The Night Before Christmas
With commentary

Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.

The creatures in this house are much bigger than a mouse. Hannah will be 3 in March and Elizabeth and Shannon are now 16 months old.

Hannah has been looking for him since July.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads.
And Mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

We know that the twins only sleep as a way of re-energizing, and the only dreams they have are pre planning for the things they are going to climb on, take apart, or chew on the next day.

For us, sleep took place in February. We needed to get away and jumped onto a ship to cruise the Caribbean. We slept through the first three days and missed two ports altogether. The remaining four days were spent snorkeling, shopping, laying in the sun, and eating five meals a day.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

We have numerous occasions to spring out of bed in the middle of the night, trips to the bathroom, popping Shannon back into bed after she tried to follow Hannah to the bathroom, making Elizabeth give Shannon the blankets, books, dolls etc. that Shannon slid across the bookcase to Elizabeth in the first place.
The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow
Gave the luster of midday to objects below.
When what to my wonder eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick
I knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick

“Darn it! Hannah, I know it’s light outside but it isn’t time to get up.”
He has his own transportation, works only one night a year, and he’s a saint. I wonder what he charges to babysit?

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
“Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet! On Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away, dash away, dash away all!”

No Shannon, we don’t stand on Elizabeth, now let her go.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When the meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the housetop the coursers the flew,
With a sleigh full of toys and Saint Nicholas, too.

That hurricane hits our living room daily. Feel free to visit before 9 a.m. or be prepare to negotiate a treacherous path through Alphabet blocks, baby dolls, cars, the bumbble ball…

And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
Down the chimney Saint Nicholas came with a bound.

Thank goodness! We were afraid it might have been Shannon up there.

He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

No problem, Julie can get out any stain with Mary Ellen’s Baby Stain Formula!
Or, like us with our steamer-trunk-like diaper bag.

His eyes, how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.

We’re surprised Santa still visits house with two year olds. “Why is that ? Why do you have a beard? Why is it white? Are you going to cut it off? My daddy cuts his fuzzies off! Can I help you? Can I go up the Chimney? Why not? Why do I want a stroller?…

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.

Hannah wore a floral wreath on Halloween on her head and she was not cute or pretty, she was “Beautiful”
Yes Elizabeth, that’s his tummy, and his eyes, and his nose, and no, little girls don’t need to smoke pipes, give it back to Santa please.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word but went right to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk,

Now in Saint Paul, we might dread a strange man in the house, but here in Marshall, it’s probably just the Schwan’s man delivering ice cream.

And laying a finger aside of his nose
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

Yes, Lizzie, nose.

Have you seen Shannon? Go catch Santa!

But I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight:
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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