Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Countdown Calendar

This year I stole an idea I had seen several times online and made a Christmas countdown calendar. Because I'm not what one would call crafty, I decided against sewing stockings or making my own envelopes or putting messages inside of decorated matchboxes. Instead, I cut up card stock and wrote a number on one side and a family activity on the other, then put them all in a box with Santa Claus on the lid. It sounds lamer than it is, I promise- Connor gets a kick out of pulling a card from the box.
My lack of Martha-Stewartness was not the only obstacle to overcome in order to make the Christmas countdown activity calendar work. (Can you tell we don't really have a good name for it? Right now it's just "The Box.") Of all the things that bother Connor, trying something new at which he is not instantaneously proficient is at the top of the list. And that's followed closely by trying something new and having someone dare to explain to him how to do it. So some of my fun ideas become excruciatingly painful within minutes of starting them. If we stick with it, Connor eventually comes around, so I'm hoping that sooner or later I will break him and he will just enjoy something from the outset. Keep your fingers crossed.
I had the idea that I would blog daily about our activities, but clearly that isn't going to happen so here's a recap of the first few days:
Bought and decorated a Christmas tree
This went well! We were off to a good start. Tiff went with us to pick out the tree, and we all ran around in the cold, pausing occasionally to look at a tree and scream, "IT'S HUUUUGE!" I let Connor pick out a lopsided tree and help hang ornaments, which are mostly in clusters around the bottom. Slowly I am getting them spread out, but overall I let go of a lot of my Christmas tree control issues.
Made paper snowflakes and hung them up in Connor's room
Day two did not go as smoothly. Connor is new to the whole scissors thing, and had never tried to make snowflakes before. My quick demonstration was ignored, so I figured I might as well fold a piece of paper and hand it to him. My help was not needed, and he grabbed some paper and tried a few folds before getting frustrated, throwing his paper across the room, folding his arms over his chest and pouting. So I handed him the piece of paper I had folded during this display and tried to explain how he could cut a chunk out of the paper. Fortunately I came away from that with all of my fingers, although it was close. I was worried about the amount of freaking out he would do when he unfolded the paper and saw that his didn't look like mine, but fortunately he was happy to have made any difference in the paper at all. Crisis averted! He conceded the paper folding to me, and we all enjoyed making and hanging snowflakes.
Made chocolate cookies from scratch
I like to cook, but I never bake, so this was totally new to Connor. We donned our aprons and pulled out the ingredients. Of course Connor was supremely confident in his innate ability to make cookies, and scoffed at my suggestion to read the recipe. I had the power of the chocolate chips on my side, however, and he actually followed some of my directions with the promise that we would open the bag of chips once everything else was done. Then we ate a LOT of chips and dough and cookies.
Had an indoor picnic
We've done this one before. Chloe is the only family member who has a problem with the picnic. She'll happily eat dinner from her highchair, but bucks and squirms when held on my lap. But it was nothing a little Shout can't fix.
Took a walk in the dark to see neighborhood Christmas lights
Fortunately the night we did this wasn't too terribly cold, so it was pretty fun. I mean, by the end Connor freaked out and pouted and all, but I'm tired of telling that story.
Made a fort in the den
We pulled a card table out of the attic and fixed it up with blankets and pillows, and ate our dinner under there. Chloe was unsure about it to begin with, but was soon crawling around grabbing food off our plates with glee. The most entertaining part of this was how Connor is physically incapable of saying the word fort. We built a porch in the den, plain and simple. If we look at him and say "fort," he repeats it to us, "porch!"
I hope this becomes a fun tradition that the kids have fond memories of. I'll consider this year a trial run, since only one kid can really participate. Maybe by the time they are both old enough to get into it I'll have figured out a name and presentation that doesn't reek of throwing this together on November 30. I guess I've got until next December to collect and decorate those 24 matchboxes.

1 comment:

Stacey Greenberg said...

wow that's awesome steph. i wish i would have known about this sooner so that i could copy you! heh

i am totally jealous of your enormous kitchen.

satchel makes a fort just about everyday--never thought to let him eat there, much less join him! maybe that can be his hanukah present ;)

finally, i'm a little embarrassed to post pics of our tree after seeing yours!