last-minute gift idea
For the little ones on your list this year, why not a box of plastic cocktail mermaids?
J and I bought these B.I., before Iris, when I guess we thought of ourselves as having a lifestyle that might include cocktails garnished with buxom, brightly colored molded plastic. But they have never been so much a part of our lives as now. Iris sorts them by color. She measures and cooks them in her kitchen (mmm, mermaid fricassé!). She tosses them into her cup of water for a swim. She puts one at every place at the dinner table when she "helps" to set the table. That crunch underfoot? Well, it used to be a mermaid. Just another example of how having a child has transformed our lives.
Today we went to the art museum and took in a Christmas concert in the Hall of Architecture (where, incidentally, J and I closed down a reception on our first pseudo-date). There are always great big decorated Christmas trees there, and this year their theme was children's books. The Alice in Wonderland tree was pretty spectacular, though my hasty snapshot does not do it justice:
But my favorite was the tree based on The Mitten, a Ukrainian folktale retold in a book by by one of my favorite children's illustrators, Jan Brett. The tree decorations actually bore no resemblance whatsoever to her pictures, but I loved them anyway because they were giant origami:
Naturally, we had to introduce Iris to the plaster cast of her mythological namesake.
I'm contemplating trimming the twenty-first century Iris' hair into a short bob. Pro: No more straggly ends. Con: too short for ponytails. Yes, the weight of the world is on my shoulders. It feels good to have time – and brain space – to contemplate such frivolities with a week off stretching luxuriously ahead of me and, after that, just four more days at my old job. Of course, now that the end is in sight, I'm feeling.... not regret, but wistful about giving up this work I have done for eight years. I have already said goodbye to my boss, since our last day in the office together was Thursday. We parted as friends, and I am glad about that.