Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Magic in their Faces January 6, 2013

I’m not super big on Christmas, choosing Thanksgiving as a lower stress, more eating related holiday, but I have to admit, Christmas is fun with two little ones who get really excited about it. We’ve not told them much about Santa, but they seem to get plenty of information from the world around them. They loved everything about Christmas this year, including the decorations, food, family time, presents, and music. Their excitement made me like it more too.

I was struck by how willing they were to exercise patience when waiting for things they thought would be fun. For instance, going to Zoolights wasn’t on my original December activities list, but it ended up being a highlight of our holiday fun. Patrick signed up for a members appreciation event, and we went for the champagne, the free ride on the Zoo train, and the last night of Zoolights. It wasn’t too cold, but the boys were getting kind of hungry, and they were tired. When we discovered that the line for the train was an hour long, we asked them if they really wanted to wait for it. They both nodded. We figured they didn’t know what we were asking. So we made movements to leave, when Gilbert stuck out his lip and said, “Gilbert sad.” We asked why, and he said, “Gilbert want to ride the train.” I knelt down to Seamus, who was standing, and asked him how much he wanted to ride the train. “I really really want to ride the train, Mama. It’s a real train.” OK then. We waited. It was a 50 minute wait for a five minute ride, but wow. The looks on their faces as they rode the train. Magic. They were so happy. Then we went home, had a snack and a bath, and put them down for a really good sleep.

The Santa fire engine was also a big hit this year. Patrick promised them they could wait and see it, but I (meanly) made them go to bed and promised them that we’d get them up when we heard it come to our neighborhood. It was the night Obama addressed then nation about the Newton shooting, and we wondered if the fire engine had paused for the address. The boys went to bed at 8:00, and Seamus led several renditions of “Jingle Bells” before 9:00 when the fire engine came by our house. We got the boys up and ran out with all of our neighbors in their PJs. I was holding Gilbert as he saw Santa approach. He waved and whispered in awe, “Hi Santa.” Firefighters came by with candy canes, and when we got home, Seamus told me that we’re supposed to hang candy canes on the tree. (A few days later I discovered him eating one, so I threw them away, but it was a nice thought.–And now when he eats sugar, he tells me his teeth are rotting out and we have to go brush immediately.–My parents might have something to do with that though.)

These two instances illustrate some really wonderful family moments we’ve had this season. Of course, we had lovely moments with Patrick’s dad’s side of the family and all the cousins (Seamus: “Morgan really likes me!”) and the boys helping people unwrap their gifts, with my parents, especially with all the snow flurries and the swimming pool at their hotel, and with Patrick’s mom’s side of the family with the dancing Santa and epic train set up.

I have more to say, but this has gotten ridiculously long, so I’ll stop. Soon enough, I’ll tell you about my really fun trip to Lancaster PA to visit my friend Christine and her family and my plans for Spring classes. Thrills await!

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One Response to “Magic in their Faces”

  1. Shelley Says:

    I was playing catch up on your blog, and I had to reread this one! I love this post so much! Christmas with babes is the best – lets us see it through fresh eyes!


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