Tuesday, 1 January 2008

What I learned this Christmas...

Happy New Year to you all.
The festive season is now officially over. New Year is normally considered to be a time for consideration, a time to look back and reflect: what lessons have I learned this year? At the close of 2007, is there any information I should record here for the edification of future generations? There must be some hard-won knowledge that I can pass on for the benefit of others, or even just to prevent myself making the same mistakes next year...?
Well, yes. As it happens, there are some recent lessons lodged very firmly in my mind at the moment. Here is what I have learned over the last 2 weeks, during what I had been looking forward to as 'a well-deserved Christmas break', (a title that I now consider to be filled with ironic cruelty):

1) Get the 'flu jab. I was offered the 'flu jab twice, once through my office and once when our Doctors surgery wrote to me, specifically citing me as suitable candidate given my history of past ailments. I failed to take up either opportunity - in fact, I recall being faintly dismissive of these offers, moaning out loud about the Nanny State and "real men not having 'flu jabs". In hindsight, I will be the first to admit this was cretinous nonsense: 'real men' may well decline their free 'flu jabs, but then these 'real men' are likely to find themselves feeling a bit unwell on the 23rd December, truly rotten by the 24th and then fully flattened by the 'flu virus from pretty much the start of Christmas through to New Year - just like me. I am only feeling relatively well now, on the 1st January, and I'm back at work tomorrow, so Christmas has been effectively wrecked by own pig-ignorance. Contrary to Christmas tradition I have lost about 10 pounds in weight, and frankly I think half of that has simply run out of my nose...

2) Nini needs her turkey: Regardless of my state of health, my wife will want her Christmas dinner. This year we were visiting with Granny & Grandad on the day itself, and Nini had been looking forward for some months to being supplied with a top-notch Christmas meal, having other people around to distract the children, and generally being a guest rather than a hostess. It was clear my 'little sniffle' was not going to be an obstacle to that. In fact, it was clear that anything up to and including my slipping into a coma was not going to be an obstacle to that...
N: "How are you feeling?"
P: "Dreadful. Truly dreadful. Just talking hurts.."
N: "Hmm, well maybe you can sleep in the car - you'll feel better."
P: "In the car? You actually want me to go in the car?"
N: "It will be good for you."
P: "How? How will it be good for me?"
N: "It will be good for you, because I won't have to kill you for ruining my Christmas dinner..."

3) Singing dolls are a mistake. As I maybe mentioned before, we bought Amelie an Arial the Mermaid doll. We even paid the extra fiver for the deluxe version, with its very own 'crab buddy' accessory, spare dress and - disastrously - a necklace that made her 'sing' a small part of 'Part of your World' when pressed. This choice has proven to be a poor one, as I have now heard the same ten-second refrain from the song approximately 700 hundred times. It has become clear that what we have stupidly done is pay that little bit extra just to ensure that Amelies toy is infinitely more irritating. Of course, she adores it and won't be separated from it, so it is basically continually present and continually singing. It very nearly ended its brief life being hurled into the verge alongside the M3 at 70 m.p.h as a result...

4) Do not give your toddler a hammer for Christmas. In the run up to the festive season, people asked us what Neve might like. We jokingly replied that her chief hobby was hitting things. At Christmas, people dutifully gave her a number of toys to 'exercise' this useful skill: pop up games, rubber hammers, etc. As a result, she has stepped up her experimentation in the 'hitting things' stakes, with variations on the following theme:
i) Select object 'a'. Its only criteria for acceptance should be that you can heft it, in two hands if need be.
ii) Select object 'b'. This really can be anything, but for best results it should be either fragile, or precious, or hideously expense, or even living and breathing.
ii) Hit object 'b' with object 'a' repeatedly. See which breaks first: object 'a', object 'b' or Daddys shredded nerves...

5) Favourite toys: The girls favourite toys are not the one you thought they would be. There is in fact only one simple rule in play: at any time, their favourite toy, irrespective of cost, appeal, or even actual ownership - the one toy they want at any given second, more than anything else in the world - is the one their sister is currently happily playing with...

1 comment:

JT said...

Just heard. Chin up.