The Day after Boxing Day

Boxing Day is the day after Christmas when all the workers who service your home pop around to visit with their box. You the householder, hand out tips of gratitude to the butcher, the baker, the milkman, the postman and any other men who provide a service! Or at least that’s the traditional, old fashioned tradition.

We, all modern American’s, are heading back home for the “wedding.”

So whilst we’re away, here are a few posts, some of the more popular or older posts that you may have missed.

This time of year when families gather, old memories come back as reminders, whether they are welcome or not. They are useful reminders that whatever you think is adrift in your current life, there is no way to accurately “predict the future.”

Parents all over the world, endeavour to do the best for their children but sometimes we have to admit to ourselves that we’re all just “muddling through.”

During any holiday, parents can bump into the unexpected, little hurdles that we aim to clear but often “trip us up.”

Some parents have a partner to assist them in the task of raising children, others are less fortunate. Others still, fail to appreciate the “input of the other parent.”

Multitasking is the name of the game if you happen to be a parent. Whilst you never imagined that you would become a juggler in your old age, if you hope to survive you need to dig up those “hidden talents.”

Modern life means we have it easy as appliances, make domestic existence “so much more flexible.”

Since the holiday season is over, I can return to my “grumpy old self.”

They say that travel broadens the mind, but all too often it leads you down a “blind alley.”

A speech impairment or delay can be a curious thing. Sometimes you may feel that you are “wading through treacle.”

We are all too free with our opinions, but sometimes we may inadvertently reach the “wrong conclusion.”

Some of us are slopping in our definitions, but other people require “more precision.”

See you later alligators.


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Boxing Day – Colours of Friendship

 

“Jen P” over at “What Jen Finds Out” is determined to drag me up the blogging learning curve and has kindly passed on this token of friendship. I refuse to write all that mushy stuff about relationships as I might split my stiff upper lip.

Traditionally, in other parts of the world, Boxing Day means that trades people who have helped maintain your household and sanity throughout the year, pop around to collect their tips, where the homeowner has the opportunity to show their appreciation for other people’s hard work and support.

As I look around at the recipients it would seem there are a great many connections already, but there’s now harm in spreading it a little further. As I sit here surrounded by small people playing with Pokemon, I can easily pop along to “Chelle” at “Crazy Thoughts,” to catch up and share.

Another prodigious blogger is “Holly” at “Fragile X” where the six of them muddle along much the way that everyone else does, especially this one that made me chuckle “today.”

Then moving swiftly on to “Haddayr” at “Haddayr’s Journal” who manages to keep me on the straight and narrow as we share a similar sense of humour, thank goodness!

Then there is the dauntingly wonderful “Niksmom” over at whose dedication, humour and energy leave me dead in my tracks.

If you fancy changing your perspective a little and altering your focus then I would highly recommend nipping along to “Casdok” at “mother of shrek,” her refreshing outlook on life, keeps us all on our toes.

Everyone already knows “Bub and Pie” but now that I have her on my google feed reader I can be a bit more organised. Her antics with her children, juggling career and family life leave me feeling more than a little weary, as I have every admiration for those mums who manage to work outside the home too.

“Like a Shark” is another site where we share many of the same turmoils of indecision. I’m sure all parents struggle with ‘what to do’ and ‘what is the best option’ for their children and here we can see that road, wind and turn, twist and circle, but always end up in the foamy crest of a wave.

Also to “Sarah” at “The Nefariouspoo of Sarah [A field trip into Disability Advocacy” as although her plate is full to overflowing, she still finds time to work for others.

Hoping that Boxing day brings you many callers.


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Happy Holidays from the Aliens

 


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A Snippet of Sleepover

My daughter has 6 pals over for her “sleepover birthday party.” I find it odd that I am surprised. I am surprised that all six of my daughter’s friends share certain personality traits. Vociferous, opinionated and confident. It is alarming combination especially when there are so many of them. I thought I knew them all quite well already but they are different creatures in a school setting. They are different creatures when they visit us for an individual play date. En masse they are impressive.

I have only two priorities for this venture, that my daughter enjoys her birthday celebration and that the boys keep their nether regions covered, anything else is a windfall. It is immediately apparent that the latter may affect the former.
“Geez, put yur shirts on why dontcha,” demands a youthful nine year old. Neither boy pays her any heed. California in December may have an occasional chill, but inside it is balmy.
“I SAID put yur shirts on!” she repeats more loudly with an acerbic edge. The boys continue to play with their Pokemon without a care in the world. “Madeline yur boys ain’t listenin to me!”
“I know, but it is rather warm in here don’t you think?”
“Maybe, but you know!  They’ve got their shirts off,” she exclaims, outraged with a hint of embarrassment, “I can see their skin an all.” I dither. Shirts off but trousers on, is far more of a generous compromise than I could have anticipated.
“I know, how about you run off and play with the other girls, leave the boys in here, then you won’t have to look at them?”
“Hmm, maybe.” She squirms a little, as indecisive as me.

She adopts a different tactic and makes her feelings known.
“Pokemons are evil. I hate em!” My sons continue to play with the plush, fluffy creatures.
“They’re dumb!” she continues when no reaction is forthcoming.
“Are yah deaf?” Neither so much as blinks in her direction. I dither. Intervene or wait for her to get bored?
“Are yah in special ed coz yur deaf?” Silence. She steps back into the kitchen to ask the same question to me. “They’re in Special Ed because they’re autistic, remember we talked about this with your mum?” She looks back at me blankly, “oh yeah,” she mumours distractedly. She returns to the family room relentless, to yell at the two deaf boys.
“I hate Pokemon!” I find the repetition a little tiresome but she is dogged. It occurs to me that some kind of mis-communication has taken place. Some how or other she has filed ‘autism’ into the ‘deaf’ category, they appear synonymous, but then children often mid-file unfamiliar information into the wrong category.
“D’yah hear me? I said they’re dumb and stoopid.” A trigger word. A banned word.
“Day are not stoopid. Stoopid is a bad word. We are not be saying ‘stoopid’ in our house. It be dah rule.”
“Itsa stoopid rule. That’s a real dumb rule. They’re evil guys believe me, I know!”
“You be not know.”
“How many ya got anyways?” she adds in a voice that fails to beat the sound barrier.
“Infinity,”he answers casually.
“Really?”
“No I be lie coz infinity is my favourite number huh!” he roars with laughter as he rolls around of the floor delighted at his own joke. His older brother mimics the sound of each Pokemon exactly, as the boys continue to play together. He blinks across at the girl, “you wanna play wiv us?” he asks tentatively.
“No, they’re dumb……and evil,” she persists. She hovers in the kitchen close by as I prepare the next of innumerable snacks for those with hollow legs.
“Er, when’s his birthday?” she asks me.
“June.”
“How old he’s gonna be?”
“He will be nine.”
“Oh.”She seems ever so slightly disappointed although I'm not entirely sure why? I keep my own counsel because I am an adult and therefore technically the enemy.

My daughter and the rest of her party flutter back into the family room as the boys continue to play. As they lounge on the sofa, the boys’ Pokemon noises are a soft back drop to their discussion about the boys in their own 4th Grade class.

I ear wig, one of my more finely honed skills. I memorize each male name and the reaction of the girls to the naming of each. The flock flees amid a flurry of girlish squeals. One girl, the same girl, remains behind. She leans against the wall watching them. Her fingers twiddle with a coil of her ash blond hair. She sidles closer to my son. She appears coy, with a healthy dollop of simper.
“Can yah make any Pokemon noise?” she coos. I wonder if my son recognizes coy when he sees it?
“Sure,” he beams using a voice that is loud enough to be heard, rather than his usual whisper. He rises to the bait. “You name it?”
“I don know any Pokemon names,” she titters.
“Here,” he slips across the room to retrieve the Pokemon manual, a thing the size of a telephone directory and just as boring. Her eyebrows shoot up as he shoves the book into her waiting arms and chest. “Geez, they sure do have long names. I don know if I can even say em?”
“Try.”
“Er Charmeleon?”
He contorts his body into an exact replica and growls to a perfect pitch. Her immediate alarm is tempered by intrigue. She calls the name again and he crawls towards her, still miming, still perfect. “Come on Charmeleon,” she beckons, siren that she is. He scampers after her to her squeals of delight.

Oh yes, I think he has”coy” filed in quite the right category.


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Blogging Buddy Awards

“Mamampj” over at “A Room of Mama’s Own” has passed along this lovely award of the ‘blogging buddies.’ Is my feline bias on show?

Fortunately this award is self explanatory so I won’t have to test my brain capacity by coming up with suitable international translations.

Barely a year ago, I didn’t even know what a blog was. If you had told me that I would make blogging friends I would have scoffed and doubted your ability to spell.

Hence, for this post I had a dig back to when I first started blogging, to those people that I first met on the blogosphere to acknowledge their help, support and understand over the last year and how much I appreciate them.

One of my first buddies was “Jerry” over at “My Autistic Boy and Other Adventures in Fatherhood” We share a common perspective but his wife is much more attractive than mine.

Then to “Susan Senator” who was kind enough to let me know how to go about commenting in her usual gracious manner.

Also to “mommyguilt” over at “musings of a housewife” for her many kind comments and encouragement.

Again to “Hattie” over at “MotherPie” a real writing woman. In fact I suspect that she enjoys the title of lurker/rare commenter, so if you share this title, consider yourself similarly thanked.

Also to “4-frogs” at “4 green and speckled frogs”
where she shares her families disappointments and triumphs.

“Lisa” at “Lisa-jedi” over at “Life in the New Republic”

shares her creative family moments and her kind words were very much appreciated.

Then to “Gretchen” over at “Gretchen’s Blog” where she spans the generations just like me but with far more grace and charm than I can muster.


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Colours of Friendship Award

 

“Elissa” from “Managing Autism”

has kindly passed on this token of friendship. I refuse to write all that mushy stuff about relationships as I might split my stiff upper lip. Whilst I am tempted to quote ‘Bah Humbug,’ at this time of year I should probably slough off such Grinch like associations.

Firstly I should like to pass this on to “slouching mom” over at “slouching towards 40.” This is only fair because the first time I acknowledged this little gemlet I had the outrageous nerve to call her ‘sloughing’ instead of ‘slouching.’ Did she harbour evil thoughts towards me following this transgression? No, not a bit of it. In true magnanimous American style she just shrugged it off as of no consequence.

I often toddle over to another little spot where the “Queen” hangs out at the “Queen of Dysfunction.” She’s an annoying little devil without a blogging schedule. This of course is deliberate on her part just to ensure that she causes as much irritation as possible. Fortunately for me, now that I have her on my google feed reader she’s unable to escape quite so easily.

“Linda” of course is never irritating or irritated over at “Are we there Yet.” I have no choice but to pass this over to her as she has helped drag me kicking and screaming up the feed reader curve and is always a little oasis of harmony. [unless the kids are playing up]

Another fun place to nip along to is “Adventures of an Aussie Mum.” This is the joy of international connections. I am up late and night just in time to read her post as she starts her day.

“Never Judge a book” has to have one too, devious little lurker that she is, especially now that she has a spanking new template to please the eye.

Good old “Sam” is far too cerebral to partake in this kind of malarky but I am happy to send this to him. If ever you feel that life has given you a bad break, then this is the place for you. His stella work stops me in my tracks. The families and patients that he helps, in both his “work” and “play” takes my breath away.

One that I have finally managed to load onto my google reader is “Beck” at “Frog and Toad are still friends.” They are by far my favourite American book series although I do have a little bias on that front. It was that clue that first led me to her site, and now she just can’t get rid of me.

“Kristina” over at “Autism Vox” was probably my first on line pal. I lurked on her site more many a long evening back in the days where the word ‘blog’ was not in my lexicon. Indirectly she taught me all about it until I was brave enough to de-lurk and write a no doubt ludicrous comment. I felt as if I was writing on the wall of a toilet stall, but that’s probably because of the association of graffiti and bogs.

This is a bog.

As is this!


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Christmas Meme 22nd

“Ashley” over at “Hidden Recovery” has tagged me with a Christmas meme, which is a trifle tragic since this is the 22nd today and I’m almost out of time – eek!

I shall endeavour to do my best as Ashley and I share a common phenomenon, a Leo, both lovely ones, although she is far more biased than I am of course. is one of the first few blogs that I was brave enough to comment upon and we have corresponded off and on ever since.

Best Childhood Gift

The same things that my mother carefully ensured were in each of our stockings each year:- four little squares of chocolate wrapped in shiny paper and tied together like a package, a shiny foiled, tightly furled umbrella of chocolate, a little yellow netting cache of chocolate pennies and a tangerine in the toe.


Best Adult Gift

Yes, it’s a thrupenny piece. This used to be my pocket money when I was a small person. My older sister had a silver sixpence, twice the value, much more shiny but not anything like as delightful as the solid thrupenny piece. The Port Cullis emblazoned upon the front and the funny smell that it left on my grubby, sweaty little palms was a real treasure. What was particularly treasured by this gift, was that my eldest daughter managed to find one for me, long after they had been withdrawn from circulation circa 1971 and gave it to me with a twinkle in her eye. 30 years after the event, I found that not only had she remembers this little tale of childhood innocent but also her the wherewithall and stamina to seek one out, just to warm the cockles of my ancient, crusty heart.

Divorced single mother’s often enjoy a close relationship with the children. In that respect I was exceptionally lucky, as illustrated by my second most popular gift that I received whilst I was an adult, also from my daughter but at a slightly earlier age.

Tucked away in the ruins of my tatty old jewelry box is another little treasure. During my youthful and rebellious period I wore copious lurid earrings. This fine pair of hand crafted Fimo ear-rings were give to me by my creative daughter. The watch allows you to admire their extreme length with I wore with pride as I stabbed my shoulders with every shrug of admiration.

What You Hope For In The Future

More of the same, the little things, that mean the most.

So I now tag

“Cal Slayton”
over at “Calslayton” as his talent just shines through but he’s not very forthcoming on the personal front. We all need a little encouragement in the sharing department sometimes.

Then there are the delightful “Brewers” over at “And Miles to Go” – they really are going for the record as they track up the miles on their way ‘home’ for the holidays. A real family of marathon runners if ever, I’ll be bound. I know they have a tonne of stuff to do but this is such a little memme that I don’t feel too guilty passing it on.

Next up is “One March Day” although she has a tendency to be cryptic the variety or her posts always keep me guessing.

A great little spot for when you’re feeling homesick for England is to visit “Dulwichmum,” it’s guaranteed to make me both regret that I’m in the States and rejoice that I’m in the States at the same time, but maybe that’s just because we share a similarly warped sense of humour.

A new pal for me is “Mrs. G” over at “Derfwadmanor.” If I didn’t know better I would swear this woman is a Brit with her dry teasing humour. As often as not the giggles are for free.

If you’re in need of a little eye candy [ not the rude kind] then I would recommend a visit to “David Mcmahon” over at “author Blog” where his fabulous photographs inspire me to remove the batteries from my digital camera and chuck it in the bin in defeat.

Another place to visit daily is “Crystal Jigsaw” but that is because I am biased towards bloggers who post daily, as I’m a stickler for routine and there’s nothing more annoying than arriving at a blog that still has the old posting that you read several weeks ago – the nerve of some people!

You could do a lot worse than nip over to “Terri” and “Her4kids” to admire her expanding family with the cutest puppies in the world ever, and no, even if you ask her very nicely she won’t mail one to you – are you trying to get her reported to the Humane Society or something?

“Melinda” over “Dear Noah” who write the most heartfelt letters to her son, take a peek and bask in all that love.

I expect you are all wondering who is the most prolific blogger on the blogosphere? A question that haunts me daily too! I am here to assure you that despite my best psychological endeavours, devious and cunning questions, I have been unable to unearth the troop of elves that help “Secret Agent Mama” with her prodigious output.

I can also highly recommend “Why Would I Sleep” which I’m sure will hit just the right note with far too many of us.

I am guilt free as I tag these people because it can either be as short and sweet or as lengthy as time allows.

When I have caught up with the other 27 outstanding memes, I plan to make one of my own. This will consist of a lengthy list of blogs that I visit who I will henceforward be boycotting because of their teeny tiny font size, or at least I would boycott them if it weren’t for the seductive content.

Cheers dearies.


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Accidentally tagged myself with Crazy 8

 

Why does that sound vaguely painful? Anyway I popped over to say hi de ho to “Akelamalu” at “Everything and Nothing” where she has one of those huge 8 memes going on. I hate 8. [Sorry “Bev”]

So

8 things I want to do before I die:
1. Work out where to live?

2. Sleep for a full 8 hours during one night!

3. Fly in a helicopter.

4. Fly in a balloon, or rather the basket that hangs under the balloon.

5. Go abseiling again.

6. Fly in a biplane and write messages in the clouds that can actually be read.

7. Kill the urge to jump off cliffs, tall buildings or anything else that is high enough that I would be dead by the time I hit the ground, or possibly sooner.

8. Grow wings and fly.

8 things I say often
1. “Good grief”

2. “Hi de ho there”

3. “Lummy”

4. “Rats”

5. “I can't remember.”

6. “Positive energy”

7. “Can we have another cuddle?”

8. “Do you think they’re asleep yet?”

8 of the Books that I am currently reading:

1. Why Does Chris do That? Tony Attwood
2. Cautionary Verses, Hilaire Belloc
3. Michael Quinion, Port Out, Starboard Home
4. Look me in the Eye, John Elder Robinson
5. Time to be Earnest, PD James
6. Ruth Rendell, The Water’s Lovely
7. Bill Bryson, Neither Here nor There
8. Art the Critics Choice

8 Songs I Could Listen to Over and Over

None. I’ve completely gone off over and over again.

8 Things that Attract Me to My Best Friends:

They are all terrifyingly superior beings – not really eight I know but at least it’s truthful.

8 People I Think Should Do Crazy Eights:
The next 8 commenters!

So first up is “Miscmum” over at “miscellaneous Adventures of an Aussie Mum,” don’t you just love how the ex-colonies still use mum? Which Americans could be as co-operative.

Then we have the scintillating “Stephanie” from “Tribe of autodidacts” We share the same taste in reading material, but her brain is a great big one as illustrated by her ability to teach her own children, in her own home without any signs of going completely off her trolly! Or should that be ‘cart’?

Moving along swiftly to “Mym and Shula” over at “Poppalina” certainly not a site for the fainthearted. If you are creatively challenged this this just might be the site to inspire you to bigger and better things. Alternatively, like me, you can just peek out from behind a very small rock and lurk. Of course they too are foreigners but you have to guess which little island they reside on. As a hint I can tell you that it’s not England or Canada. You mean you didn’t know that Canada was an Island?

So we move along to “Stepping over the Junk” where art, creativity and motherhood combine in a very happy home.

If you wish to add a bit of zip and zing to your day, then you could do a lot worse than nip over to “White Noise and Random Thoughts.” If you’re quick about it you may just catch a glimpse of a very “fetching young man,” not that I would know anything about that of course, seeing as how I am a respectfully married ancient person.

Delightful “Angela” also has a little “turtle sleeper” just like me and you can find them over at “Angelascap.”


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The Littlest Angel – Kindred Spirits

Maybe your child is a loner, some children are, as are some adults come to think of it. Some children are aware of the fact that they are without friends but they’re happier that way, self sufficient and independent. Some children are unaware that they have no friends. A few children become aware that they have no friends and wonder why? Occasionally, a child who has no friends, finds one, a friend that is to say. That individual, in this particular instance, has been in the same class as my son for three years but until just recently they have completely ignored one another, or maybe just not noticed the presence of the other?

For four years I haven’t pushed him. It’s a harmless piece of traditional fluff of no importance. But this year he is older, 7, the age of cognition for some children.

I decide to tackle the issue head on. Friday, the last day of school, the children are required to wear a Holiday hat and engage in the holiday spirit. The latter is likely to be a challenge. The former is more of a brick wall.

My youngest son’s head is generally off limits. Whilst he has been known to don head gear on occasions, more often than not it’s more protective in nature rather than the more usual clothing garment. A wooden box with a peep hole equates to protection.

There is no point in appealing to his better nature. There is no point in suggesting that he tackle this feat just to please me. He doesn’t do guilt, fortunately, so there are few choices available to me. He has no need to fit in with his peer group, he is immune to peers. He is immune to groups come to think of it. Bribery would always be my first choice given the option, but I am unable to attend school as his shadow, armed with a sackful of Goldfish Crackers.

I don’t know what, if anything the other children say to him, but I do know that if the entire school wears hats, most of them red, it’s a visual cue with neon lights.

We have the usual struggle over school attendance, last day or not, he still doesn’t want to go to school. There is no point in reminding him of the party, as party roughly translates to ‘poison pain.’ There is no point in reminding him of the gift exchange because the presents will be wrapped in paper and therefore untouchable, and in any event their contents, by definition, will be disappointing.

I do remind him of the one tolerable thing about school, that he gets to spend time with his pal, the new love of his life, his first, only and best friend, Adam. Little Adam is my own personal angel, as he has given the most precious gift to my son, the present of his very own unique self, to bond with my own little devil.

I pause and contemplate Little Adam, high end spectrum, verbal and fragile. Adam is a twin. He has a twin sister. My son was a twin, but his twin didn’t make it out into the world alive. The black hole on the sonogram was seared onto my memory, but back then, I didn’t appreciate that I was a visual learner. The icicle of terror made me hold my breath. It was melted by the steady blinking shadow of a second secret heartbeat. As a result, I find that I have a tendency to read too deeply into something of no great significance. My son wants to live with Adam, be with Adam, exist in Adam’s orbit, permanently. It is a crushing new development that leaves me and Adam’s mother, in a state of disbelief and delight.

“You know?”
“Wot?” he bellows.
“Are you going to give Adam a Christmas present?”
“No. Er yes. Um why?”
“Because he is your friend.” He looks at me blankly but lured in by the enticement of his current adoration.
“I have an idea!”
“Wot?” he bellows.
“How about I take you to the shop and you can choose a holiday hat, one for you and one for Adam. Perhaps you could choose two the same that you could both wear tomorrow, together.” He clamps his hands over his mouth to cover his rapid breathing and the battle over competing emotions. He adopts the expression of constipation unable to achieve peace of mind or body. So easy, so difficult. The caress of friendship, the torture of a hat, the agony of indecision.

“You can try it on in the shop and see it it’s itchy or scratchy? You could choose one without elastic?” You could wear it inside out for all I care. He rocks back and forth on the hard wood floors on his bony little bum with his arms clasped tightly around his legs and his head tucked into his knees.

“That way you’ll look almost the same,” I whisper to the silent mop of hair.
“Like bruvvers?”
“Maybe.”
“Maybe people are think we are twins?”
“Maybe.” No promises.


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The usual and the less so

 

Thursday Thirteen.

1. The usual seasonal Christmas tasks, such as buying presents, wrapping them, cooking special treats, cleaning up the house, write a few cards, attempt the holiday photograph, hang the last few ornaments, remember to turn the Christmas lights off during the day time to save energy and the planet, prepare for the children’s Christmas parties at school, order the turkey, more laundry and packing, bake for the neighbours gifts, visit the Christmas light show one evening after school before it gets too busy.

2. The less common ongoing non-seasonal tasks – Continue the desensitization campaign. Encourage, persuade and sooth the child that is incapable of going upstairs on his own either in daylight or darkness.

3. Dig out the Christmas Social Stories to remind one child that Christmas stockings are not the work of the devil, that he can put his hand inside the interior of a stocking to extract a present without risk of hand damage.

4. Practice ripping paper. Practice ripping paper with our hands. Introduce scissors for the truly desperate.

5. Remind everyone that it is o.k. to sing ”Jingle bells, Jingle bells, jingle all the……..’ insert random word, fall on the floor laughing. Ensure that the random word is not a potty word. Perseverating on this song will only be allowed for a period of one hour maximum.

6. Gymnastics are permitted at any time for as long as it takes but the exercises must be free of balls or any attempts at juggling anything.

7. Kinesthetically practice receiving a gift graciously, preferably with the accompaniment of a few well chosen words. ‘Thank you’ will do just nicely. Parents to model desired behaviour once in every 24 hour period.

8. Although ‘catastrophic’ is the new favourite word, we shall only use it within the confines of our own home, as it causes too much confusion in public.

9. Repeat the tradition of all making one Christmas ornament together for the tree. This year ensure that the exercise avoids glue, glitter, paper, cotton wool or any other tactily challenging substance. What would that be exactly?

10. This year, may there be less cause for howls of disappointment and frustration, or failing that, less volume.

11. Try and beat last year’s record of the 9th of January. This year all presents will have been opened by New Years Day, or is that foolishly optimistic?

12. Remember that most children have more pleasure in receiving than giving. Please let my children have pleasure in receiving. Please may just one of their gifts give them pleasure.

13. Remain hopeful and positive. Maybe by the time they reach window 24 on their Advent Calenders,
one will be able to use his own fingers to open the paper square.

Another one will find a way around the difficulty. The difficulty of covering your ears so you can’t hear your siblings cry ‘ooo it’s a sleigh’ which spoils the surprise. The difficulty of not wanting the surprise to be spoilt but simultaneously wanting to open the window yourself, with your own dodgy little fingers. The difficulty of making your eyes track the numbers whilst there are so many distractions and the over-riding excitement of anticipation.

Just maybe, by 24, everyone will open the little door at approximately the same time and enjoy precisely the same delight.

But if not this year? No pressure. No rush. Maybe next year? Or decade.


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