1) Shopping for no reason
You hang out at the local garden centre just so you can entertain your toddler with the sparkling Christmas tree lights and baubles, and have a vain hope that you might bump into Father Christmas on his lunch break so you don’t have to pay for the privilege… let’s be honest, we’d love our tiddlers to see Father Christmas but the likelihood of them actually sitting on his lap and giving their cutest smile is virtually nil… instead you’re more likely to end up paying £6.99 for an awful blurry photo while your tiddler screams and fights to run away from the scary man with the big white beard!
2) No need to hide the presents
Up until the age of about 2, maybe even 3, you can probably get away with being blasé about their presents lying about the house in an unwrapped state. I wrapped my 1 year old daughter’s Christmas presents in front of her while she ate her tea thinking this is probably the last time before she becomes more aware of the concept of presents. It does make the whole concept of giving presents a bit of a farce at this age, if she went the whole day without a single present she probably wouldn’t notice! At least this year she’ll actually be able to open her own presents – last year we opened her presents while she was fast asleep! I’m looking forward to seeing her face this year as she opens up her presents.
3) Worry about napping amidst excitement
It’s always an exciting time of year, especially when you add in travelling, meeting hoards of family, unwrapping presents. Amidst all of that you then have the joyful task of winding down your over-stimulated toddler for a nap, usually in a loud house full of other excitable adults and children running around! You know if they don’t have the nap (or naps!) they need then things will become very hard work… you step into the overtired, over-stimulated realm of tears and tantrums, making teatime and then bedtime pretty hard work! That window of opportunity is easily missed when there’s so much going on so this year I’ll need to clock-watch a bit more.
4) “Let’s just buy for the kids”
Cutting down on the number of presents to buy becomes even more important when children come into the picture and you potentially have a reduced income, expensive childcare to pay for, and obviously an extra little person to shower with gifts. This phrase “let’s just buy for the kids” is commonly said among friends you once swapped presents with who have now also got little tiddlers themselves.
5) Holidays catching up with your mat leave friends
Maternity leave can be a time of great change… you welcome a new gorgeous little baby into the world and your whole world is turned upside down. There are so many new things to understand and deal with and one thing I found really helpful was the support from other mums at the local baby and toddler groups. There were a couple of groups I attended weekly and I became quite close to a few other mums with babies at a similar age who were going through similar challenges. We met up outside of the groups too, having coffee at each others’ houses or going for walks in the park. It was really sad when the time came for us to go back to work, some part-time, others full-time and our days off no longer overlapped. As well as seeing family this Christmas time I now also look forward to catching up with mat leave friends and seeing our tiddlers playing together.
6) Bare patch at the bottom of the tree
We braved putting a tree up this year although it is a fake one so at least there’re no pine needles for the tiddler to eat! We put the glass and other precious decorations on the higher branches and the rest lower down. For the first few days she showed a lot of interest in the tree. She loved looking at herself in the shiny baubles, tapping them and of course pulling them right off. There’s now a bare patch at the bottom!
7) All I want for Christmas is a lie in
Pre-baby I used to look forward to the Christmas holidays for a chance to put my feet up and have a long lie in every morning. Now I look forward to seeing my tiddler’s face when she opens her presents, seeing her running around playing and giggling with her cousins, and seeing the look of delight on her face at the twinkling Christmas lights. How can you tell there’s a BUT coming? I’d love just one lie in please Father Christmas. It’s top of my wish list so hopefully I’ll stay snuggly and warm in bed one morning while the family entertain the tiddler.
8) Wish list includes toddler recipe books
Second on my wishlist is Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes by Annabel Karmel. I’m always running out of ideas of quick meals that she’ll enjoy. I seem to get stuck circling the same old meals… usually spag bol, scrambled egg, toast, and soups. I don’t usually have much time to prepare meals for her as during the day we’re out and about at baby groups, doing the weekly shop or visiting friends and by the time we come home for meals I’ve got a hungry tiddler clinging to my leg wanting me to whip up a tasty meal NOW! Don’t worry though, I’ve also asked for some non-child-related presents like music, a new pair of boots, and jewelry.
9) You write multiple cards to the same person
This really only applies to family members. I saw a cute ‘to my wonderful grandparents’ card and decided our tiddler should send this. I even gave her a pen and let her scrawl all over the inside as her signature. It’s all a bit silly really, she didn’t have the thought to send them a card and they know she’s too young at 15 months to know what she was scribbling on but it’s the cute gesture I suppose. We then wrote another card from ourselves although really both were bought and sent by us! The same happens at birthdays. It will be nice when one day she can write her own card and thoughtful message but until then we’ll just play pretend.
10) No-one else is on your routine
Christmas for us is usually spent with the rest of the family and there ends up being multiple sittings at meal times. The tiddlers are starving by 12pm so need lunch straight after church on Christmas day. They can’t wait til we all sit down for the Christmas meal at 2pm as there’ll be hysterics, plus my tiddler is shattered by half 12 so will probably be fast asleep when we’re all eating! The kids will then need tea between 5 and 6 before bath and bed at 7pm (if we’re lucky) but the adults are usually too stuffed from the Christmas roast so there’ll then be another sitting after the kids have gone to bed… phew! You can’t expect a little tiddler to change routine though, when they’re hungry we sure know about it!!!