Believe it or not, my favourite Christmas gift this year was NOT the nice watch (although I did get one of those), or the cute socks (thank you, Baby #1), or any of the books I received. I was thoroughly spoiled this year at Christmas....but my favourite gift actually came from someone I have never met.
This is Mike's first year working in a "real" office. Before, he was pretty much always found somewhere in the hospital, and while he had a clinic and his "own" patients.....there wasn't as much of a doctor-patient relationship as there is now. Being at a residency clinic also didn't really lend itself to gift-giving between medical practices - occasionally, there'd be a gift from an attending or something like that, but it definitely wasn't as prominent as it was this year.
I, personally, was completely surprised by the amount of gifts given to Mike and the rest of the office staff. It seemed like every day, he was coming home with another Christmas card, some more baked goodies, or some sort of gift basket - and I know he wasn't the only one! All of the staff were shown an incredible level of appreciation from their patients and other practices in the area....and everyone was quite grateful.
My favourite gift from this Christmas happened to be one of these tokens of appreciation. Just before Christmas, the office was given a beautiful basket of fruit. Loaded with fresh, organic fruit, this basket magically appeared on our kitchen counter one evening....and I fell in love.
Not with the fruit itself, although that was quite delicious, but with the basket.
You see, I have three active little boys. And it seems that most days, "active" really means "hungry." I'm not one for snacking, personally, so having to make these three adorable little boys daily snacks - sometimes three times a day - between meals is kind of a chore that I don't particularly like. Multiple times, I've been known to buy the not-so-great box of granola bars (WHY do we Americans think we need a constant supply of granola bars, anyways??!!?!), just because it is easier, and my part in the granola bar process is merely opening one for the three-year-old munchkin.
This basket has provided me with a solution that I'd never considered in our daily lives: the fruit basket.
Now, I'd seen baskets of fruit in other homes. Sometimes, they were real....but more often than not, they were full of fake, plastic fruit. I guess I'd never thought about the fact that the idea for a fruit basket had to come from somewhere. At some point in time, that plastic fruit basket was probably a basket full of real fruit, enjoyed by the whole family.
I reinstated the basket of fruit in our house, seeing as this basket was the perfect size and shape for just such a job (considering the gift that came with it!). It now sits on our kitchen table, where I keep a supply of organic, washed fruit (ignore the sticker in the picture....I added fruit to it before snapping the picture, because it had been eaten bare already, and forgot to remove the sticker. It's been taken off and washed now, don't worry!). It's within reach of the children, and I've found that this basket serves three very important jobs:
1) It empowers my children to get their own snacks. Now, this is huge for me. As I said before, I'm not a snacker....and I hated having to make snacks for the kids. Now, they can get their own, and they love it.
2) My children are snacking on healthier options. Like I mentioned before, I often fell into the packaged snack trap, mainly because of my lack of enjoyment regarding the making of snacks. Now, they're enjoying many different kinds of fruits throughout the day....and we're no longer eating the processed bars and/or snacks that I had in the pantry.
3) The "Can you peel this?" question is not being asked. This kind of goes along with job #1. The kiddos are empowered to pick and obtain their own snacks, and they have no desire to negate that empowerment with having to ask for my help. What does this mean? No more peeling of apples (they eat the peel!), no more "opening" of bananas (they've figured out how to do it on their own), and no more peeling of oranges (they figured out the spoon trick!) for this Mommy. All of this makes me very, very happy - and is better for them!
So, although it might seem weird, my favourite Christmas gift this year isn't any gift that I actually received...but the basket it came in.
Kind of sounds like a few toddlers we know, huh?