I'm not very good at surprises. I just don't care for them. When I buy someone a gift, I want to give it to them right away. Growing up, my sister and I would scout out our Christmas presents, and then ever so carefully unwrap and rewrap them before they made their way under the tree. It took skill, and I feel confident that we perfected the art. Sure, we were never surprised on Christmas morning, but we have lots of memories laughing at the odd assortment of randomness disguised as presents. It prevented us from scowling with dismay at the box of vacuum cleaner attachments that actually turned out to be a shoe tree. But I digress...
We bought Harper a baby piano a couple of months ago. Her friend, Carter, got one for his birthday in August, and it was a hit with the kids at playgroup. I found out where his mom bought it, and I copied her purchase right down to the color. What can I say? She has good taste! It sat in the box in her closet until a week ago. I caved. I rearranged her room after changing her crib to the toddler bed, and the spot for the piano begged to be filled. I was proud of myself for holding out as long as I did! Besides, I felt she would be quickly overwhelmed on Christmas morning as the wrapping paper and bows began flying through the air!
I also wanted a kitchen for Christmas. I mean, Harper wanted a kitchen. She literally runs to the kitchen in her room at MDO as soon as I drop her off. I like to think that she makes breakfast for her friends just like I make breakfast for our family every morning. Since she isn't really into dolls, playing with the kitchen is the first time I've seen her engage in "pretend play." (I don't know if that is the proper term, but you know what I mean!) She stirs the imaginary "juice" in her cup, and she ladles "soup" from the pot to the bowl before she blows on it (because the soup is "haaaaaa" aka hot) and takes a "bite."
Anyhoo, I knew she would love a toddler-size kitchen, and Grammy came through with the goods. It shipped to our house on Friday, and of course, Jeff and I put it together that night. I was honestly planning on waiting until Christmas Eve-eve (since we do Christmas with my family on the 24th), but our excitement won over our good intentions. Lemme tell ya, it will be too soon if we ever have to put one of those together again! Talk about pain in the arse! After the arduous assembly process, we moved the kitchen to the front hallway ensuring Harper would have to walk past it on the way out of her room in the morning. Jeff had the nerve to ask me (at 1:30 am!) if I wanted him to wake up Harper to see it in all its shining glory. Uhhh, no.
I cannot describe to you how elated Harper became at the sight of her kitchen the next morning. You might actually say she was flabbergasted. She walked straight to it and began "cooking." I literally had to pry her away from it to eat breakfast. She played with it from morning until night. I was afraid she would get out of bed in the middle of the night and make herself a midnight snack! ;) For the past three days, the kitchen has been her obsession. Straight out of the bathtub with nary a cloth on her body, she insisted upon cleaning out her fridge, earning herself the moniker "the naked chef." Ever so observant, Jeff watched her and said, "I think she really likes it." Uhhh, yeah.
As soon as she can read, I'm starting her cookbook collection. I received my first cookbook at age four, and I've been in love with cooking ever since. I'll probably never be great at it, but I love trying. And eating. Oh, how I love eating. Can't forget that part!