Most of the time I think that life with a two-year-old and a three-year-old is as chaotic as it was a year ago, and two years ago, but sometimes I’m reminded that it’s not and that things have changed.
This year it seemed reasonable and sensible to place a Christmas tree in the living room and decorate it. Not a small plastic tree balanced awkwardly on some piece of high furniture. Not, as I saw posted on a social media site, a glitzy silver tree secured upside down to the ceiling disappointingly out of reach to one-year-old twins pictured reaching up in vain to grab a tinselly twig. No. This year we once again invited in our old potted growing fir tree, shunned and left in the garden for the past two Christmases. I knew something had changed because it felt like it would be okay.
And so far, it is. No one has climbed up it. Or knocked it over. Or smashed a bauble. Or dug bits of soil out. Or watered it too generously. Or eaten a pine needle. But we’re only on single figures in Advent; there’s time yet.
We made Christmas cards – Luna even signed them herself, in a join-the-dots type fashion. They insisted on making one for Father Christmas, which I have dubiously addressed to The North Pole – Tomorrow I need to come up with an ingenious reason why we’re not going to put a stamp on that one, because with both Sal and I working part-time for the foreseeable future so that we can cover childcare between us, we can’t afford to be wasting stamps – that 55p could go towards…well, my guess is that we’ll need some new tree decorations for next year…
I think the key is to capitulate on the innocence while it lasts. For many families, of course this is whether or not the children believe in the magic of Father Christmas. For us, still at an earlier stage, it’s the fact that when I asked if they’d like Father Christmas to bring them a gift, they couldn’t think of anything and said they’d rather send him a present instead. And that after a Father Christmas train ride and had a weekend at the grandparents’ house in late November, Luna asked “We’ve had Christmas now, haven’t we?”
So we suffer the chaos and treasure the innocence because of course time moves on regardless. Luna asked me this evening, “are you a grandparent?”
“No, not yet…”