7.30am. A typical day at Gaa Gaa Land HQ.
Sonny: “I want night vision goggles!”
Bessie “Me too! Pink ones!”
The bloody ‘C’ word. Yep, Christmas. At Gaa Gaa Land HQ we are already talking about shitting Christmas. Thanks to the helpful folks at Weetabix, this premature festive discussion was kick-started at breakfast this morning when the Despicable Me goggles offer on the box had expired – much to the frustration of all. If the offer hadn’t expired, I would, of course, saved 27 boxes, cut out all the tokens, sacrificed a spoon to the Goddess of Kellogg and sent a postal order for £20 by recorded delivery to a PO Box address. For sure. But I can’t as the offer expired two days ago, and so instead I tried to placate my team by suggesting we ask for night vision goggles for Christmas and then doing the running man to the Chris Evan’s Breakfast Show jingle. It didn’t go well.
Of course, I only have myself to blame for this extreme jumping of the gun. For it is the parenting law that as autumn leaves begin to fall, should a mini-manager ask for anything more expensive than a Freddo, they are duly informed that ‘if you’re good – Father Christmas might get it for you.’ And the same old phrase is trotted out 4,678 times a day, every day… for the next 13 weeks. Especially when trying to apply a uniform to flailing limbs, or when trying to get out of the door and get them to their meetings on time.
Sonny has a 8.55 ‘shake and wake’ session which he’s been practicing for, which has involved mainly spinning manically and crashing into everyone within a 3 foot radius. Bessie has to be in meeting room ‘Ladybirds’ at 8.30 for a busy morning of crafts, knocking over towers and telling her new teachers that Mummy is clumsy and likes burping.
I have a long list of jobs to do whilst Sonny and Bessie are at their meetings. As faithful readers know I love a list, not only because my brain has literally decayed due to sleep deprivation and excessive coffee, but also to stop me sitting and gorming into nothingness whilst listening to
Woman’s Hour Lorraine.
I attempted number one on my list, ‘put away washing,’ whilst having the same internal monologue I chant every time I do this thankless and unrewarding task. WHY IS THERE ALWAYS SO MUCH SODDING WASHING! It’s like a never-ending rabbit hole, and I’m Alice hurtling down it trying to sort tiny kecks into piles and folding endless pairs of little jeans. Despite doing my best to sort and fold sparkly garments without getting glitter all over myself, I still end up looking like I’m about to go to a festival. I pause and start gorming into nothingness. And listen to Lorraine.
Where the fuckedy fuck did the time go? I have to go and collect Bessie from her craft/ demolition fest, and I have done sweet nothing from my list – although I do appear to have drunk a large pot of coffee and watched a feature on This Morning about a sex robot called Samantha. I rush out of the door with my coat half on cursing myself for being wholly unproductive and not checking off the 38 things I aimed to do in 2.5 hours. However, I now know that most sex dolls come from Japan and Samantha is powered by a 12 volt power pack. As all good erotic companions are. Don’t worry keyboard warriors, she has a family mode and can talk about animals, so perfectly fine to be included on a parenting blog.
‘WHERE ARE MY NIGHT VISION GOGGLES?’ whines Bessie as she walks through the door and chucks a pink converse trainer straight at my shin (she was aiming for the shoe box but hasn’t honed her throwing skills yet). I notice she is wearing the ‘sticker of shame’ that has a picture of a sad face and the words ‘I’ve bumped my head today.’ Oh good. I calmly respond to Bessie’s goggle demands that she can put them on her Christmas list so that when she writes to Father Christmas in December, she remembers what she wants. I am severely reprimanded for assuming we can wait until an appropriate time to write and send this letter, and marched into the playroom/ meeting room to start penning this masterpiece immediately.
BALLLSSSSSSSSS. I’m late for pick up AGAIN. 15 minutes is not enough time to exit the house with a 3.5 year old. Especially one covered in purple paint, pritt stick and baked beans. With one pigtail askew and odd shoes on. I resolve to set a daily reminder on my phone to nudge myself into action 45 minutes earlier and then promptly forget to set said reminder.
‘WHERE ARE MY NIGHT VISION GOGGLES?’ cries Sonny as soon as he enters GGL HQ and removes his coat with the vigor and flourish of a matador. Amidst my explanation of lists/ letters, Bessie tells him she has already written a letter which of course prompts crying and moaning at unfairness and allows me to trot out the ‘Be good for Daddy C’ phrase for the 900th time that day.
We have made 3 letters to Father Christmas, one of which resembles a papier-mâché greeny – orange brussel sprout – a tactile offering from both S and B who got a bit carried away with PVA glue, paint and crepe paper. I set them to one side to dry and add ‘think about how to navigate a self created Christmas wormhole’ to my to do list. Number 39.
“EAT YOUR DINNER OR I’M TELLING BIG PAPA C!”
I wonder if it’s too early for Elf on the Shelf? Not that we’ve used this creepy bribery game before, but maybe it’s worth a shot as instead of saying the same thing over and over I can just point at the Elf. I head to Google and immediately discard the idea as the elf is fucking petrifying for a 37-year-old never mind a particularly sensitive 3.5 year old. Creepy little bastard.
“BATH…. FATHER CHRISTMAS….”
Having read ‘The Night Before Christmas’ (IT’S SEPTEMBER!) as a bedtime story and reassured my team that they can send their Father Christmas letters soon* – I draw the line at singing Jingle Bells and so end the day being a cause for disappointment.
I head downstairs to eat some discarded sausages and cold mash whilst scrolling through my newsfeed only to be reminded that next, it’s Halloween. Bugger. Although maybe I can capitalise on it by inventing a NEW Halloween tradition, the ‘Witch is a Snitch?’ Genius. I’m off to copyright this cracking idea. Or at least add it as number 40 on my list.
*non specific unit of time used by all parents who don’t have the head space to think of a solution on the spot but know it’s not likely to actually be, soon.