17 December 2011

Rockin' a Newborn Around the Christmas Tree

This is our Christmas tree.

And cue the children's choir.
And it's not just ANY Christmas tree.  It's Mallory's first Christmas tree.  I was more excited about decorating this tree than the cracked-out track-suit-wearing lady in the Target commercials is about Black Friday.

I just didn't think it would take roughly 3 days to decorate this sucker.

Day One, Erect the Evergreen: It started at Home Depot.  Since fir trees can't grow in Georgia (stupid red clay), and we weren't willing to drive all the way to North Carolina with a newborn to cut our own, we turned to the Commerce location of the megastore for their selection.  Mallory, all snug in her car seat nestled inside a bright orange shopping cart, rode up and down the garden center aisles while we browsed.  Michael and I picked one that would fit in our music room and had one of the employees shake it out and wrap it in netting.  We threw it in the back of the truck, hit the Zaxby's drive-thru for some dinner, and made our way home.

"I'll take the tall green one that smells like a lumber jack."
It was dark outside by the time we pulled into our driveway.  And since we had a baby to tend to, we had to devise a plan to get the tree in the house and consume our chicken dinners before bedtime.  Eating took first priority.  You parents know the routine with a newbie: one parent holds/feeds/burps the baby while the other eats, and then you swap.  Except, the baby is already full by the time the second parent gets the baby, so they end up doing diaper duty.  Everybody wins!

With everyone fed and the baby's butt clean, I put Mallory in her swing and Michael valiantly commandeered the bringing-in of the fir tree.  We crossed our fingers that we would be able to cut the tree out of its stretchy netting, stand the tree, trim back the loose limbs, vacuum up needles, and add water to the base before Mallory decides she's through with the moving-to-and-fro business.

"A little more to the left, Daddy!"
And success!  Barely a whimper from the swing, even after I ran the Dyson around little Mallory.  We get the baby bathed and jammied up, and then we make our way to bed with somewhat elevated hopes that decorating will go smoothly the next day.

Day Two, Haul out the Holly: Shortly after breakfast and walking the dog around the yard, Michael brought down the boxes of Christmas decorations.  I'm usually in charge of this, but splitting responsibilities is the only way we would get this holiday fun running.  Mallory was dressed for the occasion--a pink snowman onesie.  Again, she was fed and put in her swing.

"I'm starting to notice a trend…"
We tuned in at channel 801 on our satellite for the holiday music to get us in the spirit.  Taking a swing at who was singing each piece, I batted somewhere around .500.  Too many inept pop singers for me to keep up with each year.  They merely ruin the standards I grew up with on my parents' records.

I emptied the boxes of the decorations that were to go on the tree, setting aside mystery ornaments for the Goodwill and broken ones for the trash bin.  Then Michael and I dizzied ourselves stringing the colored lights through the branches.

"Lookin' good, guys!"
We glanced over at the swing, smiled at our butterball wonder, and decided to march on by hanging up the silver balls and glittered icicles.  I grumble about the glitter getting ground into the carpet, but I excuse it because it's Christmas and I have a vacuum.  Thinking that we've only spent, like, 30 minutes completing these tasks, we hear…


Yep, it had actually been almost 3 hours.  Mallory obviously kept tabs on the clock.

Mal: "I'm HUNGRY!"
Me: "I just wanted to decorate the tree all pretty for you!"
And, of course, I thought, "Oh, it's no big deal!  Feed the baby, do a little tummy time, and you're back to the decorating festivities!" as normal feedings last roughly 20 minutes.  But then there are feedings like this one where the formula doesn't want to stay down and it ends up all over Mommy's neck.  So almost an hour later, we're wearing hazmat suits to avoid another eruption, even with Mallory on the changing table.  Projectile spit happens even in this position.

We have a spitter.
Mallory's belly was full (well, almost full since she spit up), but Michael and I had to eat lunch.  You eat, I hold Baby.  I eat, you hold Baby.  Someone take Mojo out and get the mail.  Change the channel because ESPN is only talking about NBA crap.  Am I going to be able to clean up where Christmas vomited in our living room before dinner?  Another three hours are gone…  Seriously?


Feed.  Burp.  Change.  Lay the nerd down for a nap.

While Mallory slept, I managed to get the rest of the decorations on the tree.  Michael made an attempt to balance the star I bought half-priced after the holidays last year atop the gangly nose-picker limb.  It did not want to comply, even after cutting it back a hair.  We decided to revisit this important step in decorating at another time.  Decorations for the house come out of the boxes so Michael can put them back in storage, but...

Baby wakes, eats, gets changed.  Mommy and Daddy take time on the floor entertaining her.  Mojo has to go out again.  Time for dinner to be made.  Eat dinner.  Put boxes away.  House decorations are still out of place.  Star is on the Victrola rather than the tree, getting glitter all over the cracked wooden finish.  Curse the glitter and all its evilness.  Put the baby down for a short nap.  Take a picture...

"Decorating a tree is exhausting."
Day Three, Finishing Touches:  It was Monday, and Michael went to work.  I managed to set out the candle holders and holiday dish towels.  The nose-picker limb was cut back to the nub so the star could securely rest on top.  Our wreath was hung on the door.  Excess glitter was vacuumed up.  Lights were strung across the mantle and stockings were hung underneath the silvery letters of "NOEL".  I walked Mallory around the fragrant, multi-colored beauty so she could marvel over her parents' hard work.  The old tree skirt had been put in the donation pile, so a couple of bunched-up dark green towels collected falling needles from underneath.  I promised my little girl a newer, shinier skirt in just a couple of days when we would take a shopping trip to Hobby Lobby.  She stared at the lights, probably fighting the stimulation overload in her developing brain.  I pointed out the "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments that friends had bought for her.  Again, neurons are firing, but baby no understandy.  At least, not yet.  This will always be her first Christmas tree, and it was worth enduring its progressive interruptions.

Merry Christmas, Baby Nerd!

1 comment:

A. Hab. said...

Lmao! Girl, it took us three days to decorate, too. Mostly because I kept taking potty breaks and naps. Robert wanted to press on, but I kept begging him to let us both rest (mostly because If I was lounging on the couch while he ran around the house with all the Christmas decorations, I felt really guilty...and I can't rest when I feel really guilty, lol.)

Your tree is beautiful! Thanks for the reality check in this post, too. It makes perfect sense that you guys had to space out your decorating around Mallory's needs, although I must give kudos to her for patiently waiting longer than a half an hour! Well done, kiddo! ;)


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