It’s a most wonderful time of the year…

…when your kids eat up pink fillet of beef on Christmas Eve-Eve and you don’t know whether to cheer or shed a tear.

The veggies were ignored save for a potato gratin. Can an almost 18 month old get gout?

For balance, Teddy also seemed very enamoured by the chestnut-nut roast I was having yesterday. (Made by my mother in law, and made so well that I never even attempt to make one myself because hers is so damn good)

Mr. Old Elf, our seasonal visitor

I have a small bit of creativity in my blood.  My Mum taught primary,  Junior Infants mostly – so finger paints and leaf rubbings were par for the course in her working life. I know she’s busy knitting matching jumpers for my 2 boys as I type too.  My lovely dear departed Dad was a textile designer, so had more of an eye for design than your average straight man.  His opinions on his daughters’ clothes extended beyond “You’re not going out in that belt.  What?  That’s a skirt?”

I flit between activities and crafts, a Jill of many trades, a mistress of none.  I have a sewing machine, I have a large jar of ironing beads, I have a million tiny ziplock bags of sparkly beads, wooden beads – every kind of jewellery finding imaginable.  I’ve done a metalwork course in the NCAD and a dressmaking course in the Grafton Academy.   One year I knitted 30 tiny hats for a smoothie promotion thing, having not lifted up needles for about 20 years at that point.  It’s safe to say I’ll turn my hand to anything, but as soon as it gets difficult, my eye tends to turn to the next task.

Christmas brings out the latent craftiness in a lot of people, and for me, it ramps up a bit.  In the last couple of years I’ve made felt owls for our tree, and as gift tags for the nieces & nephew.  Last year the creche staff got individual Chocolate Biscuit Cake Christmas Puddings.  (This year they should be getting Chocolate Peppermint Fudge if it isn’t a complete disaster).

I have attempted salt dough decorations with the boys – we managed one to be precise before there was dough everywhere. The less said about that the better. But this years biggest project has been our elf.  Mr. Old Elf to be precise, which is a more imaginative name than most soft toys get in this house. He’s here to keep an eye on the 2 little boys that live here, to make sure that Santa knows that they belong on the nice list.*  I was going to wait, and post the whole month of elven activity in one go, but then I thought that some of my little tricks (none of them very elaborate) might help anyone else who’s finding themselves a little short of inspiration with barely more than a week to go.  Like me!

So here he is. Since December 1st, when Mr. Old Elf has arrived at our door – apart from a couple of forays into the kitchen he’s been knocking around the living room creating mischief and having fun.

*any and all attempts to invoke the man in red’s name as a discipline tactic have utterly failed. I cannot in good faith recommend you try and use an elf for this purpose.

You know we belong together…

I had a very lovely conversation the other week with a girl I know at a wedding.  Whereupon I learned I have fans in Australia.  Ok, Ciara didn’t use the words fans, she said her and some of her mums group in Melbourne read the blog.  I immediately screeched “I HAVE AUSTRALIAN FANS!” (probably, I was standing very near the lady dishing out oodles of prosecco for quite a while…)

So I’m dead chuffed with that and it made me consider some aspects of where our journey is right now. I feel the weight of expectation, thinking of real life actual mums (as opposed to theoretical virtual ones) reading my words, taking my advice on board as an experienced parent of two. EEEEEK!

Hands up wimmin!* My knowledge of parenting in Australia currently extends to 90’s soaps, Kath & Kim and Summer Heights High. Is BLW common there – recommended by health visitors or frowned on? Have you any questions? Is there anything in particular you’d like me to talk about or cover? Are any of your daughters called Epponnee-Rae?

Don’t be shy, connect here or on my Facebook page. Now, I’ve got porridge to scrape off the walls and peas to take out of the cats’ bed.


*my call to arms (keyboards) extends to all parents and readers, not just mums. But I do want to give a shout out to these Aussie ones.