Christmas, Christmas, everywhere...

>> Monday, 10 December 2007

Christmas Anecdote #1

This afternoon I took the boys to meet Santa, who just happened to be visiting Selfridges as we were passing. (And I just happened to have tickets - who would have thought?).

They were delighted by the Christmas Grotto, the mechanical rabbits and foxes playing in the fake snow, (although not convinced by the clearly whirring reindeer), and loved the train which went twice round a track the size of a 10p piece before stopping 3 meters from where it started at 'Santa's Station'.

Boy #1 was excited enough to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas; a new scooter, a toy crocodile - no surprises there - and some games. He was also able to translate for his younger brother, who apparantly wants a 'traffic jam' (???? Knowing our luck and travel schedule, he will probably get it at some stage), and a doll for his mini-buggy (more of which later).

We then had some pizza nearby, they both behaved impeccably, and we headed home in a cab. Driving through Hyde Park, some earnest impulse to educate overcame me, and I pointed out The Albert Memorial to Boy #1. I should have known better.

Me: Look, see that pointy building over there? The one with the gold on it? That was built by a queen to remember her husband.

Boy #1: Was she a real queen? With a crown?

Me: Yes.

Boy #1: Why did she need to remember her husband? Was he at a meeting? Like your husband? (This is a habit he has recently developed; of referring to his father as 'your husband', and it's more than a little disconcerting. Where has it come from? Who knows...)

Me: No, he wasn't at a meeting like Papa (for the the benefit of the cab driver rather than Boy #1, who looks at me strangely). He died, and she was very sad about it, so she built that, over there. (Oh god, what have I got myself into?)

Boy #1: Why did he die?

Me: I can't remember, exactly. The doctors tried to make him better but they couldn't.

Boy #1: Were they too busy with other people? (Out of the mouths of babes)

Me: No, they tried really hard but he just didn't get well again. But because he was such a great husband and so helpful to her, the queen built that memorial. Can you say that; 'memorial'?

Boy #1: Yes. I can say that (But clearly couldn't be bothered to). What did he do?

Me: All sorts of interesting things (help, help, I can't remember anything suitable to be repeated to a 4 year old).

Boy #1 (perking up and suddenly showing real interest): What sorts of interesting things? Did he turn on the television?

Good grief.

Christmas Ancedote #2

Both Husband and I have repeatedly informed our mothers that this year, no multiple presents for the boys, please. One present for each of them, not too expensive, and if they want to spend more then they should get one for both boys to share. (Before you freak out, we have enough plastic crxp in the house to sink the Titanic, and of course we are ignoring this directive when it comes to the presents we give them ourselves - it's our right as parents and besides, I get to choose those bits of plastic crxp myself...).

The grandmothers were less than impressed with this development, to the extent that one of them, who shall remain nameless (but let's just say I am not related to her by blood), turned up recently with a bag full of presents for the boys that she had been going to give them at Christmas but now wasn't allowed to. So she gave them early, instead. This is what we're dealing with - so you won't be surprised by what happened next.

She then asked me for ideas on what to get them for the Big Day. I suggested an interactive globe, and also that since it was over £20, she should give it to both of them.

Horrifed pause. Both of them? Was I sure? But what would Boy #2 open? She hated for him to be left out...

He's not even 2, I said. His birthday's just after Christmas. I think he'll be ok with it (like he'll even notice). She agreed, unwillingly.

Then, a couple of days ago, at rush hour just before lunch when she KNOWS I'm running around like a headless chicken, the phone rings...

Mother-in-law: Hello Potty, I know you're busy. (Why ring, then?) I'm just on my way out to buy Boy #2 his Christmas present

Me, trying to avoid tripping up on a fire engine tactically parked across the kitchen door, and simultaneously dragging a starving Boy #2 who has attached himself to my leg in an effort to hurry up lunch (not quite sure how he thinks that will work, but there you go), whilst also laying the table and talk on the phone: Oh, right.

M-i-L: So, I wondered what you think he might like?

Me ( warning bells beginning to ring, and thinking that surely we already had this conversation, but too distracted to to connect the dots): Well...

M-i-L: How about some cars?

Me: No, he's already being given some of those. (Suddenly I start to pay attention, and it clicks. Well, if she wants to be sneaky, I can do that too). There is one thing, though.

M-i-L (scenting the kill, thinking I'm still distracted); Oh yes?

Me: Yes. How about a doll?

M-i-L, voice raised in horror: A doll?

Me; Yes, you know, a doll. That he can push around in his buggy. A Baby Doll. He always loves to play with them when we visit friends who's kids have them.


Me: Milly?

M-i-L: Is there a back-up?

Funnily enough, there wasn't...


aims 11 December 2007 at 01:17  

Really Potty - you are just having all the fun over there....

Elsie Button 11 December 2007 at 10:54  

i loved the traffic jam present! And the anecdote about the memorial, and the fact he wasn't to be taken in by your attempt to distract him by asking him to say the word!

Potty Mummy 11 December 2007 at 11:44  

Aims, I do try to please...

Elsie, I know, what on earth is he talking about? It's clearly a specific item, as it's been mentioned repeatedly. I think a word with his nursery school teacher is in order, or there could be grave disappointment on Christmas morning. Then again, he will probably have forgotten about it by then. (I can hope, can't I?)

Mya 11 December 2007 at 15:47  

Inspired asking the MiL for a doll! Ha ha. I wonder what she'll get. Can you buy action man as a baby?

Mya x

Potty Mummy 11 December 2007 at 20:31  

Who knows, Mya? I can bet it won't be Tiny Tears, though...

Anonymous,  12 December 2007 at 08:58  

Wait until they're older - then you can get grandparents to buy that truly horrible violent PlayWhatever game that they desperately want. And then when they're spending hours on said totally unsuitable game & grandma complains, you'll be able to point out that you didn't buy it for them and think that at least it wasn't your money.

Potty Mummy 12 December 2007 at 11:22  

Top tip, guinea pig mum: I shall file that one away for future years!

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