When we were growing up we had the same advent calendar every year. December 1st was always a picture of a Christmas pudding (I'm sure my Mum is looking at that very calendar right this minute thinking, *wow* she's right, maybe we should have splashed out on a new calendar every five years or so).
Times have changed, and also, this is America. No Christmas puddings, but also no cardboard advent calendars. Anna has a deluxe wooden model with individual doors begging to be stuffed with treats. Thanks to her ever-indulgent Nani, and the fact we thought she'd forgotten this year and had also bought a mini treat for each door, every day is opened to reveal a miniature cornucopia. Today she got a chocolate Santa, a plastic pig and a tiny wooden angel for the tree.
This isn't going to be a post about spoiling your children, or about American largess, mostly because I love Christmas and I'm absolutely crackers about advent calendars (opening the same doors, and alternating days with my brother year after year only served to pique my excitement it appears).
What I want to write about is Anna's face when she eats candy. Something I want to put down on paper before she grows up and I forget forever. I should really work on taking a photo. I love the fact that candy for her is tantamount to a religious experience. Too many of us grab a chocolate and wolf it down whilst absorbed with something else. When Anna unwraps and eats a candy, time stands still. Her whole face transparent with enjoyment and concentration, radiating happiness. You can practically see her tastebuds firing. I know that very soon she'll grow out of this phase, that candy will be gobbled down like a dog ploughing through it's dinner, but as I steadily inflate with each passing pregnant day, I will try and remember how she savours every second of chocolately goodness, and try to do likewise instead of absent-mindedly inhaling a packet of Trader Joes Peppermint O's whilst cooking dinner.
I also love the fact that nothing, nothing, will get a 3 year old out of bed on a school day faster than reminding her that she gets to open another door on her advent calendar. I know most of you have normal children who rise with the sun, but my child was doomed by her genetics and will happily sleep til 9 (unless it's a Sunday of course, then she's all sunshine and 'look Mummy morning is here').