First, Carter and I headed to Wal-Mart, to try to pick up some Christmas decorations for the house. While there, we spent a lot of time talking about Santa. I think she is really starting to understand the concept, and is getting excited about Christmas. She's been telling me about how Santa Claus will come down the chimney and eat cookies, and then there will be presents under the tree in the morning. I'm not sure she's figured out that it is Santa who will leave the presents, but I've been trying to explain to her how the two events are connected.
After we left Wal-Mart, we hopped back in the van to drive to Plaistow. On the way, Carter wanted to sing songs with me the whole way. Sean hates it when we try to sing in the car, so Carter was excited to finally get her chance. She only knows a line or two each of about 12 different songs, so mostly it was me singing by myself (with her mumbling and dancing along) - which I'm sure looked strange to other motorists, who couldn't see her carseat and therefore must have assumed I was alone. Although her favorite song is the one she made up herself. It goes like this: *cupcake, la la la, cupcake, la la la*. So cute.
Once we hit Plaistow, we headed to Friendly's for lunch. Carter insisted that we run from the van to the entrance, just for the sheer joy of running (we did the same when we were leaving). When we got inside, she looked over the menu thoroughly, and decided she wanted a cheeseburger. Normally, Lori and I call cheeseburgers "Crabby Patties" (from Spongebob Squarepants) in order to get them to eat them. But Carter told me she was a big girl now, and wanted a cheeseburger. She apparently believes that she has outgrown my ruse. *Sigh*, they grow up so fast.
When the food came, she immediately noticed something unexpected on her plate - a trio of pickle slices. Before this moment, I'm not sure if she'd ever seen a pickle, much less had one served to her. She poked it, prodded it, and said "Daddy, what's that?". I told her, and reassured her that it was in fact food. She then proceeded to lick each of the pickles in rotation, until they had all received at least 3 licks apiece. At which point she decided they were not to her liking (although why that took nine pickle-licks, I'll never know), and gave them no further attention.
And then, the climax of our meal - ice cream time. Our waitress brought us a tall strawberry shortcake sundae, and two spoons with handles nearly a foot long. Now mind you, while seated Carter's eyes only came about halfway up this glass. So she was reaching up above her head, with a very long, unwieldy spoon, and digging around in a glass she couldn't see into. So by the completion of dessert she was strawberried from fingertips to elbow. But damn, was she happy.
By the time we got home, we were both pretty beat from our long day out. She requested an episode of Dora the Explorer, and I obliged. I lay down on the couch, face up, and figured I would take a quick "break" while she watched her show. Within seconds, she climbed up onto me, and lay down on my chest. She and I used to do this when she was an infant, and I loved it, but once she hit about three months old she wouldn't do it anymore. But this day she stayed that way with me until Mommy came home, and the garage door opener woke us both up.
It was probably about the best day I have had with Carter in my entire life. It's good to be a daddy.