Books and snuggles make everything better

The last few days have been hard. (Didn't I just type that a few weeks ago? It's all a blur.) Thanksgiving itself was fine except for eating too much and arguing with Rich over family traditions. The next day was okay but I never got out of my pajamas and again Rich and I had misunderstandings and miscommunications. Yesterday I was in a foul mood most of the day to the point that I skipped ice skating to go to Food Lion. I actually felt downright depressed yesterday just from feeling distant from anything fun.

And oh, the whining from our child! Ian will say he wants something (an omelet with spinach and mushrooms), perceive some slight (that I didn't put mushrooms in his omelet when I did), then make a grandiose statement that hurts my feelings despite its nonsensical basis ("I don't like these eggs, Mommy. You didn't make what I wanted. I never get eggs."). He was 7/8 through his two egg omelet when he became righteously indignant about its contents. I can only sigh and walk away so many times before I want to throw his plate of eggs in the back yard.

Today was looking up, though. After a snack, Ian had his swim lesson where he didn't require me to get in the pool with him. He did well with the timeline for leaving without pitching a fit. We had brunch at Panera where Ian happily ate his soufflé and was super sweet. Ian played on the playground while Rich and I talked in the sun. Our kid who was so nervous last year did a fantastic job with our appointment to meet Santa and have pictures taken. We all enjoyed a lovely afternoon of resting while I roasted another turkey (it's a long story why I have two more turkeys in my fridge).

Even when I cut the bejeezus out of my finger washing a plate, Ian was super helpful and hugged me sympathetically. We were doing so well (fingertip not withstanding). But Ian started getting punchy from fatigue. And my finger started throbbing. And everyone got hungry. And Ian got spun up and wild like he does when he's overtired. And everything just started to unravel.

Fussy words were exchanged with Ian, then Rich went to pick up his sub while Ian sat on the couch and I nursed my pinky at the computer.

Books for advent

But then I remembered the Christmas books. We were supposed to be celebrating this evening by picking out books to read as we lead up to Christmas. I ran upstairs to grab the books, found some wrapping paper, brought in the giant calendar, and turned off the TV. Ian started to whine and I felt myself tense up. But I told him I had a special plan and once I told him snuggling was part of the plan, he was intrigued. I drew a Christmas tree on the 25th box and patiently watched Ian count each day ("and then this day, and then this day, and then this day") from 1 to 25. I showed him how to cross off a day when we were done with it. Then I dragged over the giant crate of books. I told him this first night we could read as many as he wanted. His eyes got wide with joy and we both started to feel a lot better.

We only made it through three books. Ian asked a million questions about "The Night Before Christmas". There are lots of strange terms in that book like kerchiefs and coursers and peddlers. We also had a lengthy discussion about who St. Nicholas is versus Santa and if Nicholas is his last name or first. Complicated stuff. For our last book, we picked out The Mitten. It is the best book ever and a favorite for us both. We'd barely gotten to the owl page before Ian's eyes were drooping and I read the last five pages with him probably asleep. Then Rich kept me company while I sorted and wrapped 23 other books for the rest of the month.

My finger still hurts. Our kid will still probably be a spaz at some point tomorrow. I still have a pot full of turkey stock to process before bed. But snuggling on the couch with Ian having him tell me that he loves reading books with me made things better. Here's to the next 23 days of anticipation and snuggling.

Wrapped and ready to roll