Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Much Happiness to You All in This New Year!

In the New Year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, but never in want.

~Traditional Irish toast

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


(image from Tracking Down Santa)

Several weeks ago, I tried to discover how Queen Teen feels about Santa. Does she still believe? She's 13, but emotionally she's about two or three years younger. At what age do children let go of Santa?

I casually asked if she was interested in Santa. Did she want to write to him? See him when he came to town?

Queen Teen folded her arms and glared at me. "I'm not ready to give up Santa Clause!"

Okay then. I got my answer. It will be another Santa Clause Christmas. And I'm actually happy about it.

I love playing Santa; finding the perfect gifts from the North Pole and spending too much money on stocking stuffers. But the best part is early Christmas morning when she first climbs out of bed and her whole face glows with that "Santa came!" grin. My heart feels as big and warm as her smile.

We saw Santa Clause two weeks ago at the Chamber of Commerce. We were out for our usual Saturday morning, it stopped raining, walk when we strolled past the building and out walked Santa. She gripped the wheelchair breaks and said, "Look!" Santa greeted us, and then we went inside his temporary shop where he sat on a big, golden throne decorated with Christmas ribbon and bells. Queen Teen sat beside him in her chair and started giggling shyly. After I told Santa she has a hard time hearing, he spoke in a kind, loud voice. "What would you like for Christmas?"

Queen Teen giggled again and buried her chin against her chest. Then she looked at me.

"Can you tell Santa what you want?" I asked.

"I want a ......." she whispered.

"Hmmm? Can you tell me again, please?" Santa prodded.

"I want a....." she whispered.

"Should I tell Santa?" I asked.

"No! I can do it." She sat up taller, looked up at Santa and said, "I want a Princess wand." Then she collapsed back into giggling and turned bright red.

Santa said he'd see what he could do, gave her a hug, and wished us a Merry Christmas.

Luckily, Rick found a Princess Wand at Big Lots, so we're covered.

Now it's 1:00 pm on Christmas Eve and Queen Teen is beside herself waiting for Santa. Seeing her cousins and Nana tonight is great, but she can't WAIT for Santa. We even baked fresh cookies for him (another bonus for mom and dad!).

And I can't wait to see her face when she wakes up tomorrow morning and finds that Santa Clause came once again.

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Solstice to you all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Queen Teen is a crafty girl. She loves scrapbooking and drawing, collage, photography, and anything else she can make with a pair of scissors and a bottle of glue. She is in heaven this time of year because Christmas is just an excuse to make decorations and dress up the house.

First, we set up her village.

Every year, Grandpa Bear (my dad) gives her something new for her village, one year a house, another year a figurine. Last year he gave her a figure of a sled and horse (you can see it in the picture). She also inhereted two porcelain houses from her Great-Grandmother.

Queen Teen sings Christmas carols while playing with and rearranging the little people who live inside her magic village.

Even though her grandpa gives her something new every year, her village isn't too big because the heads and arms of the villagers tend to come off from all the playing. Queen Teen needs to hold and touch each item, so this village is for exploring, not just for looks.

After setting up her village, we decorated the tree.

And then later in the week, Queen Teen made a new wreath for our door.

Can you tell she likes butterflies?

She decorated our Christmas stockings with new paper stickers and drew pictures for her dad and Laurie Berkner as gifts.

Her craft-fever has slowed and since we've run out of wall space and room on the tree, she's decided to take a break from making things and start making room in her bedroom for all the new toys she's getting for Christmas. I will go out and buy more tape and glue, because by next week, she'll be itching to make something again.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Hearing Aids are BACK

Queen Teen's hearing aids were finally repaired and for the last two weeks her teachers have been encouraging her to wear them. So far I've been lucky; the hearing aids are only at school. From what I hear, Queen Teen has been VERY unhappy about wearing them and I dread the coming battle when her teachers finally send them home.

I get email messages from Queen Teen's teachers on her progress. First day there was a lot of crying, but after 45 minutes she was distracted enough by the computer to stop crying and keep them in for a few hours. The next day, more crying, but by the third day crying had been replaced by profound sighs and rolling of eyes. She was adjusting to them quickly and her teachers were pleased.

Then came Thanksgiving break. One full week without her hearing aids.

The teachers sent them home, but I chickened out. And besides, Queen Teen was spending several days with her dad for Thanksgiving and I didn't want to send the hearing aids when he doesn't know how to use them, and what if they got lost somewhere and it would be terrible if they were broken again... I thought of at least ten reasons not to make her wear them over the holiday. But really, I dreaded the fight. The last time I made her wear them at home she cried hysterically for over an hour. Although it was true she was going to be gone and sending the hearing aids to her dad's wasn't a good idea, she could've worn them for the few days she was home with me.

School started again this week and her teachers insisted she wear her hearing aids in class. I got a note from her teacher this morning saying Queen Teen has worn them all morning and everyone can see a huge improvement in Queen Teen's abilities. She can actually hear what's going on. However, Queen Teen hasn't given up complaining about them now and then.

She told me they "itch," "bug me," and "don't do any good." "It don't help me hear no better. It just makes everything sound weird." I believe her, but the fact that they appear to help means she has to keep wearing them. We'll all keep an eye on her ears for signs of irritation, and the teacher of the hearing impaired is bringing some kind of ointment to help them feel more comfortable.

For now, she'll continue to wear them only at school. But in a few weeks it will be Winter break. Two weeks when Queen Teen will be home with me, not at her dad's, and that means we'll have plenty of time to battle over the hearing aids.