Craigslist did the trick, and a guy with a truck delivered us of the very bulky Ikea TV cabinet we bought—possibly our first furniture purchase ever, come to think of it—way back in our NYC days. We can’t fathom, now, how the moving men got it down the stairs of our apartment in Astoria, especially the narrow landing bit at the top. The thing served us well, and we’re glad it’s gone. The living room feels spacious now, and that’s with Christmas beginning to fill its corners.
We got about half the decorations up yesterday during Huck’s nap: the lights (two strings outside, three strings inside; I like to see them shine in the darkness), the stockings, the nutcrackers, the nativity set, the wooden Santa in the traditional red garb, the ceramic Santa in his unusual and gorgeous hunter green suit. Huck played with the creche figures all afternoon, but I guess he forgot about the decorations overnight, because this morning when he came trotting down the hall into the living room, he gasped and stopped in his tracks.
“The ’Ristmas room!” he shouted, literally jumping for joy.
Oh, he is funny these days. When I was first untangling the strands of lights I’d pulled out of the bin in the garage, I heard a sudden crunching sound and looked up to the sight of my little boy sticking out his tongue, upon which lay shards of broken green Christmas light. He’d bitten it right off the strand. He stood there calmly, nose wrinkled in disgust, unfazed by my shrieks. I picked the shards off his tongue, finger-swept around his gums. Terrifying. No cuts (the lights must be made of plastic these days? not glass?), no blood. “No taste good,” he informed me. You don’t say.
During today’s nap—we time everything quiet or fragile to coincide with his naps—we finished The Cottage at Bantry Bay, which I’ve been reading to the three middle girls. That last chapter is a doozy and I kept getting choked up, which always seems to tickle them. When Paddy tells what happened with the box of old poems in Dublin—you see it coming six chapters away, but still, it gets me—I really thought I might have to hand the book over to Scott for the last few pages. But he’d had to slip back to his desk, so I got myself together and faltered out the end.
Then we opened the last of the ’Ristmas boxes, the one with the ornaments, and the girls trimmed the tree. Rilla looked alarmed when those words were uttered at the outset of the endeavor: she thought it meant cutting the tree to make it smaller, and ours is already quite small. “It means hanging the ornaments,” we explained, and her relief was immense. They took great pains to hang all the breakable things up high, well out of Huck’s reach. Not, I suspect, that it will matter. A kid who’ll bite clean through a light bulb (egad, just writing it gives me the shivers) will stick at nothing. Glass baubles, we hardly knew ye.
“Only grownups would say boots were for keeping feet dry…”
Steinbeck’s Turtle With the Old Humorous Face
Books Read in February
Rilla Goes to Oz