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Ah, Christmas, with its Spirit of Giving

picture of Theron unwrapping a presentLadies and Gentlemen, we have survived another one. Christmas... is now behind us. Visiting friends and relatives have returned to their homes; my wife has taken down the tree and sundry decorations and ornaments; and I'm back at work.

Admittedly, we haven't actually reached the New Year yet, but let's face it: if you're the parent of a small child, New Year's Eve just isn't what it used to be. The days of late night parties are largely behind you. Ten o'clock feels late; midnight is starting to get painful. No, once we're past Christmas, the holidays are effectively over.*

The Reason for the Season
Theron went through Christmas with the same unbridled enthusiasm that he displayed for Halloween. He understood, immediately and without any need for explanation from his parents, the true meaning and purpose of the holiday. Bounding from his bed in the dim light of early morning, he went into the living room and got his presents.

His gifts this year included fewer Really Large Plastic Toys, and more books and puzzles, but overall he made out pretty well. He had a really good time unwrapping his presents, and was even willing to help other people unwrap their presents. Not surprisingly, his idea of unwrapping is neither neat nor gentle; wrapping paper exists only to be torn into shreds.

Owing to Rule 486b (which I explained in last year's Christmas entry), Theron actually had three Christmases (Christmasae?) this year. The Beautiful Woman's sister came into town (along with her husband and child, of course) the day before Christmas Eve, and we had an evening gift-exchange with them. Then, on Christmas morning, after he'd finished pillaging the living room, Theron went with us to my parents' house, where he charmed my Mom's side of the family and further increased his hoard. Finally, on Saturday - two days after Christmas - we exchange gifts with my wife's parents at their house. So, Theron is not exactly suffering for lack of gifts.

Unfortunately, as an apparently inevitable consequence of the holiday season, we all got a few things we weren't expecting.

In the Spirit of Giving
I have, once again, acquired my Annual Christmas Head Cold. (Seriously. I had one for Christmas last year, and the year before that, and - I think - the year before that. It's in serious danger of becoming a Holiday Tradition, and if that happens then people will expect me to be cheerful about it.) This year, however, I'm counting myself lucky.

On Christmas day, after opening a few presents at our house and rather more presents at my parents' house, we settled in for quiet afternoon. Theron and I napped (in opposite ends of the house), while everyone else was social (and loud). Then we gathered Theron up, and took him to my wife's parents; they had agreed to watch him, so that we could finish the day by watching a movie with my side of the family.

I'm going to digress for a moment, and mention that what we went to see was The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. This was, basically, the memoir (a long, rambling memoir) of a man who was born old and aged backwards. While it was well done (and what critics like to call "emotionally powerful"), it struck me as somewhat odd - not because of the premise, but because of how important the premise wasn't. In most movies with a fantastic premise (woman discovers she can fly; man gets bitten by a radioactive spider; children find a doorway into a hidden, magical world), some considerable attention is paid to the fantastic element. In this case, it's almost an afterthought. You could easily remove the bit about the main character aging backwards, and you would have exactly the same plot and very nearly the same movie. The movie doesn't really explore the exact nature of the main character's condition, and none of the characters seem especially curious about it, either. It's just... there.

Anyway, back to the topic of unwanted gifts. We finished the movie (which, as I said, we enjoyed), and raced back to collect Theron so we could put him in bed.

Emetophobes, click here now. (Or, skim down until you see the next bold section header.) You have been warned.

We discovered, on our return, that he had thrown up all over his grandmother. He proceeded to spend a fair amount of the night throwing up: on his bed, on his bed again, on his bed a third time, in the living room, on one of his toys, on his mother... We finally got him to sleep (sort of) in the Ugly Pink Chair, with the Beautiful Woman. By Saturday, my Father-in-Law also had some sort of stomach bug, and was feeling queasy. Last night, I discovered that some of the relatives on my mother's side had gone home with something similar, though I don't know whether there was actual regurgitation involved; and I think my Dad may be fighting it off, too.

We're not sure where this came from. One likely candidate is my Brother-in-Law, who was just recovering from something similar when they came to visit. He had gotten sick while visiting his relatives in Florida; they thought it was probably food poisoning. I'm suspicious, because that's exactly what my aunts and cousin thought, too. On the other hand, they all rode down from Oklahoma in a single van, so if one of them had picked up a bug, they could easily have passed it around. For that matter, it might even be food poisoning. Or maybe Santa brought it down the chimney, along with everything else. Hey, you visit every child in the world in a single night, you gotta expect to be exposed to some strange, strange stuff. 'Tis the season.

So, like I said, I'm counting myself lucky. The head cold is annoying, but fairly minor by comparison. Also, fortunately, both my wife and her mother seem to have avoided or resisted the thing. It could have been a lot worse...

Theron is already recovering; whatever this is, it seems to be a twenty-four hour bug (with, at a guess, about a two-day incubation period). He was already on antibiotics from an earlier ear infection, and we've given him plenty of liquids. Under the circumstances, there isn't much else to do.

A Little Time to Recover
The plans for New Year's Day involve turning Theron over to my parents, who will take him down to an aquarium. Since the Podling has a great love of fish and other sea creatures - not to mention his grandparents - this should be a lot of fun for him. The Beautiful Woman and I will probably use the time to rest and recover.

I haven't really managed to download any Christmas pictures for this entry; sorry. I may come back and add them later, or I may just throw them in with the next entry. Meanwhile, I hope everyone had a happy (and disease-free) holiday season.

* Except for the semi-annual tradition of going outside after midnight to explain to one or more idiotic neighbors that shooting off fireworks within city limits is not only a colossally stupid idea, it's also illegal. That usually happens on July Fourth, but sometimes they try New Year's Eve for variety. It's almost never the same group of nitwits twice, which is all to the good. Unfortunately, there seems to be an infinite supply of Replacement Morons waiting to take their turn.