Side note: the other night, he read the entire book of "The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything" to me. It wasn't just memorization; when he made a word mistake, I'd point the word out and he'd correct it. There were some words that he was kind of sounding out / slurring through, but it was pretty darn impressive for a 4 year old. I love having smart children.
Yesterday, I took a sick day from work because of asthma issues. Long story short, I wound up meeting The Boy at the bus at the end of his school day; he came off the bus in tears. The kids had been talking about Santa Claus at school that day, and the teacher was talking about her version of the Elf on the Shelf. (If you don't know the elf, look it up. It's kind of cute, but outside the purview of a Jewish family.) It finally hit him yesterday, that Santa Claus wouldn't be coming to his house to bring presents. This was causing a bit of an existential dilemma to The Boy, as he knows he's a generally good kid that SHOULD be getting presents from Santa. The disconnect of not getting Santa presents, as a good kid, because he's Jewish kind of broke his brain for a while.
Santa Claus is firmly my wife's territory. Santa was the hardest bit for me to concede when we decided to raise the kids Jewish, and I've avoided any mention or explanation of Santa. Frankly, I'm still not sure I agree with the decision to remove him from the equation, but if that's the worst objection to raising the kids Jewish (and it probably is), then I can live with it. However, she wasn't there and wouldn't be there for another couple of hours. I'm not going to let that child cry over that.
I got him calmed down by reminding him that, on Channukah, he got presents every night for 8 nights, then he also gets presents from me (and my father) on Christmas Day. He was okay with the quantity of present-giving days over the whole Santa thing. It winds up being a tricky thing - how do you explain Santa in a way that does NOT single him out for being "differently" Jewish? You kind of don't; you wind up telling him, basically, that Christian mommies and daddies tell their kids that to keep presents on Christmas a little bit more magical. And, you tell him that in such a way that he is NOT tempted to ruin Santa Claus for the first kid that's giving him a hard time this month. "Oh, yeah? Well, Santa doesn't exist! It's your mom and dad!"
This, of course, begs the question about how to tell him about Santa (so it calms him down) without ruining the Tooth Fairy. The Wife and I are 95% certain he knows that the tooth fairy is me - okay, the Tooth Fairy brings HIM comic book action figures. The rest of his friends get a buck or so. The trail of bread crumbs is not challenging to follow. He's playing along nicely, partially because it's fun, and (I'm sure) partially because he is sure that the flow of loot will cease once he spills the beans. I'll find out later.
I had some nice The Baby time yesterday afternoon. He was going to go with Little Bear to Grandma's work party, but he had a nasty stomach issue crop up immediately before leaving, so he stayed home with me and my wracking cough. He was grumpy, anyway; I know he would have fallen asleep in the car before it left the driveway. He wouldn't fall asleep while watching an Elmo show, so after that I decided to play Playstation with him on my lap. Pixeljunk Monsters - which has very hypnotic music and simple, fun graphics - wound up knocking him out. He was asleep during the game, the drive to Grandma's, picking The Boy up at the bus stop, and discussing Santa Claus.
I was struck with the rarity, nowadays, of The Baby falling asleep on my chest. He still curls himself into a tight little ball on my lap - the Little Ball of Boy, I like to call it. He's so sweet, and so precious - even though he's a big man now (almost 2 and a half!!!), he's still our little baby. He's still sleeping with us full-time, but he's starting to fall asleep with stories and snuggles instead of just shows and Mom. I realize that these snuggles and these times are fleeting, and once they're gone, they're gone; but I'll enjoy them as much as I can.
We're removing him from the 100% gluten-free diet now; he's only mostly gluten-free at the moment. We still don't want him eating much of it, but we've decided it's more the crazy oils that are giving him the stomach issues. It's helping a bit - he's making poo on the potty once every other day or so, which is a much better average than before.
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