Ok, so we’re already halfway through January. Or at least it feels like it. Christmas a distant, blurry (or drunken, if you were lucky) memory. But I’m going to persist with a monthly roundup (instead of a quarterly one; I fell asleep writing those so I can’t imagine anyone actually read them).
The month of CHRISTMAS. I’m a bit of a fanatic. Though not in the sense that I like to put up the decorations in October (although I do usually start accumulating presents around mid September).
M U S I C
Our household loves a good Christmas record, and the first one to be played is always:
I’m not entirely sure why it invokes the tingly Christmas feels within the first few notes, but it does.
Darling husband – gifted musician and guitar teacher – has a YouTube site Anyone Can Play Guitar – and each Christmas, he posts a comprehensive lesson, teaching a people to play something Christmassy.
This year, it was the chord melody for White Christmas.
Previous years have included a lesson on Christmas Time is Here from the above Vince Guaraldi A Charlie Brown Christmas album and the beautiful and complex John Fahey version of Joy to the World.
A C T I V I T I E S
Bumming it around London during Christmas
Unfortunately, R isn’t quite big enough to ice skate (as my husband informed me) , but we took her to Somerset House to watch the skaters and then inside to the Tintin / Herge exhibition (which she loved).
It was a great day out. Until she touched an exhibition piece. She then proceeded to walk around the terrace asking lunch-eating strangers for “chips? chips?”. SOLID GOLD “PLEASE LET THE GROUND SWALLOW ME UP” PUBLIC PARENTING MOMENT.
Because R is starting to understand certain aspects of the festive season (but young enough to not remember that I did this), I decided to do a DIY advent calendar. A different, small, gift for each day. Most were Christmas themed books (Mr. Men, The Grinch, Dear Santa etc) and some were Christmas activities that we could do together (like building a snowman, jigsaw puzzles or Christmas activity books). I was happy to have something to focus on with her. A plan for each day. And whilst I thought I’d let her have some chocolate (as it’s Christmas), when it came to it I thought better of it…
One of the best / most stressful things we did was creating our own design for Christmas wrapping paper. Yes. Ink. Stamps. Baby.
Heard through gritted teeth: “BUT YOU’VE ALREADY DONE THAT ONE A MILLION TIMES. LET’S TRY THE SANTA STAMP. NO. NO. DON’T PUT IT IN YOUR MOUTH. OR ON THE SOFA”.
Christmas brings EXCESSIVELY PACKAGED ITEMS from Mr. Amazon. But instead of getting annoyed, I used a rather large box to create a play space for R; a play space where she was allowed to draw on the walls! It kept her occupied for (what felt like, in mummy terms) hours. And I felt quite pleased with myself for upping the creative mummy stakes.
Away for the holiday…
I have to say, Christmas was a bit of a let down. I was so looking forward to it. R is at the age where it should have bee so much fun.
We always go away to the in-laws for Christmas. We have our own room, our own space, are surrounded by amazing places to walk.
I started several blogs (all still sitting in the drafts section) over the holiday; a place to vent my anger. Subjects were things like Is it ever ok for someone else to discipline your child? and Barely surviving Christmas.
It was a weird one. I decided not publish my angry rants, and instead, chalked it up to an ‘off’ year (though we had a little bit of the same of it last year, with my sister-in-law in particular. But instead of being passive aggressive about it, I railed on darling husband, knowing that the baby monitor was on downstairs and every word could be heard). These aren’t bad people. In fact, they are extremely caring and generous, but they also don’t respect my slightly “free-range parenting” (did I just say that? puke) style.
Hubby was wiped out for pretty much all of the Christmas period too. Which meant that all the things we had planned were left incomplete. (see Star Wars, do some long walks, evening out at a pub, museum etc etc). We managed to finally get out towards the end of the two week break for a walk near the Ridgeway, through the Devil’s Punchbowl. A glimpse of former years, pre-baby.
It was an extremely wet Christmas and being stuck in the middle of nowhere (and not being able to drive and with a sick husband), R was going a bit stir crazy. There were many, many, “muddy puddle” walks along country lanes. Each walk ended with a soaking wet child who needed changing, but who wanted to go straight back out and do it again.
It was dark before we started opening presents. Ramona had been awake all day so by the time we got round to the consumerist part of the day, she was pretty cranky. So cranky that she didn’t even open her main present until Boxing Day (her “motorbike”). She threw a massive strop because Daddy had bought Mummy a much longed for Petit Bateau yellow raincoat for Christmas. Apparently she’s the only one who’s allowed a yellow raincoat… Still, at least Grandma didn’t call me fat at Christmas lunch this year… that was a bonus!
I saw NYE in on my own. Everyone else had gone to bed. Bryan Adams (ftw) or Jools? Jools. I indulged by watching Hozier perform Take Me to Church; an absolute guilty pleasure. Every bone in my body tells me to hate the song but that dramatic chorus pulls me in every time. R woke up pretty much in the middle of Big Ben’s chimes, so off to bed I went. Another year is done…