Nearly two weeks ago I made a decision to relish every second of the holidays and not spend any time at all in front of my computer. For that reason, I missed the blogging boat with posts about Christmas Day and New Year’s resolutions. Instead, I’m capturing it all here, because it was too special not to save.
Last year was a tough one. Long working hours, not enough family time and barely any holiday, family loss, high stress levels and a distinct lack of sleep, all made it less than perfect. But I smell new beginnings, big change and some exciting plans in 2013. All made concrete by an amazing ten days together as a family, with time to talk and realise that we actually rather like each other.
On the first morning of the holidays – Christmas Eve – we took our toddler to a routine hospital appointment for her hypermobile joints and she was given her first “Christmas present”; a pair of special insoles for her new “grown-up shoes”. She was thrilled. I considered telling Father Christmas to eBay the rest of her gifts, but thought he might not approve.
We followed up the riveting hospital visit with an afternoon making magic reindeer food (the glitter helps Rudolph fly, apparently)…
And writing very important letters to let a certain person know he was to help himself to a homemade mince pie and a sip of Amaretto (he’s gone off Port), but that the carrot was for his reindeer.
This is the first year Frog has really “got” Christmas. She was completely absorbed with her letter writing and reindeer food preparations. The excitement rubbed off, so that by the time she was fast asleep in bed I was as wired as I used to be when I was little. I now understand why my mum and dad used to love Christmas so much.
Christmas Eve ended with a special tea (prawn starter for Frog, with fishfingers to follow and, later, a steak for her mum and dad, washed down with champagne). We like food.
Then the big man arrived and sorted the gifts. I didn’t realise he’d got quite so many until I saw them all wrapped up together, under the tree.
It was an eye-opening day, with no tantrums or tears, just lots of laughter. It’s a funny thing, holidays. The (self-proclaimed) Northern Love Machine and I had no idea just how stressed and exhausted we’d both been until we stopped.
Shutting the door on the world and just spending time together, the three of us, we realised things have to change this year. Frog spent every day of the holidays – starting with Christmas Day – asking if it was “still the weekend?”. Turns out our two year old is more perceptive than we thought and relishes weekend time with us just as much as we do. She couldn’t believe it when, time and time again, we assured her that yes, it’s still the weekend.
Boxing Day was spent playing with new toys and reading books, baking and turning leftovers into freezer fodder, before a mammoth six days away. We went up north to see the NLM’s side of the family and to Devon, to see mine. Lots of driving but – again – not one tantrum from our diva child. As soon as she heard it’s “still the weekend” any sign of moodiness vanished.
Time with extended family saw cuddles with a gorgeous new addition, a delicious meal out, cousins playing together, more presents, wine, a night out at the pub, walks in woods and on beaches and a 1am toddler dancing show in front of Jools Holland (the one and only time she’s ever been allowed to get up and hang out with the adults post-bedtime, except for when she’s been poorly).
And how is my toddler feeling about the return to routine and non-weekend time? Oh, she’s totally fine about it. Honest.
By the way – something odd happened to my subscriber list last year (I love how last week is now last year) so if you’ve subscribed via email before you may need to resubmit your email address to continue getting posts in your inbox. Sorry about that.