Thanksgiving was hardly a memory when we walked through Lori's front door and were greeted by a fresh Christmas tree, festooned with all manner of holiday jewels and jubilations. Other trinkets and curios, all categorized on shelves by their rank in the holiday army: Nativities scenes on one table; Santas on another; snowmen, deer, stars -- each with their own space of shelves and mantles -- all together trumpeting the advent of a new Christmas season.
With dozens upon dozens of Christmas stories in her collection, I suspect our Lori may indeed be a close relation to the Clauses, and no doubt the genesis of some of the ideas dancing around Ittybit’s head, including all those sugarplum fairies.
Sadly, neither her father nor I have been able to muster the excitement of all things Christmas-y the way Lori can; we have all we can do to dig out our old ornaments and hang them on a tree before the clock strikes midnight on Christmas eve.
Annabel's animation is helping a bit but I am still woefully inept. But I try. We even "practiced" making cookies for Santa one evening before bedtime. As we dropped five spoonfuls of dough onto the baking sheet, she allotted each a recipient: "This one is for Santa. This one is for Mommy. This one is for Daddy. And this one is for Annabel," she announced proudly.
"And this one can be for Rudolf," I say dramatically.
"Mom! That's not for Rudolf!"
"You're not going to give Rudolf a cookie?" I asked surprised.
"No," she responds without elaboration.
"But why not?" I ask, "He works very hard. He might like a cookie."
"MA-aaaaa" she says with all the exasperation of a child who's mother has gone mad. "He is NOT getting a cookie."
I really didn't think much about the exchange until I started to tell Lori about our weekend a few days later, and how Annabel's imagination seems so surprisingly intricate.
I was explaining how Ittybit was walking on a sidewalk that was all spider-vein-y with cracks when she announced that she was walking on the back of a big monster, when Lori told me about the reindeer bringing Annabel to school.
I remembered about the cookies, and told her how Annabel didn't want to give one to the red-nosed reindeer.
"Oh … she told me about that," Lori said slowly. "No, they don't like cookies,” she explained. "They like carrots."
Really, though. It's so hard to keep up with with the mind of a toddler when all the stories she knows about Christmas are not your stories. Jed even got a taste of what it's like this evening when he collected her from Lori's house.
See, he had no idea that reindeer had brought Annabel to school that afternoon in Lori's car or that they picked her up and took a nap with her in the playpen.
"Jed just called me from the driveway," Lori said laughing into the phone, she called me at work, bubbling with the news.
"Uhm ... is there some reindeer she forgot? She's really crying and screaming not wanting to leave without her reindeer."
"They're pretend," Lori explained. "Just stay right there, I'll let them out."