One of the highlights of counting down until Christmas for O. this year has been the Playmobil advent calendar my parents bought him.
Each day has a little window to open, with a different toy inside to add to a woodland scene. Some days it is a tree or a piece of food for an animal, and other days it is a little forest friend.
Favorite discoveries have included the fox family, a couple of raccoons, and a buck, just like the one we had in our woods one morning this December.
Each morning, as soon as he opens his eyes and jumps out of bed (before he even hits the potty), O. heads right to this table in our upstairs hallway and looks to see if he can figure out which little window to open. The first ten days, he could do it on his own, but since then he's had to come find out from me what numbers to look for.
"Fifteen. One. Five. What do you think it will be today, Mom?"
After showing N. what he found (and reminding her she can't take the pieces downstairs), he arranges each piece just so in the scene. He consults the box it came in to decide where it should go, and then carefully sets it up.
He can't wait until after Christmas, when he'll have the whole scene to play with just as he wants. The anticipation each night has been powerful, but he's been very good about not opening more than one each day.
"When I wake up today, can I open another one on my thing?" he asks in bed each night.
This morning he said, "Only two more days left. I think Santa is in the last one! It's gonna be great!"
Speaking of countdowns, ever since I can remember, my father has been impatiently counting down the years until his retirement. While he is excellent at his job, and has had much success, he has weathered many changes through his years working for the same company.
If you asked him what he wanted for a gift on a particular occasion, he would say "retirement".
This Christmas, he's finally getting that gift he always wanted. Yesterday was his last day of work. On January 1st, he will be officially retired.
Congratulations, Dad. Your freedom and time to relax is much deserved. Here in the Small World, we look forward to spending even more time with you in 2010.