Tuesday 4 December 2007

Preparing for Christmas

Where did November go?? I can't believe it's already December. So much to do! My husband and son and I leave for the holidays in less than two weeks (one week with his family; one week with mine).

This will be our son's first Christmas. He'll be just over eight months old, that age where the wrapping and the boxes will be the most exciting presents he gets. We're trying - as in all other areas of our life - to keep things simple in terms of Christmas. I admit there is a part of me that wants to splurge on Christmas presents for the sweet little boy, but even that part of me drops its jaw in shock at long lists of (mostly large noisy plastic) toys that seem to be the norm.

I think that we've decided that each of our children will receive three gifts in recognition of the three gifts given by the magi. I've read about one form where Gold = fun gift or something of value/something the child really wants, Frankinsence = gift of spiritual significance, and Myrrh = item for body. I like the idea both because it keeps Christmas at a reasonable size and because it allows for deeper discussion of the magi and Jesus.

Because the in-laws requested a Christmas list for their first grandchild, we sent a letter to both families giving suggestions. We did ask that plastic toys and toys made in China be avoided if possible, along with movies as we do not allow our son to watch them (we don't even have a TV ourselves; if we want to watch a movie, we rent a DVD and watch it on the computer). Instead, we suggested board books (in English or French), clothes 12 months +, wood toys, cloth toys, wool diaper covers, homemade taggie blankets, or, if all else fails, RESP contributions.

From us he will get a mirror, a stackable toy, a shape sorter, and some stocking stuffers (the latter only because my parents have insisted that we put a stocking out for "Santa" to fill while we're at their place, even though we don't intend to have Santa be a part of Christmas in our house). The stocking stuffers will mainly consist of food, which I know will only cause more negative comments from them (in addition to the "look on a map and see how big China is!" that was their response to our Christmas list) because in their eyes, "baby food" comes in a jar from the grocery store. We haven't given our son any rice cereal or jarred baby food. He just joins in with us. He currently feeds himself Cheerios, avocado, carrots, cantaloupe, honey dew melon, sweet potatoes, dry whole grain toast, oatmeal, applesauce, and other random types of food that we've offered him over the past month or so. He eats as much or as little as he wants, and all in addition to breastmilk rather than in place of it.

My son and I went away to a women's retreat put on by our church this weekend (nursing mothers welcome - it was an opportunity I wasn't going to pass up!). He's such a happy and good natured little boy (I like to flatter myself and pretend it's all do to my phenomenal mothering skills) and he just loved spending the whole weekend in the centre of attention. One mother there, upon observing me trying to sneakily clasp my nursing bra back up, said how great it was that I was still breastfeeding my son. She said her youngest was five years old before they weaned. In a culture where I get asked more often when I'm going to wean, it was truly a blessing to hear "good for you for still breastfeeding!" instead.