We finally caved and decided to buy baby gates, which meant an excursion to what I imagine Dante would consider the 11th circle of hell, Babies R Us on the Saturday night before Christmas. I'd sworn up and down that I would never step foot there, but, alas, we knew they would have the largest selection of baby gates, and the ones from Target just didn't cut it, and it's an awkward item to order online. There we were, without Baby Z, whom we'd left at MoBob's friend's house (they had a baby girl in November and the Mother-in-Law was there so he was in fine company). Faithful readers will recall that I had a lengthy wishlist for pre-Zacky Bassou, and we lucked out on gifts, hand-me-downs, and second-hand items. I was a little perturbed that the nursery furniture department had a financing desk just like in a car dealership. I also felt for the young pregnant lady who anxiously consulted a long spreadsheet.
Such a contrast to where I bought Baby Z's presents yesterday. MB had ordered a subscription to Highlights magazine (there's a version for the 0-2 set) but asked that I get something that Baby Z can actually open on Christmas Day. After consulting the DC Tots website I decided to check out The Fairy Godmother in Eastern Market. I don't know how I missed this place, as it's next door to the children's consignment shop and in the same street as my favorite branch of Le Pain Quotidien. It's a tiny shop packed with books and toys. I definitely was not the only adult gasping in recognition at a childhood memory; mine was a set of wooden blocks, for the woman behind me it was an Amelia Bedelia book (which I also read). I bought a single maraca and a teething toy from Belgium. And a copy of 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up "for reference."
I realized that we hadn't attended *any* sort of holiday event, so on Sunday I left Baby Z with MB to watch the Sunday talk shows and attended a concert and community caroling at the National Gallery of Art. The rotunda was full of people so I listened in a gallery full of Manets behind the main stage.