Monday, December 7, 2009

Putting Up Christmas

Jackson has been pestering us to decorate for Christmas.   In the past 2 weeks he has been pointing out every house on every block we have travelled that has lights up and even trees up.  He thinks by December 5th, it's almost too late.

The whole thing start out well. Husband moved some furniture Friday night to make room Mommy's tree. That's the one I get to decorate all matchy-matchy. Saturday morning, Husband brought up the big Tupperware totes.  He even remembered that a heavy one put his back out last year so we carried up some of the contents separately to save us money on muscle relaxers.

We knew well enough, to get the kids' tree out first so that will keep them busy and distract them from the fact that I am doing the other tree in the other room.  Apparently our timing was off as their tree was all decorated and we still hadn't even figured out how to get all the lights connected on the big tree when they came in offering to destroy my vision of a perfect tree help. 

This year was a big one for Mommy's tree. We have had the tree for three years, adorned in red and silver. I wanted a new colour and went crazy and got green balls. While the red ones were shiny and matte, the green ones are shiny, matte and sparkly.  I know, really crazy.

I was thinking of going for purple, or turquiose or navy. But then I didn't have enough other decorations to match and I thought I would have green decorations to make a green, silver and white room.  As it turns out I have a lot of red and not a lot of green so now I am scouring the countryside looking for affordable green, white or silver accessories.

But I digress.

My children insisted on helping with the trees.  I had a whole triangle quadrant system going to ensure the decorations were appropriately spaced.  Jackson consented to my directing exactly where the decorations would go.  Sydney would just ask "can this one go here?" "how about here?"  "here's a good spot Mommy?"
"what about here?" until she finally hit a spot that fit into my decorating grid.  You can see why my face started to  twitch.

Meanwhile Husband sorted out the outside lights and half the strings are not lighting up the way they should.  While he googled "fixing LED lights" which, you will remember, are supposed to basically last forever, the kids and I putter away on the green and silver tree. Then I saw Jackson standing on  a strand of lights on the floor, which is, admittedly, not the best place for it.

I said with, I thought,  a minimal amount of emotion "Jackson, don't stand on the lights".

"I'm not."

I had 2 options at that point. I could have said "oh, you're right, you aren't" and then have a broken bulb or two and another unlit string for Husband to sort out.  In hindsight, this would have been the better option.

I opted for "Yes you are. Your foot is right on that string."

"HHMMPPPHH" he said and stormed off knocking over things in his way.  He went to the family room and changed the channel on Sydney and continued in his uncivilized routine.  Eventually, I had enough and sent  him upstairs.  He wrote me a charming note "SHUT UP".  I told him he just lost a Christmas present in equally charming voice.

Sydney picked up the note and wanted to know what it said.  I refused to tell her as the kids are both far too interested when the other gets in trouble.  I have learned that when I answer questions like "why is Sydney so mad?" with the truth "she wanted to hang on the bannister and kick her legs up the wall and I told her she was almost hitting the pictures and I neither wanted to take her to the hospital for stitches nor replace the glass and frame on the pictures" nothing good comes of it.  Sydney will get pouty becasue she didn't want Jackson to know. And Jackson might say "Sydney, you shouldn't do that" which of course she has already been told my her mother and didn't like it. Coming from her brother this message is even less appealing.  The reverse happens with Sydney nosing in on Jackson's  transgressions.

So I have started telling whichever non offender (assuming the non offender is not at all involved in the misdeeds, which is rare) that it's between the offender and me.

Sydney carried on wanting to know what the note said. Ironically, she is actually reading more and more and she certainly knows what UP is  and I think she would have figured out SHUT if she had used even a fraction of the energy used in screaming "I WANT TO KNOW WHAT IT SAYS"  to just try and read it.

So it was almost noon and both kids were in their rooms. Husband was silently cursing the lights and I have told everyone that we are not decorating for Christmas next year at all.  I might have cancelled the whole operation at that point but the house was strewn with the Christmas Rubbermaids so it was actually easier to carry on than to reverse the tide.

Fortunately, once I fed some grilled cheese to the progeny, things improved markedly.  Jackson however became obsessed with putting coloured lights in the front yard.

I eventually finished the green and silver tree and was happy with the result.

Husband wanted to consult about the exterior light situation.  The other problem we had with the lights now that Husband has made headway getting them to light up, is that we have bought strings of the LED lights at different times and places.  We have three different varieties of "soft white". One is very blue, two are slightly blue and one is yellow. 

Husband and I looked online for lights available.  Meanwhile Jackson is taking strings of coloured lights destined for the backyard and puts them at the front door. He was freakin' obsessed  focussed on his plan. There has to be COLOURED LIGHTS in the FRONT.  This was not negotiable.

He took no prisoners and made no friends in his crusade for coloured lights in the front.  His final strategy after whining, complaining and knocking over furniture, was what the criminal justice system would call "criminal harassment". Better known as stalking.  He pledged to stick literally to Husband or I until we agreed to his alternate lighting plan.

Though Husband and I have a strict don't-negotiate-with-terrorists policy, we suggested that we get a few bright red candy canes to hang in a big tree in our front yard.  He momentarily considered that option and would have agreed if I could have guaranteed him I could buy them today.  I was planning {shudder} a trip to get lights etc. at a store on the first freakin' Saturday in December. And even though I had checked online innventory and it was listed as "in stock", I know from experience as recent as this week, on line inventory is a random shot in the dark not always reliable. 

Eventually the lad got enticed by a computer game and I made my way to Canadian Tire and bought three kinds of outdoor lights, including candy canes and a few indoor items.  By the time I got home Jackson had not only endorsed the Candy Cane plan, he seemed to think that it was his idea. 

I love a revisonist historian.

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