Deep into the holiday season, are we. The DVR has gone from about 30% full to nearly 70% of capacity thanks to all the holiday shows we’ve recorded. The pantry is full of the dry ingredients for our annual Christmas cookies, which we’ll make soon. I’m beginning to run out of new places to put Elf on the Shelf each night.
But our holidays got a jolt of newness Saturday when Lia lost her first tooth. I didn’t realize her tooth was even close to coming out, but Saturday she had Suzanne take a look at it, and with a quick yank she had a gap in her bottom row. She was very happy, and wondered aloud how much money the Tooth Fairy would bring her. Which set off an argument when Suzanne said she got $5 for a front tooth and Meghan insisted she didn’t get that much when she lost her front teeth. I honestly couldn’t remember, and didn’t bother to look it up, but I think that’s right. Regardless, Lia got $5.
I’ve always been pretty proud of my Tooth Fairy performance. Each effort has come without incident. The closest call came once with Cait, when I stepped on a Zhou Zhou pet that was lying on the floor and set it off. Luckily neither she nor Lia woke up before I tossed it out into the hallway1. And once I forgot to make the switch until morning. But it was Cait again, and being our deepest sleeper, I had no problem slipping in and making the last-minute switch before I roused her for breakfast.
All this went through my mind Saturday night after I slid the money under Lia’s pillow. So naturally, in the dark of a 7:00 AM December morning, she kept coming into our room and telling us she couldn’t find her loot. When she left the room, Suzanne would whisper to me, “Where’d you put it?” “UNDER HER PILLOW!” I’d whisper back then flip over and hide my head under the pillow, trying to squeeze in a few more minutes of sleep. Fortunately, with some help from the sisters, Lia found it. Apparently it had worked its way from her beneath pillow to the space between her bed frame and her mattress. But there it was, thankfully, and she was ready to go to Target or anywhere, really, where she could spend it.
That wasn’t her only excitement. Her class has been practicing their songs for the school Christmas program for a couple weeks. The Pre-K fills the special role of acting out the first Christmas. Parts were handed out Monday and she nabbed the plum role of Mary. No lines, she just has to dress up and hold a doll. But this is a Catholic preschool, so Mary is about as big a role as you can get!
Her sisters are busy practicing for their programs as well. Meghan’s class is putting on a Christmas mystery of sorts. She has a lot of lines, in the role of Mistletoe the FBI inspector. FBI stands for something festive and funny, but she left her lines at school and I can’t remember what that is. Cait is an angel in the first grade’s living nativity scene next week. She has four lines and gets to help hold the star that guides the wise men.
So pretty heady times for the girls. Drama camp can’t be too far off in the future if they nail these performances.
This was back when they shared a room. ↩
8 - “Diane Young” - Vampire Weekend
Modern Vampires of the City is getting a lot of Album Of The Year run. While I liked it a lot, too, I may be one of the few who liked their last album, Contra, more. It was tough to pick a favorite track from this fine collection. But this song’s frenetic tempo grabbed me the most.
There is a danger in completing your Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving: the kids change their minds. Lia made a brand-new Christmas list yesterday. Luckily one thing on it is up in the attic, so she won’t be totally disappointed.
I know many of you saw this last week, but it was absolutely worth making sure no one missed it. Enjoy Deadspin’s Drew Magary ripping apart his seven-year-old daughter’s Christmas list. Long-time friend of the blog Stacey B. said it looked like something I would do. I am both honored with the comparison and upset I didn’t do it first. But my girls aren’t nearly as ridiculous as his daughter is.
“1,000 bucks.” This is Christmas, not an Italian wedding. Uncle Vito isn’t gonna slip you an envelope in between stints at the raw bar. We put thought into our gifts here. You want cash? Clear the spiders out of the attic. I’ll give you three bucks for it. A thousand dollars. Jesus Christ. I’m sorry, but you cannot have this.
9 - “I Don’t Know How” - Best Coast
As I wrote when I first shared the video for this song last month, singer Bethany Cosentino drives some critics nuts with her repetitive lyrics. But I love her.
And I love how this song begins as a droning, (indie rock) torch song and then gains (false?) confidence through the middle third. And that final third? Oh man, that’s pure greatness. “You see me everywhere, you walk around without a care,” is a wonderful, devastating lyric, and when contrasted with the jubilant, almost defiant music, it’s a brilliant combination.
The critics can suck it.
Here we go. The top 10, one per day for the next two weeks. Enjoy.
10 - “Amsterdam” - Gregory Alan Isakov.
Most gorgeous song of the year. That final verse, “Oh churches and trains…” Mercy! You can have your Mumford and Sons. I’ll take Isakov for beautiful, warm, country-tinged neo-folk.