I’m writing this on Boxing Day, in a brief 10 min break from a teething 9 month old who weighs a ton (oh ok, 19lb) and who wants to breastfeed and bite me all night. Her sisters and Daddy are/were asleep. So that was another Christmas in the Trout household.
Christmas Eve – we left it till 10pm to start bringing presents downstairs to make sure no little girls were awake to find our present stash-spot, but thanks to the 9 month old cling-on we didn’t finish till 2am (midnight was the original ETF). I bickered with The Illogical One who insisted that we wrap everything. Eh? But relatives wrap presents to keep them secret until the day, whereas Santa doesn’t have to. I used logic, he pouted and was disparaging. I won by suggesting he wrap just as many as he pleased, and that I wouldn’t help. He was pleased to wrap one for each of the kids, only. Win.
As ever, was the lengths we go to to provide ‘evidence’ of Santa’s visit (like, the presents aren’t enough??). I nibbled the raw carrot last year, so this year I got the whisky. Just as well – Maxi Minx had discarded all the pretty, healthy-looking, normal carrots in the fridge in favour of the Lemmy. This thing was so warty and misshapen I worried about genetic damage to anyone eating it. As well as the carrot, He-Who-Drew-The-Short-Straw also had to drink the milk. Which he chose to slurp noisily straight from the bowl. Without touching it with anything other than his lips. I was impressed. And appalled.
The turkey was supposed to take 2hrs 20 to cook (we’d gotten the smallest one we could find). After an hour, Head Chef checked on it and wailed, “The turkey’s cooked!” Sure enough, the meat thermometer broke the news that the turkey was totally cooked. And the potatoes were still in their birthday suits, as they were when they left the ground. We had fun keeping the turkey from drying out while the potatoes were roasted / fried in a vat of goose fat. Still, it all tasted great! No Brussels sprouts (which we all love and have been troughing all month) as I guess the snow and ice round here decimated the crop.
Maxi Minx chose a wonderful day to stretch her empathy muscles. Midi Minx spent the day kicking off and generally behaving the way you expect a 2 year old to when she’s had a breakfast of mincepies and chocolate coins. And had no exercise and little sleep. And doesn’t understand sharing (what’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine – so gimme that shiny toy!) So clever 4 year old P showed incredible restraint and empathy in heading L off at the pass, distracting her with other toys. On a phone call to her grandparents, after excitedly gushing about all her new toys, P asked: “What about you? Did you have a nice Christmas, Grandma?” I was so proud of her ability to think about other people I could have burst.
Another lovely bit – the trifle! I’ve been putting trifle on my list to Santa since I was 6 years old (I was the original greedy minx). I’ve tried different styles and combinations and flavours, but even now, in my 40th year, I still prefer the old fashioned, traditional strawberry jelly and sponge layer + custard so thick it turns into jelly + whipped cream. I’m not fussed about sherry. I’m not bothered by decoration. P helped me make it on Christmas eve while L and The Boss were out last-minute food shopping. She sandwiched sponge bits together with as much strawberry jam as she fancied (half a jar…) and I did the hot jelly bits.
Talking of Christmas Eve, another lovely happy bit of Christmas: for once, we all just stopped for half an hour. P and L sat on their little chairs in front of the laptop; me, The Boss and R sat on the sofa behind them. We set up CBeebies Aladdin pantomime on iPlayer, the ancient popping corn we found whilst cleaning was made into popcorn, and we troughed it while laughing at silly fun. It was a really pleasant interlude in the potentially escalating madness of Christmas preparation that let me readjust to what was important and what was trivial, and just enjoy being.
P got her much-wanted chalks and drew a few masterpieces on her chalkboard. But the gift she loved most was the Hello Kitty kitchen and extra accessories
we Santa got her. She’s potty about Hello Kitty (“Cyooootee”, she pronounces it) and we’re potty about brainwashing her into enjoying cooking at a young age… (joke). L spotted her Baby Born doll and has spent every waking moment since first cuddling her either pushing her in the pram to the doctor’s (“baby Ava’s poorly: she gotta sore leg”) or the airport (?!) or changing her nappy. No, I’ve no idea what the sore leg thing is about, either. She’s such a responsible little 2 year old mummy, making sure her ‘baby’ has eaten, drank milk and burped before being put back to sleep, and all before (my greedy little) L eats, herself. Baby R loved the wrapping paper very much. We chose red shiny stuff for that very purpose! Her bangle is beautiful, but that was more a memento (silver, with a teensy diamond on one loveheart, a tiny aquamarine on the other, and a soppy and heartfelt inscription inside). She loves her dancing teddy tower best of all. The dancing teddy intimidated her at first (she’s not the only one… it’s eerie!), but she likes the microphone, growling along in an imitation of her elder sister’s singing of Improv Death Metal (don’t ask… there’s a video on Facebook if you’re on my friends list and you really, really want to hear it).
So the girls had great fun playing with lots of new toys that they really loved. Both me and The Boss got a chance to play with them. The Boss cooked a really yummy dinner (well me and R thought so; P and L were too wound up to eat much). We got to wish a Merry Christmas to all our immediate relatives, and they were all reasonably well. No-one was ill, no grown-ups cried, there was far more giggling than whining and far, far more smiles than grimaces. Therefore, it was a successful, lovely day.