'Holiday season.' Or, the emotional rollercoaster that is Christmas and the new year
The whole lot of it, Christmas, new year, visits and visitors, meals out and meals in, presents and Christmas TV and unhealthy food.
Well, I mean, there’s still half a box of celebrations to eat and half a panatone, plus some cheese, but, for the most part, it’s over.
Now, I am a fan of Christmas. I big fan actually, what’s not to like? An excuse to see family (I happen to like my family) eat good (lots of) food and watch tv together seems like a great idea to me! There are always a few rows and a few longer-then-planned Boxing Day walks, but I like it. Snowflakes and chestnuts and fires and all that...
...but, Christmas is a difficult time to be ‘totes emosh,’ and nothing fits the description of ‘totes emosh’ like a three and a half year old, especially at Christmas time.
Even more specifically on Christmas Eve, at bedtime.
I have lost count of the number of times I have said to The Husband over Christmas ‘it’ll be better in the new year, when everything goes back to normal.’ Thats not to say we have had a bad Christmas, we haven’t, but it’s all very exciting when you’re small, and very little prepared me for the emotional state the preschool got herself into on Christmas Eve.
Despite us playing down the whole event, she sobbed uncontrollably for some time before falling into a restless and fitful sleep from which she woke more then once. When asked what was wrong or why she was crying, she could only wail ‘I don’t knooooow!’ Or ‘I can’t stop crying...!’ She didn’t really understand what was going to happen-that became apperant when she spotted the presents under the tree the next morning. (She has explained to be at least 150 times since how she, mummy, daddy, The Boy, The Dog and The Grandma were all asleep and Farther Christmas came and left the presents). She had no knoladge of this prior to Christmas Day, or at least no understanding of this despite this not actually being her first christmas. Nevertheless, Christmas Eve left her a blubbering wreak and there was no consoling her.
She enjoyed opening presents the next day, even if we did make her wait to do so. The Boy, of course, took it all in his stride, and I reckon we have another year in him before he too, really starts to understand what happens on Christmas Day. I suspect next year The Girl will be even more ‘emosh,’ but we’ll see.
The aquward behaviour of The Girl began at the start of the School holidays. Our usually happy and pleasant 3-year-old was replaced with some sort of demon child, who’s first response to every and any instruction was ‘no!’ Followed by shouting, foot stamping or sobbing. We were bewildered, unsure of what had happened and more then once The Girl had to ask me ‘mummy, why lou just stare at me?’
‘I don’t know baby!’ I usually reply, because it’s a better response then; ‘because I have no idea what just happened and what I should do about it.’
Despite us playing Christmas Eve down, she had still had lots of hype at preschool about it, she had amazed us at the preschool carol concert by joining in, remembering every word and action, watching the teacher merticulessly to make sure she got it right. She waved happily at us in the audience (we were perticually impressed after last year’s performance where she cried, ran and sat in my lap and refused to move for 20 mins) and was very excited to recive cards (with glitter on) from some of her little friends.
The local Rotery Club did a visit of Santa to local naghbourhoods, and we turned out in the freezing cold, all of us, plus the dog, to trapse behind a slow moving 4x4 dragging a sleigh with wheels and a cold looking, but unexpectedly jolly Santa, in the dark, with the rest of the naghbour hood. (Actually, I make it sound lame, and it really should have been lame, but it was actually quite good!)
I only ever really feel like Christmas has properly started after a trip to Olympia to the Horseshow, and when Farther Christmas showed up here as well, (albeit in the lamest Christmas finale I have ever seen them do) The Girl couldn’t believe her luck, despite being a bit confused about how Santa got around so much. (I have heard her explaining that she saw one Santa, then another Santa and then another Santa, she doesn’t quite get yet that he’s supposed to be the same one!)
Add to all of this that everyone you meet for the 6 weeks prior to Christmas takes a moment to ask the children ‘is Father Christmas coming to your house soon?’ I expect I have asked small children the same question in the past, but it’s odd, isn’t it, that this is the only thing we think small children can relate to at Christmas. We had so many other things happen over Christmas that I know The Girl enjoyed. Visits from family and friends, dog walks and running events that she got to watch or take part in. A party, a shopping trip, a Cristingle, lots of chocolate, swimming, the list goes on, but I guess the thing people assume is universal is the whole Santa thing (of course in some households he doesn’t appear so asking about him can be dangerous territory). Anyway, it all added up to Christmas Eve being a big meltdown, and moments over the Christmas break of defiance or anger can largely be put down to this anticipation, this build up of expectation, and all of the wonderful, exciting and fun adventures we had over Christmas we’re definitely glad to be back in out ‘normal’ routine. Things are calmer, everyone is more balanced and ‘normal’ can still be an adventure, right?!