I LOVE Christmas, always have. We have a relatively small family but we always try to get as many of us together as possible. I have some wonderful memories of the many happy times we’ve shared. Becoming a parent has enabled me to try and pass on this joy to my Daughter and this is the first year I’ve thought we can fully appreciate it. It didn’t seem to go quite to plan….
It was all going so well.
Our 4 year old Daughter had finally started to understand Christmas this year. The fact she started school in September (and all the Christmas related activities that brings) together with her improving appreciation for music and her belief in all things Elf on the Shelf has made the run up to the big day a brilliant experience.
Christmas Eve was great, she loved her Christmas Eve box. We went to see the live orchestral production of the Snowman which she really enjoyed. We had a good time at a friends house in the early evening before getting home and preparing Reindeer food and Santa treats. To top it all off she fell asleep straightaway! She’s always been good at settling down once in bed but we honestly thought Christmas Eve would be the one night she’d take ages to fall asleep. So, well done her!
Christmas Day started off fine. She woke up at 5am (that wasn’t really a surprise) and climbed into our bed to open her stocking. We then went downstairs and she squealed with delight at all the presents under the tree. The first couple she opened she looked genuinely pleased and was saying things like how much she’d always wanted them. But then, it all started going a little down hill.
Searching for Annabel.
The present iBear wished for above anything else was a baby Annabel doll. Of course we bought one for her and we’d hid it among her other presents. After the first couple of things were opened she started getting a little rushed, ripping open wrapping paper and discarding the presents if they weren’t her prized doll. This started to get a bit frantic and we had to step in a couple of times to calm her down before “finding” it and putting it in front of her. Finally satisfied, she settled a little which gave us a chance to get ourselves sorted out ready to head over to Nanas where we’d be spending the day.
In the car on the way iBear decided that upon arriving no-one was allowed to do anything until someone put together her new playmobil horse stable. We found this quite funny at first until she started getting a bit of an attitude about it. Trying to bite our lips we tried to calmly explain that we would set it up, but there was other presents to open and Nana might have a couple of things planned first. The atmosphere was a little frosty by the time we arrived.
As expected, iBear was in full whinge mode within 20 minutes and despite knowing all to well that she wouldn’t play with the stables as it would take too long and she’d get bored for the sake of Christmas Day peace I relented. Of course she didn’t even give it a second glance after I’d finished putting it together as she was too busy complaining about how hungry she was despite having already had a decent breakfast. It was going to be a long day….
Can we open any presents?
With iBear finally distracted with some of her new toys and having sat down and played with her for a bit we tried to open a couple of presents from each other. What a mistake that was! We barely got past two presents when she bounded over announcing how tired she was and asking why noone was playing with her. That was enough to get my “shouty voice” to come out and there were tears and tantrums with some respite coming from me disappearing for a shower.
Things settled a little and I actually started to relax and enjoy myself which was directly linked to iBear seeming content and happy again. My Brother and his family has arrived and we all sat down for our Christmas Dinner. We’d pre-planned iBears meal with her being fussy about her food and had, what we thought, was a 100% foolproof dish of Chicken(turkey). Jacket potato, Yorkshire pudding and gravy. She wolfed down the turkey to everyone secret delight but then started playing with her food. It didn’t go unnoticed, due to the hamster style pouch of potato in her cheeks. She’d said that she was full and didn’t want anything else. We’ve had previous with this so my standard reply was no pudding in that case. Cue massive meltdown.
As it turns out it was the gravy she’d decided she didn’t like. After much arguing and tears we agreed that if she finished a new plate with some dry food on she could have her pudding. To be fair to her she did and once again things settled down. Apart from in my head, when I started to dwell on the days events thus far and was feeling pretty miserable about it all.
I want more!
After Dinner was consumed and plates washed and tidied away we got together for present opening round two as my Brother and his brood hadn’t opening anything yet. iBear was repeatedly asking for her presents from them and after some more whinges/telling offs/tantrums etc I took her away to distract her with some of her presents. She obviously wasn’t finished and continued to complain while we played. Recently she’d developed a little habit of answering me back and challenging what I say to her (which happens to everyone parent eventually, right?!) and this really gets my back up so we again had it out.
Is it bedtime yet?
The rest of the day went by in a bit of blur. iBear did calm down and when it was eventually her bedtime she settled really well. I on the other hand was grumpy! It felt like all I’d done all day was tell her off in various different ways.
One Dads View
On reflection it was obvious our Daughter was over stimulated and over tired. She’d had a couple of restless nights leading up to Christmas which hadn’t helped and I think all in all it was just too much for her. I’d had this perfect vision of what I hoped Christmas Day to be like and was therefore probably a little highly strung myself. Like Father, like Daughter, I guess. Everyone insisted they’d had a brilliant day and to be honest, thinking about it, apart from the episodes above it was really good. When things don’t go to plan I do have a tendency to dwell on things. I suppose this post is my therapy to get it all out of my system. We spent Boxing Day at her Grandmas and it was a lot more chilled for both myself and iBear. She was as good as gold and back to her normal self. As was I.