Tomtes, tantrums and twenty minute blogging

See me? I have this Christmas malarkey sorted. Totally.

Yesterday’s custard creams must have provided me with the carbohydrate boost I needed to get my backside off the sofa and my brain into gear, as last night we wrapped the presents. All of them. We also built the bikes.

Well, I say ‘we’. Richard built the bikes. I drank wine and offered gentle words of encouragement, a spare hand when required, and the requisite wifely concerned furrowed brow when another expletive-dampening sigh emitted from the poor man’s lips.

There’s a lot to be said for walking into Halfords, with your darling offspring in tow, and buying ready built and tested bikes , isn’t there? I see that now. Benefits include: Not having to frantically search for a missing front wheel washer that isn’t actually missing; not having to watch your beloved partner tear out what little hair he still has; having fully-functioning front brakes; and actually buying bikes that fit your children now rather than relying on online bike frame sizing guides that seem to indicate that your average four year old is the height of an adult wookie with an inside leg measurement that would send Naomi Campbell into paroxyms of rage .

Of course, this is Scotland, so there is every possibility that the boys will have grown the required three inches by the time the weather is decent enough to let them out on said bikes. Failing that, we have a cunning plan to strap housebricks to the pedals.

We know Ellis will love his bike. His last bike, a rusty, scratched and battered Raleigh, has been all but worn out with repeated races around the field and, seeing him ride it now, I fear for his knees as they get increasingly close to the handlebars. We are less sure about Fin. To be honest, we don’t really know how Fin will react to the whole ‘Christmas thing’. If the eight complete meltdowns about absolutely nothing we endured this morning (in a space of forty minutes, no less) is anything to go by, I do not hold out much hope for Casa del Raindrops being a haven of festive cheer and peace on Earth this Christmas morning. I rather suspect I will be in frustrated tears by 9am because Captain Cranky has declared everything ‘wubbish’, bitten his brother for picking up ‘his’ piece of wrapping paper, and thrown his bike into the Christmas tree.

But we shall see. And, of course, Bjorn the Tomte is watching.

Bjorn (Again) - See what I did there? Did ya?

Bjorn (Again) – See what I did there? Did ya?

Fin actually has a very special relationship with Bjorn. Since Bjorn arrived from Sweden, he has sat rather imperiously on the mantlepiece watching each drama, each cosy family moment, and every shrieking meltdown (mine included) with a look of rather inebriated detachment.

Over the past few days, on several occassions, Bjorn has been carried – very, very carefully, into the kitchen where I am informed by a certain small (though not as small as Bjorn, just) person that  ‘Tomte wants to tell you something’.

Bjorn then proceeds to whisper into my ear, much to Fin’s wide-eyed amazement.

Funnily enough, Bjorn only ever tells me all the kind, thoughtful, clever or brave things Fin has done. Of course, he knows about the tempers, the fighting, the screaming-for-no-reason; but Bjorn understands why Fin does these things. It is, of course, because Fin has a Tantrum Pixie* living up his nose. Everybody knows (nose?) that the only way you can stop the Tantrum Pixie* from making Fin cross is to say ‘Off you go, Tantrum Pixie*, bring back kind Fin for a cuddle’ and tweak Fin’s nose. The Tantrum Pixie* really doesn’t like that, and off he skulks, leaving kind and lovely Fin free for smiles and cuddles.

Child psychologists and other experts are probably, by now, shaking their fists at the screen and forward-planning for several years of therapy for parent-induced PTSD but, sorry, it works for us. Fin’s tantrums have, at least recently, calmed down far, far faster than when I just leave him to settle himself down. We will work on ‘ownership’ of his actions and responses when we better know what we are dealing with. Until then, if expelling the Tantrum Pixie* via a gentle tweak of the nose and some magic words stops him beating up his brother, smashing things up and terrorising his classmates, I can work with that.


You may wonder where ‘Twenty Minute Blogging’ comes into this. I have spent this morning in a most pleasurable whirl of domesticity, during which time I tidied up, cleaned the kitchen, sorted clothes and found the bottom of the ironing basket. My last task was this blog. I challenged myself to write it in twenty minutes. I managed it in nineteen.

I’m therefore awarding myself the rest of the day off.

*Tantrum Pixie – a child-friendly construct implying you suspect your child is possessed by Satan.


In which I feel a sense of guilt, and Fin rewrites the Nativity story

Yesterday, I bought myself a Christmas present. Actually, three Christmas presents in the shape of these super Letraset ProMarkers, a black outliner and a vanilla ‘skin-toned’ ProMarker. Despite having a multitude of crafty plans afoot for these bad boys (mostly involving copious amounts of jam-jars and ribbon), I am still feeling extremely guilty about spending this much money on myself in the run up to the festive season. I am trying hard to convince myself that, if I had a social life that didn’t just involve composting or wading up to my knees in dirty bog water in the name of environmental volunteering, I would no doubt be splashing the cash on some snazzy little number to wow everyone at a Christmas party or twelve. Of course, I haven’t been to any party recently that hasn’t involved soft-play, jelly and Ben 10 birthday cakes, but that’s by-the-by.

Not my own work. Not nearly slapdash enough.

Not my own work. Not nearly slapdash enough.


In other news, this afternoon is the nursery nativity.

Scarface may, or may not, have a speaking part. He is a wise man. There are eight wise persons in this particular production of the nativity, including three Wise Ladies. He might say ‘myrrh’, if he can be bothered. He might not actually make it onto the stage at all.

If he does keep his temper under control for long enough to make it from the nursery classroom to the hall without any of the keyworkers needing a Rabies shot, proud mummy apparently has a seat reserved right at the front nearest the stage stairs so that mini Richard Burton can be gently but forcibly evicted from the stage should he start fighting, unwrapping the baby Jesus’ gifts, or singing ‘Jingle Bells, Batman smells, Robin laid an egg’ at the top of his voice whilst Gabriel announces the impending birth of the Messiah.

This morning he was practising being a wise man. Resplendent in cornflake covered dressing gown and George Pig pyjamas, he stomped imperiously around the living room whilst humming an off-key rendition of the Imperial March as I sat looking pious with a teatowel on my head impersonating Mary. He then delivered the line Luke decided to leave out of the New Testament.


As one of my Facebook chums pointed out – “Join me, and together we will rule the galaxy as father and son…”