There are several people I probably should have sent Christmas cards to, but lost their address. Others out there, I never had an address for, and a few of you might still get a card. However, in the meantime, here is Justin's 2011 Christmas masterpiece.
In keeping with ancient custom, kept since time out of mind, we have taken keyboard to hand to write only now that it is too late to mail our letter before Christmas. Herewith the desired statistics:
The 5 month old. Greeted with customary cacophony on July 18. Suitably fat, unsuitably gluttonous: eats, rather than sleeps, through the night. Appreciates kindly ministrations of the two oldest endures with stoical resignation the somewhat less kindly ministrations of his two immediately older siblings.
The 2 year old (aka Cindy Lou Who). Mastered several skills this year, including double-handed thumb-sucking and, more impressively, the simultaneous one-handed thumb-sucking nose-pick. Agile and verbal, to our constant sorrow. Has mastered, with the assistance of elder siblings, a fine repertoire of insults, taunts, and invitations to brawl. Loves shoes more than life itself.
The 4 year old. Began the year by undergoing a “minor urological procedure,” regarding which he expressed his understanding, or perhaps hope, thus: “It will make my _____ bigger.” He quickly recovered from the surgery (and disappointment at the absence of the hoped for result) and resumed his usual posture of cheerful aggression toward his siblings, his parents, and pretty much the whole world. He returned to hospital in the spring, having smashed his thumb in the door (he endured the stitches with occasional manly grunts and scowls), and again in the summer, having inserted a perfectly sized Lego piece up his nose. His older brother is happy to report that the Lego was recovered safely.
The 6 year old. She announced to us early this year — by an illustrated manuscript slipped under our bedroom door: “I’m mad and bored.” We feared it was an ultimatum of some sort, but she made no demands. She seemed, rather, to think it important to express this painful emotional state in the sort of simple, robust prose that is so refreshing in this Post-Post-Modern age. Her older brother, thinking this emotional state of hers was more or less perpetual, helpfully suggested she should adopt it as her motto — he thought it could be translated sum fura et taedio afficitur — and incorporate it in a coat of arms. She remains our most reliable informant on household affairs, so reliable, in fact, we have considered paying her to report less frequently. When not mad and bored, she loves to read and draw.
The 8 year old. She blossoms. Her sense of high fashion, like the six year old’s sense of high dudgeon, rarely goes awry. Has a fine sense of drama, as we discovered once again when she sprained an ankle last month; the performance was worthy of a double amputation, at least. Living in an almost nineteenth century house, she decided this winter to acquire a nineteenth century disease: chilblanes. (The doctor had heard about if from reading Anne of Green Gables, as opposed to medical school.) Even Viking warrior-goddesses must wear socks, it turns out.
The 11 year old. Has almost broken the five-foot mark and is fast losing his baby cheeks. He, with the oldest girl, studies piano, and is a leading expert in the field of Lego Star Wars Studies, despite the frequent set-backs caused by his younger brother’s destructive tendencies. His great love is serving at the altar, especially in the older form of the Mass, in Latin. He is cheerful, oblivious, and sweet.
Jordana & Jordana. He’s still a lawyer, she’s still a homeschooler. Their motto as parents is: Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station. (The oldest is working on the Latin translation.) We’re each a year older, and we may have posted a net increase in wisdom as of year’s end, but who knows (whatever the indicator of wisdom may be, it is a lagging indicator)? We live, love, sin, repent, rinse, and repeat, and remain grateful for the friends and family of whom we are most unworthy.
Puer natus in Bethlehem, alleluia!