Whew, was Christmas ever a whirlwind this year. I was so excited to share this Christmas with Natalie, we've been building up to it for weeks. I actually think that all of the anticipation ultimately backfired on us a little bit, and ended up overwhelming our little budgie. She had a great Christmas Eve, but as it was time to wind down for bed she just couldn't settle in at all. We had been talking about Santa and Christmas all day (oh, and all month), and I think she felt completely anxious and excited and confused and curious about what the heck was going to be waiting for her the next morning. At least, that's why I've convinced myself that she didn't sleep a wink all night.
And then woke up for the day at 4:30. Ughhhhhhh.
My mom is such a good sport, and joined us for a morning of reading and playtime while everyone else got another hour or two of shut eye. It was clear from just about minute one of the morning, though, that Natalie was beyond overtired already and I could feel myself starting to dread the over-stimulation that Christmas morning was sure to be for her. Do you other parents have those moments, when you know your kid is just right on the edge and you feel like you're just biding your time until the meltdown arrives?
We dug into Natalie's stocking as soon as others in the house started to wake up, and she got her big gift from Santa early on, as well. She loves that flippin' table and chairs set so much, it was a highlight of Christmas and has become the highlight of this little vacation. She has tea parties with her stuffed animals, colors to her heart's content, and spends time just climbing off and on the chairs. She loves that gift.
From that first gift on, Christmas morning just felt like a battle. We were constantly taking turns chasing her from one room to another, trying to keep her from getting into trouble while we opened gifts. She had almost zero interest in opening her gifts, and we had lots of screaming, flailing, crying, whining episodes while we tried to trick her into opening her presents. The day felt exhausting, and I ended up feeling rather hopeless as a parent as I kept failing at keeping Natalie happy and interested in all the Christmas merriment.
It was, however, a bountiful Christmas. As usual, my parents went overboard with the number of gifts under the tree, and we were all pretty well spoiled. Mike and I got gift certificates to restaurants, passes to York's Wild Kingdom and Story Land, as well as lots of entertainment in the form of music and books.
Natalie's gifts were beyond amazing this year, from that table and chairs set on. Santa brought her legos and bathtime books, her great-grandmother got her a gorgeous pots and pans set to go with her play kitchen, Nana & Poppy added bins of wooden play food to the set, as well as lots of books. She got a set of horses, a crib for her baby doll (another major hit of the morning), a Build-A-Bear kit, new jammies, a Magna-Doodle, and more. It was truly a Christmas to bring on feelings of gratitude.
All the sensory overload was too much for the kid, though. She kept escaping to the bathroom to watch the snow fall and turn on the tub. She seemed to need time away from the madness of the morning, and would balk at any of our attempts to lure her back into the fray.
In all, it was a lovely Christmas weekend. We were all overfed, overtired, and happy to be in each other's company.