(photograph © Kiwidutch)
Christmas Day is upon us and people everywhere are busy doing things for the occasion, stressing about timing the cooking of a turkey right, frantically sieving lumps out of gravy, wondering why you bothered when your toddler is playing more with the packaging than the so-called must-have gift that you had to go to six different shopping centers to hunt down and then queue ages to get.
Ok, my youngest is now five and is actually very interested in the gift, especially if the word “playmobile” is stamped onto the outside of the box but actually there are many lessons to be learned from kids and Christmas if you stop a little and listen.
Having spent the last three weeks in plaster and having pain if my foot is lowered towards the ground, this results in being what might in the politically correct folks call “mobility impaired”. I call it frustrating, annoying, painful and boring. Yeah for sleeping and painkillers.
On the plus side, you get to have the kids run inside from playing in the snow for a cuddle (actually it’s their intent to steal my body heat as I’m currently the warmest person in the house and wow their little hands are cooooold when shoved onto your bare stomach or leg.)
And I have been reminded that some of the biggest gifts that kids REALLY want are either free or cost very little indeed. I always knew this, but sometimes that reality of it gets pushed to the back of your mind a bit more than it should in the rush of everyday life.
Little Mr. does indeed worship little plastic figures with “C” shaped “hands” and he worships them even more if they come with fire hoses or ambulance or police accessories that fit into those little plastic hands, but in the end what he really wants for Christmas is exactly the same thing that he loves best all year round.
He wants us to sit on the floor with him, showing him how Lego blocks can be shaped into funnily shaped buildings (Note to self, we appear to have ten times more Lego doors than windows and this makes for some construction quandaries). he wants a Big Person to put the mega fiddly steering wheel bits back together after he has pulled them apart for the fourth time , no wait, fifth time , no wait, sixth time…
(photograph © Kiwidutch)
He wants us to build complex castles with the wooden blocks and even better, to play the bad dragon who’s coming to breath fire on the surrounding forest and burn it down, whilst he, the courageous knight comes out and gives the dragon a good telling off so that it becomes good again.
It’s the same with Kiwi Daughter, she wants to get her fingers sticky in the kitchen, deep in the remnants of the bowl that a short time earlier housed the chocolate cake batter, or taking a sneaky bite of a mini muffin fresh out of the oven, or grated cheese from the side of the grater.
She wants to choose colours from my plastic container of food colourings, to mix icing for biscuits (cookies) or gingerbread or … heck, lets be honest here: icing on anything edible would pretty much suit that kid.
She wants to get her fingers dirty in glue and glitter and felt and thread and the sequins and mini pompoms that are crowded with the pipe-cleaners and various other low quality items that were jam packed into a cheap box that she bought herself for Euro 3.99 the other day with “holiday money” of Euro 5,- that I gave each of them the other day to spend.
She spent the rest on a pack of coloured pencils that cost 99c and Little Mr managed to spend Euro 4.97 of his share and they triumphantly handed me the change of a full 5 cents as they showed off their choices.
Himself said that he was pleased and proud to see that they both chose very wisely for the cash they had, and it made the lonnnnng and painful deliberation process that took place in the shop easier to withstand in the pre-Christmas rush.
Kiwi Daughter is delighting in drawing, wants to learn how and delights in colouring in… she and I have been making joint first attempts at folding origami boxes, playing board games on the bed and reading.
(photograph © Kiwidutch)
Little Mr has been watching kid movies on the dvd player and wanting reassurance that when it looks like the baddies are coming that it doesn’t all get too scary. I assure him that in most cases I have ever heard of the Good guys usually win/ find their way home etc and that helps… until next movie when he needs reassuring again. (And no, these are not ‘scary’ movies, we are talking movies like Shrek and Toy Story).
I am reminded that my kids value TIME so much more than they value “stuff” and that they love to cuddle up next to me with a book, even if they say they are “too old for that stuff now”.
Of course my kids are normal kids, Yes they have been fighting tooth and nail most of the day with each other, Yes there was a row about who was going to tidy up what when we were preparing the house for guests Christmas Day (not exactly a Spring Clean, but at least not let the place resemble the bomb-site i.e. a “toy grenade went off here” it usually does).
We did manage to corral most of the kid-junk into the kid bedroom, and yes I know it never stays there, but I live in hope that at least whilst we eat Christmas Lunch that no one finds Playmobile figure body parts under their feet at the dining room table.
Yes, Little Mr. did manage a Force Ten Gale of a tantrum because I asked him pick up a single solitary woolen mitten… why? because it belonged to his sister and not him… so Yes they are normal kids and not saints.
That’s why I’m delighted to report that this Christmas Eve, Kiwi Daughter has been “secretly” drawing cards to give as presents to guests tomorrow, she’d been trying to make gifts from the sparkly, tacky, beautiful bits in her Euro 3.99 treasure trove of stick and paste…. she’s been delighting in it and making it personal.
To a lesser extent so has Little Mr ( and his fingers, face and clothes are completely covered in felt tip pen marks to prove it)
They been spending TIME, they have been delighting in doing it, they are very proud of their creative achievements and they’ve given great thought ( and ok, a few squabbles too) into what would be best for each of the people concerned.
So… tomorrow, Saturday 25th December 2010, they each find under the Christmas tree, a single large gift and two tiny ones, but I’m delighted to say that they have each discovered the joy of giving and the Spirit of Christmas, and maybe, with the gift of TIME, that is the present that I am proudest that they appreciate.
So, Yes, Today for many around the world is about the food and festivities, and giving gifts, but I hope it’s also about spending time.
I wish each of you a brilliant Christmas, full of joy, laughter, happiness and TIME, with people you love.