After two weeks with my parents over the Toussaint holiday and three weeks with Michael’s parents that included Thanksgiving, we braced ourselves for being without family and long-time friends for Christmas. Montessori Kids started us off well with a lovely holiday fête, including an array of delicious food and a chorale of children singing holiday songs. After a solstice birthday where Jack got to have the food (steak) and movie (Madagascar 2) of his choice, we organized outings and playdates during the Christmas week. We also had a few lovely shopping excursions at the very civilized Bon Marché where we bought presents for American family members. Jack and Daphne wrote to Père Noel in French, asking for Gormiti and Ecole des Gourmets respectively. Instead of buying new stockings, I gave them each a “kitty-themed” hanging pouch that could double later as toy storage (which we desperately need). For Christmas Eve dinner, we had a wonderful goose and an array of new macarons (flavor: buerre salé, hmmm) cooked by Michael and Daphne. When I casually noted that this was the first that the kids had ever had goose, Jack protested, “No, Mommy. We’ve had goose from our traiteur at school,” reminding us that, while the parents nibble on leftovers at home, the kids are having long multi-course French lunches that include all varieties of meat, fish, and fowl.
Happily, Père Noel came through for both kids, as did their parents and grandparents with an array of Gormit, Lego, and Pet Shop toys. And somewhat hearteningly, the kids were equally captivated by the less “branded” items, especially a little loom from Grandma Jackie on which Daphne has since crafted three potholders. For the Christmas meal, we were invited to join Isa and Pia Myrvold (and Isa’s grandma) for a delicious Norwegian repast, including gorgeous anchovies, smoked salmon, salted lamb, and carmel-colored sweetened goat cheese. Another food “gate” opened for Jack with the anchovies; he took as much satisfaction in his ability to bone them as he did in his ability to eat them. I organized a theatre day for the Feher-Bay family (some of them–Amanda, Laszlo, and Milena) and for the Myrvold family on the day after Christmas where we saw an enticing production of Contes d’Hiver. True to its advertisement as enfants-theatre for grown-ups, the equipe of actors was very strong and often hilarious. The stage images–along with the grand balconies of the theatre building itself–were exquisite as well.