seen. So pathetic, only the cruelest parent in the world would not pick her back up.
The tricky thing about picking Harlow back up is then she can see everything she wants and can't have on the kitchen counter. Like your coffee and the steak knives. And then she starts crying even though you're holding her, because you won't just be a nice mommy and let her eat gumballs with a scissor.
But Harlow's attitude is a topic for another time.
Today I want to talk about what we did to pseudo-celebrate Christmas.
We had a few lows (like Harlow's tantrums/death wish), a lot of filler (like turning on Cars for the 4000th time) and some pretty big highs.
The first high was our trip to Rockefeller Center.
Mike and I have a tradition where he drives us up to Rockefeller Center and then lets Mazzy and I out to see the sights, while he and Harlow circle in the car. You can see everything in under thirty minutes and the crowds get unbearable equally as fast, so the "Robbing A Bank Method" is really the way to go.
The past two years, it has been fun, but this year it was especially awesome.
We went at night so Mazzy could have the experience of seeing it all lit up. As soon as we turned the corner and Mazzy laid her eyes on the tree, she practically stopped dead in her tracks.
"It's so BEAUTIFUL," she said breathlessly.
She was blown away with the visual, which is really all you can ever hope for as a parent. That your kid feels like she is doing something special because you have shown her something more amazing than she can see on her iPad.
Although, it quickly became clear that what qualifies for beautiful in Mazzy's world is actually not that high. Shortly after our entry into Rockefeller Center, Mazzy beelined for a vendor hawking plastic light-up wands.
"It's so BEAUTIFUL," she said in that same breathless tone I thought was reserved for the tree.
She repeated those words over and over again as we saw the toy soldiers, the ice skating rink and the large projection on Saks Fifth Avenue.
I can't imagine how overwhelming the crowds are when you barely clear everyone's knees, but Mazzy held her ground by holding her wand out in front of her like a sword in the jungle. It was genius really. Then she accidentally hailed a cab with it. In midtown. On Christmas. We didn't even need one!
After the tree, Mike drove us to the windows at Lord and Taylor's. Those are always the least crowded and with the exception of Macy's, the most kid friendly.
If it's possible, Mazzy loved those even more than the tree. She stood in front of each one, really taking in all the detail and pointing out her favorite parts. We could have stood there forever.
On Friday, we took Mazzy ice skating for the first time. We got her ice skates for her birthday, since that's what she asked for, but I was convinced it was going to be a nightmare. Mazzy tends to get frustrated when things are harder than she expects. I prepped her a few days beforehand by telling her she was going to fall a lot but that's ok.
When we first stepped on the ice, Mazzy clung to the side. I held her other hand and we started off going around the rink just like that. About a quarter of the way around, Mazzy said she didn't think she needed to hold on to the wall, so we skated away, still holding hands. About three or four laps later, Mazzy surprised me by saying that she was ready to let go of my hand too.
Then she took off all on her own.
She wasn't particularly fast or graceful. But she was fearless and proud. She fell a few times but never cried. Just got back up and skated on. I'm actually looking forward to taking her again.
Another successful tradition we introduced this year is the Mensch on the Bench. That's the Jewish version of the Elf on the Shelf. The Mensch doesn't have nearly as good of a backstory as the Elf, plus Hanukah is over so he has no influence on Mazzy's presents, but I've been moving him around the apartment every night just for kicks. I know everyone makes fun of the parents who go crazy finding ridiculous places to put their Elf each night, but I don't care, I totally get it.
Mazzy is beside herself each morning when she sees the Mensch has moved to a new location.
"MOM! DAD! LOOK WHERE THE MENSCH ON THE BENCH IS!!!!!!!!"
"Oh wow. How did he get in the refrigerator?"
"I don't know!!!!!! How did he do it??? He moves every night!!! I wonder where he will be tomorrow!!!"
The whole exchange has been my favorite part of every day this whole month.
I have to say. My one-year-old might be a pain in the ass these days, but I am really liking having a four-year-old.
*Knocks on wood*
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