Happy Betwixmas

The period between Christmas and New Year is an odd one.

Christmas decorations


The period between Christmas and New Year highlights the usual problem of how to keep children of very different ages and interests happy. The teenagers tend to stay up till the small hours and their day only gets going when most of us are thinking about putting up our feet after a day working or washing up.

The eight year old among us wakes up early with an urgent need to do active stuff. On waking up late, the teenagers tend to drape themselves over sofas, etc. Activity is the last thing on their minds, although daughter two gets up every day asking “what are we doing today, mum?” as if I can come up with some wonder that keeps everyone happy. Ideally, she would like to spend her days in a meadow. Daughter one and daughter three are city girls. Only son wants to run in parks [but not meadows].

My partner was in Spain which meant there was only one adult to go round. Only son spent much of the day muttering about how lazy his sisters were. So irked was he the other day that he told them he was starting a daily exercise regime. He got them doing press-ups and squat jumps – all except daughter one who is too cool for press-ups. She installed herself as judge and counter. Only son won every activity by a landslide, particularly press-ups. His mum is not known for her prowess at press-ups. The daily routine lasted one day.

We also attempted to get the teens to play sardines. This resulted in me being totally squashed by daughter two. No-one except me wanted to do charades. The teens liked the idea in theory, but they couldn’t find the energy necessary to pick teams.  We watched Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging several times. Only son loves it for some reason. We visited my mum and watched Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging.

I dragged poor only son to a thrift shop in east London with daughter three. He liked the tube, but needed the toilet urgently as soon as we were about to step into the thrift store. The thrift store consisted of two lanes – one with every item of clothing for £1. The other with designer stuff for around £10. Daughter three got stuck in. There was music pumping loudly. It mainly seemed to consist of swear words and the odd reference to bitches and ‘hos’. There was a repeated phrase about ‘a dick as big as the Eiffel Tower’. Only son came up to me with a serious look on his face. “Mum, this music is totally inappropriate for an eight year old,” he said. I took him out briefly.

Daughter three was still searching for a bargain when we returned. “How long is she going to take?” complained only son, who has, to be fair, spent a lot more time than he would like in clothes shops with his sisters. I found him breathing on a mirror. “HELP ME,” he had written with his finger. Oh dear. We’d only been there for 20 minutes.

The following day I took several of the teenagers roller skating. I was going to take only son to the next-door swimming pool, but due to a slight delay getting ready the swimming pool was closed when we got there. Only son then refused to roller skate in protest and spent the time reading The Grinch and doing cartwheels.

So we went swimming the next day, New Year’s Eve – just only son and I because no-one else was up before family fun finished. I taught only son to dive and we played a game of find the goggles.

My partner arrived just in time for the evening activities. The two oldest teens had a smorgasbord of parties lined up. Daughter three was cooking dinner. Only son was reading Richard III.

At around 11.30pm daughter two texted. “Really bad party,” she stated. “We’re leaving soon and going to x’s house.” I texted daughter one a happy new year at around 11.50. “It’s not new year yet,” she texted back at 11.58.

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