"I just ran into Frau X, your classmate's mother," I start to tell my eldest.
"Did it hurt?"
"Where's your Christmas spirit?" I ask.
"In that piece of cake you wouldn't let me eat."
"Well, you asked me to be strict about your diet. So I'm being strict."
He grins. At home he'll request, and receive, a quesadilla. His brother is bored and tired and says so. We are on our way home from the Christmas concert at their school, where they sang carols in Chinese and the eldest played clarinet with the orchestra. There's a full moon, a few clouds drifting past it, and the tram is very, very delayed, so we take a different tram and walk a little more and now everybody's home, safe and sound, and a good time was had by all. I remembered to give the music teachers and the cleaning lady and the soccer coaches little bags of Christmas goodies, and there's a big plastic bag of refrigerator-cookie dough just waiting to be rolled out, baked, and decorated. Christmas cards are done . . . they need only be inscribed and mailed . . . . and as for the presents, they'll wrap themselves.