1. Naughty and Nice! Communication.
Do not misunderstand me. Babies are beautiful and sweet. I loved their snuggly need for me. Their tiny fragility. I cannot help however but appreciate my little ones’ ability to express their feelings, both of love and frustration, to me now. I look at a video from last Christmas and my one year old was squealing at me. Trying to talk. She then pulled the hair of my then two year old and I know now that was because she could talk. In the mayhem of two under two last year, that meant a confused and pained toddler and a baby who was too small to see what she had done wrong. Harrassed, exhausted Mam. Now, there are verbal wars but there is naughty and nice behaviour and we all know what it means! It makes life easier to live.
The thought of putting up the tree last year gave me palpitations. I couldn’t get my head around throwing colouredy clutter into an already panic-inducing living space. I actually told my husband I didn’t want to. I am Mrs Christmas! I will wear a selection of festive jumpers over the next three to four weeks, eat gingerbread men and love every snowy, flaky, Christmas cakey moment. Yet I couldn’t find the joy. Last year I was in the throws of anxiety. We did put up the tree and Gigi remembers it so I am delighted we did. This year however it was lovely. A world of difference. The girls could help and did. They adored decorating the tree. We dug out the Euro Disney purchases and each girl selected their princess baubles to hang. Betsy is holding onto her ones tightly ever since. She has even brought a Tinkerbell one to bed. I am so grateful to be able to enjoy this tradition with the ladies this year.
3 Tolerance and Coping. Keeping it Cool.
Last year all dirt scared me. All I did see were piles of laundry. Dust. Clutter. It was like having gremlins lurking in their own hidey holes, lairs, making my own home an unsafe place. An unpeaceful place. A threatening place. I see it all still. Now I can deal with it better. The daily grind hasn’t changed. I have.
4. The Cuteness that Cannot be Bettered.
Staring at the girls in wonder is pretty amazing. Betsy adores the lights. Just simple colourful glass. Entranced. Ireland has fostered Christmas markets this decade much to my joy, and now we can bring the girls to an event that will be family friendly and atmospheric. There is nothing to beat the wooden decoration and face painting sweetness of a community event.
The oddities of a village life that can be eccentrically charming portrayed through a festive eye. We went to Moate in Co. Westmeath this year. Check out the retro merry go round. I like the Abba Arrival helicopter.
6. Something like a Routine.
The knowledge of when day begins, thrives, relaxed and ends is a powerful tool for an anxious parent.
7. Singing like No One is Listening.
Both girls sing all day. Particularly Gigi. She often makes the lyrics up. As a doting parent, I do believe she is better than Adele. I could listen to these tunes all day. She also has an eccentric repertoire, ranging from the expected Disney classics such as Let it Go to the more traditional tunes of I’ll Tell me Ma’. Mr Paper is to take credit here. Not limiting his bedtime crooning to nursery rhymes, he has Betsy chirping along to The Rare Auld Times.
8. Retirement of the Sterilizer.
What is it about this device? It takes control of our world. There is nothing more liberating than clearing that counter space and bagging up that bottle washer. I can now fill it with pretty (but useless) porcelain fripperies that took my fancy!
9. That Elf.
Stealing/ adopting Scandinavian tradition once again, our elf came to live with us two years ago. See (How to Hygge with Ophelia and Children).We have a small Christmas visitor watching out for behaviour. Oddly named Squiggles by Gigi, he is on high alert and is a mischievous, moving and mouthful minx. I love him. Betsy won’t look him in the eye. Gigi just wants to give him a cuggle. That conversation was ended in a squabble. Things are better this Christmas but they are still real! Angels and devils.
10. Santa Comes to Life.
Santa becomes very alive again. I always felt close to this Christmas magician but now I get to let him visit our home. We get to see magic in action. Wonder. Joy. These emotions cannot be bought.
Let us leave it with another look at the merry go round. Vintage eighties. I think I actually want one for Christmas. A Truly Lovely Christmas.