Is it just me or do other people also feel that Christmas tends to bring out the child in most of us? Palpable excitement mounts as days are counted off, approaching the Big Day. Our friends, C and J’s home becomes a kids’ delight as J brings out all the decorations, musical toys and figurines which are tastefully displayed across each room. Even our grandson R, all of 17 months old runs to the Christmas tree in his house and excitedly points it out when we ask him “Where is Christmas?” Pleased with himself then, he smiles and claps his hand, expecting each of us in the room to do the same and “high five” him!
Last weekend we visited with our granddaughters. S is 6 ½ and J is 3 ½ and they immediately correct us, should we erroneously reduce their age by even a few weeks! Technically therefore, our visits no longer qualify as “babysitting” sessions, because the girls frown on being addressed as babies, other than as a term of endearment!
It is always fun being with them. J goes hyper with excitement and between running to cling to my legs or hug and kiss her nani, she breathlessly tries to update us on just about everything she can think of, even as we walk in to the house and start to take off our shoes at the entrance. S shrugs all this off, as she feels too grown up to display such childlike behavior! This occasion was no different. J was at the landing above and as we walked up the stairs, she excitedly pointed out their Christmas tree and the stockings emblazoned with each of their names, strung up on the railing. S joined in, and told us how they had gone out with mommy and daddy the day before to choose their family Christmas tree and then helped their dad lug it back home and up the stairs. J solemnly declared that “my dada is really strong!”
Each of them proudly pointed out her own favorite trinkets and ornaments that had contributed to the family’s collective efforts to decorate the tree. There was even a superman figurine soaring up towards the treetop. They excitedly received our presents, placing them under the tree alongside those already lined up, while trying to guess the contents. S informed us in a very matter-of-fact tone that while all presents could only be opened on Christmas day, they had been permitted to take one from their stocking on Christmas eve.
Our daughter and son-in-law went out for the evening and we had dinner with the girls. My wife had taken some craft materials as S and J loved to create stuff. J asked me to pretend to be Santa and sit in the grotto (my favorite Ikea chair that I almost always fall asleep on!) which suited me just fine. She pretended to be Rudolph the reindeer and hid under the chair or “romped around” for the next half an hour, pretending to deliver gifts to children. S was busy with her nani, drawing and coloring pictures of Christmas trees, elves and assorted seasonal themes. As bedtime approached, J asked for my wife to put her to bed while S wanted me to tell her a bedtime “nana” story. She clarified that it was the story I had told her earlier about the time when I would hide in my secret den as a little boy.
I lay down beside S on her bed and proceeded to embellish the often repeated story while she placed her right palm on my tummy and proceeded absent-mindedly, to rub it round and round. Suddenly, she sat up and said, “Nana, you are too fat. You love to eat food but you really love sweets too much! You have so much ice cream all the time!” Having said her piece, she lay down as I told her that now that her Nana was going to retire, it would give me time to exercise and loose weight. She asked me what “retire” meant and I explained that it meant Nana would no longer go to an office to work. S suddenly sat up and wagging her index finger in my face solemnly declared, “You will be home all day Nana, so you’d better learn to cook dinner as my nani will be tired when she comes home in the evening from her school!” I assured her that I would try to do my best, and she resumed rubbing my stomach while I finished my story. Moments later, in her little, 6 ½ years old girl voice she sleepily said, “But your tummy is cute Nana and I love you like this.” Before I could wipe the tear from the corner of my eye, the little angel was fast asleep.
Enjoy this Mele Kilikimaka (Merry Christmas!) song from our granddaughters’ favorite (at least until last month!) movie Moana: