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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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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.

 

 

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Happy Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day. An interesting phenomenon. I mean, I think we all have ideas of what we expect to happen on mother’s day.

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And then we have what actually happens on Mother’s Day!

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But, how much of Mother’s Day is based upon our expectations of the day, versus what we can realistically expect to happen?

Let me explain – I would LOVE to wake up casually around, say, ten am. Wake up naturally (as in, not being woken up). I would come out into a miraculously clean house and sit down to a splendid brunch of fruit, bacon and eggs, french toast, eggs benedict, the works. My kids would shower me with love and affection, and gifts of everything I ever wanted but never actually vocalised to anyone. After opening my gifts, we would go out somewhere lovely for the afternoon and then return home to a home cooked meal. No housework, no responsibility for the day.

Hang on – reading back, it seems that my dream for Mother’s Day is .. to NOT be a Mother for a day! But .. I love being a Mother. Don’t I? Colour me confused.

Here is what happened on my Mother’s Day.

I woke up at 9am. NINE AM. That is an insane sleep in in this house. How did I wake? Mr T calling me from work (he was at work from 4am), concerned that I hadn’t replied yet to the “Happy Mother’s Day” text he had sent at 7:30! Now, I’m not sure why my kids slept in this morning. I’ve no clue. Frankly, I don’t care. I had the longest sleep in I’d had for a loooooooong time, Mother’s Day or not!

After we got out of bed, I decided to do nothing but enjoy my kids. No housework. We sat in our pjs and played on the floor. We somehow managed to be back in bed at around 11:30am! We had a really, really nice morning with no bickering, no fighting, no yelling. Just, being. I cooked myself bacon and eggs for breakfast, just because (bearing in mind that Mr T was still at work). Princess had made a Mother’s Day card at kindy so I sat her down with a pen and taught her how to write, “Happy Mothers Day” inside it.

Then, I gathered the kids on the couch and filmed a tre adorable video of them saying, “HAPPY MOTHERS DAY, I LOVE YOU” to post on the Facebook pages of their three Grandmothers.

Mr T got home at midday and surprised me with a bag of M&Ms (my ABSOLUTE FAVOURITE THING EVER). That is a win right there.

Feeling particularly spoiled (don’t be jealous of my M&Ms please), I dressed the kids, said goodbye to my husband (who was off to bed, having worked half the night) and took them into town. My kids, they took me out for ice cream. Sure, I don’t eat ice cream, but I had a great time sitting with them as they devoured their kiddie-cones. We did a bit of shopping and then we went to the supermarket to buy ingredients for me to cook MY ideal meal for dinner. Oh, did I mention that I really wanted new gumboots as my Mother’s Day gift? Well, I found what I wanted in the supermarket, of all places. So, I got them.

My cousin was coming for dinner so I did a quick tidy up when we got home (as in, shifted the house from “complete devastation” to “mild mess”) and then started on dinner. When Mr T awoke from his nap, I thanked him for the gumboots he had “bought” me that afternoon, and handed him the card Princess picked out earlier in the week and asked him to complete it for me. He got the kids to write in the card then sealed the envelope and handed it back to me with the gumboots.

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“Oh, wow!” I exclaimed. “You guys are so KIND!” I gushed. “Best Mother’s Day EVER!”. The kids giggled and kissed me and told me they loved me.

Served my ideal dinner (chicken and bacon salad with blue cheese om nom nom) and had a cheeky glass or two of my favourite cider.

Did the usual bathtime/bedtime chaotic routine with the kids, then settled in with my cousin and husband to watch our wedding video (that she had kindly been editing for us). I went to bed a happy Mother.

So, my Mother’s Day was a really, really nice day. Why? Because I made sure it would be. I didn’t sit around and wait for my husband and kids to make my day amazing, and then sit in despair because they aren’t mind readers and can’t tell exactly what I would want to do. Also, I didn’t stop being a MOTHER. Mr T surprised me in a way he knew would work (again, don’t be jealous of my M&Ms. Actually, it’s wasted energy, someone ate them all)(plot twist: it was me). And, the kids cuddled and kissed me and said they loved me. And, didn’t bicker much (I’m ignoring the moment when we went out for ice cream and Princess got BoyChild in a headlock because she wanted to press the lift button and he pressed it …).

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY, people!

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