We have the greatest nativity for children. It is a Fischer Price Little People set and the children play year round with the figures. We had a late start to decorating this year. Three days ago after the ten millionth, “When are we going to decorate?” I promised as soon as the kids picked up their rooms we would begin decorating. In order to make room for the tree, all of the Little People were packed into a trunk and put in the boys’ room till after Christmas. When everything was tidy (I use that word lightly), Lucas and I went through the trunk and removed all the Nativity items. To my annoyance an angel and baby Jesus were missing.
We began our search for baby Jesus and soon all children were involved in our quest. We checked Church bags, couch cushions, the shoe bin, purses, the baby’s toy box, behind books on the shelves, in the doll house, in the play kitchen and Jesus was no where to be found. Before I go on, in my defense I must mention we have all been sick with a virus and I have not been getting much sleep. Now fully frustrated and the sun having already set I announce to very sad children that we can not celebrate and decorate without baby Jesus. Until baby Jesus was found we were not taking anything out.
Early the next morning, I was greeted by decorating nag ten million and one. I crawled out of bed assigned locations to each child and the search began again. By lunch time I was starting to lose hair and the younger children lost interest and began to mess up our once “tidy” home. We had to end our search to take the younger children to the doctor and by the time we dropped of dad thirty minutes away at work, went to our appointment an hour and twenty minutes in the opposite direction, purchased antibiotics with a long wait time, feed the kids dinner at Aunt Susie’s (conveniently located between our home and the doctor), picked up dad and returned home it was almost midnight.
One would think the search was over, at least till the next day, but no I was obsessed. I needed Jesus to find rest. I decided to check the boy’s room myself. It was not a pretty sight. For sometime now my boys have been shoving and stuffing instead of cleaning. I discovered my eldest son is a serious pack rat. Clothing was in toy bins and desk drawers. The dresser housed everything but clothing. Under pillows even more knickknacks were stashed. I decided to dump their stuffed animal bin (the easiest thing to clean out in the closet) There on the bottom was the missing angel. I replaced the stuffed animals and put the other items found where they belonged. This one bucket took thirty minutes to sort. Convinced baby Jesus must be somewhere stuffed in the wrong place and determined the boys must clean out everything themselves. I crawled into bed and thinking of all the possible places we might have overlooked fell asleep. Well before the sun came up I awoke to children screaming. “Mom found the angel”! “I bet she is hiding baby Jesus until Christmas”. “Yahoo, we can decorate now!” Please remember I am not always a monster, but I had no sleep and the sun was not yet shining. I roared from bed, “Baby Jesus has not been found”! One brave soul quietly asked from the other room, “Can we decorate anyway?”
Remembering that this was after all baby Jesus we were looking for, children were given breakfast before I started dumping drawers for kids to sort and clean. The younger girls helped with laundry and keeping Joanna entertained (build forts with the piles of clean clothes mom already folded so Joanna can crawl over them and “attack” you) while Amelia and I went thru all of the girls’ drawers and toy bins. The boys complained, procrastinated, tried blaming each other; but eight hours, six bins, six dresser drawers, one night stand, and seven desk drawers later their room was almost spotless. I say almost spotless because in a moment of rare sanity, realizing I had serious Jesus finding issues, I let Lucas use three desk drawers to put all his papers, scraps of paper and torn magazines in and let the clutter on the dresser top remain until after Christmas”.
Earlier in the day when Amelia and I were searching dad’s office for Jesus we joked around that the house was so messy Jesus was hiding until we cleaned it. The thought lightened the mood in the house and we shared our theory with the other kids.
As Lucas and I finished the last dumped drawer of items most of the other children watched a movie. Sarah joined us in the boys’ room and wanted to “help”. She was not very discriminating about where she was putting stuff so we gave her the task of again searching the little people trunk for baby Jesus. After removing several items she joyfully shouts she found baby Jesus! Lucas jumped up and went to see. Sarah laughed a naughty laugh. Yes, at the innocent age of three by only a few days, my daughter knows how to tease! No baby Jesus.
We were finally down to a shoe box worth of items when Sarah again turned to us and said she found Jesus. Having heard her cry wolf before, we didn’t believe her. I asked her to show me and she said, “It to hard for me I can’t” (translation: “I don’t want to”). Convinced of her dishonesty we shrugged our shoulders and returned to our work. I sighed defeated and told Lucas when he was done we could start to decorate without baby Jesus. As this scene unfolded Amelia walked into the room spotted what Sarah had seen in the trunk and with a joyous triumphant voice shouted, “BABY JESUS”!