My boy was the first grandchild. Now there’s another grandson and one day, there will surely be more babies in our family. But once upon a time, all of the merriment and consumerism of Christmas in my family swaddled my son.
He was only a few months old during his first holiday season. We stuck him in a stocking, propped a Santa cap upon his sweet sort-of tiny head. I changed him several times a day just to be sure each seasonal onesie, pair of candy-can striped footy jammies and bow-tie and argyle sweater set got its turn.
We were blissful with this yuletide child. Until Christmas Day.
Surrounded by piles of presents and shredded wrapping paper and flashing camera lights and cooing family members, my child was screaming his head off. His dad and I wanted to give him one of those crazy plastic arches with dangling toys for the baby to grab, teeth on and gaze at happily. But the one we chose in our new-parent stupidity played music and vibrated and could have danced and dispensed non-alcoholic beer for all I knew back then.
At first, my boy smiled, wide-eyed at the new plastic universe around him. Then his dad hit the giant orange button on top and the circus sent the child into a flurry. Which sent us into a tornado of rocking and singing and tucking everything in sight away.
The baby stopped crying. For a bit. But he was rattled, unsettled and overstimulated because our own circus hadn’t yet stopped. The second act to Santa was Grandma. And her act was bigger than the big top. It was over the top.