We got up to my brother's and his wife's about a half-hour ahead of the scheduled 3 pm, and were surprised to get no visible response from knocking on the door. It was possible they were out for something, but ... what? I realized I should have brought my house key rather than my car key, since I didn't drive, but as we were trying to figure how to ring the doorbell (the button itself had broken off but chips of it were still visible) my sister-in-law appeared, and opened the door, which it turned out was not locked. My sister-in-law had been yelling at her husband to answer the door, and he was upstairs not quite getting ready what with his Blackberry demanding attention and all that.
Several trips between the car and the house later we'd moved all the gifts being brought in, in. While we adults are a pretty well-behaved bunch in giving presents to each other --- we usually get two or three apiece for everyone else, which fits economic circumstances and timing quite nicely --- the presence of a new two-year-old brought to us all new inspiration in finding things that might be given. So unwrapping things was going to take longer than usual, and it would take even longer than that because we had forgotten or not understood something important.
This is that at the age of two, while unwrapping things is a lot of fun, playing with the thing just unwrapped is also really very quite keen. She had gotten, from her parents, in the morning, a set of mock kitchen utensils, pots and pans and the like, and she was content to spend the whole day stirring her empty little frying pan, or slicing the wood-block, velcroed-together `cucumbers' or `bread' or so on. She kept coming back to that, in fact, whipping up imaginary foods and sometimes giving slices or cupfulls to everyone around her. Our theory was she might be working her way up to spending Christmas volunteering at a homeless shelter, which is rather generous for a two-year-old. It's also possible she just knows her mother spends a lot of time doing this stuff and it looks like a lot of fun when you don't have to wash up anything more than the Dora The Explorer stickers you've set on them.
Trivia: 31 residents of the New Netherlands signed the ``Flushing Remonstrance'' protesting Peter Stuyvesant's attempt to suppress the Quakers whose sermonizing and quaking Stuyvesant judged to be a threat to the colony. All the signers were of English descent, and noted, the laws of the Netherlands called for ``love peace and libertie''. Source: The Island At The Centre Of The World, Russell Shorto.
Currently Reading: Reluctant Rebels: The Story Of The Continental Congress, 1774 - 1789, Lynn Montross.