Monday, December 19, 2011

Baby’s first Christmas

Christmas is mere days away, and so our first holiday season as parents is about to come to a close.

Many times during the last nine months of parenthood, I find myself wishing for milestones to occur faster than they should. I have wished so many times that Elliot could talk so I could explain to him why crawling on top of our cat and pulling out handfuls of his fur is not ideal, or that he was old enough to go out and mow the lawn or get up and make himself breakfast so Mom and Dad could sleep in for once.

But this Christmas season has given me perspective. Perhaps I shouldn’t be in such a hurry and instead enjoy the little things that have made this Christmas different from any other. Here is just a quick sampling of things we’ve encountered this Christmas:

New kinds of arguments. My wife and I fundamentally disagree on the idea of presents for 9- month-old Elliot. She sees this as the once-in-a-lifetime “baby’s first Christmas,” and we should shower him with gifts. I see it as the once-in-a-lifetime Christmas where he will literally have no idea what’s going on, so this is our only shot in the foreseeable future to get off the hook free! Plus I tacked on to my argument that we gave him a really great gift this year in March when we brought him home from the hospital.

Forget about Christmas decorations. Elliot has a sixth sense for knowing exactly what he’s not supposed to be messing with. Plus his new trick of pulling himself up greatly increases the range of destruction. Our poor tree has no ornaments this year; they were much too easy for Elliot to get. Even the bottom row of lights has stopped working, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the only lights that work on the tree are the ones just out of his reach.

Get ready to engage in small talk. Even during the festive holiday season, Lauren and I have historically been able to breeze through shopping malls and department stores unmolested. Not the case anymore. Pushing a stroller is the equivalent of hanging a flashing sign that says, “Let’s chat.” Elliot loves the attention, always smiling and convincing all who pass by that he is indeed the ideal baby. And if it happens to be an attractive woman, then he doubles that charm.

Holiday colds. Much as was the case last month with Elliot’s nasty stomach flu, he has managed to distribute a nice sore throat/congestion combo to his mom, dad, uncle and grandma simultaneously. I know that many colds and flus are spread by airborne particles released during a sneeze or cough. So what about when your baby has his whole hand in his mouth, then sticks it in your mouth while you are distracted? Maybe next time I will just have the cold germs injected and save time.

You really do put your kids first. Lauren and I both are more excited about some of the fun items we know family members have purchased for Elliot than anything we have gotten for each other.

If any of this sounds like complaining, it really isn’t – this season has been wonderful. Truthfully I should be happy because I know Christmas only gets more complicated from here on. My future will be filled with worrying about hiding gifts where he can’t find them or explaining that even though Santa can make anything in his shop, he still sends a bill to dear old dad.

So my goal this Christmas is to enjoy the simplicity and not try to rush things; soon enough he’ll be wise enough to realize that the discarded wrapping paper is not his present.

Jordan Echols is a Marketing Manager for Texas Health Resources and first-time dad who is working his way through all of Elliot's firsts.

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