Soooo, casting format, coordination and any sense of, well, 'sense', to the wind, I choose to simply tell the story of a different 'happening' last week - one that most Moms, Dads and kids are 'doing' around now. I make no promises, but it's Americana 2012 and you just might see/meet someone you know. Or not.
This picture has no particular significance save to give you an idea of how we (our family) are and how we 'do' things. So Mia is simply representative of an average day in the lives of any of our 6 grand peeps. Indeed, our neighbors might have wandered into our home back in the day and found her mother or uncle or aunt similarly clad. It's just a 'how-we-roll' thing.
Now one evening last week, one of our daughters decided it was time for the Christmas Elf to crash the commune for his annual 'watching out' duties. He was quite a hit last year with then four year-old E. who dubbed him "Dublin". Eighteen month-old Charlie was not quite as moved by his stay but then that was simply a developmental circumstance.
THIS year, 'Momma' just KNEW he would get into the Dublin thing and big sister would - as is her wont - be certain he got it right. So it was that after baths, the kids dripping off in cuddly robes, Momma made her move, skulking to the top of the stairs - hopefully unnoticed - and calling down in that familiar 'wife-to-hubby-stage-whisper',
"RRRRR!" (He was working in the living room)
M: "When I say, 'R, would you please bring C's milk up?', get Dublin, put him between the outside and screen doors, ring the front doorbell and then just do the milk."
D: (Stage-whispering back/catching M off guard) for, "Where do I go?"
M: (To herself) "Where does he GO? The deep dent in the living room sofa will be as welcoming as ever. Go? What the hell is he talking about. These kids are drying fast."
M: (To D) "What do you mean, R? You're working. Continue."
(In fairness to D, his childhood bears little resemblance to that of our kids.)
D: "I mean do I go outside or hide next to the inside screen door or what?"
M: (in tone of one talking to a person with the IQ of a box of frozen snow peas) "Put the elf in position; ring the doorbell; get the milk. And if ASKED, you're too busy w-o-r-k-i-n-g to answer the door."
D: "So I come back inside after I ring the bell." (Undoubtedly, he had serious concerns re: the "open-close-door" play action as they just had to replace the heating system and he was NOT going to be party to a 'let-it-blow' escapade on this un usually cold night.)
M: "I'm getting the kids into their PJ's. Just wait for me to ask for C's milk and go for it, big guy." (WHY is this such rocket science to him? HE wasn't eighteen months-old when Dublin spent December with us LAST year. Jeez!)
D: (Sits apprehensively on sofa. To himself.) I'm working my ass off on these loan closures to meet a deadline that might pay an overcharging H-VAC thief and SHE'S playing 'elf games'!"
M: "R! Would you bring C's-m-i-l-k up, h-o-n?"
D: "Right." (He charges into the playroom; fetches Dublin and races him to the front door "set change"; races to fridge to get C''s milk; goes outside; rings doorbell; back in, races up the stairs and passes sippy cup off to M; races back down and to safety of his sculpted sofa.)
E: Daddy, some one's at the door!"
M: "R! I'm starting story time with C."
D: "I'm working. Come down and see who's at the door, E!"
E: "Honestly, Momma. Daddy's down there."
M: "E, baby-girl. Daddy's working. You have your robe on. See who's at the door, tell Daddy and then come up for story time."
C: (Grabbing one car and one truck) "I'll go with Emma. I answer door."
M: (Ditching sippy cup; following stomping E and off- balance C) "That's sweet, C."
E: (Opening screen door/seeing elf) "Momma! Daddy! Dublin's here!"
D: "It is Dublin! Let's bring him in out of the cold."
C: (To himself) They're talking to a doll."
M: "C, you remember DUBlin, right?"
D: "Sure won't recognize him frozen. Let's get him in here so you can get a good look at him, C."
E: (Blocking family) "Wait." (to Dublin) "Hi, Dublin! You remember me, E? How did you get here?"
M: "He was . . . de-livered, Honey."
D: "And it was a long, warm trip. I'll bet he wants to come inside."
C: (To himself) They are ALL talking to this doll. I carry my trucks around and they whisper that I do strange things. They are talking to a doll. Sitting between two doors. Not answering."
E: "Daddy, WHO delivered him?"
M: "Daddy's going into the living room, E."
E: "Well I'm going outside to see if I can find out who deli-"
M & D: "No! It's cold outside! You just had your bath." "EVERYBODY is coming inside. Bring Dublin, C." (C struggles to open screen door, NOT drop his vehicles, drag the 'stupid doll' in by a foot and mutter,)
C: "I don't talk to dolls I don't know. And if you stay, keep the heat IN side. Very big with Daddy."
E: "C, I can't tell you how Dublin was delivered to our house - yet. " (Taking C by the hand and starting up the stairs)
M: (To R) "WHY didn't you just snatch him up, bring him into the living room and, after a warm welcome and intros, tell the kids the lovely story of the Christmas Elf/Santa's Helper/watches boys and girls from EVERY where in the house to see wheth-
D: "Key word there is "into". And I asked you where I was supposed to be and what my part was!"
M: "You need a script, now? What - if anything - did your family do when the Christmas Elf arrived?"
(E and C can be heard commiserating in her bedroom. E is being characteristically specific about this cute, tricky little guy who C will notice 'popping' up all over. )
"And HE reports directly back to SANTA all about how good or bad we've been. Now, I've mailed our letters to the North Pole. We're covered with our lists. But this 'good or bad' stuff is VERY important when Santa's packing up on Christmas Eve."
C: "Does this Dublin know the elves that make trucks and will he. . . ."