Have you noticed yourself throwing around the word “perfect” a lot lately?
I tend to throw that word around a lot around the holiday’s, and I’ve realized recently that it’s a very heavy word.
When my son was going to be celebrating his first Christmas at the ripe old age of 7 months, I knew I wanted his holiday to be “perfect”. What did that mean in my world?
Family Christmas cards sent out with his cute little mug on them, gift tags with a sketch of our family on them, a Christmas tree with his own personalized ornament, toys carefully selected and wrapped under the tree, and a cute little Christmas morning outfit for him to wear, picked especially for that day.
The stage was set for him to have the “perfect” Christmas, so what could go wrong?
Well, a lot as it turned out!
He was cranky on Christmas Eve, and I made the situation worse by waking him up early from his nap to arrive on time to our first Christmas dinner.
He was squirmy and crying before dinner, which elicited some of my most loathed questions from friends and family such as “What’s wrong with him?”, and “Is he always like this?”.
The next morning I was ready to shuffle him from house to house, family to family without making time again for his nap. We wanted to be everywhere to spend time with as many people as possible so they could all enjoy his first Christmas with him. Family members waited in anticipation for him to squeal with joy as he opened his gifts. What they got was a kid I couldn’t even keep on my lap who would rather play with the T.V. remote rather then the shiny, new, carefully selected gift in front of him.
We ended Christmas feeling exhausted, and I realized I hardly had any photos of my son looking happy over Christmas.
That was probably because he wasn’t very happy. I look back now thinking, what the heck was I doing?
The first thing wrong with this un-merry Christmas was that I spent a lot of time worried about other people’s first Christmas with my son. I tried to fit in too much in a short period of time. I spent so much time running around and trying to be on time, I completely ignored what was best for my son – in this case his naps! If I had of just done some rescheduling, or just arranged to a be a bit late, I could have avoided a lack of sleep issue compounding on our already cranky baby’s issues.
My next issue was throwing around the word “perfect” when talking about his first Christmas. Is “perfect” even possible with all of the variables a child can throw at you? Those snowflake shaped Christmas cookies you had in the oven could be burned in seconds after a major diaper disaster in the next room, or the carefully selected gift you presented to him (that you were sure would be the heart-stopping gift of the holiday) could be nonchalantly pushed aside so he could play with the box it came in. You can plan and Pinterest your way through the holidays, but you have to be prepared that “perfect” probably isn’t going to happen. By the way, cookies freshly baked out of a Pillsbury package are just as yummy as ones you hijacked from Martha Stewart Living it turns out.
What I think I’ve learned is important, is really making sure my child enjoys the moment.
Last week I bought tickets with friends to an event at the Toronto Zoo. Children could make crafts, play games, have cookies and milk as a treat, and then meet Santa.
When we got there I forgot my son’s stroller and had to hijack an abandoned park-owned wagon, I wiped his tears as he cried about travelling in said-wagon, I pried his little body off of my legs when we arrived because he was scared of all the people there, and I listened to him say “no” each of the twelve times I asked him if he wanted to do a craft. Sitting on Santa’s lap? Not a chance.
Does this day sound like a disaster? It actually wasn’t. He played with his friends, danced to the music playing at the party, stole quite a few cookies as it turns out just for fun because he didn’t even eat them, and he went to see his favourite animals play in the snow – the panda bears.
For two days he talked about the amazing “Panda Bear Party” he went to with his friends. He had an awesome time, and it wasn’t perfect, and it didn’t go as planned, but it was a pretty perfect day to him.
Don’t get me wrong, I am a complete Pinterest addict who has plans to make my hot chocolate from scratch and bake cookies into the shapes of snowman before trimming our tree. I even have those pyjama’s picked out for Christmas day, and I’ve been carefully selecting gifts for him to open that morning. The biggest thing I’ve learned is that I can set the stage for the “perfect” Christmas all I want, but it’s probably not going to work out the way I’ve planned. All I really need to make sure of is that my son has a great day on his own terms.