Boy! Look here. As they say in these islands. My arms–or more correctly, my left forearm–is sore from carrying around a romping 17 pound baby boy. I wont refer to him by his less-than-flattering nickname, but he’s a round bundle, whose idea of fun is to trick you into thinking he’s off to sleep and then hollering for a good walk around. Cue the in-law, visiting from abroad. Today, the household has been as modern as it can be. Nary a sign of any of the younger mothers or women folk, and the children are running around, and reading, and playing, and eating, and my mother-in-law and I happen to be around and not that intimidated by any of that. Doing what needs to be done. The bigger kids (four 6-8 year olds) have not ripped each other apart. The even older kids have been scarce: I know that some of them have been co-opted into producing baked goods for the holidays.
The little children have eaten two meals–breakfast (waffles and strawberries for some, grits and corned beef for others), and lunch (hot dogs for some, peanut butter sandwiches for others). They’ve been watered, literally: juice is not a first option when water is available. The baby has been passed around to anyone who could carry him to try to settle him and get him fed. Somehow, he’s decided that I have the arms that soothe. So, I sing and whistle and walk him around. He’s decided that sleep is something that should last for no more than 15 minutes. He needs to re-read the script. My copy says that sleep should last at least 15 minutes.
In between, my mind has wandered all over the place and I have wondered why no really good modern version of the Twelve Days of Christmas has taken hold. Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, has penned a version, but it is not well-known. But, just for fun, what could a modern version really include, so that it had relevance? How many people have any idea what is a partridge? In keeping with the spirit of giving and receiving extraordinary things, put some thought into what should be hauled over hill and valley, and through hail and hurricane to make your true love happy. Back in the day of the original version, no one seemed too concerned about how you would procure things like 10 leaping lords. Pipers, dancers, geese, calling birds, French hens, turtle doves, and gold rings were at least possible to see and corral, and they are not that difficult to find nowadays.
The hardest part may well be deciding what that first gift should be. A partridge in a pear tree takes the wind out of most people who are a bit gruff about gifts. But, what would it have to be to leave the true love totally speechless, at least until the second day’s gifts appeared? I’m not going to make myself a hostage to fortune by doing the whole 12 days. I’m even wary of suggesting the first gift. Maybe those reading will chime in and get me off the hook. I will do the modern thing and search online for ‘gifts for 12 days of Christmas’.