On a wing and a prayer

>> Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Lunch today, with Boy #2 and I enjoying some quality time (Boy #1 was at nursery. Last day of term tomorrow, help...). After approximately 3 mouthfuls, Boy #2 decides he's had enough of this, and that he is going to climb down from his elegant but not very enclosing Stokke high chair and play with Thomas the Tank engine under the table.

Now, Boy #2 is not a waif-like individual. In fact, at 2 years younger, he is approximately 90% of his older brother's weight. So let's just say that his skipping a meal or two doesn't induce the panic in me that it might. But, nutritional concerns aside, it's not good practice to allow this type of behaviour, so I proceed to hoik him out and put him back in his chair.

The phone rings. I go and fetch it. When I get back, he's under the table again.

I can make this a confrontation, I think, or I can experiment in other ways of getting him to do as he's told. So, I start to whistle; The Wheels on the Bus. Cautious applause from under the table. By verse #2, I've started to sing the words (well, otherwise how would he know which action to do?). We've reached the wiper's on the bus going swish, swish, swish by the time he emerges. I throw in some extra gusto and a spot of vibrato for special impact as I lift him back into his chair.

He looks at me. Opens his mouth. Is he going to join in? I hold my breath.

"Mamma. Sssshhhh."

I'm crushed.

Let's draw a veil over my vocal talents and move swiftly on to my next favourite Christmas thing...

Last Minute Shopping

Now, I'm not talking about the sort of last minute shopping you fit in when you're at the supermarket a few days before Christmas and spot a must-have roll of gift-wrap. Ha! That is last minute shopping for pansies. I'm not even talking about on-line shopping two nights in advance, riding the roller coaster of 'will they / won't they deliver the mail in time' for the next 48 hours.

No, I am referring to the 'it's midday on Christmas Eve and I have yet to buy a single present' type of Last Minute Shopping.

I bet you think I'm mad.

I must admit, this has had to fall by the wayside in the last couple of years - children slow you down, and buggies are a nightmare on department store escalators - but pre-kids, I firmly believed this was the only way to do it. Leave the office after the final mince pie was eaten, rush to the nearest row of shops, and buy the lot, preferably in as short a time and as few stores as possible. John Lewis would be sufficent, actually, or Bentalls in Kingston upon Thames when I lived out that way. I could be in and out of there within 45 minutes when I was match fit. Pre-kids. (Did I mention that already? Because if I you're thinking of doing this with children in tow you are certifiable...)

And it's not that I had an exhaustive list, no indeed. The skill of the true last minute shopper is to not really have any idea of what to get the recipients, but to make whatever is available suit them. It hasn't always worked out, agreed. For instance, my brother got what looked like the same scarf 3 years running once, because my taste hadn't changed but my memory was impaired by the wine that had accompanied those mince-pies in the office. He had the good grace not to point this out; I only realised when in 2003 I found a photo of the 2002 present frenzy, with him wearing what looked the very same Ted Baker scarf I had just given him that morning...

But overall, it was a pretty sound strategy. If you don't have kids (did I say that already?), and a free afternoon when you finish on Christmas Eve, I suggest you try it. If you've got children, however... you would be crazy. Don't even think about it. Haven't done it all online already? You're toast.

BTW - I'm toast.


aims 19 December 2007 at 14:07  

Having been a store owner - we loved those last minute shoppers.
Especially the fear in their eyes when they ran into the store....ahhhhh - the joy of cash abandoned without much thought!!

Iota 19 December 2007 at 18:05  

You're a last minute shopper after my own heart. If there's no department store nearby, go for the nearest bookshop. How difficult can it be to find a book for everyone? But you're so right about the pre-kids bit...

Potty Mummy 19 December 2007 at 21:24  

Aims, it's good to know that somebody benefitted from the lack of planning on my thought. Because it certainly wasn't my family...

Iota, books are my constant standby. Was devastated on Sunday to find out that our local Waterstones is closing; only 5 minutes walk from us it has been my stalwart standby for presents for friends of the boys for the last couple of years. Now it's gone I'm going to have to get creative - and organised - and buy proper presents. Like guns. (How to make yourself popular in PC central London...)

Tattie Weasle 19 December 2007 at 22:42  

Hello Toast! I'm toast too...I've been having a lovely catch up and realising I'm getting quite useless - work and builders again and of course juggling both Boys while trying to do both!
Loved the shhhhh - why can they bring you down to earth with such a bump??? Still laughing excellent tonic while I watch the bank balance diminish as we frantically buy online so that MiL doesn't get upset again about her present or lack thereof this year....

Jonny's Mommy 20 December 2007 at 14:18  

I tend to do Christmas shopping the same way....reading aims comment I'll have to be a bit more cautious and calm about it though!

Potty Mummy 20 December 2007 at 15:09  

Hi Tattie, glad to raise a smile, I know it's not easy when there are builders on site. (We have some working on the flat 2 floors above us and it's driving me crazy. CRAZY, I said. I had to shout because they're making so much noise...). As for MiL's present; check out Dulwich Mummy; she has some excellent ideas...

Hi Jonny's Mommy, thanks for the visit! Must admit this is the first year I've done most of the shopping on-line, and it has been a bit of revelation. And rather cheaper too, actually! But I haven't been able to forsake my last-minute habit entirely; there are two or three present left that I just have to leave 'till Sunday. Because I can, you understand...

Iota 22 December 2007 at 23:52  

Guns.... oh, two a penny here in Walmart. Must-have gift for any child with the necessary fine motor skills. Don't get me started.

Potty Mummy 23 December 2007 at 14:11  

Iota, I'm assuming we're talking replicas rather than the real McCoy... Please tell me we are?

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