Before Elliott returned to us from grandma and grandpa's last weekend, grandma warned us that Elliott was not keen on her Christmas decorations and he all but ran from the air filled Santa Clause spending the holiday season at Target. Her warning was timely, since Katie had spent her free time Saturday dressing our house in Yuletide apparel. When Elliott walked through the door Sunday, he was greeted by a large snowman in our foyer that looks to have survived the summer months standing in a North Pole buffet line. Elliott and the snowman made eye contact instantly. Elliott spoke first. "No," he said, which was easily translated to "this house is not big enough for the two of us."
Fortunately, first impressions aren't always the last. As Elliott spent some time Sunday with Mr. Snowman and other members of the Christmas parade who march out of our attic each year and settle themselves upon mantles, counter tops and various other kid-proof dwellings around the house, he started to take interest in them. By Sunday night, Elliott was issuing his normal goodnight wishes to mama and Ian and as he rounded the corner and headed to his bed, he stopped in front of the snowman and softly said "goodnight snowman." There was hope for a joyous Noel after all.
The next big test would come Tuesday. Santa Clause was coming to town and making a stop at Elliott's daycare. Elliott has never been a fan of human filled costumes of any kind. He disliked all the friendly cartoon characters greeting the kids at King's Dominion this summer. He had no interest in the clown at the Kiddie Kingdom birthday party. If it is not unquestionably human, Elliott is going nowhere near it. So to think that Elliott was going to climb upon Santa's lap, look into the eyes of a face that looks more polar bear than fat man, and then strike up a conversation about how good he's been this year and how worthy he is of any and all presents, well those are thoughts seeping from an overfilled glass of holiday eggnog.
But Elliott is prone to surprise us, especially with the proper preparation. So Katie pretended to be Santa Clause, minus the costume, beard, and obnoxious barrage of "ho ho ho's", which left her playing the familiar role of mama in Elliott's eyes. When she introduced herself as Santa and invited Elliott to sit on her lap, he willingly accepted. She then began to ask him want he wanted for Christmas, and since reliable sources indicate a toddler size bicycle is en route from the North Pole, she thought it best to direct his answers accordingly. After a few minutes the exchange was perfected.
"What do you want for Christmas Elliott?" Santa would ask. (the part of Santa is being played by mama today )
"A bicycle," Elliott answered through his large grin.
Good enough, if Elliott could overlook a few appearance differences, he would be ready for Santa. To be sure, we asked him again before going to bed:
"Are you going to sit on Santa's lap tomorrow"
"What are you going to ask for"
Any fears I had that Elliott was going to be cruising Ashland on a Harley Davidson were relieved the next day when his teachers informed me Elliott would have nothing to do with Santa. He wouldn't say his name, let alone sit on his lap. If we can keep him from writing a letter, Santa may never know Elliott has motorized his request for a bicycle.
Then there is Ian, who simply takes in all of this action with a smile. I remember the days of Elliott's first grins, even the accidental ones, they melted your heart. Ian is no less warming. He went for a check up yesterday. He weighed 10lbs. 5ozs. He is over the 50th percentile in height and weight, but shoulders a tiny head much like his big brother. The doctor was pleased with his growth and believes he has just about conquered his respiratory problems from last weekend.
The 3 pounds he has gained since he left the hospital explain why he appears to grow between my departure for work in the morning and my return home at night. His little face has filled out and his arms seem to have more baby fat than I remember Elliott having. His strength grows just as fast. He is trying to lift his head; he easily moves it in the direction of mom or dad's voice, especially if mom asks if he's hungry. If you hold him, he gives it his best to get his feet underneath him to hold himself up. I remember holding Elliott with the palm of my hand on the shoulder rest of the couch while he gazed at the pictures on the wall - for hours. As fast as Ian is growing, I may need to keep two hands on the wheel at all times.
We thank God for watching over both of our boys. We are blessed by the excitement that Elliott is showing about the holidays; every baby is baby Jesus this year. And although he doesn't care to eat milk and cookies with Santa, he is excited about the concept of him coming to town. Maybe next year they can do dinner. Of course they'll have to wrestle to determine whether they take the sleigh or the Harley.