Resisting sleep, sibling relationships, holiday traditions, anticipated cleanliness

Tonight neither of the twins wanted to go down for sleep. Emily said, quite plaintively, “Red shoes, red shoes…Mommy, Mommy…kitties, kitties…Pepper, Pepper…front room, front room,” and on it went. I was comforting Joanna at the time and couldn’t laugh, so I didn’t, but it was a near thing. The red shoes are Hazel’s, and are desired passionately by both Hazel and Emily, and to a lesser extent by Joanna. I think I might go over to one of the second-hand stores and see if I can find the twins a couple of pairs of “fancy shoes” that are more in their size. Though Hazel says that wouldn’t be fair, which is something she says when she’s not getting what she wants, or more importantly, when someone else is getting something she thinks she might want, or there’s something she wants on principle because it’s different from what she has.

I know, this is not new, or news. Practically every child (including me!) in the history of the planet has felt that way. Still, it alternates between amusing and irritating, and sometimes both. And I have to cultivate the amusement so the irritation doesn’t turn me into a dragon.

Tonight I realized that I really, really, really didn’t want to spend even an iota of time worrying about the twins breaking glass ornaments on the Christmas tree. So, Hazel and I dashed out to the drug store before bedtime and got a bunch of “shatterproof” ones that are fairly tacky, but she loves them, and they presumably won’t break. And the point (in our house at this time) is to cultivate festive and happy, and not worry too much about taste (in this issue). So I say to myself, “Back off, control-freak, elevated-nose Mama!”

Meanwhile, Chanukah starts on the evening of December 16th this year. I need to check and see if we have candles or if I need to buy a pack. We will then continue what I consider to be my family’s fine tradition of celebrating both holidays. One night when I was in high school, a friend came over and was amused to see my brother and sister and me lying on the floor in front of the Christmas tree lighting candles on our Menorah. At some point we’ll start telling our kids about global faith traditions.

Long before that point, we need to finally put our Halloween pumpkins in the compost, as they have been peacefully decomposing on our picnic table and treelawn for weeks now. Speaking of which, we’re going to hire our neighbor teenager to come babysit for a couple of hours on Friday afternoons so we can start getting cleaning tasks done more routinely. We hope this will help us rescue our house from the pit into which it has descended. It will be really quite lovely to be able to see the top of the dining room table again.

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