Friday, December 25, 2009

Jelly Beans and Dinosaur Screams

Merry Christmas everyone! I’ll report on anything interesting tomorrow. But for now, here is our Christmas Eve story.

Elijah and I went to the expensive grocery store to get stuff for boeuf bourguignon and to get out of the house while Diana dealt with a surprisingly fussy Luca.

As we were walking through the bulk food aisle, a very nice elderly French woman stopped us. I resisted the urge to announce, “We’re making boef bourguignon! Like you people!” She was filling up a plastic bag with jellybeans and offered Eli a couple.

Eli realized that very moment he lurved jellybeans. He repeatedly asked the Frenchy, “More? Jellybeans?” She was nice about it, but finally said, “I auf to saf some for my granddaughter.” We bid her farewell and cruised on. However, in every aisle we walked down, there was the elderly French woman. “More? Jellybeans?” I’d attempt to go what I thought was her opposite direction and there she was, attempting not to make eye contact with Eli. “More? Jellybeans?”

I had an epiphany. We were set to attend Christmas Eve Mass with the Steve Hamanns. He and I looked at it like a suicide mission. We knew the outcome. Kids under 5 in church? Disaster. But tradition is tradition. You have to sit in church before you get presents. That’s the way we did it when I was a kid, and by gum, that’s how we’re doing it. I figured I could bribe Elijah into sitting quietly during church – with jellybeans. Yeah, I know. Wrong holiday. But I was still playing in the Catholic treats, so I think it was ok.

Diana shrewdly announced that Luca was too fussy to go to church, so she would volunteer to make appetizers for afterwards. I wished I had though of that.

I laid down the rules as we entered St. Nicks. “Ok. If you’re quiet and sit still, you get…” Then I held out the box of jellybeans. Eli’s eyes lit up. We managed to get to the Hamann pew when it started. “More? Jellybeans?” As the organ started, I began feeding him jellybeans one by one. He sat there like an angel as the kids dressed as angels slumped by. I thought, “You’ve done it again, Hamann.”

Right about the time we realized this was a Spanish language mass, Eli hit the threshold of jellybean sugar in his blood. He began vibrating and buzzing and took on the irritating qualities of that one guy who snorts coke at your party. He began running headlong into the heaters, making a loud “bang!” He also announced his desire to speak with the priest. “I want to talk to the man!” He also decided at that moment to become potty trained. “I want to go pee pee in the pottyyyyyyy!”

Luckliy, Finn and Rory were engaged in battle with Steve and Pam, so Steve gave me the finger across the throat gesture and we high tailed it out of there.

Once at home, Pam, Diana and I began chugging Champaign and we let the kids loose on the presents. Star wars stuff. Art stuff. Books. I made a game decision to let Eli open one of his official Christmas day presents. The Dinosaur. The Dinosaur is actually a Matchbox car thing that really doesn’t do anything except look like a dinosaur with a couple ramps. Diana wanted me to return it because it was so lame.

But what she didn’t know is dinusaur+car=awesome. Finn and Eli began a feverous battle for it. Pushing. Crying. Yanking. Finn announced loudly that if he did not receive one from Santa the next morning there would be severe consequences.

Which was their cue to leave. Eli immediately forgot about The Dinosaur and went immediately to sleep.

Diana and I sat on our bed and listened to Luca scream and I thought, “This was the greatest Christmas Eve ever.” And I meant it.

p.s. Power To The Babies!

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