It’s been a while since I last posted. It’s Christmas! Every time Max does something new (which is all the time now), I feel like writing up an entry. But Squishy-the-toddler is both easier and more challenging than Squishy-the-infant. Plus, November was pretty eventful! Mikey had a bunch of breaks and we really enjoyed our little family-of-three bubble! We even took an impromptu trip to Baguio again (the ride up was effortless and made us seem like parenting pros; the ride back down was the total opposite). But maybe more on that later.
Being a mom to Squishy-the-toddler brings me so much joy. It’s tiring and there are days when we can’t seem to get ANYTHING right, but I love watching him grow and learn and essentially become himself. Squish is still generally happy, but he’s learned a whole new set of emotions and can cry on demand! It’s really funny until he decides to use for something other than entertaining his lame parents (ex: screaming from one end of the department store until the exit because we needed to go and he can’t play with the toy car anymore).
We’re still working on the weaning (he does not like formula at all, so we’re focusing on real food), but I’ve been able to leave Max with his Lola Myrna from the time he wakes up until his first nap after lunch. He still needs to breastfeed to fall asleep. But I’ve had three mornings all to myself where I could run errands in my old University workplace, get a cup of coffee, AND do a little Christmas shopping. These little pockets have been really good for my soul. Mikey thinks I should do it once a week. I’m not there yet, but it’s comforting to know that I can take off every now and then. I feel like I have a new weapon in my arsenal.
There are days when it seems like Max is an uncontrollable tornado, but there are days when he’s the chillest baby. He’s able to focus more and he can play with a set of toys for longer. I can also leave him with a show playing on the TV and he’ll just sit on the couch and watch. Sometimes, I’ll be watching something on TV and he’ll just sit next to me. It’s very nice.
Today, while Lola Myrna was cleaning the kitchen, Max and I sat on the couch and watched the Christmas tree. He pointed at the different ornaments and he would “say” something about it. I love Christmas! And it looks like Max is enjoying it too! Whenever we pass by a Christmas tree, he points to it. When you ask him “where’s the Christmas tree?” he’ll point at it. When he sees the big, fancy decorations in a mall, he’ll squeal and point.
Christmas starts early here in the Philippines—decorations are up by September. So by now, Max has seen many gorgeous, tall, bright, and full trees. And with the exception of Uptown Mall and their scary teddy bear tree, everything else has been pretty magical and beautiful. But nothing beats our tree at home.
Our tree at home is skinny and it’s perched on a small side table because it’s kind of short. We don’t have that many ornaments yet (I’d really like to fill it up in the coming years). And because Squish is a toddler and has successfully pulled down the tree once (or twice), we have strategically placed chairs, ottomans, and boxes around it so that it’s safe from cute toddler hands. It’s not the most instagrammable tree, but it’s my favorite.
My mom bought this tree for our family when I was in the fifth grade. Back then, our family had serious financial problems (serious enough for the bank to take away our home years later). So, we didn’t have a lot of money to spend on frivolity. When it was time to take out our old tree, we found out that the base had broken apart (it was a 13 year old tree, so it had a nice long life). My mom knew that I loved Christmas trees, so even if we didn’t have a lot, she went to the mall and found a tree we could afford. When she came back home with it, I didn’t care that it was short and thin. It was the most beautiful tree in the world.
My mom gave the tree to me when Mikey and I celebrated our first Christmas together as a married couple. I love that I get to keep this tree and share it with my family now. And I love what the tree represents—that some of the most meaningful things in life aren’t the biggest and brightest and newest and shiniest. This is something that I want Max to appreciate. It can be challenging because Max is really loved—he has so many people who want to give him the best of everything. I just hope that he doesn’t grow up equating love and happiness with the big and the bright and the new and the shiny. I hope that he overflows with joy and love regardless of what he has.
It’s 17 days until Christmas and our social calendars are quickly filling up (not to mention Star Wars, OMG how are we going to do that? I haven’t seen a movie since Max was born!). It would be easy to get lost in the busyness of the season, but I’m really excited about the traditions that we’re starting to build as a family. Despite the craziness of the past couple of weeks months years, seeing Max’s face light up when he sees a Christmas tree reassures me that all is well, and all shall be well.
I don’t intend for this to be the last Squishy Days of the year, but in case it is—may your holidays be filled with joy and laughter and love and food! Merry Christmas!