A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Mary, your baby is 42 pounds. And he’s giggling.

Last night was the Live Nativity at our church. We participate in it as a family every year and it is always the highlight of our holiday season.

In a nutshell, we set up 8 outdoor scenes depicting Mary and Joseph’s journey to the manger and we guide groups of visitors through the scenes, singing Christmas carols and telling the story as we go. All the actors are children and we bring in live animals for most of the scenes. It’s epic, and I don’t use that word lightly.

I wrote about our first experience with it a few years ago. Frankly, I’m surprised we ever went back for more after Mini-Me’s traumatic accident during practice and then the whole donkey poop issue.

But the kids love doing it, so we sign up again every year.

For our first three years, Mini-Me played an angel. It was not a speaking role. All she had to do was look cute and sing. Piece of cake.

Mini-Me and Donkey our first year in the Live Nativity, 2008. She was 6 years old.

We had so much fun, Mini-Me’s big brother Nature Boy decided to join the cast as a shepherd the following year (2009).

Nature Boy (10) as a shepherd and Mini-Me (7) as an angel with animals in the stable, 2009.

The last two years, he has wanted to be a Magi with his BFF. They have an alpaca in their scene. They love the alpaca.

I’m always a shepherd. It’s the only day of the year the neighbors aren’t wondering why I’m outside in my bathrobe with a curtain on my head.

Iris, Nature Boy, and an alpaca butt.

This year, Mini-Me decided she wanted to be THE Virgin Mary in the climactic final scene…

Why yes, that IS a rooster on a leash.

…the super-pregnant Virgin Mary who has just lined a manger with fresh hay so she has a place to put the newborn baby Messiah she’s expecting any minute.

It’s a major speaking role.


I was fine with that. She’s got a dramatic flair, as you know.

But I didn’t realize the exact depth of her storytelling skills until I overheard a conversation she was having with her little brother, Bucket Head.

“Now you hide under my gown and when I give you the signal, you POP out and cry like a newborn baby. Okay?”

“Should I be naked?”


Naturally, I put the kibosh on it when they went to get the ketchup.

“Guys, stick to the script please. Mary doesn’t actually give birth during the show, sorry to disappoint you. Jesus isn’t born until Christmas day,” I scolded (trying not to laugh).

I had visions of Bucket Head’s curly mopped impish face crowning betwixt Mary’s white gown folds reminiscent of Jack Nicholson in The Shining: “Heeeeeeere’s JESUS!”

I was also more than a little nervous about Mini-Me thinking it would be glamorous to be an unwed pregnant teen someday so I made sure to drop a few phrases like “ring of fire” and “incontinence” when she asked me if wearing a pillow is what it feels like to be pregnant.

“Aw Mom. We’re just kidding. But that would be a funny Christmas card for next year, wouldn’t it?” Mini-Me suggested.

(Cue the shock and awe.)

So I got my Christmas miracle early this year: the Live Nativity went off without a single hitch. Everyone had a blast and rocked their parts. And yes, they all stuck to the script. (Just to be on the safe side, we sent Bucket Head to his Nonni’s house for the majority of the show.)

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a goodnight.


© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris. All rights reserved. Support your local perineum.


  1. Julie

    You’ve got awesome kids. I am, as always, jealous of Mini Me’s eyebrows.

    • The Bearded Iris

      No doubt – that girl’s eyebrows are ridiculously perfect. I hope they stay like that and don’t start migrating for the motherland someday like mine.

  2. Liza Martz

    I have to admit the plan for the second coming of Bucket Head had me holding my breath in anticipation. Have a great Christmas! (and I hope Dobbie won!)

    • The Bearded Iris

      Oh – I know. When I rewrite it for the big screen, there will be placenta. Sorry for the uneventful ending! Merry Christmas, honey!

  3. FiveOGrrl

    I want to see the birth of that F’ing iPad2 in your toaster strooodle. I can hear the sweet ass sound of your tranny hands clickity clacking away on your next Blahhhog.
    Merry Christmas from your local jail crew.

  4. ruby falls

    Have I told…you lately…that I love you? Merry Christmas to you and yours from the East Tennessee Roadside Attractions!

  5. Allysgrandma

    As usual, love you, love the kids….love the story. I am feeling especially wonderful this Christmas as DH just made a deal on a Babylock Evolution Serger for me! Get to go pay for it today!

  6. Pricilla - Famous SpokesGoat

    NO GOAT?!
    What kind of living nativity was this?
    I am appalled.

    I would have ROCKED as the third goat on the left you know. I am FAMOUS!

    The kids look adorable even unwed and pregnant at a ridiculously young age. Gotta love the whole tale….
    Merry Christmas to you and the whole family from all of us at the Happy Goat Farm.
    Even Abby.

    • The Bearded Iris

      There TOTALLY were goats. Lots of ’em. I even got to walk one around for the human kids to pet while they waited in line. She was wider than she was tall and so sweet!

  7. Pricilla - Famous SpokesGoat

    I feel better now. I must stand up for my species….
    I hope that fat comment was not directed at my pleasingly fluffy shape.

  8. Allison @ Motherhood, WTF?

    Seriously funny stuff. I would have been sorely tempted to let them have their way with the ketchup and live birth just to see what happens. But you probably used good judgement putting a stop to that one. Mini me’s eyebrows are ridiculous. I have none, so I’m jealous of just about anyone, but hers are to die for.

  9. Leighann

    Sounds like a great day!!
    Fingers crossed for Dobbie

  10. Anne @ Domesblissity

    Sounds a wonderful way to spend Christmas together as a family Iris. Didn’t see Mr Beard in those pics. Is he part of the nativity? I agree on Mini Me’s to die for eyebrows. Merry Christmas Iris!

    Anne xx

  11. Mary Lou

    Iris! This pics of your kids with the animals are absolutely precious. Looks like your kids inherited your warped sense of humor; I LOVE it!! What a gift!

  12. bernie bickers

    Just saw the Elf final results – what total BS! You placed # 2 in the votes but they didn’t even put you into the top 3 prize slots? The fix is in! I think one of the judges kid’s walked off w/ that iPad…You wuz robbed!

  13. Sandra

    Oh Iris, I MUST adopt your Minny-Me! I MUST! She’s hilarious! Definitely your daughter! This post made me laugh at a time of the day when I didn’t think laughter was possible (it’s currently 12:53am, Dec.26th…somebody bring me some Alka-Seltzer…burp…)

  14. Leanne

    Funny. I’m glad it worked out too.

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