This was the best picture I got during my little Christmas card photo shoot the other day. For awhile they were being AWESOME, but my camera was being way less than awesome and every single pictures was nothing but blurs. By the time I found my phone and started using that, they'd both lost interested in the photo shoot and had started fighting. This was the one picture I got where one face at least was clear!
So, one of the things I really hate about parenthood is when I have to read those books to my girls that have scenes where the characters are going to sleep. They always look so cozy, so sleepy, so wonderful. I read those and I think, "please, can't I go to bed too? Please??" And of course, the answer is always "No, it's only 3:00 in the afternoon." (Or sometimes it's "No, you've only been awake for an hour and a half.") It's so sad for me. And then by the time it is time for me to go to bed, I don't want to because I get this burst of energy that comes with the knowledge that I have a few hours in which I can do ANYTHING I WANT. BY MYSELF. My days have become pretty exhuasting lately. Not necessarily in a bad way......... it's just that our days are very full of activity... and talking.
As you know, Anja is 4 years old now, and evidently 4-year-olds are very curious people. Anja lately is wanting to know every detail about every subject in the whole wide world. She wants to know how electricity works. She wants to know why bird poo-poo is white when her poo-poo is brown. She wants to know all about deserts and hippopotamuses and she wants to know every last detail of the Life of Christ. But it isn't just the facts she wants. Oh no. Anja wants to know the emotional details about everything as well. "Mama, what did the poor animals eat if the Baby Jesus was lying in all their good hay?!?" I spend my whole day, every day, thinking up answers in words suitable for a four year old while maintaining honesty without making her afraid of everything. "Yes, Anja, if you ever encounter a hippopotamus in the wild, he will probably eat you. But don't worry--chances are you will never see a hippopotamus in his natural habitat, or at least if you do, you probably won't be all by yourself." And the questions are CONSTANT.
Meanwhile, as Anja and I are involved in a steady stream of question-and-answer sessions, Greta is trying to kill herself. Greta is one of these energetic children who doesn't stop until someone gets hurt--and really, she has to be the one getting hurt before she stops. She just goes and goes and goes. It makes going out in public somewhat difficult. And it doesn't help that she has a true talent for running into large store displays. (She seems especially attracted to the cardboard kind that spill their contents and fall over easily.) Earlier in the week the girls and I went to Barnes & Noble to try and do some Christmas shopping for Martin. We did get the shopping done, but it took a long time and it was not what I would label an "easy" outing. Greta was dead set on getting Daddy a game. (Barnes & Noble has quite the game selection now, did you know that?) So we visited the many shelves of games, where Anja asked me the detailed playing instructions of each game as Greta ran laps around the display shelves. Eventually we got away from there and a long time later, with our purchases, made it up to the checkout. Anja happily participated in the standing in line and the checking out politely while Greta "swam" on the tile floors. (In case you don't know what "swimming" is, it's when she gets down on her tummy and pushes herself all over the floor like a little otter. It seems more acceptable when she does it in the privacy of our kitchen. Also, she usually wears a swimsuit.) Anyway, we did make it out of the store, across the parking lot, and to our car (which currently is my parents' van that we are borrowing while our car sits mostly dead in our driveway) and we even got all buckled in (miracle!) before we realized that Greta had lost her [very small] panda bear inside the store. Oh, tears. We called right then and then went back later that evening, but nobody had turned it in and we couldn't find it anyplace. Bummer. Probably some other little child has a new toy. And it would've been mostly okay because Greta actually has two of those very small panda bears.... but then last night she lost the other one at some point when we were down in Indianapolis. Sadness.
But even with the exhaustion, as long as we stay in the safety of our own house, our days at home are glorious! We've been planning and making some small Christmas presents for some people in our families. Lots of fun. Advent is wonderful with kids. Anja and Greta are REALLY enjoying it this year... the singing, the candles, the nativity scenes, the looking forward to Christmas. The planning gifts, the trying *every* grocery run to remember to buy molasses so we can make gingerbread......... did I mention the singing and candles? It's a wonderful time. And surprisingly not busy...... we don't really do the holiday party thing (it helps to have no friends), and everything else that goes on we can just pick and choose and decide spur of the moment whether to partake in any given activity. (Example: Dickens of a Christmas was today; we didn't go. But this week they are having Christmas festivities every day over at the Union and I expect that at least one day we'll be able to hop on a trolley and get over there to see the giant tree and hear some music!)
Oh! I've just been invited to a music show in the living room! I'd better get in there....
I hope I didn't paint a negative picture of my children in this post! It's just all those sleepy, cozy childrens books I'm forced to read every day... *yawn*