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.


S/P/T – Day 19, and the List Of Things Yet To Do

Day 19 - Presents

Day 19 – Presents

Today’s theme involved having to stop procrasinating for at least fifteen minutes (my doing-as-little-as-possible-around-the-house schedule is pretty hectic at the moment, I’ll concede) and actually get something done in order to provide a photograph. The boys’ presents are stashed (OK, chucked), still unwrapped, in the cupboard/wardrobe/general dumping ground in our bedroom and threaten to collapse and engulf me in cheap plastic each time I open the door. That, I decided, was far too risky when I was expected at the school gates at 3pm.

I wrapped Richard’s presents instead. There are considerably less of them, most of them are a shape I can actually cope with wrapping, and involve minimal arguments with the sellotape that is possessed by the Devil himself.

I sat there, listening to this (you have to, really. It’s the law), giving the uncooperative sellotape a damned good talking to whilst giving myself more papercuts than an origami-loving masochist and, for a few minutes, felt rather festive.

Then I remembered the LIST OF THINGS YET TO DO which is, indeed, as ominous and Dickensian as it sounds.

The LIST OF THINGS YET TO DO involves procuring sprouts, cleaning the Glasgow grime from the windaes, removing several layers of e-coli infected grease and dust from the kitchen floor, and sorting out the modest (by today’s standards) gifts for Tiny Tim and his brother. Fortunately, it will involve no stay in Newgate Debtors’ Prison though, if the boys’ current mood remains at this hyperactive level of fevered excitement, it may well involve a little visit to Bethlehem Hospital.

Then, the small voice in my head – the one that speaks reason, and helps me maintain my lovely ‘fuller’ figure by encouraging me to do as little as possible to expend calories –  reminded me that it the house will be completely trashed by 9am on Tuesday anyway. I exerted a little energy crossing things like ‘cleaning’, ‘tidying’ and ‘being ruthless with the megaton of broken toys cluttering up the living room, stairs and bathroom’ from the LIST OF THINGS YET TO DO.

That all made me quite hungry, so I had a custard cream or three and a nice cup of tea. And a sit down. To recover.