It really does feel like I'm finally coming up for air... the last few days are a blur of activity. Above you can see the Quack Doctor, aka Brendan, with Father Christmas & The Fool from our mummers play at church last Sunday. He really stole the show :) Brendan had his lines memorised & was fully in character from the moment he arrived on stage. He loved how everyone laughed at his funny lines (which was most of them :) & he was so focused that he barely ticced at the whole morning.
Here is about half of the dragon (2 of 4 inhabitants :), during the encounter with St. George (& right before ignominious defeat at his- actually Brendan's- wooden sword). My goddaughter, who was at the front of the dragon, said it was a lot of fun to wear it & play the role, so I think that qualifies as a success. It certainly got it's share of laughs :) After the play, someone asked me if it had been hard to put it all together. When I thought about it, I realised that the hardest part was letting it go. There was a particular moment in the service, when I was done with my bit (I was the service leader) & the play started to unfold, when I realised that there was no more that I could do... just sit back, watch it unfurl, & take pictures. It was very weird. But it was very good, too. At the end of the service Brendan did, indeed, join us for singing the "Gower Wassail" for the postlude & it sounded great to have him with us. We received very nice comments from the congregation about the play, too. So, it was definitely worth the time, wear & tear of organising & costuming it all :)
We actually had a japanese lesson Sunday afternoon as well & Brendan & I managed to stay focused for it, in spite of the excitement of the morning. Afterward we finally got a start on putting the decorations up. I was really keen to get the new, 6' tinsel tree up, since I hadn't opened the box & had no idea of how many pieces it was in or how it went together. The tinsel tree thing is fairly new to us, made necessary by my asthma reacting to the real tree 4 years ago, & resulting in a rather goofy-looking 4' tinsel tree (inspired by my not being able to bear a fake tree that was trying to look like a real one & Brendan's request for a "shiny aluminum tree" ala Charlie Brown) as the replacement. After wrestling the new tree out of it's box & discovering that it wasn't in a million pieces but reasonably simple to deal with, I just sacked-out on the sofa for a while. Brendan very kindly turned the sound way down on his Adventure Quest game :) After dinner we lit the candles for the 3rd night of Chanukah & his gelt was a Power Rangers Mystic Force (the newest series) dvd. He has been wanting to see this new series ever since he discovered it was coming out, but we don't get cable tv, so I was happy to discover the dvd of the first few episodes when I was out shopping a couple months ago. We watched it that evening & it was pretty cute, actually. The new, nature-magic storyline dovetails very nicely with his interest in sword & sorcery (thanks to AQ) so he enjoyed it very much. I was impressed that their new mentor is a middle-aged woman. Go Power Rangers!
Monday started off pretty well- Brendan has been waking up before the alarm lately, which gives him time to adjust to the day & makes things go a lot more quickly in the morning. No moaning at all about school, since there were only 2 days before the break. Everything was going swimmingly, so I wasn't prepared for his OCD to erupt just as we were getting ready to go out the door. He took his coat off the door-handle where it was hanging, then put it back, then took it off, then put it back- over & over, & finally erupted with frustration because he couldn't do it "right". I tried to get him back on track by taking the coat gently from him & putting it on him, which usually works to break up the tic, but this time it didn't. On the way out to the car he screamed intermittently (in a ticcy way) & continued in the car. I stopped the car while we were still in the driveway & tried to talk him down, but he couldn't bear to have his coat on, he said. I told him he had to have a coat because it was cold... nothing helped, all he wanted to do was go back & put it back on the door-handle & take it off "properly". I tried to drive to school anyway, but he kept screaming & yelling "why do I have OCD?" & finally I ended-up in tears, & told him that I wanted to go home & get him something else to wear. I really did not want him going back & doing the OCD ritual with his coat again- that just seemed like a dead end. Since I knew the parking lot at school would be really crowded for a while (we usually get there early so Brendan can get settled in before all the commotion starts & I can get to my door-greeter job) we didn't leave immediately after getting home. I needed to get a grip, after crying in the car. I knew Brendan felt bad about my crying & I wanted to let him know I was ok. He had scooted into the living room while I got some kleenex, & when I got to the living room he was on the sofa wearing the Kirara hat he'd gotten for the first night of Chanukah, making cute noises. (Kirara is a demon-cat character in InuYasha & when I found the hat in our local anime store I knew I had to get it for him to go with the InuYasha hat I'd made him :). We sat on the sofa & hugged for about 10 minutes & I explained that I was really tired from all the mummers play excitement & that was one reason I was crying. He was really sweet, & perfectly calm after taking the offending coat off. I had him put his fleece pullover on when ti was time to go & we had a very peaceful ride to school. I must have looked pretty bad because I kept getting hugs from people at school (another reason it's such a great place...). Brendan settled-in perfectly well once we got there, but I still was rattled by my crying jag. I went to the chiropracter next & it was wonderful to relax with the heating pad on my back & get some relief from the pain of all the work & busyness of the past couple of weeks. Then I went to the grocery store to buy grapefruit... I had remembered that Brendan would be with me this week when we go shopping & I didn't want him to have to see me buy the annual stocking grapefruit. Charlie's family has a long tradition of putting a grapefruit in the toe of everybody's stocking & Brendan particularly looks forward to this every year. It's kind of funny- he's known that we're really Santa for over a year, but if anything, he talks more about Santa & stockings now than he ever did before he knew (Santa just brings the stockings in our house). So, in order to help him maintain the illusion a bit longer I decided to make a special trip for the grapefruit, & even got him a pomegranite, too :) And me a decaf latte...
I spent the rest of the day unpacking duffel bags full of mummers costumes, washing whatever needed it, & packing everything into boxes for storage until next year. Then I began to reclaim various corners of the house from the chaos that had descended while I was making costumes & fine-tuning the script, etc. I knew I wouldn't feel right until things were back in the lower-level of chaos we usually live with. When I picked Brendan up from school he was in great spirits & stayed that way for the rest of the day. I worked on putting his teachers' presents together & intermittently interrupted his AQ play to have him sign gift tags or make a beaded bracelet for his secret santa (which I had just discovered he'd had & needed a gift for when I picked him up from school). He also spent some time sanding his new wizard/monk (ala InuYasha) staff, a yard-long dowel he appropriated from the mummers costumes laying about the house. This stick has really caught his fancy & he's been hauling it everywhere around the house, although it was rather a nuisince in the morning when he dropped his breakfast on the floor because one hand was occupied with the staff... So we also discussed some staff safety rules, like keeping it perpendicular to the floor at all times & not raising it over his head, & putting it down when he's making breakfast... He wanted to make it smooth so I got some sandpaper for him & put down newspapaer & he did a great job of sanding it silky smooth- the first time he's really sanded anything on his own. Charlie was at a work meeting late so Brendan & I had a nice dinner of tofu & rice, & after Charlie got home he & Brendan played dreidel for chocolate gelt while the candles burned.
Today was known as the "second-most-wired day of the year" at school (the first being the last day of school). We had loads of gifts to haul in & distribute to teachers, therapists, & office friends. His OT was really impressed by the bracelets he'd beaded for everyone, & they all loved their bracelets, too. Brendan wore the green santa hat I'd knitted for him when he was 2 (still pretty much fits...) & looked very festive :) I was alert all day, as I ran from meeting to meeting, for a call from school to come get him but the excitement never got to him. I was really glad- he had a nice day & told me that his secret santa classmate had smiled when he gave her the bracelet he'd made for her. We had a very mellow afternoon, enjoying the freedom of school being out for the rest of the year. We plan to make cookies starting tomorrow, & brainstorming something special for dad :) After dinner & bath time, Charlie put the Alvin & the Chipmunks Christmas cd in the player & we sat on the sofa watching him put together 14 giftboxes for his office staff, singing along with Alvin, Simon, & Theodore. Then they got out the stockings (4, one for each of us 3 plus Rufus :) & hung them from the mantel. I only read to Brendan for about 20 minutes & he was sound asleep.
The holidays are here!