As usual at this time of year, my life has devolved into an exhausting series of chaotic activities. I finished with grading finals and papers, turned in my final grades, and all of that jazz earlier this week. I even had to turn in my office and building keys - as happened last spring, I don't have a teaching assignment lined up for next term, and while I may be called in at the last moment, there's no guarantee. So they'll take up my key and send it back to wherever keys go for the next three or four weeks, so that, if they decide to call me back to teach next term, I will then have to wait at least a month to get keys again. It would seem sensible to have me keep the keys until classes start again in January, and then return them if I won't need them, but no. I jump through the hoops of higher ed bureaucracy like a good trained pup.
The kids are abuzz with various holiday parties and activities. Big Girl danced beautifully last weekend in The Nutcracker - her first performance in it. I was rather surprised by how nostalgic and sentimental I felt seeing my girl dance in the same ballet that I once performed. And yes, most of the choreography is virtually unchanged from the steps set on me and my peers so many years ago in the first local performance. When I heard the music for the roles I danced then, I felt my feet and arms respond instinctively with the appropriate gestures and movements. It's been sixteen years, but I still remember (although I know my pregnant, out of shape body would look ridiculous if I actually attempted to do the steps, and I don't even want to think about how impossible it would be to dance on pointe now).
Big Girl and I also got to ride in the local Christmas parade, on a float with her scout troup, earlier this month. It was extremely cold but fun. As the sole pregnant parent among the adults there to supervise and accompany the kids, I got to ride on the float while the other parents walked along beside it and tossed candy to the kids watching the parade. Three and his granddaddy watched the parade, and both Three and his sister were THRILLED to see Santa riding on a fire truck at the end of the parade. Well, almost the end. The horses came last, because, well, who really wants to walk or drive behind them? Aside from a cleaning crew, perhaps. I couldn't believe how excited the kids got about Santa. My boy is still talking about Santa on the fire truck, and I expect that he will question the jolly guy about it if we go to see Santa at the mall.
Commercialism has reached Big Girl. Sigh. She's always wanted great toys - fun kid stuff, that requires imagination or active play - but thanks to the influence of her school peers, she's asking for a DS and a remote control car for Christmas. Both things are completely out of character - I know it's just a matter of hearing the kids at school discuss such things. Unfortunately Santa plans to give her things she will actually enjoy, as opposed to those other beyond-his-budget-and-likely-less-fun-for-her-anyway items.
My boy, fortunately, remains blissfully unaware, and his wish list this year is the same as last: tractors. Since he already owns almost every John Deere toy tractor that I can find in this town, I've had to get a bit creative with him, but hopefully he will still be pleased.
And the bebe? The one moving around in the womb while I type? I should find out whether said baby is a he or a she next month. I am so excited to find out! And then, of course, I'll be able to obsess about baby clothes and accessories and gear - but I'm trying to wait until after Christmas.