Sunday, December 16, 2012

This dreidel has dropped!

It has been a busy and fun 8 nights of hanukkah around here, and this little dreidel is glad the spinning has stopped!  In 9 days, we packed in two birthday parties, 1 large family party at grandma's house, a party at Micah's daycare where I did a little show-and-tell about hanukkah with another mom, 4 nights of entertaining and making latkes for friends at our house, including a spontaneous party for 10, an evening of dreidel-playing, an afternoon at the botanic gardens, and a daytrip an hour south for a little hike.  Whew!

There were presents galore --hanukkah been berry berry good to Micah. Early on, I realized that there were too many presents, and so half of the things I bought are getting either saved for later or returned.Tonight, I realized with great pleasure that despite all of the new toys in the house, Micah was happily playing with a salad spinner and a shoe. He has loved the books he's gotten, the playmobil figurines, a simple slinky.... It was great fun last night when we had 5 children ages 4 and under and they all happily playing more or less together with the playmobil animals and people.

I think we successfully created a lot of happy moments with hanukkah that will be remembered, which is such an important foundation when he sees so much Christmas around him. I feel so lucky that he is growing up in a world where his holiday is recognized and discussed at school and in public -- so unlike it was during my childhood in the Jurrasic era. And while he exclaims happily when he sees a Christmas tree or santa claus in public, he already understands that they are for Christmas and we celebrate Hanukkah.
Micah continues to love books, and today in the car ride to the hike he kept himself occupied for a long time just looking at the ones we brought. One of the was an illustrated version of the song "Sunrise Sunset" and it amused me no end to here him softly intoning the words to himself. He's particularly interested in the word "swiftly" and keeps asking me what it means. Another popular book right now is an illustrated Grimms Fairy Tales. I bought it because, ever since Halloween, Micah has been asking me all sorts of questions like "What do giants do?" and "What's a troll?" and asking me to tell him stories that I barely remembered, like Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel. Well, now that I've re-acquainted myself witht these stories, I can't say that I think they're very appropriate for children! For example, Rapunzel, stolen from her parents, is locked into a tower at age twelve and when a prince tries to rescue her, he is blinded and she is cast into the desert all alone. Yikes!

Recently the word "alone" has seized Micah's imagination. It started one day at dinner, when Adam got up from the table to get someothing and Micah also left the table. I called them back by telling them I was lonely. Now Micah keeps asking me on the way to school whether I will be lonely at home without him and daddy, and when I had to run a quick errand after dinner tonight, he was afraid I'd be lonely. I've been trying to tell him that there's a difference between being "lonely" and "alone," but I think this is going over his head at the moment. Probably no coincidentally, it is getting much more difficult for us to leave him with a babysitter when we want the occassional time away. Perhaps just as well; our babysitters recently raised their prices so it isn't quite as appealing as it once was, but I do wish he'd give a warmer reception to the two nice girls who have been babysitting for him periodically over the last 2 years. Even when Grandma comes over, he wants to be reassured that we're not leaving before he truly relaxes with her, and she's his favorite person in the world.

I guess this is a natural phase for toddlers, and a compliment to how secure he feels with us. We're treasuring the trusting comfort he has in us while also trying to set some firm boundaries. We realize that this sweetness and love of being with us can't last forever. I love holding his little warm hand and cuddling with him while reading, and adam loves to make him roar with laughter by threatening hin with falling in the "hot lava" of the floor, or by chasing him up the stairs. One little milestone recently passed very sadly, when I noticed that he had gone from utterly guileless to trying to hide from us when he was eating or doing something he wasn't supposed to. Oh how sad, he has learned to lie and deceive. But he is still so very sweet and transparent in his motives, and really doesn't want to do anything more than have an extra piece of candy now and again!

 Family togetherness on the first night of hanukkah
 A hanukkah carnival offered sugar galore and a face painter
 Best present of the holiday, promptly and surprisingly given the name "Pasta."
 Teaching the young 'un how to gamble
 It's a hanukkah candle, people!
 Playing with our neighbor friends.
 Garden of the Gods hike
 What, me worry?
8th night.