Back when my wife and I had a cat (never again, thanks to my son!), installing the yearly Christmas tree could be quite problematic. There are a lot of ways a cat can wreak havoc on a tree, and a lot of ways a tree might kill a cat – all of which would be the cat’s fault, but still.
With Rilo running around, we had to take a lot of precautions. If there were ornaments we were particularly sentimental about, we had to make sure they were placed high enough on the tree to be out of the cat’s reach. If we didn’t want the tree to die prematurely, we had to water it regularly, and if wanted to make sure the tree stayed watered – while also avoiding giving our vet an unexpectedly hefty Christmas gift – we had to make sure Rilo did not drink said water.
We don’t have a cat anymore; we traded up for a son. And yet, the same exact rules apply. Though it would be kinda messed up if we took our son to the vet.
When you live in an apartment in Brooklyn, you don’t have too many options for tree placement. There are no “special” rooms that are reserved for holiday celebrations and important dinners and gift openings. There are three rooms and one of them has a bed in it and another has a toilet in it. So unless you want to sleep with your tree (not judging), or shower with your tree (kinda judging), you are forced to watch TV with your tree, provided you can see around it.
Which means the tree is always there, in your face, totally accessible to anyone you invite in, including your curious little human who’s still getting his sea legs and likes to grab things to steady himself. And who doesn’t realize that it might not feel great when the tree he’s tugging on subsequently falls on top of him. Or that the pine pine needles he put in his mouth might feel even worse when they check out.
And he certainly doesn’t realize that the occasion of a large, decorated tree in the living room is not an invitation to play live action Rampage, tearing decorations down, smashing ornaments into the ground, gnawing on branches, eating the guy on the toilet. That’s not what Christmas is all about, kiddo.
So, in order to protect the tree from the “human wrecking ball” that is my son at this age, our tree is a bit lopsided, with the majority of ornaments and lights at the top and the bottom branches empty of potential hazards. Of course, this doesn’t solve the gift problem, as we can’t exactly tie them to the higher branches.
A Christmas tree just isn’t the same without gifts beneath it, so there they’ll sit…and when the kid’s compulsion to destroy everything inevitably targets those brightly wrapped presents, he will ruin Christmas for the entire family and send us all into a deep depression just in time for New Year’s. Just like every holiday season! But at least he won’t be able to fit the gifts into his mouth.
Except for the bananas I wrapped. Kid loves bananas!