The serial Christmas Show-watching has drawn to a close. My highlights of the week:
1. Street-dancers, Secondary School Show - bums 'n' boobs, thrust 'n' jerk! - in the faces of the audience of middle-aged parents. Crikey.
2. Eleven year old boy band, same show, crooning ‘I lost my way, oh yeah, the lonely path, oh oh oh’ (‘Marmite soldiers for breakfast please, Mummy!’)
3. Inaudible Brownie Show ‘The Pnshs Oun’, that's all I know.
4. The shocking BLAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAST of Bonnie’s brass and wind concert: thirty beginner trumpets and clarinets in concert…but not in control. Very frightening.
Now it's just us, time to be together, reconnect. Snow underfoot (what a treat!), arms linked as we stomp across the Heath, then home to a roaring coal fire, tree twinkling, cocoa and muffins, ‘Mummy, do read us a story!’ ‘Yes, darlings, gather round!…Once upon a time...’ We are family.
Seriously, I entered the holiday so SICK of telling them all what to do since September (get up! go to bed! pick it up! eat it! stop eating! do your homework!) I decided to chill, man, after all this is the twenty-first century, things have changed - why would anyone want to make a horrible Christmas decoration when they could be shooting squeaky blobby things? ‘You can do whatever you like’ I said with the magnanimity of one who is about to get two weeks of quality time alone, and they vanished to log on. I closed the kitchen door: haha! I get it now!
But guess what – we can bicker with all the computers and tellies on, as well as off!
‘Mummy! It’s my turn on the computer. Alfie won’t come off!’
‘She can use the laptop!’
‘The laptop’s rubbish -tell him to get off!’
‘Wait! I’m in the middle of a level!’
‘Five minutes Alfie – be patient Bonnie!’
‘You always take Alfie’s side!’
‘No I don’t - I’m just trying to teach you to be a nice person, Bonnie’
‘You are teaching me to be a nice person badly!’
‘What about the wii, Bonnie – why don’t you go on that?’
‘Maddy won’t let me’
‘Hey - that’s because you always promise to put it away then don’t!’
‘That’s not true Maddy – you got it out first!’
‘You used it last, and it’s mine anyway!’
‘It’s not fair, I can’t buy anything because I haven’t got any money’
‘Bonnie, that’s because you spend it all!’
‘No it’s because horrible Mummy fines me all the time for nothing!’
‘Hey Mummy! She took my chair, I only went to the loo!’
‘It’s my turn anyway! Haha! OW! OW! Mummy! MUMMY!!! He hit me!!’
‘She stole my chair!’ and on..and on.. and on.
The screens rule came crashing down. ‘SWITCH IT OFF! AND THAT! AND THAT! OFF! OFF! OFF! NO SCREENS TILL 3PM!’
So Alfie set about entertaining himself:
‘I’m bored. What can I do?’
‘Read your book!’
‘I don’t know where it is’
‘Look for it, and look properly, don’t just stand still and swivel your eyes about!’
‘Mm.. I’m bored. What can I do?’
‘Empty the dishwasher’ (he is a Junior Citizen now after all).We negotiated a price of 75p
‘You should do chores anyway!!’
So he began, lifting one small plate: ‘Where does this go?’
‘In the left hand cupboard’
‘Where’s the cupboard?’
‘In front of you. Those are the cupboards’
‘What’s the left?’
‘The left cupboard. The cupboard that is on the left.’
(OK, calm down, you can do this).‘What hand do you write with, Alfie?’
‘That’s your left hand... So put the plate in the left-hand cupboard!’…
’Mummy, where does this go…?’ Jesus.
Bonnie can pass twenty minutes or so providing I’m prepared to hoover glitter off the ceiling, and I tricked Alfie into decorating a yule log by inviting a friend of his who likes that sort of thing, but he got his own back: ‘Look Mummy, Father Christmas’s head is in the chocolate butter-cream, and the reindeer’s on his bum ha ha ha!’ ‘Now now boys, don’t be silly!! Let’s just take Santa out and wash his head’.
We did have the snow: ‘Alfie you must stand at least one metre away from Bonnie when you throw compacted snowballs at her face’. But in the main, it’s been hard-going – and still three days to go..
Poor Alan’s working right up to Christmas Eve ‘Sorry Soph, someone has to do it’ (punching the air), and partying after work most nights with some TLA (Three Letter Acronym) or other: ‘RSM tonight – just got to show my face’ (home at midnight) – or worse still, ‘I’ll be home for something to eat’, slipping in as I’m letting rip the final tender goodnights ‘THAT’S IT – YOU’RE NOT GETTING A TUCK IN!’, to boozily fill me in on his plans to offer a human resources service to the entire galaxy by 2012, while I nod and think ‘I forgot the pink shrimps for your stocking’.