So, it is December. Already. The girls have started opening their Advent calendars, and are excitedly planning the big day. The only topic of conversation in our house is Christmas. What they want to get, decorations they want to make, what they want to eat…
Well actually, they are all pretty much from Big Girl. Little Girl has more important things to think about. Such as whether she can make a lake of milk on her plate. Thanks for that.
(FYI, she could make a lake. And she didn’t even spill it! I did, though. All over my goddamn pants.)
Now is the time that I realise I had really better get started on preparing for Christmas. I’m not talking about decorating the tree or putting up lights. No, those are strictly Mark’s jobs.
1. Hiding Advent calendars
I learned from experience with this one. Last year we had the Advent calendars on prominent display. Little Girl couldn’t reach them, and Big Girl was a whole 5 years old. There was no way she would mess with them, right?
From the moment I came downstairs and back into the living room, I knew something was up. It was all too quiet, and the air reeked of guilt.
It didn’t take long to work out what was going on. Instead of the Advent calendars being propped up against the wall, they were scattered across the top of the craft cupboard. And they looked suspiciously dog-eared.
On further inspection, I discovered that they had been ripped open, and almost all of the chocolates had been devoured. Sigh.
The culprit was obvious. Big Girl stared up at me with her enormous bush baby eyes.
“Did you eat the chocolates, Big Girl?”
“No!” she replied, but I knew better.
It was written all over her face. Literally.
That day, Big Girl learned an important lesson.
Do not lie if the evidence is smeared all over your mouth.
This year, even I can barely reach them. You live and learn, I guess.
2. Helping With Christmas Song Practice
Tis the season of Christmas plays and concerts. Big Girl has brought home a booklet of songs to learn, and is delighting in giving us a performance every night. And Little
Girl is joining in too. Today on the way home from school, she sang, “Jingle bells, jingle bells, all the way… oh I don’t know dat bit.” Still a bit more work needed on that one.
Now, as I mentioned yesterday, I have slight ishoos with singing children. Whinging ishoos. And apparently, it happens even when one of my kids is singing on her own.
So last night, Big Girl stood in the centre of the playroom and sang us each of her songs. Her face was solemn as she focussed hard on remembering the words. She clapped and danced as if her life depended on it. The high notes were tricky but she strained to hit them. She took that shit seriously.
Ah fuck, here we go again. Sniff.
I have <checks> fourteen more days of this.
I’d better start drinking more water.
3. Ninja Removal Of Old Toys
My house is full of toys. And it bugs the crap out of me. I don’t even buy them that much. It’s got to the point where I’m starting to believe they may be breeding.
Although that just makes me imagine a house full of sentient toys. Creepy.
Anyway, so the house is full. Father Christmas is on his way. And that means only one thing.
Even more toys.
And where do they go when the toy boxes are overflowing?
On the floor. Or under my feet, more precisely. Ouch.
So something’s got to go. But I’m no fool. Everyone knows that you can’t sort out toys right in front of the kids. Things that have been long forgotten and are gathering dust at the bottom of a pile are suddenly claimed as the most beloved toy of all. (Do you note that I say a pile, and not the pile? There are a lot of piles in my house.)
That’s not happening. So each evening, I have been methodically working through a section of the playroom, discarding old and broken things and making space for new. The other night, I filled two binbags. One for the bin, one for the charity shop.
That’s just excessive.
I hid them in the cupboard under the stairs. I had visions of Big Girl noticing that something extremely very special was missing, and never forgiving me. A touch dramatic, maybe, but that’s how I roll.
The next day, the kids admired the new, clear space. And showed me their thanks by spreading a fine layer of animal figures over it.
And how many things did Big Girl notice were gone?
One. And it was a big pink unicorn.
Victory is mine! Now to move on to the rest of the room.
4. Assuaging Of Christmas Doubts
Suddenly, I’m hearing stuff like, “How do the reindeer fly?” and “Do we have a chimney?” And the other day, “Is Santa really real?” (N.B. The answer is, “What do you think?” Never fails.)
So I guess I’m going to be spending December answering her questions and assuaging her doubts. Because she is only small, and it makes me feel sad that we have such a short time of believing left.
She did make me giggle this morning, though. As she sat eating breakfast, she turned to me with a perplexed expression. She said, “How does Santa… everybody else… why doesn’t he ever die???” Hehe.
“Magic,” I replied. And that was enough for her. Wonderful.
5. Locating The Christmas Tree
I begin every year with the best of intentions. The house is going to stay clean and clutter-free. Every day. All of the Christmas paraphernalia will be carefully boxed up and put in a safe place, ready for next year.
As an optimistic estimate, I would say that this lasts for about three days. Therefore once the day for Christmas tree dismantlement comes, good intentions are gone.
I have no idea where the Christmas tree is. Again.
I know it’s in my room. Because my room is the place where I put things that have nowhere else to go. And that means that there are a lot of places for it to be lurking in.
I swear, next year is definitely going to be different.
So there you go. Busy busy busy. And that’s all before I even start to work out how to pipe snowman faces onto marshmallows so they don’t look like serial killers. It seems I lean towards evil when crafting.
What preparations are you making for Christmas?