Each year teachers send Ittybit home with a family project: a construction paper Christmas tree she is to cut out and we are to decorate together.
They hang them in the hallways of school during an open house and a festival of trees closer to Christmas.
It's quite possibly my favorite "family homework project."
Last year she mostly decorated the tree herself, refusing to let us get our scabby, germ-y, cootie-fied mits anywhere near "her tree." (She was more polite than that, but you get my point. She's got her ideas, and ours were just trying to pull the wool over their eyes.
This year, however, she accepted ideas as well as some help. I pulled out last year's Christmas cards and we cut out some pictures and shapes and glued them to the tree. She did most of the hot-melt glue gunning (No one ever thinks when they shell out $4 bazillion dollars for school supplies every September that they'll ALL. GO. TO. SCHOOL and they'll be left scrounging the house late one night in November looking for a worn down pencil nub and a dried up old glue stick to complete HOMEWORK now do they? Nope. They don't.)
But I digress.
We do have a glue gun with which we can stick stuff to other stuff, and not once did Ittybit shoot herself in the fingertips with it.
Any way ...
She set about filling the tree with stars and stickers and Hallmark sentiments, and thinking of how to use the images she'd had me cut more precisely. We had a wreath, a horse and rider, a photo card from last Christmas with pictures of the family, a cat inside a gift bag and a sleepy little town covered in glitter snow.
She looked at me with narrowed eyes and a crooked mouth.
I reminded her of her love of pop-up books and her brain box started buzzing.
We taped pictures of she and her brother's funny faces barn door-like over the horse on an piece of accordion-folded paper.
She added a cut-out flying Santa as a star. Behind it all were cards to stabilize the tree and a ribbon hanger.
It was so big she had to hand carrying it to school because it wouldn't fit in her school folder.
She didn't mind.
She didn't even worry that kids would make fun of the silly faces that were holding back the equestrian surprise.
It was the best tree ever.
And laughing was allowed.