Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Science of Santa

Good behavior has been a struggle for Devi lately as the count down to Christmas fast approaches. She managed to eek out a couple of good days back to back with no note from her teacher, which earned an opportunity to plead her case on Santa’s lap. The morning before, the girls spent our coffee time and story time outing thoughtfully preparing their Christmas lists. Devi was able to write her own this year and Treya, now on her second year home, was full of ideas having a much better idea about what she was doing and why.

Measuring her behavior in her own mind, Devi was concerned that she not wish for too many or too few things. At number five she concluded that she was done, but then paused and asked if she could add one more thing. I assured her that one more thing would be okay. She told me that it was something that Santa couldn’t bring anyway, but it was something she has been wishing for for a long time. When pressed she confessed she was asking for a baby brudder. Be still my heart.

Now down to a science, I whisked the girls from school and headed toward the mall where Santa was waiting, sending daddy on ahead to mark our place in the typical extra long line of wiggling children. Meanwhile the girls and I parked and began their transformation from uniforms and muddy tights into their princess-like Christmas dresses in the back of our mini van. The anticipation of the moment mounted as they chattered about their lists and all the extra things they had to say, trying to remember to ask for a treat for Bengal, hoping that they would get a candy cane and wondering what he might ask them.  A quick brush of their hair and we joined daddy second in line!

Both girls’ eyes were enormous when they saw Mr. Kringle. Devi had been questioning the logistics of how Santa could be in so many places at once, scientifically considering that perhaps there were helpers that actually handled this part of the deal, but at this very moment any doubt vanished as both girls drew near.  Standing before him, they politely said Merry Christmas and he began the task of reading each girl’s list. Leaning to one side for better light and adjusting the rim of his bifocal glasses he skimmed Devi’s items and paused at the final sentiment that she wrote at the bottom. “I am trying.” When asked, she said, “ school. I am trying harder.” Naturally, he all ready knew this and encouraged her to keep up the good work.

Next, he surveyed Treya’s list and wondered out loud if her second item “socks”, referred to a clothing item or a kitty with that name. We assured him that she could really use new socks as her feet have grown tremendously and that Treya is a practical girl and came up with this all on her own. Santa was impressed, adding that many children had asked for puppies and kitties this year and he and their parents hoped they would all visit the humane society instead. 

Giving both girls a nod, Santa carefully folded their lists and tucked them into his giant bag for safe keeping. Then, perched on his huge lap they each hugged him and said thank you. Treya squealed with delight when he handed her a peppermint sucker explaining that a sucker with a stick avoids the sticky fingers that come with a candy cane. 

Another painless and successful year of meeting Santa under our belt, the girls seemed at ease knowing their lists had been safely delivered and were tucked carefully in Santa's gigantic bag. At dinner a very perplexed Treya said, “so....where is my present?” Instant laughter filled the air at poor Treya’s expense as we tried to explain that Santa does not make his rounds until Christmas eve. Our confused girl was expecting instant gratification right then and there, but now must wait another agonizing seven days. Let the count down begin! 
 Merry Christmas everyone!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Annual Trip - Puerto Adventurous

 Our group 
(Dave and Obie not pictured)

Squinting from the brightness of the sun can be so rejuvenating to those of us who live in a constant state of gray in the winter months. A good a reason as any to dash off to the sunny beaches of Mexico for our annual Thanksgiving trip, this year staying one hour outside of Cancun in a small gated community called Puerto Adventurous. Arrangements were much more complicated this year with one child in school, but after the proper forms were filled out Devi was set with an excused absence and a promise that she would write a report about the trip and that mom and dad will plan better next year to have our trip land on “no school” days. 

This being Treya’s second trip, she fell right in step honing in on her own need for a schedule and order. Bathing suit, sun screen, Fruit Loops for breakfast (since Mexico is the only place in the world they are served), followed by life jacket, goggles and the pool. Mom’s requirement of her was a nap in the afternoon, which she quickly decided was best taken pool side rather than in the room. Okay, I have to brag here a little...patting myself on the back. What good travelers we have, with both kids over the years willingly taking naps on a lounger while the rest of the resort children play around them. I am taking credit for this myself, when in truth, the girls play so hard that a nap is inevitable to keep from falling down with exhaustion. 

Treya is still not thrilled with sand or the ocean, but could swim in the pool until long after dark. This trip her big discovery was learning a true feeling of floating and holding her breath. Beaming with excitement at her accomplishment she was a constant chatter “Watch this!” then would throw herself face first into the water in a spread eagle position holding her breath as long as she could over and over. A few rounds of this was followed by the need to quench her parched throat with a sip of Shirley Temple or Strawberry daiquiri. Such the life. Sugary drinks on vacation and all.

Devi found new depths of bravery this trip, trying new foods, and taking on bigger adventures. Called to the lagoon by daddy, I found her climbing into a plastic ball filled with air that was sealed with Velcro as she was then pushed out into the ocean to climb and roll around atop the water’s surface. Can you say claustrophobia? No thank you. The highlight for both of us; however, had to be swimming with the dolphins. I was so proud of her as she followed the instructors strict orders to swim out into the enclosure about 30 yards away from me and hold her arms in a position to grab hold of our dolphin, Sydney’s fins and ride on it’s belly into shore. Dev looked so far away and tiny bobbing in the water. The dolphin was so gentle and aware of Dev’s small 38 pound size and adjusted the speed of the ride accordingly. The thrill of the ride was evident in the huge white grin smile on Devi’s wave crested face as she swooshed towards us. 

Devi and Treya had so much fun playing with their cousins Olivia and Jordan on this family reunion trip. Hours in the pool were spent on the slides, playing mermaids, seal and dolphin trainers, diving for objects and walking to the pool bar to order countless Shirley Temples with extra maraschino cherries or to scoop another bowl of ice cream! On a couple of evenings the girls, under Olivia’s watch, ordered room service and watched movies in their Pj's while the grown ups ate dinner out at one of the many restaurants on the resort.

There is only so much guacamole and chips two small girls can consume in a week; however, and soon it was time to head home, leaving us with a long list of things to try the next time -  hair braiding is on the top of their list. Beautiful carts of poinsettias were being placed about the day we left, a little reminder that once stateside, we would be hitting the ground running preparing for the Christmas holiday...with a relaxed smile and a tan.