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To those families out there that celebrate Christmas, I hope that you had a wonderful day yesterday. For us, the difference between celebrating Christmas with two 8 month olds and celebrating with two 20 month olds was night and day. In some ways, it was a lot harder—-they are more easily distrupted by new people and different places, as well as exciting things like, well, all those presents—-and yet in some ways this is so, so much better than last year. They actually enjoy the holiday, the people, the attention and the gifts and we could see the first glimmer of what Christmas with two little kids is like. Excitment and loss of routine and fatigue—-and fun. Lots of fun.
Anyway, unlike last year, when we ate our big holiday dinner during their afternoon nap (ahh, days of 2 naps, I miss you so!), this year they were awake and ready to participate. And yet, holiday meals aren’t really geared towards two toddlers. We wrote last week about traditions changing with babies and toddlers, and I think this is true for traditions like holidays meals as well. The days of a long, drawn-out meal with a glass of wine, or two, everyone lingering at the table to chat until later when dessert is served—those days are long gone, for us at least. My childless brother and his girlfriend—-they are free to do that until, of course, one of my kiddos goes hunting Uncle Josh for a story or to beg him to turn on the tv. (Uncle Josh has been known to really enjoy college sports on tv and MY kids, they really enjoy tv, of any kind).
And the holiday meal, in all its deliciousness? Well, not really aimed at toddler appetites either, unless you count dessert. Their favorite foods? Yogurt, blueberries, cheese, frozen peas (only frozen, not thawed—weird little kiddos), oatmeal with blueberries, pears, apples, goldfish—-none of these scrumptious foods are on a holiday dinner menu. Meat? My kids laugh at the idea of eating meat. Mashed potatoes? They’ve never liked the texture of potatoes, white or sweet. Their favorite part of Thanksgiving dinner was the spanakopita that someone brought for the handful of vegetarians there. There was none at Christmas dinner. Well, the spanakopita and the desserts. Desserts they were all over, especially the pumpkin cheesecake. So, for Christmas dinner, I got to watch my kids pick at a pile of food, and then have to feed them dinner several hours later before bed. And no, dinner is not pumpkin pie and whipped cream, as fantastic as that might be. Do I want to raise adventuresome eaters who will try anything? Sure. But, holidays are not the time when I work at expanding my kids’ culinary bounds and pushing them to try new things. Holidays are hard enough—we can have yogurt, AGAIN, for dinner. Merry Christmas, kiddos.