Art is on his way to the store, and here I am in this bathroom with three naked children, one begging for a towel in the shower, one jumping around in excitement, one kicking and splashing in her pink tub, giving me a shower I really don’t need just yet.
I ask nakey boy #1 to quit dancing around and hand nakey boy #2 a towel and then get in the shower himself. I lather up the baby, trying to get all the little creases cleaned out. I endure another wave of water from the bathtub, feeling it soak through my socks.
Moments later, Little One is wiggling away happily on my bed, playing peekaboo with her towel and laughing at the antics of her brothers. They are wearing pajama pants and dress shirts. I pull her striped shirt over her head, forcing waving arms through sleeves, trying to maintain patience for the hyperactive sons who are jumping on my bed.
It’s picture night.
I drape the sheet over the back of the armchair, test the string of Christmas lights. The kids are drawn to them by some magnetic force– Bubs offering constant commentary on the colors and the state of the tangled cords, Stinky experimenting with electricity by unplugging them and plugging them in over and over, Little One getting in more on the taste angle of the bright colors and lights. I send boys to couch, lift baby off floor, wish for husband to come home.
Finally he comes in, carrying the last necessary prop for this photographic adventure. One hat, bright red with white fur, sits atop his head. The boys are about ready to explode with the excitement of it all. Somehow the sight of that hat– the twinkle of those lights– the candy-cane stripes of Little One’s shirt– they have flipped the Christmas switch in my sons’ brains. Visions of sugarplums have begun dancing.
I set Little One in the sheet-covered armchair, plop the fuzzy hat atop her fuzzy head, wrap her in Christmas lights amid dire warnings from my husband. She is taken in by the bright colors, the warmth of the lights. I switch back and forth from pulling lights out of her mouth and snapping picture after picture, while Art plays her favorite song over and over to try to keep her happy.
The tree’s not up yet, the wreath doesn’t adorn the front door, the stockings do not hang by the non-existent chimney, and Saint Nicholas will not be here anytime particularly soon.
But Christmas, it has come to my house, whether we were really ready or not.
And honestly, as long as Christmas stays this adorable, I’m pretty much okay with that.