It's Christmastime and my genetic predisposition towards unrealistic expectations is in full swing.
We took most of December off from home schooling so that we could focus on baking, gift giving, card sending and holiday movie-watching. Some of these have been checked off our list (we've watched every holiday movie from Christmas in Connecticut to White Christmas), while others have been redesigned ("baking," for instance, has been replaced with "eating").
Shopping was successfully completed, even a bit early, and with a slightly lesser air of criminality than in previous years. For some reason, I continue to try to Christmas shop with my children in tow. I really must stop doing this, especially since it never goes well. It may have been a no-brainer when the girls were clueless babies, but now I'm reduced to distracting them with "Wow! Have you ever seen such a huge package of toilet paper?!" while I frantically stuff gifts under our winter coats in the cart. While this is an improvement over the year I hid a Barbie in the coat I was wearing (those Target security people swooped in out of nowhere like so many Dementers), it still has a suspicious look to it that compels me to explain with a nervous laugh to every passing stranger, "Wow! It sure isn't easy to shop when you home school your kids! Seriously, I'm not stealing this."
Yesterday, I had just such a shopping adventure, made a bit more successful since my mother came along. We were able to divide and conquer, with Mom taking the girls to help get things off her list, while I made a mad dash down the toy aisles with my list (though still hiding everything under the coats). When we stopped for lunch, Chloe took one bite of her personal pan pizza and out came her first front tooth! It was a cute little momentous occasion. She had hoped at least one, if not both of her front teeth would come out for Christmas, which is also her 7th birthday. I tucked the tooth away in my wallet to save for the pillow that night and we all went over to my mother's house to eat Christmas cookies and watch Elf for the tenth time this month.
Despite a little shopping stress during the day, the afternoon at Mom's was fun and relaxing, just the kind of day I'd had in mind when I planned this "month of Christmas merriment" for the girls and me. A sleepover was decided on and so I fished the tooth out of my wallet, feeling sort of nostalgic about sharing Tooth Fairy duties with my parents. I wondered if they were thinking about how time goes by so quickly. I feel like it was only last year that I was in the hospital giving birth to my own Christmas baby. Do they feel like it was only yesterday they were putting a quarter under my pillow while I slept?
While I thought about these things, Chloe held her tooth in the palm of her hand. Carys wandered over and started haranguing Chloe for a turn at holding "da toof." Suddenly, a gasp and a faint clicking sound as the tiny tooth hit the linoleum on the kitchen floor.
As the girls dropped to their hands and knees and started searching for this white little tooth on a shiny white floor, as quick as a flash, Teddy, my parents' Morkie pup, darted out from under the kitchen table. He immediately discovered the tooth.
And ate it.
For about a minute, I felt like crying, partly at the look of utter horror on the girls' faces, a little with the thought that a dog ate part of my kid, but mostly from quiet, self-conscious embarrassment at my own sentimental musings, so roughly interrupted by reality. I decided now was as good a time as any for me to leave and let Mimi and Stampy handle it. They helped Chloe write a letter explaining the catastrophe to the Tooth Fairy, who would surely understand, and Chloe woke up this morning to find a crisp dollar bill waiting for her. The tooth-eating dog disaster was all but forgotten and inconsequential in light of her excitement.
As I think about the many holiday plans on my list, the ones I pulled off, those that still might happen, and the few that were foiled entirely, all that really matters is the end result. Christmas morning will come, whether I'm ready or not. And it will be lovely, no matter what.