Who knows what else we’d own if the pandemic didn’t hamper my Home Goods outings

Pandemic Hanukkah was a success or so say my Hanukkah gnomes. Yes, we’ve jumped the shark.

A week ago, with an extra 15 minutes before BB’s school pick up, I pop into Home Goods. My thought was that I was going to grab Hanukkah wrapping paper and get out of there.

I was in a month ago and had already scoured their Hanukkah section. This time I couldn’t find it. I ask an employee,

“Is there still a Hanukkah section?”

She points behind me to a shelf surrounded by Christmas gnomes. I wander over. HANUKKAH GNOMES! WHAT?! I didn’t even know they existed and I don’t even have a shopping cart. I hold a couple in my arms and contemplate the check out line.

I don’t think I’m going to make it. I need to go get BB and these gnomes are ridiculous, unnecessary and the very definition of an impulse purchase. I put them down. I say goodbye to them. I linger. I stroke one of their beards.

I pick BB up from school. The beauty of school is that she always comes home ready to play independently. Off she goes. I put RB down for her afternoon nap.

Now I’m in a panic. I NEED those gnomes. What if someone bought them already? I throw on my coat about to rush out the door. BB exclaims,

“Where are you going? Please take me!”

A symptom of this pandemic is that she’s desperate to get out of the house for any reason. I sigh. Unprompted she says,

“I won’t ask for anything. I won’t touch anything. I’ll do what you say. I’ll stay right with you. I’ll wear my mask. I won’t talk.”

That last one sounds like a stretch, but I hear her desperation. I take her along.

We select several gnomes, a couple Hanukkah throws, a sign and some hand towels. So much for just the gnomes.

BB and I arrange them on the newly wrapped plywood air-conditioner cover. Looks meant to be.

BB runs to Captain excited to show him. The gnomes still have their tags on, as if I’d return them.

Captain studies the display. Half resigned, half smiling, because who can’t resist those adorable nose beard faces? He says,

“We’re in uncharted territory now.”

From left to right: Harry, Gimel and Snow
Can’t go wrong with these, one size fits most!

Pandemic Hanukkah and Christmas = anything goes?

Being a Jew with two Jewish parents, there were no Christmas decorations in our home when I was growing up, but that didn’t stop me from having opinions about them.

It seemed to me colored lights were the only way to go. Why go to the trouble of decorating if it’s just going to be boring white lights?

At some point things changed, maybe when I was however old you are when you eat vegetables.

By the time I met Captain I favored white lights and a “classic” take on Christmas decorations.

Three years ago when we moved to the land of suburbia, Captain and I couldn’t have agreed more about the direction of our holiday decorating.

One year later I ask Captain,

“What do you think about a snowman by the back door?”

“Eh. I think it’s tacky.”

“Yeah, you’re right.”

The next year I mention,

“I’m still thinking about a light-up snowman.”

“I don’t know…”

And considering I had a newborn baby, places to go, people to see, I didn’t give the snowman another thought.

Now here we are. Pandemic meets holiday times. Our decorations came out weeks ago. We’ve been home, home, home and there are only so many times I can listen to,

“Mom is it time to decorate now?”

So everything came out. It was a week before Thanksgiving, but Hanukkah is early this year, so maybe that makes it ok?

I tell Captain,

“I’m going to Home Depot and thinking about getting a light-up snowman.”

“Really? I don’t know.”

“Let me rephrase that. I’m going to Home Depot to buy a light-up snowman.”

I also went down the Hanukkah internet rabbit hole. How have I managed to celebrate for 38 years without a light-up, menorah, throw pillow for the couch?

Back from Home Depot and with no back door, our only choice is to have our light-up snowman out front. BB and I set it up. She is over the moon. She talks to him. Hugs and kisses him. Worries about him when the weather turns. I tell Captain,

“The only thing we need now are some of those light-up presents for the other side of the front door.”

“What?!”

But I’ve worn him down. Because you know there are presents out there.

I run the whole thing by a Christian neighbor. Which is probably all of them. I relay to her Captain’s concerns about being “that” house with the tacky decorations. She offers,

“A snowman is within the realm of normal for this neighborhood.”

Next year it may be time for one of those giant inflatable menorahs, which is NOT in the realm of “normal,” but is anything anymore?

Can we store toys in the Land of Make Believe?

SO MANY TOYS. I am the number one contributor to this problem. I’m not sure what to do about it. I want to give BB presents. I also want to be able to see the floor of my living room.

There are toys that haven’t even come out of their boxes yet and toys that did, but BB refused to play with.

She opened her Buzz Lightyear jammies and declared,

“I’m still looking for a Buzz Lightyear costume.”

I explain that the jammies can go both ways. Then she opens what I thought was a fantastic idea for my little space, Toy Story enthusiast: a Buzz Lightyear helmet and jet pack. I’m thinking that can go over the jammies to make it a real costume.

A week later BB has yet to try on the helmet.

I ask BB,

“I’m thinking about returning the Buzz Lightyear helmet, what do you think?”

“No, I want it.”

“Do you want to wear it?”

“No.”

“Then maybe I can return it.”

“I’ll wear it in the summer.”

Last year I returned a Christmas present and BB missed it so much that the Easter Bunny brought it back.

For RB we just rewrapped BB’s old toys. I thought BB was oblivious, but after opening another baby toy for RB she declares,

“Did I play with this when I was a baby?”

“Yes.”

Santa re-gifting was not an issue, but I did field more questions. Not my strong suit. BB tells Captain and me,

“Open your stockings!”

“There’s nothing in them.”

“Why?”

“Santa only does the kids’ stockings.”

“Why?”

Because Santa has a new baby and whatever Santa managed to do this year is a miracle.

BB gestures to her toys that are sitting in front of the fireplace,

“Were those in the way of Santa?”

“Oh no. That doesn’t stop him.” Although the child safety lock might’ve given him some trouble.

I’m still struggling with this whole thing. Where does it end? Now when BB asks where Santa lives, I’ve changed my story. I say,

“He lives in the North Pole in the Land of Make Believe, along with the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.”

BB is very satisfied with this answer and still believes in all of them.

She’s planning a trip to the Land of Make Believe to get a pet unicorn. She says she wants one real one and one pretend one.

Maybe I can return the Buzz Lightyear helmet and she can help herself to a pretend one.

68C1AFAA-4339-4173-8A7A-85051B5FEBDE

Adding a little bounce to my holiday

 

Happy Holidays! Where’s my package?

Hanukkah is tomorrow! Christmas sometime after that! Am I ready? Maybe? It’s hard to say because my brain is shot.

I was finishing up my wrapping a week ago and I realized I was missing a package from JCrew. I felt like I’d seen it at some point, but couldn’t find it anywhere. I wouldn’t have thrown it out, would I? I couldn’t be sure.

I called them and told them the package they said had arrived a week ago had not. They were very apologetic and issued an instant refund. I asked,

“Could you resend the items instead? I need those presents.”

Nope. All out.

Oh well. Captain will survive without me wrapping up a new pair of work pants.

I went about my life. I did a semi-clean of the dining room in preparation for our Hanukkah present display. For the rest of the year we use our dining room for toy storage, so by semi-clean I mean I moved the toys around to make room for all the new toys we’re wrapping up.

And there was the missing JCrew package! Along with THREE other packages I didn’t know I was missing.

I called JCrew back and gave them the good news. But the most alarming part was that I’d completely forgotten about all that other stuff.

On Black Friday, besides JCrew, I saw a deal on Godiva cherry cordials and thought to myself “am I supposed to get BB’s teachers an individual gift or do they do some sort of collection and group gift?”

I could’ve asked someone. I could’ve waited. But the sale! I bought a fair number of Godiva cherry cordials, because what was the worst thing that could happen?

The next week an email came suggesting a monetary contribution to a communal present for BB’s teachers. Done. I started eating cherry cordials.

Yesterday I head in to BB’s school for their Hanukkah party. I’m such a mom-of-a-school-kid newbie. I watch the moms juggling 3 or 4 kids. Everyone seems to be functioning and all kids are dressed. Thank goodness RB is immobile and BB hasn’t wandered too far into the parking lot.

After a sing-a-long with the cantor who’s wearing a light-up, menorah hat, we sit down to eat. The teachers are passing by chatting and some parents are handing them individual gifts. Oh man. Should I have contributed money AND given the chocolates? What’s the protocol?

Two weeks ago I had the audacity to think I had my act together. So now everything may or may not be wrapped. We may or may not be ready. But BB has plenty of new toys to open, RB has plenty of BB’s old toys wrapped up, Captain has new work pants and I’m enjoying my chocolate cherry cordials.

R580292_1.jpg

Despite the supposed war on Christmas, here we are

Jew here and it’s Christmas time. I never celebrated it until a few years ago, but my Jewish soul is no match for my desire to put lighted reindeer on my lawn. The main problem is I have no sense of nostalgia for Christmas like I do for Hanukkah, or Halloween, or any other holiday I grew up celebrating.

We’re hosting Christmas day this year. It’s just Captain’s immediate family, but still. There needs to be food. What food? For Passover there’s matzo ball soup, for Hanukkah there’s latkes, for Christmas there’s? I turn to Captain. This is his holiday. He is an unreliable source of information. He’s just not sure.

I can’t fathom this. I text his mom:

“Do you guys usually have turkey or ham for Christmas day? I come from a long line of people who went out for Chinese food.”

I learned that both have been done, so we’re going with ham and maybe a kugel and maybe some wonton soup.

In the last couple months BB has decided she loves going to the playroom at the YMCA. She gets to play and I get 2 hours of babysitting. I can workout or I can sit on my butt in the cafe or I can do both. Two hours is a lifetime.

I’ve been going to yoga regularly and it feels great. There’s a lovely woman I look forward to chatting with every week, but today a guy was waiting for class too and he dominated the pre-class chatter. He turns to me,

“I trust you celebrate Christmas?”

If you’d asked me a few years ago, no. I tell him we celebrate Hanukkah and Christmas. He asks what’s on my kid’s list. My neon green bracelet is a dead giveaway that I have a child in the playroom.

I mention that BB got most of what she asked for for Hanukkah. Then he asks,

“Do you have more than one?”

“Nope.”

“Do you want more or is one good?”

This is the point where I’m tempted to scream,

“MY BABY JUST DIED.”

I don’t. I keep it together.

And speaking of dead things, I hope our tree makes it. It’s dropping a lot of needles. It doesn’t help that BB likes to pet it. She pats the tree and as needles scatter everywhere she says,

“Gentle, gentle.”

And then there’s the elf on the shelf. All of November I pondered whether we should have one and if we should, should we start this year? The one other Jewish mom in our town has a mensch on a bench. Actually there are at least 2 other Jewish moms in my town, but that’s all I know for sure.

I wonder about the mensch on a bench. The elf goes back to Santa every night, where does the mensch go? I have other questions, but it feels like if this is something we’re going to do because I don’t want BB to miss out on what most of the other kids are doing, then we might as well do the elf.

The day after Hanukkah ended our elf arrived. BB named her Tutu. I’ve yet to remember to move her until the next morning when I run around like a panicked person, although BB doesn’t get it or care if Tutu moves or not. Yesterday Tutu “flew” off the top of the refrigerator when I banged the door closed. I had to touch her, which means she probably won’t move for a few more days, that works for me.

I have many more thoughts on Christmas, but whatever you celebrate, I trust we can talk again soon.

5djQUxVfR3KbWg5goB7ucA

Picking out our tree. I trust this is a traditional Christmas gorilla.

Glue for the girl who has everything

I’ve got my dreidel jammies on, that means it’s Hanukkah time! Or was. Our dreidel jammies are comfortable enough to wear all day, all Winter. Just ask Captain. I made the mistake of putting them on before Thanksgiving and BB exclaimed,

“Fall is over already? It’s Hanukkah time?!!”

“First Thanksgiving and then Hanukkah.”

I string some Christmas lights along the railing upstairs. BB shouts,

“It’s Halloween time?!”

Things are getting confusing.

I ask BB, 

“What are you excited about for Hanukkah?”

“Crispy latkes!”

Me too!

All year I’ve marveled at how much stuff BB has. In October I wondered if there was anything left to get her. 

Two nights before Hanukkah I found myself wrapping up almost 30 presents for her. How did this happen?

We wanted to get her arts and crafts supplies. I don’t like to shop, so doing it online is the best way. I browse the selection. It’s hard to get an idea of everything that’s available and appropriate for someone with limited fine motor skills. 

I decide it’s a good idea to go to a brick and mortar Michael’s. By myself. 

I walk into the store. Oh no. This is bad. What was I thinking? I don’t like shopping and I don’t like arts and crafts. This store is a combination of both of them. I feel overwhelmed just standing in the entrance.

I head to the kid section. A month ago BB told me,

“I need colored pencils.”

“Ok put them on your Hanukkah list.”

The next day, 

“Mom, I need colored pencils.”

“I know, they’re on your Hanukkah list.”

A few days later,

“Colored pencils?”

“Hanukkah list!”

We continued this way for a month. I look at the colored pencils in the kid’s section of Michael’s. Not only are there at least 4 different brands of colored pencils, but they’re in 4 different aisles within the kid’s section so if I want to price/color count compare. It’s just about impossible. I postpone making a colored pencil decision.

I get kiddie scissors. That’s also a comparison nightmare. Glue. I stop comparing. Elmer’s all the way. It claims to be washable. Then there’s white construction paper, colored construction paper, markers, water colors, water-color paper, and some Hanukkah stickers.

Mission accomplished. I check out, head home and hide it all away until I’m wrapping presents two days before Hanukkah.

I pull out the Michael’s bag. Where are the colored pencils? I scan the receipt. I NEVER bought them. The only thing BB put on her Hanukkah list everyday for a month, and it costs all of $5, I did not buy. 

I could go back to Michael’s, Target or even Stop & Shop. I don’t consider it. With limited comparison, I settle on a 36 count box Prime next day shipping. DONE.

BB opens up her Elmer’s glue. She declares,

“Mom, I need googly eyes.”

Good news. I already have a bunch. I got them years ago to April Fool’s prank Captain. I bought them online.

Last night BB opened her last Hanukkah present.  She exclaims,

“Colored pencils!”