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What I learned over Christmas break

January 11, 2010 - Betsy Bethel
Important lessons I learned this holiday season:

HOUSECLEANING — Having the cousins over to play hide-and-seek is a great way to wipe out whole colonies of dust bunnies under the beds. Note to self: Invite them over BEFORE the holidays next year.

— I can keep one room in the house clean at a time. Once I get that room clean, I can't tear myself away from admiring how great it looks and basking in my sense of accomplishment, so nothing else gets done!

— Preschoolers make enthusiastic little cleaners. I guess it makes up for all the messes they make. Not really. But I still love to hand Emma a wet towel and let her have at the hallway floor!

KIDS' ACTIVITIES — Children of all ages love scavenger hunts. It's easy to make up lists and send the kids on their way around the house or yard. Pair pre-readers with older kids, or draw pictures of the items. Be sure the items are actually available, and that you have prizes ready! Note: Make the list long — the longer the list, the more time you have to yourself!

— Using body parts as sled brakes can land you in the emergency room. It's better to bail than try to stop yourself against a tree (thank goodness we learned this from a friend, not personally).

— Speaking of sledding, never choose a sledding hill that bottoms out at a concrete wall. Building a snow buffer in front of the wall only serves to create a snow ramp over the wall. (We found this one out personally. Don't worry, Emma's fine. I, however, as the spectator, need my heart checked; and my husband needs his head checked.)

— Mommies should NEVER be spectators during sled riding adventures betwixt children and their fathers.

— Give a preschooler expensive electronics, and she is distracted for an hour. Give him a cardboard box, balloons and paper airplanes, and you won't see him for days!

NOTE TO SANTA — When a child asks for a plain old toy, such as an acoustic guitar, don't get her the souped-up version. Emma's new electronic guitar from Santa has been played exactly once in the past two weeks — by the dog's tail. The foot-long, strummable ukelele she got from her big brother's girlfriend, however, has garnered itself a spot on Emma's pillow at night.

SELF-DISCOVERY — Whiling away the afternoon listening to a relative with whom you have nothing in common is strangely therapeutic. Note to self: Visit that guy over more often!

— Mulling spices are more than just an apple cider additive. Mulled red wine is my new holiday beverage of choice, followed closely by a Tall, Dark and Handsome Russian (my name for a drink introduced to me by a co-worker: hot chocolate with Kahlua).

— The good news: When you don't work yourself into a tizzy preparing for the holidays, you don't end up sick as a dog. The bad news: When you don't get sick over the holidays, you don't lose that 5 pounds that gives you a jump on your New Year's resolution!


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