Why a spoonful of sugar might not be the best medicine

Christmas is a time of family fun, but the social media perfection belies the less than practically perfect reality.

Grumpy Christmas


Christmas is over and it’s that in-between period where we drift along, contemplating the enormous amount of big things that happened in 2018 and fearing the enormous amount of things that might happen in 2019. It’s also a time of potential recuperation from the Christmas build-up and the pressure on women – because it still is mainly women – to keep everyone happy and live up to the expectations built from Christmas films and social media representations of people having a great time.

Having seen pictures of people doing family stuff online and feeling slightly guilty,  we attempted a Christmas outing. It did not begin too well. I had some free cinema tickets from my bank because I changed account. Apparently this is a reward for being loyal. I am not sure I am particularly loyal. I just don’t have the energy to shop around. But free cinema tickets are free cinema tickets. I decided that we should go and see a family film. It would get everyone out and doing fun stuff together.

I selected Mary Poppins 2, mainly because all other options were cartoons and only certain people like cartoons. Daughters one and two refused to come on the grounds that Mary Poppins 1 was a classic that should not be tampered with. They would have preferred a horror film instead. Very Christmassy.

In the absence of a festive horror film, they chose to stay home and watch Grease. Again. Only son objected too. He hasn’t seen Mary Poppins 1, refused to watch it when it was on the tv and says he thinks the whole idea of a singing nanny is pants. He is heavily into the Grinch, but we’ve seen that already.

Daughter three, my mum, my partner and I were the only people who were keen, but I wanted to get only son out so I forced him to come. He complained the whole way. Daughter three took eons to get ready, meaning we were running late. She then got in a grump when told that she had taken eons. We arrived at the cinema after the ads had started with two young people, both of whom were not speaking to their parents. My partner decided that they didn’t deserve popcorn. This did not lift the atmosphere.

We headed into Mary Poppins 2. It was better than anticipated, but stuck very firmly to the formula. There were guest appearances by people from the original and the tunes of the original ran under the whole film. I’m not sure it was made for young people or for people my age who are supposedly full of nostalgia about their childhoods and want to escape from the present.

I noticed only son enjoyed the bath scene, despite his desire to be grumpy throughout, and daughter three admitted she liked it too. My mum wasn’t so sure it was necessary to make another film. I’m not sure either, but it could have been much worse. I guess it is symbolic of where we are now – wanting an escape to a fantasy past where everyone sang all day long, had fun, perfect teeth and more or less liked each other. Unfortunately, I think it’s going to take a lot more than singing supercalifragilisticexpialidocious to get us out of the mess we’re in and nowadays we are more than aware that a spoonful of sugar is not really the best recipe for making young people healthy.


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