In my mind I had planned a lovely uplifting blog post all about the magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes. This was based on my experience last year where after a really rubbish few months we had a very special family Christmas. My then 2 year old daughter REALLY got into it for the first time. Pretty much everything around Christmas involved excitement, awe and wonder. The lights, being a sheep in the nativity, family time and opening presents were all such fun and every element of Christmas was fresh and wonderful.
I was poised, ready to write how refreshing it was to have small children in contrast to teenagers – fostering teenagers at Christmas is a whole different story and definitely less than magical. When you are a young person who doesn’t live with your family Christmas can be a difficult and painful time of year. However, after the 5:50am strop this earlier in the week (No. Is isn’t morning yet. How are you so over excited already?) The meltdown that Nana had to endure when babysitting (Please don’t let it put you off looking after them mum) and the nightly sobbing bath time ritual that appears to have recently developed (sometimes washing is unavoidable) I am beginning to revise my view.
I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that with children over the age of two December is possibly one of the most challenging months of the year. There are many, many special moments, but boy is it full on.
I guess in reality there is just so much going on at this time of year – parties, presents, plays and lots and lots of socialising. Extra treats, Christmas jumpers, music, lights and total multi-sensory overload. No wonder it’s so exciting. I am trying to pace our time and build in quieter days, but it’s not that easy in reality. It certainly isn’t helped by the fact that sometimes mummy and daddy actually go out too which means another change and the potential risk to a child that your parents may be having fun when you have to go to bed. Definitely against the rules. I was asked by my daughter his week “Mummy, are you going to play pass the parcel and have some cake at your party?” Fortunately I was fairly confident this wasn’t on the agenda which put her mind at rest.
We have reached the point where mood wise there are few in-betweens so it’s mainly high level excitement or lying on the floor sobbing. In addition to this there is everyday life and all the extra things that we as adults have to do over Christmas – shopping, trying to look as if we are having as much fun as everyone else on Facebook and actually going out in the evening instead of getting into pyjamas at the earliest possible moment.
It would be very easy to lose any remaining magic of Christmas. So, in order to cling onto as much joy, not miss those special moments and maybe even pause to think about what Christmas is all about, I am doing my best to embrace the rollercoaster that I suspect the run up to Christmas will be for the next few year. I want to savour every drop of enthusiasm and excitement as it is magical in it’s own exhausting way and then when I’ve finally got it nailed they can become grumpy teenagers who only want money instead of gifts, can’t be bothered with decorations and who I have to bribe out of bed in time for Christmas dinner!