He loves to read. He really does, with me and all by himself.
But sometimes he gets distracted by his shoes. Like all good kiddies.
It's the 1st of December today. We cracked out the advent calendar (just a plain open the window one. No fancy craft work here, because do you know, the thrill they get from something so simple is second to none. No need for intricate planning of clever scheduled activities, unattainable ornament making, excessive cost or overworked sentiment. Just good old fashioned anticipation, with a tiny bit of oh so elusive chocolate to sweeten the deal).
I feel like I've failed Craft/Mothering Blogging 101 for admitting that, but seriously the kids think it is The.Absolute.Best.Thing.In.The.World. and how can I deny them that?
I also put a wreath on the door. I've been dying to do that for a long time. I haven't done it before for many reasons, but this year I decided it was time to do something just for me. I got a very tasteful one, that I love very much. It's made from real leaves. I went out on my own today, and when I got home, I noticed some red detritus hanging from my oh so perfect wreath. On closer inspection, I realised it was some sort of kid craft. And there was Tilly, proudly pointing it out to me. It was a sweet, lopsided decoration made by one of her little pals back in Sydney and sent up by post which came while I was out. And while my design aesthetic was vying to take it off, Tilly was so thrilled, and how can I deny her that?
So it's clean lined, tasteful wreath with jolly kiddy frill at our place.
And, can you believe it? We haven't ever played Christmas carols out our place since before Andrew and I were married. I know I'm a bit of a cynic, and he seems to have some sort of allergic reaction to them, but I feel like I need them now. And I know I can't deny the children the simple joy of Christmas carols. So I reaped a veritable treasure from iTunes and now I feel so much more jolly. And Tilly has picked them up so quickly. Though her version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" gives me pause when she shouts out "SO BE GOOD FUCKOODNESS SAKE". Help! I plead innocence...it's my husband that uses the vulgar language.
As Tilly says " 'Sugar!' is ok isn't it Mum?"
As you may have guessed, I'm not what you could call spiritual. But I suppose any cynicism I have is a bit of a front, and I have been known to be quite sentimental at times and it is because of all this that I find myself in a bit of a quandary.
How do I explain Christmas to my children? It can't just be about getting lots of presents.
I asked the child that can actually articulate thought (as opposed to the one that mutters the same word with different inflections to mean a variety of things jis (this), jis (push), jis (shoes) and so on and so forth, mind you he does shout, very clearly "cra-a-a-ack" for crakers. he just loves crack...what sort of children am I raising????)
So yes, I asked Tilly what she thought Christmas was.
"When you get lots of presents"
"When you get to eat chocolate"
"Ummmmm, (silence)...... when you celebrate the year"
Oh thank you, thank you for having just a little substance my dear girl. But we are going to have to work on the meaning of Christmas.
This is what I think.., and I have actually only tried to put feelings into words this afternoon. Because I want to explain it to them, and I want to explain it right...but it is very hard and it's going to take a bit of work.
Christmas is definitely time to celebrate. Rejoice even.
For the fact that life can be very good really.
And if we want to look at tradition, the fact that a little baby might be born in a bed of straw and yet still bring immense joy to loving parents is something to revere.
That is what sums up Christmas to me, love that human kind can have for a tiny baby. The thrill of new life. Becoming and belonging to a family, no matter how humble the beginnings.
Now to find the words to explain it to a four and half year old. So it is not all about "when you get lots of presents"