Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Visiting Santa and other miscellany

We bought our Christmas tree on Saturday. We let it settle and drop its branches for a day, and then decorated it on Sunday. On Sunday night we turned on the Christmas tree lights and then lit the menorah and sang the Chanukah blessing. It made me think that we will be just fine raising a multicultural kid.

Also this weekend, Torsten put out the holiday lights on the bushes by our driveway, and made a bunch of pizzas that are now in the freezer, waiting to be eaten post-baby. And he hung all the art in the nursery. The yellow lamp we ordered is now all set up, and the only thing that's missing is the blinds. Those should be arriving in a couple of weeks, and then I will be able to post pictures of the finished room, awaiting Piglet.

This weekend we also attended a holiday party. It was the first time in awhile that I had encountered a room full of friendly strangers. It occurs to me that I don't have many occasions to interact with people I don't know--no office, no commute, nothing but errands and other such things where people mostly don't talk to each other, you know? So it was at this holiday party that for the first time I got a bunch of comments from strangers about being pregnant. Things like "Oh, you look like you're getting close!" and "Wow, look at that belly!"

And you know what? I liked it. But I'm not changing my policy about not making similar comments to other people, because you just never know, ever, if someone really is pregnant, and if so, if they're happy about it, or if they want to talk about it. So I keep my mouth shut. But I like it when other people comment about my pregnancy, so there we are.

I'm 34 weeks along today. According to my midwife, this is the magic number: now that I'm this far along, if I go into labor, they won't try to stop it. It still would not be optimal to have the baby now--he would likely have some respiratory and eating issues, and would have to stay in the hospital for a few days at the very least, possibly longer--but we are at the point now where if he were born, he shouldn't have any major health issues, and therefore the harms of medically stopping labor outweigh the benefits.

Still, I want him to go to 40 weeks. At least. Every last day he can spend in utero helps him develop that much more.

Simultaneously, I am dying to meet him. Six weeks until my due date is just not very many weeks. We are feeling relatively prepared--nursery done, childbirth class nearly completed, lots of food in the freezer, minds wrapped around the idea that there is going to be a baby--and I feel so, so bonded to him already. But I have absolutely no mental image of what he will look like when he's born. I still swear that he looks like Torsten--and I hope that's true--but I can't visualize what that would actually look like on a baby. I have truly no mental picture whatsoever, not of his coloring or anything else. I wonder if this means that when he is born he will look like a stranger.

It's weird to think that in approximately six weeks, I won't be pregnant anymore. Just like that. I mean, not that it's a fast or easy process getting from not pregnant to pregnant and back again, but still, one day I will be pregnant and the next day I won't.

I've been wanting to start an annual photo similar to Erin's pumpkin patch series, of our family in some sort of context to see how it changes every year. I'm thinking us in front of the Christmas tree would be a pretty good location for that. Hopefully we can get it together to take the first one soon. And don't worry, of course I'll post it.

Speaking of holiday photos, I feel like my reader and Twitter stream are full of people talking about their experience taking their kid to see Santa. A lot of them are in the situation where the kid is too young to understand or enjoy the experience, so they really do it for the parents. Which is great for them--I love that they enjoy it and get meaning out of it, and I'm sure they will always treasure the photos, and I imagine that it's something that many people look forward to doing with their kids for years before they even have kids.

But I personally have no attachment to the idea of a Santa photo--other than that I would probably laugh really hard at a photo of Piglet freaking out on Santa's lap, and that's because I am a bad, mean person--so I'm thinking we'll hold off on that particular tradition until he is old enough to actually want to go see Santa himself. Unless it turns out that Torsten is attached to the idea of a Santa photo from a young age, in which case, I am happy to brave the crowd to get the picture. But I will insist that we not dress the baby up in red velour with white fur trim.

What about you? Do you or would you take your kids to see Santa, even if they were too young to really get it?


  1. being too young to get it and being plopped on Santa's lap anyway is one thing if it turns into a cute picture... being afraid of the big bearded guy in a red suit and crying/having a tantrum and being forced into his lap anyway is quite another!

    Emily's school does a Lunch with Santa event every year (which is great for those who want the pictures - no standing in a terrible line at the mall, plus they have cute holiday activities going on)... and Caitlyn absolutely refuses to go anywhere near Santa, even when he's trying to give her a candy cane (she turned her back, reached her arm out behind her, and snatched it from as far away as possible, while still holding on to me). So, we don't make her go near Santa.

    Other parents, however, are so desperate for a Santa photo that the woman ahead of us in line actually sat on Santa's lap herself with her screaming toddler! that will be such a great Christmas memory! hahaha.

    sorry for the novel, but this experience is fresh in my head from this weekend and clearly needed to be shared :-)

  2. I love going to see Santa...still at 27 years of age. My mother has several pictures of my sister and me with Santa Claus through the years and I'm so excited for my niece's pictures and my children's pictures sitting next to ours at my parent's house.

    However, I'm also aware there are children who should in no way be going to sit on a strange man's lap. Some children are timid and shy and SCARED. I realize it always comes down to that child's parent to make the proper call but it's so hard to see a child screaming while sitting on Santa's lap.

  3. When our twins were babies (they too are January bdays, so they were nearly 1 on their first Christmas), we did have their photo taken with Santa. And possibly again when they were almost 2. Neither experience was traumatizing for them in the least, but by age 3 they had develped a voice enough to declare that they wanted NOTHING TO DO with sitting on Santa's lap. So... that was the last time we visited a mall Santa. Marin (now 4) is expressing interest is talking to Santa- she saw him at an early Christmas party we went to and CHATTED AWAY with him- so I'm thinking maybe we'll take her to see him at the mall this year. But I bet my older 2 won't say anything. And we won't be buying the $40 photo package.

    Also, HOW do you only have 6 weeks left????? Also-also, your pregnancy is so reminiscent of my own first pregnancy, as I too was due in January... That first time is so magical! I'm so excited for you!

  4. Madeline is just getting to the age where I think she *might* get it or be excited, so we may go this year. There is a very cool, very special Santa House in my area that is way beyond the mall Santa experience - think an actual house, decorated like crazy, with live reindeer. It's pretty much the definition of Christmas Crazy, but perfect for kids.

    Mrs. Claus even grabs one parent as they're coming in to get the kid's name and other "little" info so that "Santa" can really BE Santa, knowing the kid and all. It's really magical, truly.

    I'm SO excited to see little Piglet! Your comment about him being a stranger got me, because I felt that way a bit about Madeline until she started to move - her movements were so familiar from feeling them within. It was a sudden shock of knowing.

  5. I seriously don't get the Santa thing - I can't tell you how many people have asked us if Thomas is going to sit on Santa's lap. Ummmm. Nope. But, I don't care about that - it wasn't a big part of my childhood.

    6 weeks until Piglet is here! EEEEEK.

  6. We waited until our son was two and a half, because he wasn't comfortable with the idea until then. Even then, he was very hesitant. Our first Santa picture has hubby and I on either side of Santa, with our son on hubby's lap - On the side AWAY from Santa. I see no point in making it anything other than what it should be - Fun and exciting. If the child puts up a fuss, I saw don't make them do it.

  7. YES! Take the first picture now ... of just him and you with your big belly by the tree. Then next year you'll have an almost one year old. HOW FUN!!!

  8. Wow....your pregnancy has flown by. I remember being told I would go early, then I had a scheduled induction (and went the day before on my own). Good luck!

    I'm indifferent to the Santa pictures. Our daughter is 2 and unless she wants to do it, we won't bother.

  9. We took B when he was only 6 weeks old and got a really cute photo. Then we didn't take him at all last year. We took him again this year because we had to go to the mall anyway and because we wanted to introduce him to the idea of Santa. B didn't really get it, but it was fun, and we got a cute picture. Plus, we went on a Thursday night in early December, so there was literally no one else there to see Santa.

  10. Oh, in case I haven't written enough here... I was the shy kid, but I always loved getting my picture taken with Santa. My sister was the wild, outgoing kid, but she was scared of Santa. All our family pictures of Santa are of me on Santa's lap, with my mom sitting next to Santa holding my sister on her lap. My sister didn't mind as long as she got to sit on my mom's lap, and they're cute photos, in my opinion.

  11. I'm so, so excited for you to have Piglet! It seems like yesterday you first posted about being pregnant...

    I'm definitely NOT a fan of the Santa photo. Most Santas look either totally ridiculous or totally creepy, not to mention that the wonderful Santa at our local shopping center when I was growing up turned out to be a child molester in the very worst way and is now in prison for a long, long time. I'd much rather do a photo at home in front of the tree, or at the tree farm chopping down the tree. I don't want some stranger in my family photos.

  12. 6 weeks! 6 weeks! How did that go so fast? I'm so excited for you guys. (love that lamp too)

  13. As for the Santa photo, I can take it or leave it.

  14. the santa photo thing must have to do with whether or not it was a tradition in your own family growing up, because i'm another completely-meh-take-it-or-leave-it types over here. i think there's one or 2 photos each of me & my sister w/various santas, but it definitely wasn't A Thing. now, sulky / crying / terrified / irritated first day of school portraits?? those we DID do every year and BY GUM so will my children!! :)

  15. It didn't even occur to me to take the girls to see Santa, but Ted has brought it up several times now, which I think is kind of adorable.

  16. My little almost-three-year-old nephew is TERRIFIED that a man named Santa is going to enter his house magically and leave things.

    My sister doesn't think Santa will visit this year, and there will be now pictures with Santa, much to her (and my) dismay.

    But it isn't worth traumatizing the poor little guy!

  17. I don't know that we'll do Santa--we probably won't go out of our way, but if we stumble upon a Santa somewhere we might. I love the idea of having some sort of traditional photo that we take around the same time every year, but I'm still mulling over what that will look like.

    I'm also so very curious about what she'll look like! I sometimes stare at my husband and wonder which of his features will come through--will she have freckles, a long nose, curly hair, or what?!

  18. My daughter was about three months old at her first Christmas. I didn't seek out a Santa picture, but we were at a Christmas event where they had a Santa, so we put her on his lap...she had just woken up and looks pretty groggy in the pictures LOL. Then last year, my mother had all these (read: 10 or so) 24-36-inch Santas around her house and my daughter, then one, took to going up to each of them and saying Hi Santa! and kissing them. Since she seemed to like the Santas, and the nice mall near us has a really authentic looking Santa, we took her (on a weekday early in the month so there was no line!) and she walked right up, willingly got in Santa's lap and we got a cute picture. This past Friday, I took her back to that mall (unsure if she would cooperate since she is starting to really act like a two-year-old lately), and the minute she saw Santa, she got starstruck, and just like last year, was eager to go sit in his lap. She also gave him a hug. She wouldn't smile for the picture, but it was still very sweet. So I guess we've started a tradition of a picture every year, but only because she does not seem scared or anything. If she didn't seem in awe of Santa, or if she had pitched a fit yesterday (which I half-expected to happen LOL), I wouldn't have forced it.

  19. Huh. S is too young to 'get' Santa and until three weeks ago, LG didn't even know who Santa was! We had no idea. It's not like we intentionally didn't talk about him, but maybe she never paid attention before. At any rate, she doesn't seem to care one whit. Maybe when she's older...

  20. It always amazes me when people wait until the middle or end of Dec. to get their tree. I know on some levels (slow tree death) it makes more sense, but we always bought our (live) tree at the very beginning of Dec. Which I'm sure is just FASCINATING to you. :-)

    Anyway, yes. I would take my kid to see Santa. Just for the adorable photo op. Although, if he/she were terrified, I obv. wouldn't FORCE them to stay for my own amusement.