Originally posted December, 2010
I am not much of a decorator, and I’ve got the house to prove it. This time of year, my children have taken over the home decor and have been decorating anything that isn’t moving. There are lights all around and snow globes and small trees on every flat surface. The stockings are hung by the window with care.
One year, we bought nativity sets for each child to display in their rooms. By the following year, when we unpacked, I don’t think we had even one complete set. Taking each piece out, I realized that we had two babies in the manger. There shouldn’t be twins in there — we double checked just to make sure. Somehow it all got sorted out and everyone ended up in an acceptable spot.
My favorite nativity set is perched atop our movie cabinet. One of the wise men and a shepherd became amputees at some point in history. I notice such things with a smile. Having children — at least at our place — means that things get played with.
I wonder if the wise man and shepherd were involved in an epic battle or carried along on some wild exploration of the house. The time for precious treasures that can’t be touched is not even on my horizon. If I live my life where everything is pristine and there are no fingerprints on the windows or crumbs on the table, I will be a lonely woman indeed.
Now that the house is mostly decorated, the children have turned their attention to more pressing matters. To remind me that Christmas is coming, the kids spend time each day constructing a wish list. The newspaper inserts supply a steady stream of wants and needs. The youngest ones dutifully cut out pictures of whatever toys look interesting.
As always, there is learning going on. Those who can write are able to jot down what they want and compare prices from store to store. Each child is kind enough to provide me with a detailed list of wants with prices and locations where each treasure can be found. For those who can’t yet spell, getting that Christmas list right provides endless motivation to copy each word correctly from the sale paper.
Suddenly, I am surrounded by elves, eager to do some extra work in order to earn money to buy presents. “I want to buy everything with my own money,” Sophia reminded me, as she pleaded for an additional chore that will bring in some cash. This is the kid who occasionally wants to be a politician. While I like her resolution to use her own money to buy things, I fear she won’t get very far in politics with that sort of notion.
I wonder if I’ve been sounding grinchy about the budget because Max said, ” Mom, I want you to afford this.” I get to explain economics and accuracy in vocabulary at the same time. In Max’s world, choices made at the store are completely based on whim. If there is enough money in my purse for toilet paper and toothpaste, then holding back on toys is just me being mean. Again. Maybe he should be the politician.
My children aren’t only consumed with their own wants. They ask often what I want to find under the tree. I’ve printed a list and circled my favorite requests. Dark chocolate and unscented lotion are my staples. I also remind them that I already have the best gift ever — I’m a mom.
Her most recent book, Start Homeschooling Today: No Experience Required provides a simple set of instructions that will give the beginning homeschooler the tools and the confidence to begin homeschooling successfully.