It’s just not Christmas without…

We’ve only built gingerbread houses 2 or 3 times in the children’s lives, and they were all spectacular failures (the gingerbread houses, that is, not the children).  Copious amounts of icing were required to keep the lopsided architectural monstrosities upright long enough for a photograph.  We laughed a lot during the process, and the houses tasted better than they looked, but still…

I was quite surprised when gingerbread houses made Jordi’s, “It’s just not Christmas without…” list.

This list is a new brainstorm of mine.  Every year we celebrate Christmas with a reckless mixture of planning and impulse, tradition and new adventure.  I wondered this year if the kids had any favorite traditions, any pieces of holiday joy that they just couldn’t live without.  The goal, of course, is to ensure that we make time for what’s most important.

Their lists taught me a few things.  First, the boys are surprisingly easy to please.  As long as a tree stands in the corner and the peanut butter bon bons are dipped in chocolate (as if I’d skip that!!!!), Christmas is good.  They’d just as soon sit around watching Christmas videos to running around crafting, decorating, carolling, baking, and all those other busy verbs.  Jordi, though, thinks we need a gingerbread house. 

It’s a good thing no big bad wolves tramp through my kitchen.  One little huff and puff, and this baby will fall.   Apparently, though, that’s not a problem to Jordi.

An unreasonable way to deal with obscenity in music

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. (George Bernard Shaw)

This quote has flitted through my mind for years now, although I never actually knew who said it until today when I looked it up to blog about it.  It bounced back into my head yesterday watching my son teach himself to use yet another piece of software that I wasn’t aware we owned: sound editing.

He’d downloaded a song from one of our approved internet sites, and then he realized that the song contained a curse word.  I suppose in today’s culture, it would be reasonable to expect obscenities and simply to accept it.  Or to follow the classic line, if you don’t like it, don’t listen to it.  My son refused to be reasonable (no big surprise to those of us who know him best).  He imported the music into the software, located the exact position of the word, and clipped it out.  Then he loaded the music onto his PSP to listen to.

Objective accomplished.  World adapted to self.  A little self-education thrown in (is this one of those “independent learning” moments that homeschoolers are supposed to be fostering?). 

Sometimes, I like unreasonable.

Levels of suffering

nutcrackerFriday, my kids and I will attend a much aniticipated performance of The Nutcracker.  My daughter and I keep nudging each other and counting down the days.  I’m listening to the music and considering options of different “learning activities” to make the most of this fabulous cultural opportunity.  It will be my first time ever (and obviously the kids first as well) live ballet.

The boys don’t quite share my Christmas spirit.  I tried to put a spin on the experience that my oldest son could relate to.  He’s currently writing his own fantasy novel and plans to make a career out of writing.

“Just think,” I told him perkily, “Someday when you’re writing a story, and you need to make your main character suffer, you’ll be able to accurately describe his misery being forced to sit at a ballet performance with his mom!”

“No, Mom,’ he answered in that deep, serious man voice he likes to affect when feeling much more grown up than 15, “I’m not that evil. There are some levels of suffering -throwing them into a pit of snakes is one thing, but ballet is worse.”

Sigh.  At least I know he has standards.