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The problem with having a fairly big age gap between the youngest child and the oldest one is that at times like Christmas parents are basically burning the candle at both ends. Despite trying to keep only son up late in the hopes that he would not be up at the crack of dawn, he woke up at 3am, though thankfully fell back to sleep eventually until around 7.30am. Meanwhile, the teen team was still awake at 2am.
Santa is getting an increasingly short window of opportunity for filling stockings. After wrapping up all the presents with my partner, we retired at around midnight, leaving people downstairs watching 1950s films. Santa had to consider whether it was worth setting an alarm or staying up a bit longer despite feeling fairly knackered already, what with all the sleigh riding and the reading of letters. Santa chose the latter and settled in to watch the Christmas edition of First Dates. Only son was the first man down, exhausted by overexcitement. My mum, who was staying over, was next. Daughter two had succumbed to a rare Christmas cold and was feeling a) ill and b) concerned that her vegan fitness regime was not cold-resistant. She was next to bed. Daughter three had had a lie-in on Christmas Eve and was finding it difficult to sleep. Daughter one had left it till after midnight to wrap her presents.
Santa was almost dropping off, especially given she had already seen First Dates before, when she decided it was now or never. With a quiet ‘ho, ho, ho’, she delivered stockings to daughters two and three and only son then ventured down to daughter one’s room. She hid daughter one’s stocking under the washing and took her mum’s stocking in. “You doing the stockings, mum? I’ll take mine if you want,” said daughter one. This seemed to destroy the whole spirit of Christmas, but Santa was on her knees and needed to get some sleep so she handed over the stocking and retired to bed.
Santa had had to spend considerable time doing the stockings, checking out whether chocolate bars and the like were properly vegan. Santa felt she should get a bit of a lie-in for extra conscientiousness, but everyone, except daughter one, was up by 8am and by 9am only son and daughter three had put all the presents under the Christmas tree into named piles. By around noon, Santa was quietly nodding off in a corner, preparing herself for the long haul till Eastenders.
*Mum on the run is Mandy Garner, editor of Workingmums.co.uk.