The Friday after Christmas is known to some as Black Friday, the day for shopping and taking advantage of all good deals. To me, it is the winter equivalent to Fall Day. (if you have no idea what I'm talking about, see here) It is the day I hunker down in my house, let everyone else run about like madmen/women, watch Elf, change the Scentsy burner from Pumpkin Roll to Festival of Trees, and decorate for Christmas. And so we did!
Wanna come in for a tour?
(hooray for my stockings and homemade Joy sign!!)
Are those glass ornaments hanging at the bottom of the tree?? And aren't those ornament balls in the sleigh at perfect grabbing height?!
Why, yes they are! :) Funny how that happened.
I remember a phone conversation with my girlfriend a few weeks ago- she has a son three weeks younger than Roman and we were trying to figure out whether to fight the "don't touch the Christmas tree decorations" battle or not. Normally I feel strongly about decorating my house and teaching my child[ren] how to behave among those things but Christmas seemed so temporary. It's a month out of Roman's young life. Did I really feel like investing the energy to stay on him and make sure he didn't break things? Was it worth fighting that battle? Was it fair to give him the opportunity to be scolded so often? And I decided that no, it in fact was not. I was prepared to tailor my decorating for a 16-month old's curiosity. I was going to make the bottom half of my tree ornament-free and keep everything else high up on shelves.
But then curiosity got the best of me.
And Jerry and I found some courage on that Friday and said to each other, "Let's try it." We figured if it was a really huge battle to fight we would alter what we did, but if Roman didn't care, there was no reason why we couldn't decorate. And don't we, as parents, often limit our children based off our own fears? (now THAT is a conversation for another day, but is a theme coming up in my life often right now!) What if we were making something out of nothing?
So when Roman went down for his nap we ran around like crazies, setting up the tree and decorating it so that he wasn't awake to try and help us do it. We actually got most of the decorating done during this time. (I am constantly amazed at the productivity that can be achieved during a 2-hour nap time) And when he woke up we walked him out to the kitchen, "ooh"ed and "aah"ed over the things, showing him everything, and holding our breath to see what he'd do.
We had decided we were okay if he wanted to touch the ornaments and agreed that we'd tell him to be gentle when touching it. That's a phrase he's familiar with since we have a cat who can't quite take the beating a large American Bulldog can.
The result? Success! The first day he was really interested and we just watched him constantly to catch him BEFORE he did things he wasn't supposed to so we could praise his gentle touching instead of scolding his removal of ornaments. We did have ONE incident where he threw a white ball, which of course immediately shattered on the floor! He turned and ran faster than I thought he could move! But in his defense, it looks exactly like one of his white balls he plays with and we weren't watching him (obviously) at that moment to have stopped it. But that's it! I think he realized quickly that the things hanging on the tree weren't the same as the things in his toy chest. The second day found him to be a little curious but not very interested, and he has ignored everything since then. I even have a sleigh full of ornament balls on a stand beside the couch that sits at perfect height for him to have fun with and he has left it alone completely, other than the first day.
So now I know. Yes, we can still decorate for the holidays; even with little fingers and toes in the house. And that makes for a happy mama, indeed! :)