Christmas is usually a time of relaxation and peace……until you have children! Stress starts at bedtime when you realise you haven’t wrapped the presents, (even though the wrapping lasts ten seconds once your children get their hands on the presents. In fact a black bin liner would impress as much as Harrods solid gold wrapping paper!) After a reel of sellotape, and many rolls of paper later, you realise its pushing 11pm, and it’s time for bed. After peeling the children off of the ceiling, cooking dinner and wrapping presents, you gentle rock yourself to bed, dribbling and inhaling and exhaling breath with stress, then just as the lights go out you remember the mince pies and milk. Half bleary eyed you trot back downstairs to drink the milk and eat the mince pie, and then head back to bed.
Morning usually arrives at 4am unless you own a ‘Gro-clock’. We have one so in my case a smile arrived on my face at 7am, knowing my little girl is now due up. Personally I believe my little girl had been drinking vast amounts of energy drinks before bouncing off of the ceiling and into our bedroom. I’m not sure how fast you can say “Santa’s been!” but my little girl took the land speed record. She flew downstairs like F16 fighter with a blizzard of wrapping paper by the time I got down. I now understand why my parents always asked who was the present from. As a kid I always thought my parents were aliens as everyone knew it was Santa! As you try to keep track, to thank kind people, you realise it’s a losing battle. After the kind people, there are the sadistic friends who think drums, trumpets, scissors and paint are funny. Seriously if you’re one of those, you’re not funny!
After every present is unwrapped, and every small part is lost, breakfast comes. In my kids case it’s “Why can’t I have onion rings and chocolate for breakfast?” Battle done, parents won, onto getting dressed and every new item on clothing must be worn, even if they don’t go. After your next battle is done it’s onto getting the kids ready for church, which will include taking every toy in the house, which is a battle you cannot win, only negotiate. Having pretended to win the battle with a boot full of toys, you’re onto church rocking backwards and forwards in the drivers seat dribbling (that’s me not the kids.) Having arrived at church slightly worse for wear, the service begins. Now is when you should be worried. My children had been wound up like a clock work toy since the crack of sparrows. The pastor started the service with the statement “Lets bow our heads in prayer.” Silence fell as the congregation bowed their heads in prayer when suddenly a loud voice (which sounded awfully like my child) shouted like a megaphone “You hide, I will seek!” I am not a big fan of attention, but having 200 people all turn and look at you is not my idea of fun.
Once church has ended, (and you have breathed a sigh of relief,) then the monkeys tea party begins otherwise know as Christmas dinner. I began to wonder if we had starved my little girl as no sooner had I picked up my knife and fork than my little girl was asking for more roast potatoes! After our human ‘hoover’ had finished inhaling the dinner the family present unwrapping began. The omen was good, presents were flowing thick and fast, and our little girl was acting as the postal service handing out presents to everyone, and a bit like the postal service there were gaps when nothing happened. Upon investigation it would appear that she was rifling through the pile for more of her presents. The problem was when they run out. My brother-in-law announced she was under the tree and was not coming out! Trouble was the tree was huge and I was not fancying doing an SAS shuffle on the floor, and seeing my Christmas dinner again! Having no biscuits we waved chocolate, and she shot out like a rat up a drain pipe. Man I am on fire today, the old tricks are the best ones! Memo to self – must get a t-shirt with ‘Bribery rocks.’
As the day moved on, getting out of your seat was like taking on an army assault course, with trains, cars and Barbie ready to strike at any point. I foolishly assumed there would be a final relax before bed time until I realised you now have to assemble the toys. Now I am no Nick Knowles so diy is not a walk in the park. I presumed a scooter and trailer made of wood would be easy, after all it was suitable for a one year old! I realised not only do you have to read the instructions thicker than ‘War and Peace’ with 300 different languages to choose from, but you also need protect the parts from small fingers that are interested in them. Every few seconds a wheel or bolt would shoot across the living room. You know things are not going well when you read the instructions meticulously, (after all real men don’t need instructions, at least while others are watching.) Now, if you can build the toys and still have ten fingers with no Disney plasters and no blood spilt, well done, you’re nearly at bed time.
By the time bed time arrived, I crawled on my hands and knees into my bed, knowing Boxing Day would be a walk in the park! Surely things cannot get any worse?
I pray, with every bone in my body, that you wake up on Boxing Day before the kids do, as I didn’t. Going down the stairs I had to dodge various toys and negotiate chocolate drops. In fact I am still finding chocolate drops today! What greeted me in the front room was a picture that can only be described as a scene from ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ you know, utter devastation. I use to have a pretty room, serene and full of peace. I have seen ransacks and burglaries on TV where burglars turn the ‘joint’ over, but nothing prepared me for this. As I moved into the kitchen, my wife was feeding our one year old looking a little worse for wear. I think my younger sister who had been heavily drinking last night looked healthier! She had blood shot eyes and a spoon in hand feeding my son porridge. I mustered the courage to ask my wife “You ok?” I made my way to the kettle sombrely to be greeted by “Drinkey winkey Daddy, paint my pig Daddy, I want some chocolate Daddy, can I have porridge Daddy?” If you are a child looking for your parents, we are rocking back and forth dribbling under the stairs in darkness.