Friday, December 4, 2009

Look, don't touch

I forgot to mention one important part of our Thanksgiving holiday - the Christmas tree! For the third year in a row we walked down the street to the creepy guys house to inspect his overpriced trees. I comfort myself with the knowledge that he ships them in from a farm in Pennsylvania. If I'm going to pay that much for a tree, at least it'll smell like home! Anyway, as I am now halfway through this pregnancy, I had to pee as soon as we got to the tree lot. There's no restrooms there, I don't think, I didn' t even want to ask. So this year I was in a bit of a hurry to find the perfect tree and bring it on home. At a place like this it's really not hard. All the trees pretty much look the same. It's all about finding the one "touches" you.

Growing up in PA, finding the perfect tree was a family event. We'd all pile into the minivan along with Cody, our black lab, and head out to the tree farm. There we'd spend at least an hour tramping through the woods. Dad quietly studying the different types of branches, Mom making her classic "triangle shape" with her hands, trying to find the best shaped tree, Micah, Jared and I fighting over who's tree would "make the cut" this year, and Cody running rampid through the forest chasing squirrels and gnawing on sticks. Back then finding a tree was much more involved. Around here it's fairly easy, and not nearly as much fun. But hey, I'm just thankful my husband let me get a real tree 3 years in a row now!!

So anyway, back to the creepy, overpriced, city tree lot... Unlike last year, Jack was wide awake for this expedition. He also let us know which tree he liked best. (Don't tell him we went with a different one!)

So Jon drove it home, hoisted up onto the balcony, placed it in the corner of our living room and strung it with lights in what seemed like a matter of minutes. By the time the tree was fully decorated Jack was fast asleep in bed. He didn't get to see it in it's full glory until the next morning. This is when, according to Poppa, he said "Look" i.e. "...k" and pointed to the tree.

We put the tree in a corner by the window, and behind the easy chair and couch. That way there is only one small entrance between the two seats to reach the tree. Which we typically block with the top of Jack's toy box during the day. Usually there is a large plant in this corner. Given the opportunity, Jack will crawl back there, unseen, and pull potting soil out of the plant. As long as we remember to put the toy box lid across the entrance, we're good. Well apparently a Christmas tree is much, much more tempting than a potted plant. Jack quickly learned to muscle his was through the toy box lid and right up to the tree.

Not only is Jack capable of destroying our tree and ornaments, he's also very likely to eat some pine needles or a hook or two. So he is not allowed to be near the tree unattended. Now I do not want to be anti-Christmas spirit, or one of those "don't touch, don't touch, don't touch!!" kind of moms. So I try to make it a point to let him explore the tree and ornaments as long as I'm next to him. Typically, every morning, Jack points to the tree and makes some noises. Then I pick him up or hold his hand, and we walk over and check out the tree. And then I proceed to say, "Look, don't touch" a million times. Which I think currently ranks up there on my list of unfavorite things about being a Mommy. I wish I could just let Jack loose on the Christmas tree. I wish he was allowed to touch every ornament and bury his hands in the pine needles. Because I bet he'd think it was a lot of fun. And I'm sure it's taking everything he has on his little insides to keep his hand back. But unfortunately, self restraint is something we all must learn. And I don't feel like cleaning up pine needles and broken ornaments. So this is what works for now. Sorta. The other morning, when I wasn't paying attention, I heard a small crash and saw the tree shake out of the corner of my eye. There was Jack, an ornament in each hand, face-first in the tree, with pine needles covering his pajamas. Maybe some lessons are best learned the hard way.

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