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Do Not Open Until 25 December

Christmas is 9 sleeps away, and the courier parcels are arriving at our house like crazy town. The other day I had two separate companies pull up at the same time. They raced each other up the path, it was awesome.

A large amount of what is coming is either (a) online shopping for the kids from “Santa”, (b) online shopping for me disguised as online shopping for the kids from “Santa”, and (c) my usual work stuff that really isn’t particularly interesting at all.

And, then there is the presents. The Actual Presents, sent from various friends, family, Grandparents, Secret Santas and the like.

Now bears the questions – do you open the presents as they arrive, or do you wait until Christmas??

For me and my presents, I wait. And the reason I wait is because I don’t get to open many presents on Christmas day, so it’s fun. Now, I use the term “wait” loosely because let’s be honest, I have zero will power and 9 days is a loooooooong time to wait. But I will try, gosh darnit I’ll try.

But, for the kids. Do I make them wait, or allow them a couple of sneaky early pressies?

Reasons to Wait

  • The are intended to be opened on Christmas Day, so they should be opened on Christmas Day
  • It makes it all the more special to wait
  • It teaches them that they can’t have what they want, when they want it. They must wait.
  • It serves as a valuable bribery tool

Reasons to Let Them Let Rip (the wrapping paper, that is) 

  • It makes Christmas last for aaaaaaaages
  • It allows us to treasure each present separately, rather than them getting lost amidst the chaos of Christmas Day
  • It shuts them the heck up. School holidays, yo.

Like I said, many of our presents come from Grandparents and friends who live far away from us. We aren’t going to see them on Christmas Day (*sad face*) and by letting the kids open the presents early, we are able to give those presents sole focus. This is particularly special when they are gifts that require concentration and loads of little parts. If the kids opened them with all their other Christmas Day loot, it won’t be the same.

At the end of the day, whether or not the kids should be opening their presents before Christmas Day is entirely up to the parent. I’m a read-the-end-of-the-book-before-im-halfway-through kinda person, so you can probably guess where my preference lies. But, that being said, there is still a healthy-ish pile of gifts under our tree, stubbornly waiting for Christmas Day.

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Even my Secret Santa gift. Sitting there. Taunting me.

“open meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee you know you waaaaannntttt toooooooooo”

 

 

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Kids, Social Media and Privacy

In today’s day and age, social media is a massive part of our lives, with the potential to be a massively intrusive part of our lives.

Anyone who follows this blog will know, I guard my children and their privacy very closely. The reason for doing so is not because I set out to shame them or ridicule them (well, not often) but rather to protect their integrity as they grow into teenagers and adults. I don’t want my kids to have their names google-able in relation to the time they shat all through their cot and smeared it up the walls. I mean, all kids do that, but most don’t have it blasted across the deep hole that is the interweb. We certainly didn’t when we were kids.

I make sure never to print my kids names (“what? Do you mean your kids aren’t called Princess, BoyChild and BabyGirl?!”). On one occasion I inadvertently printed a picture of another child (working so hard to crop my own kids faces that I forgot to crop another kid out) and was promptly called to account on it by one of my lovely readers. And, realising my error with shock and horror (I’m pretty sure I literally said “Oh, shit!” out loud), I immediately altered the picture.

But, why not their faces, I hear you ask? Because it’s a small world, after all. Thanks, Walt. (Disney, for those of you who are sitting there thinking, “who the bloody heck is Walt?”). To print their faces would be to link them to their names.

It’s a deep hole, I tell ya, this t’interweb.

Which brings me to today. Don’t get me wrong, there have been tons upon oodles of pictures that I’ve wanted to post on here and very nearly done so. Because my kids, the little weirdos, are fricken cute. But I haven’t, because it’s just the way I’ve always done it. It’s not to say that any parent blogger who does name their kids and print pictures is a bad parent. God no! I would never, ever judge someone like that. It’s just what *I* decided to do, and how I decided to play this game.

Right. Sorry, I got momentarily distracted by the offer of pavlova. Mmmmmm. Pavlova. Where was I?

Oh! Yes! Today!

Today little BabyGirl had her preschool Christmas performance. All the millions of parents were there to watch their little cherubs sing the songs we’ve been hearing them practice for weeks. I mean, how cute. How fucking adorable they all were, lined up against the wall, in their Christmas clothes (save for the random kid wearing a Spiderman costume. There is always one) belting out random Christmas songs like there was no tomorrow.

And my baby was right there, so tiny in the line up, bopping around and singing louder than any other kid. No idea where she gets that from.

Now, it’s 2016. So, I’m sure you can imagine, the audience was a sea of cell phones. Because who wouldn’t want to capture that?

Nobody.

Just before the performance started, the head teacher announced that there was to be no filming or photography at any stage, because some parents had requested that their children not feature on social media at all.

I mean.

Look, I get it, I do. I don’t want my kids being filmed by some random and blasted all over the internet. But, I also get that these weren’t random crazy people, these were the same proud parents that I was, simply wanting to capture it for future reference. For the Grandparents who don’t get to see the kids more than once a year. For them, the only way they get to know what the kids are up to, are thanks to social media and the likes of Facetime and Skype. T’interweb. For the parent who couldn’t be there. Mr T was there because it was his day off but on any given day he might have been working.

I don’t capture these things to put on youtube for all’n’sundry to watch. I capture them to put them on Apple TV Airplay so the kids can watch themselves again and again (and again and whoops sorry ran out of battery bye).

If I were to have taken a photo today, I might have taken one of the disappointed parents, the grandparents who had to put their phones away. Granted, it meant we were all actually watching the show, god forbid. But still. I think perhaps it might have been better dealt with by asking that no one upload to social media, as opposed to no one film at all.

I’m just sad that BabyGirl has no record of her first ever performance. That might be worth a fortune one day.

For today, I guess we just have the memory.

Ok. And the two sneaky photos I took. And the 7 second video. Shhhhh. Don’t tell.

 

 

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The Hardest Part of Xmas

Christmas comes with many challenges.

What the heck do you (slash Santa) buy the kids? And, how do you even make sure it’s balanced? One kid was easy. I’m pretty sure when Princess was a baby she got a random mix of practical things and annoying toys.

Three kids are hard to shop for. Especially when two are girls and one is a boy. What do you even buy for a boy? Does anybody even know?????? The challenge isn’t so much is what you buy, but rather in how to make sure you have the same amount across all three kids. Obviously it is never going to be an exactly equal stash, but you desperately don’t want to fall into the trap of buying one kid six hundred things, and buying the other kid a book. Lest they grow up feeling less equal to their sibling.

But, it’s a blimmen snowball effect. And I already can see the same pattern emerging this year that I went through last year and the year before. It goes something like this:

Buy for Princess. Buy for Princess. Buy for Princess. Buy for Princess. Oh-shit-I’ve-got-so-much-stuff-for-her-and-nothing-for-the-others. Buy for BabyGirl. Buy for BoyChild. Buy for BabyGirl. Buy for BoyChild. Buy for Princess. Buy for Princess. Buy for Prin—oh-shit-I’m-doing-it-again. Buy for BabyGirl/Boychild/BabyGirl/Boychild/BabyGirl/Boychild …. crap. Now they have more stuff. Next year we do it differently! Write lists for a start. And stick to them.

Aaaaaaaand repeat next year.

But no. That inevitable hole that I dig for myself is not the hardest part of Xmas.

The hardest part is WHERE THE HELL DO I EVEN PUT ALL THE PRESENTS??!?!?!?

I mean, when they are little, you can put them in the middle of the freakin table and they would be none the wiser come Xmas morning. But as they get older, they get smarter. And they know there are presents hidden. Little sneaks.

At the moment I have them hidden in some very creative places, if I do say so myself. I have to say, it’s hard work staying ahead of a savvy 7 year old!

At first, I had the presents at the top of the laundry linen cupboard. Until I got a towel out and was showered by Thomas trains and a (very heavy) doll. I swore, Princess came a-sniffing.

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And then, I had the GENIUS idea to use a suitcase. I know, right?! Pure genius. Until husband has to go away for work.

I’m just grabbing my suitcase from the ——-
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO DON’T OPEN THE SUITCASE THAT IS EMPTY AND NOTHING IS IN THERE BUT STILL JUST DON’T OPEN IT

Smooth. They didn’t suspect a damn thing.

I transferred the stuff to another suitcase. And when that was full, into another suitcase.

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And then I think, hey – I got this xmas thing sorted. Santa ain’t got nothin’ on me.

We got Princess a bike. And BabyGirl a giant stuffed Seahorse. I know. Sigh. I’m goin to be swearing at that on Boxing Day. For now, I was cursing because where on earth do you hide a damn bicycle??????

The answer? In plain view. Kids are smart, but they also can’t see things right under their noses. I mean, anyone who has ever tried to get a kid to find their shoes can attest to that.

In the corner of our house is a shelf. In front of that shelf, there is a mattress leaning against the wall. Behind that mattress, if you were to look closely, is a brand spanking new bike.

Genius.

See? I got this Xmas shit sorted.

Now to figure out how to wrap the lot.

Methinks there will be wine for that.