Random December odds & sods

A ramble through various bits and pieces of non-crucial recent events (none of which are actually terribly interesting, by the way, so feel free to go read another post):

While I didn’t exactly fulfil my resolution of last year to follow Flylady’s Cruising Comfortably Through The Holidays plan this time around (I did check out the day-by-day missions regularly, but in actual practice I don’t think I did more than a couple on the days allocated for them), it was still a resolution well worth making – I may not have been sticking to the letter of the plan, but I did stick to the spirit of it.  I started early, I aimed to do things bit by bit rather than in one huge panicked last-minute rush, and, although I suppose it was more of a Rowing Through The Choppy Waves Of The Holidays thing, it worked. 

Thus, by the first of this month, I had all of my presents either bought or ordered except for my sister’s (which is totally not my fault – I asked her three or four times to give me her list already and she never did.  So there(1).)  I had, for the first time in living memory, managed to order Barry’s presents far enough in advance to get the Free Super Saver Delivery from Amazon instead of having to pay extra.  I had most of my cards done.  I had the decorations up.  By the day that I’d booked off from work to go Christmas shopping, I had no Christmas shopping left to do.  I did have an extremely long Post Office queue to stand in to get my cards posted, but that was a doddle compared to what trekking round the local city centre with a toddler, two weeks before Christmas, would have been like.  Hah.  I believe I am entitled to feel just a tad smug.  (Not too much.  I have a single child, a husband who does wrapping, and a planned trip to the in-laws for Christmas which means that food-buying and preparation have not needed to figure anywhere on the to-do list, so my Christmas preparations are inherently easier than those of most other people.)

Jamie is very pleased with the installation of flashing lights in the living room and on the stairs.  He rapidly figured out how to switch the tree lights on, so now he puts them on as soon as he heads downstairs in the morning.  I was, as it turned out, being a little optimistic last year when I wondered whether he might be old enough to help put the ornaments on the tree this year, but he certainly enjoys taking them off – our tree is surrounded not by presents (Jamie is now at the age where he has the ability to open presents but not the comprehension to grasp the concept that one is expected to wait until Christmas to do so) but by a forlorn little scatter of Christmas ornaments, removed from their branches.  Interestingly, the wooden mitten that was his favourite last time has gone totally unnoticed this year.  He showed brief fascination for a red glittery star, and he also liked the little set of carol singers that I put on the windowsill, but his big favourite (apart from the lights) has been the Advent calendars.  He insists on getting them down several times each day and trying to open all the windows.

We’ve changed our evening routine a bit.  Until recently, Jamie had an 8.30 bedtime, but he’s been taking longer and longer to fall asleep, leaving me sitting outside the door on toddlerwatch duty ready to put him straight back to bed whenever he tries creeping out.  While this was not a huge problem for me (what are laptops for?  Besides, it meant I had no excuse for not keeping up with my journal reading), I did realistically have to recognise that a huge part of this was that Jamie just didn’t need as much sleep any more.  He’s still napping for two hours or more in the afternoon, and the books say that by the age of two the average child doesn’t need more than an hour’s nap, so we either had to cut back on the nap or move his bedtime later.  We went with the second option because that suited us better (we do not want to lose that nice long break in the middle of the day!) and it seemed to suit Jamie just fine as well – after all, it was the pattern he was falling into naturally. 

So, now bedtime is officially 9.30 – after his bath he comes downstairs to play for a bit before I take him upstairs to his room at around 8.45 – 9.00 for a bit of a wind-down (I’ve moved more of his books and quieter toys upstairs, so that we have things to do up there) and then at around 9.15 I start the final count-down (teeth-brushing, into bed, two stories, a look out of the window after Ten Sleepy Bunnies, to say goodnight to the moon, lights out, my final little talk to him about the exciting things he did that day and will do next day, and a goodnight hug and kiss for him).  I hadn’t been looking forward to this change, as by the end of the day I’m usually more than ready for some child-free time, but it’s working out very well – I’ve found I like having more time for his bath and not being in a rush to get him to bed afterwards.  It’s a pleasant little unwinding time in his room, reading books and chatting to him about things.

The other change that we’ve now tried for the past couple of evenings is to eat dinner at 7.30 with Jamie instead of leaving it until after he’s in bed.  This isn’t going to be possible every night because it depends on whether Barry can get dinner ready by then, but Jamie is now old enough that he can usually be parked in front of the television amuse himself uncomplainingly for brief periods of time while Daddy does something else.  It’s amazing how much more time it seems to make in the evening, having dinner early.  I’m starting to cherish remote hopes that I might manage to catch up on sleep some time in this lifetime.

Monday just gone, December 18th, we went to the carol concert at the local nursing home.  Last year it was almost impossible to keep Jamie settled enough for us to listen; this year he was brilliant.  He did eventually get bored and wriggly and Barry took him out, but he behaved himself for nearly an hour before that!  He danced to the music, looked at the dog that someone had brought along, played a bit with his calculator (the only child-distractor I could find that wasn’t noisy, didn’t have distracting flashing lights, didn’t require Mummy or Daddy to be talking aloud, and didn’t have numerous small pieces to be lost in corners of the nursing home), and spent time sitting quietly on my lap or Barry’s.  It was, as it happens, the seventh anniversary of the day I met Barry.  There couldn’t have been a better way to spend it than sitting there listening to carols with my husband next to me and my son snuggled up to us, listening (and bopping along) to the music like the wonderful big boy he is.

(1)  And, Ruth, if you’re reading this – this still applies.  Let me know what you want before we next meet up.  Otherwise, it’s the lump of coal for you.

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