I have to post a public thank you to everyone who put up Christmas lights this year. I’ve always enjoyed them, but now I feel so strongly about them I want to ring the bell of every house and pass out hugs like they’re Christmas cookies. My enthusiasm is the result of our daily afternoon stroller walk to see all the lights as they’re coming on. (Small aside: in Seattle, you can’t really call 4:30 “afternoon” because it’s dark as midnight within moments, but in a Christmas season with two one-year-olds, this works in my favor for the first time in my life.)
The chorus of sounds that come from the two of them are so effusive, I always wish people were on the walk with us to share in the delight.
Henry: Wow. Wooooooooooow.
Arden: Whoa. Whoaaaaaaaa.
Henry: Ooooooooooo. Oh! Ooooooooooooo.
There is always at least one dog walker we pass, and for a brief moment the Christmas lights are extinguished while the babies bask in the glow of canine curiosity. They both have decided that a dog’s “woof woof” is best expressed by puckering their lips and blowing furiously, and this never gets old.
Even though they’ve been doing it for months, I am constantly in awe of their ability to learn new words and concepts. For instance, I brought them a stuffed Mickey and Minnie from Disneyland when I went in October, and Arden immediately learned to say their names. So last night when we were out on our walk, we passed a house with a small inflatable Christmas Mickey, and she did the only thing one can do when one realizes for the first time that a character exists in places other than just your house: she lost her mind. She’s a feminine girl, so we let her continue yelling “MINNIE! MINNIE!” even though it was very clearly Mickey. I think his Santa hat was a little too close to Minnie’s usual red bow between her ears. It amazed me that a yard decoration I would normally consider to be tacky was now my favorite in the whole neighborhood. This is what parenting does to you.
Tonight, we strolled the neighborhood with our usual glee, but Arden stunned me when we were approaching the
Mickey Minnie house but Minnie wasn’t nearly visible yet and she started saying “Minnie, Minnie, Minnie.” I know she’s smart, but how is this possible? We were more than a quarter mile from our house, it was dark, and she had only seen this Minnie light once before — how did she know it was the next house? This is the sort of thing that makes me marvel at childhood development. Or I’m just one of those moms who thinks her kid hung the moon. Either way.
Next weekend we’re taking the babies to see the Garden d’Lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden, and we’re expecting it to be a tiny toddler Oprah giveaway moment. No one is taking these lights home, but the general reaction should be the same. The only risk is that our neighborhood lights may seem paltry by comparison, but then again, I’m betting they don’t have a small member of the Disney cast in their repertoire.