This Christmas season, Patrick was old enough for Christmas to be a little bit magical. The lights, the music, the parties, the trees all held a little more wonder for him than they have before, and therefore, held more wonder for us as well.
We couldn’t walk in or out of the house without Patrick stopping to touch and look at the lights on the house. The Christmas tree was mostly safe, except the ornaments bought just for Patrick this year. Those toured the house throughout the season.
Thanks to last year’s Christmas book, “Away in a Manger,” the nativity scene was amazing to him. We stopped to look at the “ger-ger” every chance we get. Thank goodness for an unbreakable nativity Granny gave him last year. And his preferred lullaby changed from “I am a Child of God” to “Away in a Manger.” Which I still have to sing to him every day, while he echos “ger-ger”, “baby”, “sseep” (sleep) and “Dee-sah” (Jesus).
Santa was a little more confusing to him. Whenever I’d tell him that Santa was going to come and bring him toys, Patrick would answer “Jo!” – the name of the child life specialist who brings him toys to play with whenever he’s admitted to the hospital. And, well, she might beat Santa a bit, because she brings new toys every time Patrick needs them, instead of just once a year.
But, at least Patrick wasn’t afraid of Santa this year. He met him twice. First, we waited WAYYY too long to see him and get pictures at the Festival of Trees this year. But, other than preferring to look at Santa than to smile for the camera, it went over well enough. Better yet, Patrick actually cared about the trees at the festival this year, especially the ones that had trains or cars or wagons.
Our second experience with Santa was at the HopeKids Christmas party. That was a much smaller event this year than last. That probably is a good thing, though, since Patrick was coming down with a cold and developed a low-grade fever while we were there.
Nonetheless, this time around, Patrick and Santa were friends. Patrick tried to share his pacifier with Santa and put a sticker on his beard. Beats tears, any way it goes.
The rest of that party was crafts and games. Patrick’s attention wasn’t too great because he wasn’t feeling well. We played with a few stickers and crayons, and he “played twister,” or at least did what it looked like to him the other kids were doing. And then we made a quick retreat.
The party was worth it for Patrick, at least, though, because he came away with a “Ho Ho HopeKids” t-shirt. And since Patrick was all about “Hah Ho Ho” (Don’t mispronounce that first word), he was happy enough.
And, as if that weren’t magical enough, we had orange sticks around the house a bit too often because of the holiday and, as I’m a sucker and can sometimes be persuaded to break the rules in the name of enjoying life, Patrick discovered the joy of “Thaw thaw”.. a.k.a. CHOCOLATE.
I tried introducing him to cookies, too. One day after picking Patrick up for school, we ran into my sister-in-law Amanda at the grocery store. So, we invited her and her husband Steve to help us make cookies. My plan was to get an early start on neighbor gifts.
We made pie cookies for Patrick first. (Cookies cut out of pie crust are allergy safe and fairly sugar free, and so Patrick could experience cookie cutters that way.) Then we switched to make butter cookies with my cookie press. Patrick LOVED putting sprinkles on the cookies. A little too much actually. We had some serious tantrums trying to control where the little sprinkle bottles went.
But alas, the cookie dough had a bit too much butter or eggs in it and by the time Brian got home from a late meeting and took Patrick to get ready for bed, Patrick was starting to get spots. It took 2 doses of Zyrtec and an instant bath to turn that reaction around. It was one step shy of anaphylaxis. So we learned our lesson about cookie dough…
And our neighbors got Otis Spunkmeyer premade cookie dough cookies instead.
Still, it was a magical Christmas season. I hope never to forget seeing it through Patrick’s 3-year-old eyes.