Many Christmas traditions were celebrated centuries before Christ was born: the 12 days of Christmas, the bright fires, the Yule log, the giving of gifts, carnivals (parades) with floats, carolers going from house to house, and holiday feasts—all can be traced back to the early Mesopotamians. The holiday that has evolved into Christmas is the most cheerful time of the year. We know a good thing when we see it.
A bishop of Rome, Julius I, chose December 25 as the observance date. This was in 350 A.D. No matter what the origins, our current celebrations are good for us. We can all wish each other “Merry Christmas!” with all the good will that goes with it.
Becoming a parent changes everything. Parenting also changes with each baby, as many of us have discovered on our own.
Clothes. First baby: Mom starts wearing maternity clothes as soon as the doctor confirms the pregnancy. Second baby: Mom wears regular clothes as long as possible. Third baby: Maternity clothes ARE the regular clothes.
Preparing for the birth. First: Mom practices the breathing religiously. Second: She doesn’t bother practicing because last time the proper breathing didn’t do a thing. Third: She asks for an epidural in the eighth month.
The layette. First: All the newborn’s clothes are color-coordinated and folded neatly. Second: Parents check to make sure the clothes are clean and discard the ones with the darkest stains. Third: Boys can wear pink, can’t they?
Worries. First: At the first sign of distress—a whimper, a frown—the parents pick up the baby. Second: They pick the baby up when her wails threaten to wake the firstborn. Third: They teach their three-year-old how to rewind the mechanical swing.
Pacifier. First: If the pacifier falls on the floor, the parents put it away until they can go home and boil it. Second: When the pacifier falls on the floor, they squirt it off with some juice from the baby’s bottle. Third: They wipe it off on a sleeve and pop it back in.
Diapering. First: Parents change the baby’s diapers every hour whether they need it or not. Second: They change the diaper every two to three hours, only if needed. Third: Parents try to change diapers before others start to complain about the smell.
Activities. First: Parents take their infant to Baby Gymnastics, BabySwing, and Baby Story Hour. Second: They take him to Baby Gymnastics. Third: They take the baby to the supermarket and the bank.
At home. First: Parents spend a good bit of every day just gazing at the baby. Second: They spend a bit of every day watching to be sure the older child isn’t squeezing or poking the baby. Third: They spend a little bit of every day hiding from the children.
1. Have a wonderful Christmas, one and all!
2. Santa’s helpers are subordinate clauses.