I admit it. I never believed you could have a toddler AND a Christmas tree.
First, I took my husband on a wild goose chase to find “shatterproof” ornaments. Only to find that the ones we already own (long before even considering a child) were shatterproof. Anyone need some lovely silver balls that I cavalierly tossed the receipt for? Next, I vetoed some medium-sized jingle bells and a felt heart with a button sewn on it (choking hazards), then hid our ornaments that had anything that looked remotely breakable (or interesting) on them at all.
THEN, I joked with my poor husband that I was of course going to put up our super baby gate around the tree. He was mortified. I was only half-kidding.
Here’s the trouble: I love Christmas (I get a REAL tree the day after Thanksgiving every year, without fail). But I hate negotiations that I can’t win. And all I could imagine was negotiating with our child every single day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day over why she can’t play with the shiny silver balls or sparkly lights on the new tree that’s now in our living room (read: the play area beside her book-book-books). Where’s my Christmas spirit?!
And don’t forget about the loose needles! Zoe puts EVERYTHING in her mouth. I’m sure pine needles are not poisonous (actually, I’m not sure they’re not poisonous but would Santa pick a tree that was?). My cat used to eat them and puke them up every holiday for 17 years (and that’s long life for a cat – maybe they’re actually good for you, partially digested). Seriously, what are the chances my orally-fixated daughter wasn’t going to siphon as many pine needles as possible into her mouth when she has such easy access? Bah Humbug.
Flash forward to why I’m glad I trust my INCREDIBLY brilliant husband, who insisted that our child would have a “normal” Christmas. I have no clue how he came up with the following idea, but it’s insanely wonderful. Here’s the story:
- I talk Bart into decorating 95% of the tree while Zoe is sleeping (“She’ll be so excited to see it with the lights on it! She won’t want to put ALL the decorations on it – we’ll leave some special ones just for her!”), because I’m convinced decorating a tree with a 15-month-old will be hell on earth.
- Zoe wakes from her nap, and we bring her into the room with the Christmas tree. Her face lights up. I cringe.
- Bart takes her over to the tree, where she instantly reaches for a silver ball (as I suspected!)… then he says, “We can’t take the balls off the tree. They’re sleeping. Shhhh.”
OMG. IT WORKED. That was 9 days ago, and IT’S STILL WORKING!! She gets near the tree, and SHE tells US “shhhhhh”, and we lower our voices and say, “Yes, the balls are sleeping. Shhh.” She loves it.
Honestly, I should do something nice for that man. Thanks to him, this is shaping up to be a very Merry Christmas indeed. Here’s some actual footage of the family tree decorating, with Bart and my mom:
(if you’re interested in how the tree topper got on the tree, check this out.)