The day after.
At about 7:15 on Christmas morning, I heard four little feet come bounding down the stairs, letting out squeals of excitement when Santa's stopover was confirmed by the many packages under the tree. The kids headed for their stockings hanging from the mantel, making sure Santa remembered to fill them with candies and other goodies, then quickly returned to the tree to check out the tags on the boxes, trying to sort out whose present were whose. Next came the forethought of waking George and me, who felt as if we had just closed our eyes only moments ago. I could hear them whispering from the other room:
Abby: Ok, first we have to tiptoe into Mom and Dad's room. And then... HEY! LOOK GEORGIE! THIS ONE'S MINE!!! SEE IT HAS MY NAME ON IT, AND IT'S THE BIGGEST ONE!
Georgie: Yeah, Ab. I see... HEY! THIS ONE SAYS NORAH! WOW! I CAN READ THAT, SEE?!
A: Ok, alright. So when we get to their room, you wake Dad... No. Wait. I'll wake Dad, and you wake Mom, Ok?
A: Remember. Tiptoe! And you wake Mommy! Ok?
G: Ok, Ab.
G: O-kay AB!!
(I don't know why she insisted on tiptoeing. Wasn't the point of coming in to wake us?)
After being pounced on repeatedly, I did my best to hold back the wired masses for 30 tortuous minutes, until pulling a groggy Norah out of her crib. And then the ravenous attack on the presents began!
When every last gift was opened and admired, Abby said, "I got everything I wanted in my WHOLE life!" (Whew!)
Georgie was too busy playing with Norah's new toys to care about his shiny new playthings - which worked out well, because...
Norah, the 18 month old baby, kept throwing all of her toys back into the bags. She had no interest in her new puzzles, books, dolls, or other extravagant toys. Instead, she spent the morning clutching her new shirts and dresses. She tried on her new shoes, and admired her new embellished jeans. She ripped open the packs of socks and onsies, and tried on the new clips for her hair. I think Santa may need to rethink (and re-budget) his gifts for next year for this little fashion diva.
Today, I am spending my day collecting shreds of crumpled paper, cursing wire twist ties, and sorting micro-sized pieces and parts from god-knows what toy sets. As I work, I hear my children hard at play - figuring out their new games, breaking in new dolls and action figures, and laughing at each other while garbed in their new dress-up clothes! It is a reward to know that what I have been working for the last few tiresome weeks, has finally paid off tremendously. We should do this again. Maybe this time next year?