Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wide World of Wreaths

Occasionally I find myself talking to someone about Disney World, mostly in the context of "When do you think you'll be taking your little guy there?"  I always say, if we do our mind-control/parenting right, Kyle won't realize that Disney World is an actual place, and not a fantasy conjured up by his friends, until he's at least seventeen years old.  Besides, who needs Disney World when your child is just as happy going to the Wide World of Wreaths, a free adventure located at the bottom floor of our building.

Each year at Christmastime, our landlady has put a wreath on the gate near the front door, and another one next to her apartment, which is behind the stairwell on the first floor.  Kyle saw them plenty during his first two Christmases, but he didn't appreciate them, as he was too busy eating his fingers.  But this time, he immediately noticed them.  From the moment they went up shortly after Thanksgiving, and he's been infatuated.  In early December, our landlady put up even more wreaths, upping the total number wreaths on the first floor to six, not including the three wreaths she has in her windows facing the street in front of our building.  We thought she was doing this because she heard how excited Kyle was about the wreaths, but when I mentioned that to her, she rambled on and on about how she never hears anything outside her door because her TV is usually on and the people living in the apartment above her (whom she complains about often) apparently have adopted a couple dozen elephants that stomp the floor while playing musical instruments loudly and out-of-tune, making it impossible for her to hear Kyle.  She said she put up the extra wreaths just because she found them somewhere, either at a discount store or on somebody else's door.  Well, this supports my long-held theory that my landlady is simply crazy... about wreaths.  In addition to all those wreaths she put up, there was the wreath on our door and the wreath on the door to the second-floor apartment, so throughout the Christmas season Kyle was in a wreath paradise.

And, wow, did he go nutty over those wreaths.  Several times a day - I kid you not - the little guy would run up to me or Jennifer and say, "Go downstaihs and wook at weafs!"  He'd then extend his arms out for one of us to pick him up and head downstairs just to look at the decorations.  Once downstairs, Kyle would point to each one and say "weaf right dere" or "weaf ovah dere," in case we didn't know where they were (yes, my son has a slight Boston accent.  He makes me proud).  He'd point out which one is shiny and which one has red bows.  He'd also tell me about the other Christmas decorations, such as the couple of carollers by the landlady's door, a small festive sled hung from a gate door, and the posted rules and regulations regarding trash and recycling pickup.  After pointing everything out about a half-dozen times, Kyle would then say "Goodbye weafs!" and we'd go upstairs, where he would immediately talk about how much fun he had looking at the wreaths, as if he just came back from riding a roller coaster or the merry-go-round.

Kyle also enjoys telling me where the wreaths are whenever we go outside.  From the stroller, he will point out even the smallest of wreaths he spies on people's homes.  Then when Christmas hit our church, the grounds crew made the mistake of putting wreaths all over the place.  Many times this past month, as parishioners sat quietly to listen to a message of peace, joy, and harmony, as revealed through the birth of Jesus, Kyle was pointing around the church and shouting, "WEAF OVAH DERE!  WEAF OVAH DERE!"

But now the Christmas season is over, and the wreaths are all gone, with the final ones disappearing today.  For the past week or so, I had wrestled with how to prepare Kyle for this moment.  At least he had a little time to adjust.  The people on the second floor removed their wreath shortly after Christmas, and we took ours down on Sunday.  Our landlady was the last holdout, and I kept wondering what would happen when Kyle asks to go downstairs to look at wreaths, and nothing's there.  What would I say to him then?  Will saying that our landlady's putting them in storage suffice?  Or do I need to make something up?  Maybe I should tell him that the wreaths accompanied our beloved Christmas tree, and were taken from our street curb by angels who magically whisked them to a faraway land, where they were guided softly towards a happier, heavenly place called Mulchland, through a loud machine with sharp knives that ripped them to shreds before spitting them out.  Right now, Kyle seems to have accepted the truth that the wreaths went into storage, so I think I will stick with that story.

Kyle did not react much today when he first noticed that the Wide World of Wreaths had vacated the building.  Once we reached the bottom of the stairs, he craned his neck around me to look for the wreath that had been next to our landlady's door.  When he noticed it was gone, he silently looked in the spots where the other wreaths had been.  Then, having assessed the situation, Kyle muttered just one word: "outside."  So, we went out.  And that was that.

Personally, I am sad to see the wreaths go, and not just because Christmas season is over.  No, I certainly had enough Christmas cheer this time around (see previous post).  What I will miss is the field trip downstairs on a particularly cold day, when I didn't feel like bundling up or fighting to get Kyle bundled up.  Even though we didn't leave the building, at least we left the apartment, and that always helped with my sanity.  But now there is nothing downstairs for Kyle to be excited about, unless he takes notice of the first floor's abundance of scuff marks or the big orange "NO SMOKING" sign by the front door.  Otherwise, it's going to be another long winter.

No comments: