On my daughter Hannah’s first Christmas in 2005 she was 10 months old. She wasn’t walking yet, but she was crawling and pulling up on things and generally menacing the cat. That year we left our tree up for a total of 72 hours. It was just long enough to take a few photos and do Christmas morning, but not long enough to completely destroy the tree and everything we put on it.
On Jacob’s first Christmas last year he was 4 months old. He was small and portable, and enjoyed being passed amongst family members as we celebrated. Hannah and I decorated the tree while Jon held the sleeping baby. It was lovely and idyllic and we were all quite satisfied with the celebration. This year, though, Jacob is 16 months old, and Holy Toddler, Batman! He climbs, he points, he cries, he systematically hides and deliberately destroys.
This leaves us with a conflict. I have an almost 5-year-old who really wishes the tree had been put up sometime in October. She cannot wait for the decorating and celebrating to start. But me? I am dragging my feet something fierce. I have decided that I have about 2 weeks of dealing with the toddler and tree combo in me. Any more than that, and I’m not sure I will be the sort of mother I would like to be anymore. And so our (fake) tree remains in a box under our house, along with all of our other holiday gear.
Someone suggested that we put the tree in the playpen, but our playpen is on loan. Plus, playpens are much smaller than they used to be. I don’t see how any respectable tree could fit inside one. And I would rather not shell out for a tree-containment system for just this year. So every morning I yet again tell Hannah that no, we won’t be decorating the tree today. And when she asks why, I ask her what she thinks, and she can now recite the litany. “Jacob would destroy it. He would throw everything everywhere, so we have to wait.” Poor kid, held back from dreams of Christmas glory by her little brother.
A more idyllic holiday scene, from 2008
What about you? How did you deal with the toddler and tree combo? I am sure that Hannah will be exceedingly grateful if you come up with a solution that would work for us. Or, maybe you just have a total horror story to share of a toddler and tree gone wrong? Or even a pet, that would work, too. If so, please share!