Friday, December 30, 2011

Fully Loaded

How tired God must be of guilt and loneliness, for that is all we ever bring to Him. ~Mignon McLaughlin

Its my own fault, and I will forever self-flagellate myself for breaking my own rules and bringing it into the house. I bought a package of Ghirardelli Peppermint Bark for myself to enjoy after Christmas. I don't enjoy candy canes, but the way they mix the peppermint with the sweet chocolate is a major weakness of mine. The bag is clearly marked "May contain traces of peanuts and tree nuts" but I was hoping if I hid it well enough, Scootch would never be the wiser. What I didn't count on was my ingenious Monkey finding the last square and insisting on eating it after lunch. And then being spontaneously into the spirit of giving that comes with the season and offering her brother a piece. I can now tell you what happens when Scootch puts something into his mouth that he's allergic to. He tells me his mouth feels funny, and then he throws up. This was days after I shared a picture from Allergic Living's message board about how sharing food with a "May contain" label is like pointing a gun at someone with an allergy and not knowing whether its loaded or not. Mother's guilt is a big ugly thing to have to share your space with, but that's just what I'm doing. Thank goodness his body knew better than I did, and kept him from fully ingesting the stuff.

Thankfully vomiting is as far as it went today, but I never even want that to happen again. Not on my watch. At least giving up the peppermint bark might help keep off all that after-Christmas weight every year.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Pains of Christmas

Christmas is my favorite holiday, and was my mother's favorite as well. When I was little, we would go in cahoots together and bombard people with Christmas cheer better than a modern day Flash Mob. So needless to say, Christmas music is another favorite of mine. The wonder and magic and general goodwill of the season is often so wonderfully expressed through music, and can bring me into the right frame of mind even when I'm listening to it in July. (Yes I really do listen to it in the off season. Don't judge.) Anyone who knows me at all, knows that getting me a Christmas CD isn't just a filler present, its actually a great present.

Unless its not.

I must confess, I love that there are radio stations that change format and bombard the general public with nothing but holiday tunes from Thanksgiving till December the 25th. My only pet peeve is that they all seem to only play the same 45 songs. With all the music out there to choose from (and believe me, I know how much there is. I own almost half of it) it annoys me that the most frequently abused tunes are the ones that have almost nothing to do with the meaning of Christmas. So, in the rapidly fading glow of the holiday, I present to you my personally chosen Top 5 Worst Christmas Songs.

1. It Doesn't Have to Be That Way - by Jim Croce.
We're starting out the list with one of the more frequent holiday offenses - the Christmas Booty Call. I know that the holidays are some of the most depressing times of the year - especially for single people. But really. Doing a surprise drop-in on your ex for the holidays hoping to "easily get it together tonight"???? I just don't see that ending well for all involved.

2. Baby It's Cold Outside - originally by Frank Loesser and Lynn Garland
Following up on the Christmas Booty Call is a worse offense - the opportunistic significant other. This poor song is first abused by the fact that it was a pop hit made over into a Christmas standard. And even considering that the roles in the original score were dubbed to be sung by a "mouse" and a "wolf," I still fail to see any holiday spirit in slipping a line in there about trying to seduce your guest by spiking their drink. I guess 1944 was too early for roofies, but it sounds pretty darn close to me.

3. Last Christmas - by Wham!
Rounding out the relationship drama, we have the passive agressive dumped boyfriend. And it wouldn't be half as painful if it wasn't so obvious to all of us that he still isn't over it. Firstly - if he really had "found a real love" he would be oblivious to the cold heartless user that dumped him last year, and not obsessing over meeting their eyes across the room. Lastly, I think his current squeeze should be wary of leaving him under the misteltoe unchaperoned since he still thinks that just a kiss will be all it takes to fool him back into thinking he's in love.

I'm not sure what bad relationship choices have to do with Christmas, but people sure seem to like to sing about them.

4. Santa Baby - written by Joan Javits
Ahhh, greed. Because if you're not sick of listening to kids appending their Christmas lists with every commercial break while watching Nickelodeon, you must want to listen to someone in their late twenties suggest something small like a yacht for Christmas. I wonder what the people against Occupy Wall Street would have to say about that gift list. Maybe that she's confusing Santa Claus with an Arab sheikh. And of course that she should get a job.

5. Do They Know Its Christmas Time - by Band Aid
I think Band Aid is a noble cause. I really do. And the poor people affected by famine and caught in the crossfire of civil insugence really do need all the help they can get (Remember "We Are the World?") But when you're saying things like "Where the only water flowing is a bitter sting of tears. And the christmas bells that ring there are the clanging chimes of doom," it doesn't really promote a sense of hope or faith for the season of giving. And although Ethiopia, for which the song was originally written, has a population that is about 60% Christian, Africa as a whole really only has a total Christian population of about 40%. So no, the majority of Africans probably don't care much about Christmastime at all. Especially if like the song says, they're just happy to be breathing in a "world where nothing ever grows," and "no rain or rivers flow."

So what would I like to hear on the radio? More holiday mash ups that can make a terrible song actually quite good when you cut all the date rape references out. Like Josh and the Empty Pocket's rendition of Baby Its Cold Outside. Christmas songs more centered on general goodwill, like Maybe This Christmas by Ron Sexsmith. And something my kids can rock out to that isn't sung by indentured pubescent rodents, like I Want an Alien For Christmas by Fountains of Wayne.

Hope yours was a very merry one!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

If its not Scottish, it's crap!

If you want to be happy, be. ~Leo Tolstoy

I've come to the point where its the simple things that make my heart happy. Making my child smile is one of them. Especially at the time of year where the spirit of giving brings forbidden things at every turn. Nothing is ever so difficult to me as to see Scootch's eyes round as saucers as he's gifted a chocolate pop or sees the pile of cookies at the church coffee reception, only to have his hopes dashed when the treat is inedible because of ingredients or cross contamination. Every time his tiny shoulders slump in defeat it feels like a little piece of my heart is chipped off too. I think most parents want to give their child everything in the world, and for me, that simple young pleasure of enjoying treats on special occasions is one that I seem to value the most with Scootch.

So when he accompanied me in the morning to finish up the Christmas shopping at Marshalls, and saw a little girl enjoying a snack, I immediately felt guilty when he asked me if he could have what she was having. I had to tell him the truth; "Probably not, sweetie." Imagine my surprise and his delight when a little while later he discovered the Scottish shortbread cookies on another shelf. The egg-free-not-made-in-a-contaminated-compromised-nut-handling-facility, Scottish shortbread cookies. So, I did what almost everyone does in Marshalls and tossed them in the cart as an impulse buy. Its amazing the smiles a little cookie can put on the face of a three year old.

And of course his smile gives me one, too. :-)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Time Flies

The flower that you hold in your hands was born today and already it is as old as you are. ~Antonio Porchia

Can it be? This littlest of little bears is a year old. Just one year ago he was fresh wrinkled newborn skin and satin cheeks. Now its teeth and chatter and sticky hands and face. Not quite a first step yet, but he's getting there. Bright eyed laughing boy. My precious snuggly Little Bear. Happy Birthday to you.