The Nugget Chronicles: Holidazed

Here we are, in final throes of 2014. I’m sure I could wax poetic for pages and pages about all of the things that I learned over the course of the last year, but I like to think that, unlike Peter Jackson, I actually have a self-editor. This doesn’t mean that I’m not going to go on for a while about things of little importance to the vast majority of people, but it does mean that I’m not going to spend paragraphs talking about a door, so that I can later turn that description of a door into a three-hour epic saga. Just not my style (that, and I don’t get paid the kind of bank Mr. Jackson does).

Now, the main point of today’s post is not to talk about the last year, my adjustments to becoming a stay-at-home-dad, or any of the other random craziness that popped up. Instead, I’m going to talk just about last week, along with a little bit of a guess for tomorrow night.

As most of the world is aware, last week was Christmas. One of the things I like about Christmas, in all honesty, is how this particular time of year is generally about people being kinder to others. It just feels that, as the days become shorter, somehow people’s patience grows longer, at least for a few weeks. That all gets thrown out the window in January, generally, but it’s hard to keep up that level of empathy for your fellow human, especially when you haven’t seen the sun for weeks, and you no longer recall what grass looks like. But still, Christmas-time is generally a very pleasant time, and, even as someone who doesn’t really do the religion thing, it’s been a time of year I’ve looked forward to.

That all got profoundly better this year with the fact that Nugget is now old enough to start “getting” the idea behind Christmas. True, she’s still just shy of 17 months old, so her vocabulary is sparse, but even my generally pleasant daughter seemed to be more pleasant than usual. Yes, she had a great bout of deciding that sleep was for suckers mid-December, but she was still kind and in good spirits throughout. We’ve had our moments where she’s lashed out through attempts to hit (quickly stifled), or through moments of biting (stifled once we’ve moved past the initial shock of realizing Nugget is part zombie), but the vast majority of time has been filled with hugs, kisses, and overall pleasant attitudes. Starting to get to see the effects of this season through Nugget’s eyes is only making me appreciate it more, and I’m sure that will continue well after she’s disillusioned with the whole notion, because she’s a petulant teenager who is disillusioned with the world simply for existing.

With all of that in mind, we happily put up a tree and decorated it (moving ornaments ever higher, since it seems like she’s grown even taller than before during the month), took her shopping, and even on a grand trip through an entire downtown floor decorated all for the holiday season. Watching her eyes light up every time she saw lights or decorations was incredible, and sitting with her to watch Elf and Emmet Otter while she truly experienced them for the first time was amazing. Personally for me, being able to live the season through Nugget was an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. And no, this wasn’t her first Christmas, but it was the first one where she was actually conscious of things happening around her, and where opening gifts was actually about the gifts, and not just about playing with all of the paper.

Speaking of gifts, HawtWife and I will admit to keeping it a bit light. It’s not that we couldn’t do more, or we don’t have any idea of where we’d put any of the new toys in our house (okay, that second part is at least partially true), it’s just that we’ve decided that keeping things a bit simpler for our kid is the route we’re going to take. Now, even though there was a smaller number of gifts, Nugget still made out pretty well, especially in her eyes. She got her own Nugget-sized chair. She got blocks. She got a loopy car set. And she got books. So many books (almost all of which make noise). And we still don’t know which is her favorite, because she’s made a point of utilizing all of these things, plus the other items I’ve neglected to mention. Truth be told, there have been a few times where she’s sat down on her chair, pulled out the blocks from her parents, the toys and books from her grandparents, and gone to town, having a fantastic little time bouncing (sometimes literally) from one activity to the next.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a true American holiday season without at least a little bit of travel, and we did accomplish that by taking Nugget to see her grand- and great-grand- fathers. It’s important for her to see her relatives, and she doesn’t get to see any of them often enough, so we make efforts to get her face-time. This particular visit, the darned kid melted my heart a little bit when, in a visit to her great-grandfather, she almost immediately went towards him to sit in his lap and have him read her a book. Now, his eyes don’t work quite as well as they used to, so the “reading” was suspect, but that wasn’t what was important. The important thing, at least in my eyes, is that my daughter recognized my grandfather who she’s barely seen as someone she immediately trusted, and wanted him to be part of her life. Even now, I’m getting a little teary thinking about that moment. The fact that this all happened when it was butting up against both of their naptimes was even more impressive to me.

So yes, that’s how we spent our Christmas holiday. I hope yours was pretty sweet, too. Now we’re just gearing up for the turn of the calendar over to 2015. If Nugget’s usual tendencies are any indication, she’ll take one of two courses of action for tomorrow night. Either she’ll find a way to keep herself awake past midnight, because she wants to be involved in all of the social frivolity and fun, or she’ll decide that she needs to get to sleep around 9:30, but will first babble our ears off for 40 minutes about all of the things she did during the day (that we totally saw, because we were with her). Either way, it’ll be a good way to start a fresh turn of the clock.

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