Yesterday afternoon Madeleine decided that we couldn't wait around any longer for Jeremy to find time to set up our fake Christmas tree (we always have a fake one and a real one) and suggested we tackle the job. And so we organized ourselves into a well oiled machine of complete chaos. Kate decided to be in charge of turning on all our favorite Christmas songs full blast and digging through the box of ornaments and dropping them all over the house until our floor resembled a Home Alone-esque booby trap. Elisabeth decided to be in charge of pulling baby James out of his swing every ten minutes and "bringing him" to me. I decided to be the one officially in charge of setting up the tree and assigned Madeleine to be my assistant. Madeleine strongly felt it should be the other way around.
The first real set back occurred when we managed to crack the base of the Christmas tree. I can fix it with duck tape, Madeleine insisted, and like any good mother I handed over the duck tape and went to rescue James (again) from a traumatic brain injury at the hands of Elisabeth. Madeleine worked on hands and knees underneath the tree for a good twenty minutes before declaring it sea worthy. It slumped slightly to the left, but not too shabby for an eight year old, and so we continued, full speed ahead.
When we finally stepped back to admire the glowing lights and brightly colored ornaments that festooned the tree I couldn't have been more proud. I'm not usually a "find the parts and fit them together into a whole" type of girl and Jeremy has always put the tree together, so it felt like a significant accomplishment...right up until the moment the tree fell over. I heard a crash in the living room and then Madeleine started screaming. I ran in to find the tree on its side and ornaments spewed all over the floor. Within minutes all three girls were sobbing and I couldn't stop laughing. It became even funnier when Jeremy walked through the door and saw our broken, pitiful tree lying prostrate on the floor.
Don't worry, I soothed the girls. On Friday we're driving into the mountains to cut down our real tree. And this time we'll let dad be in charge of setting it up.