19 December 2018

It's Christmastime in the City

I've officially given birth to someone who gets as excited about Christmas as I do. When I was decorating the tree, I put Ezra underneathe (to watch) and he immediately started hyperventilating. I took some photos to try to capture the looks on his face--this kid doesn't even know what normal food tastes like yet, but he already knows Christmas is the bomb-diggity. Clearly, he is my son. 

Christmas isn't the only holiday this season in our family. Jon's birthday is at the beginning of December, so we decided to spend it in London. First stop on the list was to get Ezra's Christmas present. I've been thinking about this little piggy bank for months now and it finally belongs to us.

We've been talking for years about the holiday traditions we'll start when we have kids, and now the time has finally arrived. Tradition one is at the National Gallery. We spent an afternoon wandering around and looking at all the nativity and Christmas-related paintings and discussed them with the little nugget. I'm not sure he got a lot out of it, but he pretended to pay attention so he gets points for acting.

This one isn't really a Christmas painting, but Ezra is ALMOST channelling the Madonna painting behind him. I think he must be a prodigy or something. 

Last painting on the tour is The Charity of Saint Nicholas by Girolamo Macchietti. It is a painting of the real St. Nick throwing a golden ball (in the real legend it was a purse of money) into the house of an impoverished nobleman. St. Nicholas did this to save the girls from prostitution and provide them with dowries so they could be properly married. 

Ezra obviously got the G-rated version of that story and his own golden ball (a cadbury chocolate orange, which his parents ate on his behalf) and a little mini-discussion about Santa. Jon and I are planning on doing Santa a bit differently. We are treating Santa as a pretend game, where the kids know upfront it is all just for fun. We separately came to the conclusion that we felt weird about lying to our kids about it, but we both loved believing in Santa and definitely believed in him waaay longer than is really socially appropriate.

Coincidentally, we ran into an old friend of Jon's who took a similar approach with her children (who are old enough to know already). Their knowing the truth never dampened the magic--they even still they put out cookies for "Santa" and get excited about the hoofprints in the snow. Even though I think it is a decision that is really personal for everyone's own family, to me this seems like the best of both worlds :)

We also went to Winter Wonderland, as is our annual tradition. This year we got to cruise through by going in the 'family entrance.' When it started raining we left early out one of the main entrances and there was at least a half hour wait to get in (IN THE RAIN! bleh.) 

Finally, we began our third tradition, which is to go to the Natural History Museum to see the dinosaur bones. 

Ezra decided to pretend to be a fossil the whole time, so he didn't get much out of it. But Jon sure did... I got a front row seat to watch him revert into an eight-year-old-aspiring-paleontologist. He could identify every single skeleton without even looking at the nameplate, which is pretty mind-boggling given that it has to be almost 30 years since he even opened a book about dinosaurs.  In spite of myself, I was impressed. Can't wait til Jon's little sidekick is old enough to appreciate and enjoy this one. 

Also, I found dodo birds. Real ones. 

Christmas time is a billion times better with a baby. Which, because I'm a photographer, means way too many photos of Ezra in Christmas-themed costumes. Stay tuned... :)

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