1. Canada, you are a drag.
This morning, on Caillou:
CAILLOU: “Does he have a family, too?”
ZOOKEEPER: “I’m afraid not. You see, his mommy died.”
Really, children’s television writers? REALLY? It wasn’t a Very Special Episode about death, it was a trip to the zoo. I was two sips into my first cup of coffee. It was not yet 7am. Why, what better time to discuss death and motherless children with my four-year-old!
(Also, why not just say “not here!” or even “no” without elaboration? If my preschooler asked a question about a baby otter’s family and some zookeeper took it upon herself to answer with a tale of maternal woe, she would be scrambling for purchase along the inside wall of the tiger pit.)
2. According to Simone, the extra cherries are hair.
This morning we went over to my mother’s to bake loaves of Schmutzli and Santa bread. You can buy these all over in Switzerland during the holidays, and Santa’s pipe and Schmutzli’s switch were saved from my mother’s last store-bought pair. Here they are before going in the oven:
And here is Schmutzli after being served for lunch alongside cheese and butter (turnabout is fair play, Schmutzli!):
3. Oh the weather outside is frightful…
We were supposed to be traveling this weekend to see my in-laws, but the forecast calls for a winter storm Saturday night, so instead we are staying home to do cozy winter things, like make cookies and finally decorate the tree. Right now it is up but bare, this hulking dark piney mass in the corner of the living room. I can’t wait to get the lights strung and watch Simone festoon approximately one third of the available arboreal real estate with ornaments.
I have surprised myself by turning into a Holiday Person over the last couple of years. I liked the holidays fine in the past, but they were just there, pleasant but generally devoid of poignancy, a few days of presents and laughing with family and drinking hot liquored things. All of which are still integral components of the holiday season, obviously, but ever since Simone became old enough to be delighted by Christmas, I’ve become someone who listens to Christmas music starting December 1st, who organizes holiday crafts and can sit gazing at the tree for a disturbingly long while. Baking, shopping for presents, drinking hot chocolate when it’s snowing and white outside…I’m gleeful, even reverent, over all of it—perhaps absurdly so, for an atheist—and this year feels more exciting than most, because Twyla is our last baby, which means we are finally all here.