This is what is going on in Charlotte’s room right now.
December 02, 2013

I think you should forget every sanctimonious statement I ever made about celebrating a miniscule, totally sustainable, non-consumeristic holiday season.  My kid asked for Christmas lights and if Santa could bring her toys and I crumbled.

What’s life without a little humbling hypocrisy every now and then?


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  1. By amanda on December 03, 2013

    If there is one thing i have learned in my seven years of parenting that has humbled me the most it is to never say never! Enjoy this season of life!

  2. By Sarah Christensen on December 03, 2013

    Haha, so true!  There really is NO black and white in parenting.

    Me two years ago: “I’m going to tell my kid the truth about Santa always!  I don’t believe in lying to children!“

    Me two hours ago: “I don’t know how Santa squeezes through the chimney.  Maybe magic?“

    My defense is that she WANTS to believe in Santa.  But seriously, the woman I was a couple years ago is so side-eyeing the mother I am today.

  3. By on December 03, 2013

    hear hear amanda! in my nine years i have learned the same thing - never say never!

    and sarah, some days i think parenting is nothing but humbling hypocrisy - and at the same time nothing has done more to make me a better person than raising my little ones.

  4. By momiss on December 03, 2013

    Parenthood is really nothing without hypocrisy, I have found, sister.  lol
    Welcome!

  5. By Kaly on December 04, 2013

    This is awesome. I was a bit of a Grinch when it came to Christmas pre-motherhood. I hated Christmas music, got annoyed by all the decorations and the pressure to be just so damn festive. Enter child. Now we are jingle-bell singing, house lighting, advent calendaring all the way to the 25th. All it took was for my daughter to see a neighbor’s house with all the lights and declare “I wuvvv it!“ and clasp her little hands and her dad and I were up on ladders hanging lights.

  6. By Sarah Christensen on December 04, 2013

    Kaly: YES!  Charlotte said “Do you think maybe we can have Christmas lights sometime?“ like the day after everyone’s came down last year.

    So as soon as it was humanly possible this year, there we were out shopping for holiday lights lol.

  7. By on December 04, 2013

    I am so glad you caved. Christmas is magic. Especially judging by these photgraphs. beautiful. :)

  8. By on December 04, 2013

    Woah woah woah, Charlotte has a room?  I’m having a hard time understanding that she is, in fact, no longer the 16 month old that I remember her as.  For some reason,  I assumed you still co slept with her.

    The lights look like so much fun!  I loved Christmas lights in my bedroom when I was a kid.  Your post makes me think of one I saw a while back that you all might enjoy:

    http://stillparenting.blogspot.com/2011/12/learning-with-light.html

    Does Charlotte have a toy in particular she wants, or just the expirence?  Happy holidays Sarah!

  9. By Sarah Christensen on December 04, 2013

    Julien, I know!  I’m having a hard time understanding how she grew past that stage so quickly too =)

    So around her fourth birthday Charlotte asked for her own room.  We’d been meaning to set it all up anyway because we were almost finished with our foster-adoption certification and that was a requirement.  So we finished it all up at the end of September and she LOVES it, has never looked back.  She crawls into our bed if she has a bad dream or something, but definitely prefers to be in her own space.  She also has a dwarf hamster now that is 95% her responsibility and she takes great care of him.  His name is Randall and she feeds him and helps me clean his cage every week.  It’s amazing.

    Charlotte is super into dinosaurs and legos, so anything that deals with those I think would make her happy.  We decided to give her a dinosaur activity book (since she is also really into mazes and dot-to-dots), a bunch of legos (trying to think of a way to do this sort of easter egg style, but haven’t come up with anything yet), a couple little dinosaur toys, some tangrams, and a homemade lightbox.  I don’t think she understands the concept of hoping for something particular just yet, but I’m sure I’m in for it next year!

  10. By on December 05, 2013

    I feel the same way, so often.

    I think, like you said, if you just let them lead in the imagination, there’s nothing wron with it. We never did much Santa talk, but my son is smitten with the idea and so we’ve just gone with it. We ignore the ‘naughty and nice’ and tell him Santa only brings one present for each child. It works.

  11. By on December 05, 2013

    Sounds pretty awesome.  I think I would love hanging out with Charlotte.  I was all about dinosaurs and Legos when I was a kid too.  What if you put the Legos in those Russian nesting dolls? 

    http://www.therussianshop.com/russhop/matryoshkas/DSCF0438z.jpg

    And will you maybe consider telling us the story about the porch paint you teased us with a few months ago?

  12. By on December 05, 2013

    I don’t know if you’re jumping straight into Lego, or if you’re into Duplo. Duplo used to have a dinosaur set, but it’s hard to find and super expensive now. I know Lego currently has a few dinosaur sets though.

    Mega Bloks has a Dinosaur Train set… I don’t know what it’s like in your house, but around these parts Mega Bloks and Lego in the same house is considered sacrilegious.

  13. By Sarah Christensen on December 06, 2013

    Cynthia - Mega Bloks are sacrilegious in this house too =P When I suggested it, Donald gave me one of those highly disapproving looks and said he was just going to pretend I had never said that lol.  Yeah, and we have some Duplo for Evelyn but it’s mostly Legos around here.  Not sure why, exactly, but whatever.  There is a Lego dinosaur set too that I’ve been thinking about for Charlotte, but I think it’s too advanced right now.  Maybe in 6-12 months it might work out better?

    Julien - OMG, I forgot that I’d said I’d tell that story!

    Okay, well pretty much what happened was that when Evelyn was 2 months old I had a few really great days in a consecutive row with both kids.  Naturally, I assumed this meant I had parenting two all figured out and I took on a giant project: moving Charlotte into her own room.

    (In related news, it took me nine months to get her into her own room.  So.  Yeah.)

    Anyway, one of the projects was to empty out our old wood bookcase and paint it the color of her choice and then move it into her room.  I emptied out all of the books into boxes in my living room, moved the heavy beast of a bookcase into the breezeway, put down paper underneath it, and then took Charlotte to the home improvement shop to buy the paint color of her choice.  She chose what can only be described as neon blue, it is really something else.

    When we got back, I nursed the baby and put her in the bouncer to nap, and then I mixed the paint and gave Charlotte a paintbrush and instructed her on how to help me and we started at it.

    IT WAS A DISASTER!  A monumental disaster!  There are not words for how much of a disaster it was.  She was dipping the paintbrush in and swinging it around all over, dripping paint everywhere!  EVERYWHERE!  Paint on the breezeway floor, on the garage door, on the kitchen door, on the outside house walls, on her clothes, on my clothes, on the baby’s bouncer, on the ceiling, on the brick, on our garden paths, EVERYWHERE, and when she did magically connect her paintbrush with the bookcase it was in these massive quantities so that it was dripping all over the place and I was trying to control her and smooth it all over and clean up all at once.

    Then the baby woke up and started screaming.

    At this point, all of my clothes are painted on, all of Charlotte’s clothes are painted on, the whole ground area has strings of paint all over it (and I just knew Donald would be irritated) (he was but I warned him about it in advance so by the time he got home from work he was mostly just surprised by how much more paint it was than he’d thought it coul dbe) - so I didn’t have a clean square inch on my person for the baby.  So I stripped down Charlotte, then stripped down myself, then picked up the baby and stripped her down because in her screaming and flailing she’d picked up paint from the bouncer on her clothes.  Then I quarantined the kids in the kitchen, spent ten minutes outside trying to correct the dripping paint situation so that the bookcase would be usable and reasonable-looking eventually, then we all took a bath.

    It took us HOURS to remove the paint from the house and breezeway ceiling, but we can’t get it off the ground and there are still blue flecks showing up in random places all over lol.  And because the paint was so thick in some areas of the bookcase, it took over four months for it to dry, and then I had to sand some of it off and re-paint.  It looks passable now, but is a little…well…it could use some work!  It should have taken just a few ounces of paint but ended up using an entire quart, seriously.

    Oh and my tub is stained blue in one spot from all the paint too.  Aiyiyi.

  14. By Sarah Christensen on December 06, 2013

    It’s like a Smurf bathtub =P

  15. By on December 06, 2013

    I think the Dino Lego is probably has too many pieces for Charlotte to care long enough. She could just play with the Dino’s though, and build the structures in a few months…?

    Isla still plays with Duplo, mostly because Jenson isn’t old enough for Lego and he’s her playtime partner in crime. Our midwife office had Quattro, which is twice as big as Duplo. We’ve never even heard of it before, apparently Lego made it a super long time ago. We’ve actually managed to find Quattro at our local Value Village and those are Jenson’s, mostly. He can’t concentrate enough to really put Duplo together, he gets easily frustrated. Then a friend found like “uno” Lego blocks from Value Village. They’re like first blocks, one “dimple” super simple stuff. We’re like a regular Lego museum over here.

    I’m pretty sure Luke had the same reaction as Donald.

  16. By on December 06, 2013

    Oh, and that paint story… You are the single bravest mother I know. I haven’t even let Isla know that glitter exists, let alone use it! And you’re all the way at painting real furniture, that you’re going to use! Brave, brave, brave… Crazy too, but mostly brave.

  17. By Mary @ Parenthood on December 28, 2013

    Haha Sarah I have a very similar getting ready for own room, a four year old and paint. Except I decided Elizabeth should get to help paint her walls. Did I mention that the room has hardwood floors? We had a newborn at the time…

    And I chose to do it on a day that I had to be somewhere, so essentially slapped paint haphazardly on the walls, then took off, leaving my hubby to fix the damage (including paint footprints all over the floor since of course four year olds don’t understand why they have to leave the drop sheet alone), while dealing with screaming baby and “helpful” child.


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