New Mama Musings

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Here Comes Santa Claus...

B.H. (Before Henry) I always thought that if I had kids, I would not perpetuate the lie that a jolly fat man watches you closely and then rewards your good behavior with presents. For some reason, the whole idea of it made me really uncomfortable.

But when I was pregnant I relented a bit, not wanting to deny my child the fun of believing in magic. I mean, we've all seen "Miracle on 34th Street." Who wants their child growing up like the Natalie Wood character?

And now that Henry's actually here, I find myself changing my position yet again. I'm still not totally comfortable lying to my kid, but I think I've found a decent compromise. My current plan is to not shield Henry from the story of Santa, have presents under the tree for him but not say who they're from, and let him come to his own conclusion.

If Henry asks me or his dad who brought the presents, we'll turn it back on him: "Who do you think brought the presents?" If he asks if there really is a Santa, we'll say, "What do you think?" And if he tries to pin us down, we'll respond with something like, "I really like the story -- I don't know if Santa's real but I hope he is!" Tricky, eh?

Okay, so it may be semantics. But somehow I'm more comfortable letting Henry decide for himself rather than ramming it down his throat. Now if only I could get the rest of society to go along with this...

Friday, December 23, 2005


I never gave a lot of thought to tradition before becoming a parent. Yes, I was a stepmom before Henry came along, but stepmoms aren't usually in charge of those kinds of things, if you know what I mean.

My own childhood was not particularly tradition-laden. Sure, I had a basket full of candy on Easter morning, went trick-or-treating on Halloween (wearing the same plastic store-bought ghost costume many years in a row), had a big meal on Thanksgiving and opened presents under the (artificial) tree Christmas morning. (Yeah, I know, boo-freaking-hoo.)

But honestly, those are pretty much no-brainer traditions. They're not anything I look back on fondly, saying, "When I was a kid, we always..." That's what I want for Henry.

While some traditions just evolve, I want to be proactive about introducing others. I have a lot of ideas for the holiday season (although I won't be able to implement all of them until Henry is a bit older):

  • Having a re-usable Advent calendar to mark the days leading up to Christmas.
  • Wrapping 24 holiday-themed children's books, putting them in a basket and having Henry pick one to read every night in December until the 25th.
  • Having Henry open one present Christmas Eve -- a new pair of pajamas to wear to bed and for opening presents in the following morning.
  • Limiting the number of presents, so Henry knows what to expect. (Nothing worse than hearing a kid say, "That's it?" on Christmas morning.) I like the "three gifts like baby Jesus got" idea (we aren't religious, but Jesus IS sort of why we throw this big party every year, after all) or the "something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read" thing.
  • Buying an ornament for Henry every year (letting him pick it out as soon as he's able) so by the time he has a Christmas tree of his own, he'll have ornaments to put on it.
  • Having us watch the main four Christmas specials I grew up with (okay, maybe I do have a fond memory): The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman and A Charlie Brown Christmas.
  • Continuing the one tradition my husband and I already have, which is going out to an ethnic restaurant every Christmas Eve.
Am I being too ambitious? A bit naive? Over-zealous? Maybe. But I don't think it's wrong to try to make your kid's childhood a happy one.

And if someday Henry rolls his eyes and says, "My mom always did THIS over the holidays," at least he'll have a memory worth repeating.

Monday, December 19, 2005

New Nah-Nah Musings

It's really a shame that my name isn't "Nah-Nah." Because if it were, Henry would be saying my name constantly.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

"Motherhood Becomes You"

Friends ask me if motherhood is everything I thought it would be. And I have to say that while I'm not sure I had any concrete expectations about it, being the mommy pretty much rocks.

Sure, there are times when Henry won't stop crying and I realize I can't pass him off to his mom, because I am his mom. Or when I think it would be really nice to spend a lazy afternoon reading a novel, and it sinks in that I may not be able to enjoy such a luxury for a long, long time.

But then I notice those big brown eyes monitoring my every movement, and see how he smiles the most easily for me, and know that he's strong and healthy because of the nourishment I'm providing for him...and I really don't mind giving up so much to get so much in return.

A friend who came to visit not long after Henry was born said to me, "Motherhood becomes you." And I thought, Hell yeah. Being a mom is filling the empty part of me I didn't even realize existed until Henry came along.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Cutest Baby Ever

My friend Jennifer was kind enough to knit Henry a wool soaker and two hats. Here he is in the soaker and one of the hats. Isn't he cute? And isn't she talented?

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Baby Love

Last night, when Henry was sprawled out on his back in bed next to me, he suddenly turned on to his side to face me. When his arms and legs made contact with my body he sort of nestled in, relaxed, and went right back to sleep.

And this morning as I was bustling around getting a few things done, my husband, who was sitting with Henry on the couch, told me that Henry was watching me intently and smiling from time to time.

Be still my mommy heart...

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

The Latest Update

Disclaimer: A big part of the reason I blog is to document my experiences for Henry for when he gets old enough to appreciate them. So occasionally I'll write about his latest developments...which may not be all that fascinating to the majority of the reading public.

We now return to our regularly scheduled blog entry.

A few things Henry's been up to lately:

  • Reaching for and grabbing things, and putting them in his mouth.
  • Drooling like crazy. That combined with the above makes me think he's beginning to teethe. My nipples are already cringing.
  • Smiling up a storm, especially for Mommy. Makes my heart go pitter-patter.
  • Making smacking noises. The funniest thing is when he's nursing lying down next to me he'll occasionally pull off, roll over onto his back and start making smacking noises. This includes a weird lip-sucking, tongue-rolling thing. Then he'll roll back over and take another drink, only to repeat the entire process. The effect is that of someone at a wine-tasting. Well, maybe a pornographic wine-tasting.
  • Whapping his straight-out arms against his legs repeatedly. He kind of looks like Meg White drumming, except without the long black hair. Or the boobs.
  • Windmilling whatever arm is on top when he's lying on his side. I swear, those arms have a mind of their own. They go flying around like they're not even part of him. Weird.
  • And finally, when I blow raspberries at Henry, he smiles and tries to do it back.
This concludes the latest update.

Monday, December 05, 2005

They Grow and Shrink So Quickly...

On his four-month birthday last Saturday Henry weighed in at 21 pounds. Twenty-one pounds.

Meanwhile, I'm more than ten pounds under my pre-pregnancy weight. Since I haven't exercised in oh, about a year-and-a-half, I'm saying it's the breastfeeding.

At this rate by next summer Henry will be the grown-up and I'll be the baby.

Ah, I can't wait to sleep whenever I want...

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Santa Who Now?

Only four months old, Henry struggles with the concept of a fat man in a red suit flying through the air and bringing presents to every child on earth...all in one night.