I had been so looking forward to this Xmas. Don’t get me wrong last year’s was special but it wasn’t that…..interactive. To be honest, H wasn’t that bothered with any of it. No ripping open of presents, no hiding in boxes, and no preferring to play with the wrapping paper. In fact, after all the sentiment had subsided it was probably a bit of a let down (there, I’ve said it!). A year on, and with him being a lot more engaged, I was looking forward to celebrating the festive period. So I made a real effort to create some special Xmas related moments.
Firstly there was the annual Xmas Lantern Walk around Chester Zoo. Once you realise that there will be hoards of children, and therefore lots of queues whilst eager parents clog up the route to take advantage of every photo opportunity, then it is a lovely occasion. He loves monkeys, giraffes, lions, and rhinos and luckily for us they were lit up on the route. However he was completely enthralled by a massive turkey (although he kept referring to it as a chicken). I thought it was the ugliest thing there and a bit creepy really, but Harry couldn’t stay away from it. He was dancing with glee every time it moved and kept going up to it telling it “go back in your house Mr Chicken”. I even went up for a cuddle off the turkey (don’t be too alarmed, it is a man dressed in a turkey suit – I am not that animal friendly) to try to coax H over to it but he was happy just dancing up and down in front of it and barking instructions at the “chicken”.
Verdict: We loved it and will pencil it in for next year.
Then we have the Santa Express at Llangollen. This would be H’s first time on a train and for it to be a steam train, and for us to be going to see Santa on it, I just thought that this was going to be amazing. I had arranged to go with friends and their children, and so 11 of us descended on Llangollen on a very wet Saturday morning. In fact the heavens had opened and there was no sign of it stopping. The day had not started well. As a mum of a toddler I was typically laden down with bags and the buggy. I spent most of my time trying to prevent the toddler from kicking off the rain covers, whilst carrying presents and the changing bag, and trying – and failing – to keep myself dry. (I now officially hate hoods. They never stay on when it is windy and rainy and when you have it up it feels like you have lost 50% of your vision). On the train you could not see out of the windows for the condensation. At the other end the kids had to either queue in the rain to see Santa, or stay on the train and wait until the queue didn’t look too bad and then make a mad dash for him. H leaked through his nappy (no baby changing facilities on a steam train as they were obviously not required all that time ago!) and there was not a decent cup of coffee in sight. To top it all off, once it was our turn on Santa’s sleigh H would go nowhere near him. The parents were offered a mince-pie and a small bottle of Baileys that I necked in a nano-second. I can only assume that the organisers knew that we were going to NEED alcohol to get us through the day. The one consolation is that I got a great photo of H as the train pulled away from the station. If all you saw was that photo then you would think it was a magical day. They say a picture speaks a thousand words, I now know that not all of those words are truthful.
Verdict: Never again.
Santa Sleigh – you know the one where the local Round Table come around the streets showering kids with sweets and accepting donations for charitable causes. I had tracked when it was due to come to our street. Typically ours turned up just as H was being put down to sleep. I whipped him up, wrapped him up in a coat and took him outside so that he could wave at Santa. Unfortunately one of his “elves” was handing out lollipops and approached us with one. Before I knew it H had it in his hands and was eagerly trying to remove the wrapper. First of all I tried to reason with the toddler about why he should wait until morning to eat it, when that failed it quickly descended in to a wrestling match. He cried for 20 minutes and only stopped when he was too exhausted to carry on and then fell asleep with his covers kicked off. His first words to me the next morning……”lollipop mummy”. Good morning to you to baby.
Verdict: Let sleeping dogs lie.
Putting up the decorations together turned out to be a bit of a damp squib. I tried plenty of oohhs and aaahhs as I got everything out of the boxes but to no avail. H was more interested in a pair of santa specs than he was mummy breaking her neck trying to put the baubles in the right place, and the angel on the top of the tree. Much to the disappointment of my family I gave up after the tree. I hate decorations anyhow – dust gatherers – I was only doing it for him.
Verdict: Epic fail.
So as I reflect on the last few weeks, I ask myself will I make all this effort again. On the balance of things, NOT ON YOUR LIFE! If I get a blow to the head between now and then and I am tempted to then at least now I have this post to read back on and remind myself not to bother. But it is not all bah humbug. What I have realised is that Xmas is for kids and next year I will let him decide what it is he wants to do and not inflict things on him that I want to do. I have learnt my lesson. Let’s see how that works out.
Harry’s Honest Mummy x