How To Do Father Christmas

There are many nuances according to family, on the rituals etc surrounding father Christmas. This being the first year for us with three year old Babe, means we’ve had to figure out how we want to do it as a family and what is practical.

So this is the way it’s working…

We’ve sprinkled magical reindeer dust on the patio, put reindeer food on the lawn and laid out a chocolate cupcake and a glass of port for father Christmas to nourish himself with.

The pillow cases, not tiny stockings, have been laid on the living room floor for the big man to fill with presents. We’re leaving them there, not in Babes room for one main reason. If she wakes in the night to come to my room she’ll find it and they’ll be a middle of the night present opening fest and I DO NOT want that. And erm…well that’s how we did it as a kid.

What are your father Christmas rituals?

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3rd Birthday Party Madness

I’m so dizzy my head is spinning, it’s like a whirl pool it never ends…

But thank god the three year olds parties are O V E R. But credit to the wilful girlie, she was beautifully behaved at both (appart from the wee incident with one little cherubs arm – but lets not dwell on that).

*Shush no one knew about the day of hell in between the two parties. This was one of those days that if I could have resigned from being a mama I would have done. Over tired three year old super clingy, demanding, shouting grumpiness is not becoming.*

The first party on Tuesday was a huge success with my two friends and their daughters. The kids and the mamas had loads of fun (who needs alcohol). The girls trashed the house while the mums revelled in the competition of the party games. I don’t get out much (well at all at the moment) so it was great to dig out some Pulp and play musical statues to ‘Common People’. Then came the apple bobbling, which got rather competitive. Not the girls, just my friend and I, and we surprisingly did not get drenched until the little ones decided that it was way more fun to drop the apples from a height back into the bowl. Stand back! The most popular game was something I’d never done or heard of (until my friend in Germany suggested it the morning before). It involved blowing cotton wool balls across the table – simple and no water involved. They loved it.

But the girls had the most fun hanging out in my bedroom. At one point I found the three of them lined up in baby Boyo’s crib (as it has a drop side for cosleeping). Then later I found all three snuggled up in bed listening to classical fm or bird calls on my radio – such a contrast to their antics 30 minutes before.

The second party was a family occasion which was more chaotic as we had older children, more adults and it was during the dicey hours of 4pm till 7pm. That said nothing was broken and Babe had a wonderful time.

And as yet nothing or no one has been harmed by the birthday umbrella which goes everywhere. In Babes world it’s always raining, even in her dreams so she snuggles up with it in bed. I even managed to overcome her bathing reluctance by saying she could take it in the bath – she loved it when I turned the shower on. But I’m starting to harbour a dislike for it. It seems everywhere I step this blasted umbrella is waiting…just peacefully lingering in silence to bring me tumbling down. I’m hoping this infatuation begins to fade soon.

So now to ready myself for the Christmas chaos. Good luck 🙂 See you at the other side.

Three Years Breastfeeding & Three Months Tandem Feeding

Ask me three years ago about breastfeeding, and I’d have told you I didn’t know much but I’d be giving it a blooming good go. Three years on, Babe is three and still nursing (about two/three times a day) and baby Boyo is three months old and nursing strong. Who’d have thought it (not me) that I’d be nursing a toddler and doing tandem feeding too. In those dark nights during the early days I thought I’d be lucky to last three weeks or three months, let alone three years.

The truth is, despite the health benefits, my babies and I love num nums…erm, sorry, I mean breastfeeding. A pet name comes in handy when out in public. The last thing I wanted my toddler saying at the top of her voice out in public is “I want boobie now mummy, give me boobie!” I’m brazen about nursing in public, but that would have just been a bit too forward for me.

Some people ask when I plan on stoping Babe (the 3yo) from having num nums, and I’ve declined them an answer. I want her to make that choice. I just don’t know what the cut off is either. I originally thought a year was enough, my opinions have changed and I’ve learned not to forecast this situation – but let it evolve. I ask people therefore in the meantime not to cast judgement and respect that I am doing what I feel is physically and emotionally best for my children. Call me a hippy if you will, but you might be better to call me dedicated and focused, I’d like to think that’s a more accurate description.

I did ask Babe yesterday if she thought she was too old for num nums. I got a firm ‘no’ 😉

So I’m not looking at the end, because I don’t know when it will be. In the meantime the three of us are enjoying the journey and daddy’s appreciating the peace.

Battling Willfullness

Over the last month Babe (nearly three), has suddenly got so much more confident and willfull (aka little sod).

This takes parenting patience with two young children to another level. I wonder how people in the childcare profession get on without going totally nuts?! Maybe because they’re not their own kids, and as a result it doesn’t get to them so much (like a pride thing)? Perhaps cause they get to hand them back at the end of the day and don’t have to endure the hell that is bath and bed time (oh how I hate that time of day).

I adore the fact that Babe has a new found confidence and knows her own mind but I wonder if I’d have rather kept my shy little fairly amenable girly for a bit longer.

A prime example – getting in the bath has become the kind of negotiating challenge that I’d never encountered before (except with one of my old german bosses who was amazing at bringing you to his way of thinking without you realising it till afterwards). In all seriousness I think when I do go back to work my negotiating skills are going to be so much better. At the same time, I might be more likely to back down on many more occasions, choosing to select my battles more carefully. I confess I am using bribery with the bath “you can have a farmer sweet if you get in the bath now”. The problem is that I’m still saying ‘now’ 20 minutes later, when I’m spitting the words out between my teeth and pawing at the ground in an attempt to dig a hole in the carpet to retreat into.

Another example, this morning when baking cappuccino cupcakes for her second birthday party in three days. Babe was determined to add the vanilla essence, which resulted in a tussle over the bottle and a potent amount being sloshed into the Kenwood. Could have been worse, like the addition of garam masala to the carrot cake last year.

I’m struggling a little to be honest…

When Babe also does things specifically to be naughty, what now? I’m moving away from the idea of the naughty step, she knows it’s naughty, what’s isolating her gonna do to improve the situation but exacerbate it? So finding gentle disapljne approaches is now my new challenge. I’ve got Alfie Kohns book on Unconditional Parenting, but what else should I be asking Santa (aka Amazon) for?

This Advent Calendar Will Be The Death of Me

Many years ago hubby’s sewing whizz mum made us a lovely fabric advent calendar. This year I decided to fill the pockets for Babe (nearly three) and daddy. They each get a treat in the daily pocket with the intention that it is a nice morning ritual for them both.

I’ve filled the pockets (thx to my friends for suggestions) with a mixture of hair bobbles, hair clips, Christmas tree ornaments and chocolate lolipops. There are still some pockets to fill, with which I plan to put in some dried fruit and nuts. In the same pocket there is a gold truffle sweet for daddy.

Yesterday I hung the calendar up in Babes room and during the evening (after the long pleading for child sleep), snook in to fill the pockets.

This morning when she reluctantly began to wake, I reminded her that it was the 1st of December and time to get a treat. So upon instructions she duly dragged daddy out the shower so they could find number one and retrieve the surprise.

She was over the moon to get a hair bobble. After a close examine of it, she was happy for me to tie her scraggly mop back in it. Not that the sweet pony tail look lasted long. In Babes world she is not satisfied with hair bobbles and clips in her hair where she can’t see them. She must hold them at all times.

So this sodding bobble has been with her everywhere. On the bus home from town we had a near loss incident. You might think – pah, it’s just a hair bobble. But to a three year old this is like loosing your wedding ring or mobile phone. I compare with these items, because I myself would be near tears if I lost either of these items.

As a result of the bobble being dropped on the floor while on the back seat of the bus. Yes, she already loves to hog the backseat. She might never be cool enough to earn the social status to do this when she is an adolescent so I need to let her live the glory days now. As I was saying, as a result I spent half the bus journey with my bum in the air scrabbling around on the dirty floor being jolted back and forth as the bus lurched forward in the traffic. Less yummy mummy, more scrubby slummy.

I had lost all hope and our bus stop was nearing. I told Babe that it was gone for ever (not letting on that December 2nd has the other one to the pair), and she started to cry. So I flung myself on the floor in one last gasp attempt to locate the cheapy tacky piece of hair dressing tat from Poundsaver. My persistence paid off, with seconds of needing to pelt down the gang way to get off the bus, I was able to retrieve the sodding thing.

Them it’s home safe and sound, so the knot comes undone and the plastic pink cubes drop off. We thread them back on and I re-tie the knot (really really hard). Later Babe thinks cube threading would be fun, so I spend ages trying to undo that knot I’d yanked on so firmly earlier.

With two to play with tomorrow, I’m sure to have gone insane by the weekend.