On the eve of Christmas

These are unusual times.

As Christmas approaches, I spend my days moving between despair and hope.

Dickens said it best in A Tale of Two Cities..

It was the best of times

best

It was the worst of times

elijah2

it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair….

I am now like those two cities.

One city is full of memories of Elijah, despair and regrets. The other city is full of Gabriel and the joy and laughter he brings to my life every single day.

Christmas is a lonely time as a bereaved parent.

The whole world is drinking, laughing and celebrating birth, at a time when celebration feels wrong.

But…then there is hope.

The hope that comes from watching the little face of a 3 year old boy light up, every time I switch on the Christmas tree lights. Hope in the squeals of excitement, every time he rips open a Christmas card and hope in the 1,000th time he has told me “Father Kissmass come down the Chimney for pie”.

So today, on the eve of Christmas, I’m embracing that hope. To all of you who have suffered loss and are surrounded by darkness and despair today, I’m sending you peace and I’m sending you some of my hope.

I am with you.

You are not alone.

HOPE

Written by Gabriel & Elijahs mummy.

Hello Hope
You went awhile
Now you’re back
With a promised smile
I abandoned you
Gave up for dead
Washed away
With the tears I shed
I’ve lived despair
so time to stay
surround me Hope
each and every day

Teenage Mutant Ninja Toddler

I’m writing this post while I can still get away with calling Gabey a toddler. In a few weeks he turns 3, officially becomes a pre-schooler and we enter a new phase.

To be honest, I was expecting this “new phase” to be a lot easier.

Everyone talks about the “terrible twos”. Ummmm…excuse me…NO-ONE told me there was a phase called “bloody minded threes”!

Let me explain.

At this very moment, my Teenage Mutant Ninja Toddler is fast asleep in my bed. Not his own bed. Oh no. My bed. Sigh. As his determination to get his own way increases, it seems my ability to be firm decreases. It’s like living with a tiny teenager who has ninja powers of determination.

A typical battle of wills goes like this….

Ninja toddler “I want naanaa milk”. “I’m not buying banana milk Gabey. You don’t like it and you won’t drink it”.

Cue first Ninja toddler power…the Power of Ignore

ninja

I can’t hear you

“Why don’t you have normal milk. You like that”

Cue second Ninja toddler power…the Power of Drama

ninja2

Mr Shakespearean Actor

The floor drama is normally accompanied by a low moaning “naanaa milk, naanaa milk”. If I give up at that point, we normally avoid the third Ninja toddler power, the Power of Embarrassment..

“I WANT NAANAA MILK NOW!!!”

The Power of Embarrassment is his most dangerous Ninja power and it’s the one that tends to tip the balance in his favour. Someone once said to me “they didn’t come with an instruction manual”.

Damn.

I guess I’m going to have to toughen up quickly and develop some super anti-Ninja powers. Either that or send him in for some auditions at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

and the result of the naanaa milk battle…

ninja3Yep, you’ve guessed it. He’s drinking normal milk and the glass on the left is the abandoned banana milk. He doesn’t like the naanaa milk because “it’s smelly mummy. Yukk”.

Cowabunga.

A very creepy Christmas

I’ve been putting it off, but finally, with the big day fast approaching, we went Christmas shopping today.

Gabriel (my almost 3 year old) was very excited, shouting “Tree mummy. Lights mummy. Snow mummy” all the way there.

When we arrived, we didn’t quite get the lovely Christmas experience we were expecting. In fact, Gabriel was so shocked and slightly scared, that he was quiet for at least a whole minute.

So we turned up at the shopping centre, to find a Christmas display in the entrance hall.

You might, in your mind, be thinking of something that looks like this

grotto_animatronicsLovely reindeers, snow and trees. Right?

WRONG.

Think more along the lines of a Disney/James Bond evil villan

bear

My name is Teddy, Evil Teddy

As the evil Teddy turned his narrow eyes towards us, Gabriel sought refuge behind me, clutching my coat as he whispered “will bear eat me Mummy”.

I honestly didn’t know the answer.

He was so huge and scary, he looked like he’d eaten at least a dozen kids that morning!

“Lets go to the other side” I said, dragging reluctant child behind me.

That was a BIG mistake.

On the other side of the display, we found this

rat

Dead or sleeping?

“Mummy. Why is Rat on him”, Gabriel asked. “Well, it looks like a Rat, sweetheart, but I think it’s supposed to be a mouse and I think he’s giving him a kiss”. Gabriel pondered this for a moment. “No, mummy” he said sternly “not kissing. Eating”.

So, my boys first Christmas display experience involved a giant evil Teddy and a rat eating a dead bear.

Thanks Tesco.

tesco

On this occasion, every little definitely DOES NOT help. Keep your creepy Christmas display to yourselves!

Bring back the reindeers!