I didn't forget, bean. It's just that we're six days away from Christmas and things are a bit hectic. Not to mention your 800th day on earth is just around the corner. We celebrated your turning twenty-six months old by taking you to see The Polar Express at OMSI's Omnimax Theatre. One gigantic screen plus one cartoon containing a train equals one enthralled toddler. You sat in my lap for most of the movie, toward the end turning to me to say, "I love you too, mama." Then you asked for a hug with your arms thrown open wide. Talk about melting my heart, kid.
This was not the first train event of the season. Two weeks ago we rode on the Holiday Express steam locomotive. Whoo whoo! This is where you learned about candy canes. Now you love candy canes. You also choke on candy canes so I'm less inclined to give you one. Yeah, that's me, honing my parenting skills. You are very much into songs. Singing songs like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and Rock-a-baby (also known as Rock-a-papa and Rock-a-mama), and requesting songs. Songs that don't actually exist. Often we're driving around town and you'll pipe up with a song request from the backseat. "Mama, candy cane song." My on-the-fly attempts at writing lyrics are not good but I think it's the effort that you appreciate more than the end result. At least that's what I'm telling myself. Oh, and the candy cane song goes like this: (Set to the music of O Christmas Tree) O candy cane! O candy cane! You are a Christmas treasure. O candy cane! O candy cane! I eat you up with pleasure. You are so sweet when I lick you. I want to have one or two. O candy cane! O candy cane! You are a Christmas treasure. This year Christmas is both more fun and more work. Your tiny toddler hands are busy when it comes to the Christmas tree ornaments. You want to touch them. All the time. And, like many things we try to get you to not do these days, you ignore our pleas to not touch the tree. You touch, then you look at us while touching. Then you laugh when we remove you from the temptation and you return seconds later to continue your reign of touching. It's exhausting. On the flip side, though, you are eager to check out the presents under the tree without opening them and to help in the kitchen with baking. You have learned to plug in the tree lights (helpful). You enjoy ripping the tags off packages (not helpful). We managed to get out for a photo op with Santa. We arrived early enough to see Santa leave the building and make his way to the little faux North Pole house they have set up where the pictures are taken. The minute you saw that big guy in red you shyly shouted "Hi. Santa!" That exuberance faltered once we were inside and it became clear to you that you were expected to sit on Santa's lap. Luckily, it was a very cold morning and no one else was crazy enough to venture out to see Santa so we got to spend a few extra minutes with him just chatting until you were comfortable enough to have the photo taken. The pic turned out good but I am sort of sad I don't get the traditional toddler screaming on Santa's lap photo.
You hate sitting in shopping carts, which means I've had to endure several tantrums at the grocery store this past month. Not fun, Bean. I'm sure other parents see you and remember almost wistfully the days when their kids acted similarly. And I'm certain those without children see you and thank whatever deity they worship that they don't have kids, while simultaneously concluding I'm the worst mom on the planet to make you howl that way. Your pops is trying to help you learn how to go to bed and stay there without the assistance of the gate. It's going well, I think. When given freedom, you tend to push the boundaries further and further. And once the gate goes up, you're so tired from your constant pushing you go to bed.
We worked on table manners. For instance, now you sit at the dining room table for most of the time it takes your pops and I to finish eating. Sometimes you actually make it to the end, and sometimes you actually eat so that's a bonus. Eating is going well. I swear you'll try nearly anything, including bubbles you received from Montana grandma last Easter. Good job on the trying new foods, Huck. The other morning we had to wake up early to take your pops into work and you came stumbling out of our room and ran right into the dining room table. You're sporting a nice bruise underneath your eye as a result. You're always bonking your head. To illustrate how you bonked your head, you'll bonk your head against an object (e.g., the coffee table) again, and say, "I bonked my head." Well, yes, and um, it would have only been once if you hadn't gone for the instant replay. It's easy to love you when you're doing your cute little dance to the hippo Christmas song or when you're super sweet and cuddly. But we love you when you're naughty, too.