Christmas is over.
And I have mixed emotions about it.
Half of me is gutted that it won’t come around for another year.
The second half thinks that is five years too soon.
With the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown transforming most people’s festive plans, my family and I were quite lucky that my house is still a building site and that we’ve been unable to move in. It meant our bubble included the kids’ nan and grandad, as well as their uncle. So we got to spend a week together – and the boys loved it. Lavished with all the attention they could ever ask for, they were in fine form – singing the alphabet, using their imaginations to play with their plethora of toys (we’ll get to them).
Not only did my kids have their mum and dad all day every day, without work to get in the way, they had the same from their nan and grandad, and their Uncle who was their main play-buddy.
A week together, without external escape however, is pretty intense. Every person I love the most was in the house, but after a few days, disagreements inevitably followed about the smallest of things. Add into the mix a couple of kids who constantly want you to play with an animal xylophone and a monster truck and you have a potent mix for arguments.
We kept a lid on things, admirably, as we all wanted this Christmas to be as perfect as possible. And it was. Our oldest is at the age where this festive season is possibly going to be the earliest one he remembers, so we had to make it as special as possible. Leaving the milk, mince pie and carrot out for Santa and his reindeer. Hyping them up on Christmas morning to see what Santa had left them. Giving them chocolate throughout the day and new toys to see how excited and crazed they would get. It was hilarious and it is one of those times you can throw caution to the wind a bit. Let them eat the sweets. If they want to go roaring through the house while music blares, why not?
Christmas is for the kids. And you will have a hoot just laughing at what comes out of their mouth and how they act. Because this is not in their usual routine, and everything new seems so fun, they will do and say things you don’t expect. So one tip for Christmas?
Keep your camera on a shortcut on your phone, because you will be able to pick up some pearls.
As my boys tore through their wrapped pressies, we all recorded them and their reactions as their eyes snapped on images on boxes that they recognised. When they saw Thomas the Tank engine or Lightning McQueen looking at them (repeatedly, you would be so surprised the wide range of Thomas and Disney’s Cars merchandise there is), every time they would smile, give out a little shriek or yelp.
They also lost their train of thought repeatedly while unwrapping their presents. Their was a tantrum or too as well. We gave them some slack though. This would have been pretty overwhelming. All of their family camped around them, beckoning them to rip up paper. Then the excitement of new toys, combined with the sugar rushing through their veins?
It must be the toddler equivalent of Woodstock.
A week later, we are still rotating the new toys, as they both change their flavour of the day. We;’ve had train tracks covering the living room floor. We’ve had a kitchen full of race cars and a kitchen table constantly filled with plastic shop paraphernalia.
And now I’m back at work?
I’d much rather be playing shop.
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