Audrey is my co-conspirator and, at 13, eagerly striding towards hopes of clothing (a wool coat and fedora!) and electronics, but keeps looking over her shoulder at Toyland. Her current compromise is to ask for lots of logic puzzles so she has "something to do on Christmas afternoon." She is haunted by a story I told her of my own cusp-of-womanhood Christmas morning, when showing my new amethyst ring to my happily-playing-and-not-too-interested younger siblings for the tenth time got dull as dirt.
My first present from 10-year-old Marian has already appeared under the tree. I think last year she gave me six. We are makingmakingmaking together, including this little honey she sewed last night (from a recycled sweater, of course!) for her Calico Critters.
We took process shots because she's mulling over restarting I'm a Craft Artist, but, well, you know how the Goates girls are with their really very excellent plans...if we follow through, I'll let you know.
She's also getting a case of the galloping gimmees, with actual brimming tears over her conflict over snooping to see ("I want a surprise but I want to know so bad!") what Grandma gave her after the exposure made possible by this afternoon's incident (story below) and her insistence that she really must get Marie-Grace (the newest American Girl doll, whose name not only mirrors my Marian Grace's but has the golden brown hair and freckles to match and yes I bought her a month ago) or she will cry Christmas morning. I told her that this was not really the sort of behavior that would convince me.
Reuben and I sat in the Wegman's dairy aisle a couple of weeks ago for half an hour watching the suspended train, shifting positions periodically for optimal viewing. The big toddler paradox: an attention span so limited for some things and so vastly patient for others.
Reuben is a smashing little guy and wholeheartedly...everything. His full dedication to trains continues, as does his reluctance regarding the spoken word, though he did begrudgingly stoop to say "choco" last night when I was pretending obtuseness over his insistence for a glass of chocolate milk (and, noticing his mistake, would not repeat). He will be very good at charades when his days of parlour games begin. He communicates his desires and observations quite clearly. Tonight, for example, his gestures told me "No, that figure couldn't represent Daddy because he is much taller than that" and "Hey, Mom: join in the tickling and kissing and wrestling of Reuben! There is a spot right there on my tummy between Daddy and Audrey that I'm saving for you!"
Reuben has proven his dexterity with scissors (bad incident with a stack of Marian's careful tiny drawings last week), and I took advantage of that for a little Christmas package enclosure card collaboration at a friend's house this morning. He chopped and I mosaic-ed us a couple of trains. I love them so much! The card in the center is entirely his effort as he learned Gluestick (I did have to rescue a couple of pieces from a particularly sticky finger).
We belly laughed our way through a classic Christmas-with-a-toddler moment this afternoon. I was with Marian at the dentist office when I received a call from Audrey, home babysitting Reuben. He was HOWLING in the background. Audrey noticed Reuben had slipped away while they were watching TV in the basement when he came tripping downtown, happily clutching a new Chuggington train in each hand. He was not parted from them happily. And from whence came this fine addition to his extensive small train collection? He had unwrapped each of the 15 or so gifts under the tree to find the train pay dirt from Grandma Donna's early-shipped holiday offering. I think his third birthday earlier this month was altogether too fine a training ground for gift appreciation. Looks like we'll be honoring the old tradition of bringing out the gifts all at once on Christmas Eve or thereabouts this year (Audrey has a complicated algorithm for exactly when, taking into account when the girls get out of school for the holiday break, our tolerance for 24-7 tree surveillance, the amount of space under our beds for hidden gifts, and probably the alignment of the moon with Jupiter).