Wreck the Halls

December 18, 2013

Does putting up the Christmas tree turn you into the scary Control Freak Mommy?  Hmm, maybe it’s just me then. I always start calm and patient, our favorite holiday tunes playing in the background. That lasts under an hour before I’m chasing La Principessa, begging her to “look-with–your-eyes-and-not-your-hands-Nana-gave-me that-pretty-shiny-antique-glass-ball-please-put-it-down-gently-no-don’t-toss.” When she was a toddler, we stopped putting up a tree because we couldn’t afford the armed guard to stand sentry. By now, she’s stopped taking a flying leap onto the tree.

jumping on the tree

All she wants is to help. So while, her “helping” often sends me into spasms, I give it my all to be a more patient mommy.  That’s the point of the holidays, isn’t it – spending fun time with your loved ones.

This year, I let her cavort among the ornament boxes and examine all the waiting treasures. Except the special family ornaments – Control Freak Mommy hid those until she went to bed!  I could hear her rummaging in a box of tinsel, ribbons and some inexpensive glass balls.  I left to answer the phone.  When I returned, the tree looked like the garland box had vomited a random collection of colors, textures and shapes into the branches. A few glass ornaments were rolling, unattached, along the tops of branches. Deep breath.  Through gritted teeth, I asked her to rearrange the ribbons and garland so that they were all going across or up and down.  But not woven loosely together like a placemat.  Insulted, she dragged the giant garland box into the hall away from me.  I went to work on a different issue: the tree topper problem.

Elaborate bows, stars, angels – we never got it quite right.  The most recent attempt involved a paper mache Santa perched on the top stem.  It looked more like an impaled warning to anyone threatening to breach our chimney.  This year I am fixated on some nifty-looking hand-crafted pom poms on Pinterest I folded and slice and tweaked and shaped red tissue paper into a festive poof. I refer to it as the paper rose topiary, although Daddy-O threatens to tear up “that ridiculous puff thing.” Well, I’d seen Martha Stewart create pom poms for baby showers and they sure looked festive.  Mine? Not so much festive as a red blob, waving in the breeze. Back to the drawing board.

Martha Stewart

I then heard rustling – not usually a good thing. I found La Principessa in the hall finishing her masterwork – connecting every doorknob on the first floor with miles of garland -- crystals, tinsel, wooden beads. You name it, she had strung it up around the house like a laser booby trap in the underground vault of an evil genius.  She had the tension tight enough so I could barely crack a door – and when I did two other doors rattled around the corner or down the hall.  As I explained the flaw in her decorating plan, she was defiantly unbelieving, then sheepish and finally amused and self- satisfied. I suppose I should just give up now, make some hot chocolate and start bowling with those special family ornaments!


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Wreck the Halls

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