Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Mumps

Christmas is like a hurricane, sweeping you up in a whirl and depositing you the other side among the debris, not quite knowing how you got there but drawing breath at last.

It smells like Christmas still, Christmas deconstructed, turkey stock simmering as the last vestiges of Christmas feasting are tidied out of the fridge. How can we have got through all that turkey already…and the gammon? Even the jelly is finished. The fridge looks way too tidy and empty.

There are presents still to buy or make but the momentum is gone. Our son’s last minute present making plans were thwarted when he went down with mumps on the Monday before Christmas. Lying on the sofa with a cool pad clutched to his chipmunk cheek he was in no fit state to be stirring lemon curd, or starting a production line of paintings like his sisters. He had just one present made and wrapped.

On the other side of Christmas he surfaced, with a new-found dislike of jelly, as it was the only thing he could eat for three days, and was finally able to make his lemon curd gifts. They are still languishing in the fridge, while he summons up the energy to wrap them and present them to his aunts – the gift-giving frenzy is over, along with the cast off wrapping paper, and the urgency is gone.

Now we are calculating the days until the girls can be expected to show signs of mumps too: +/– three weeks incubation = about when we are planning on going on holiday to the River with friends. So do we go and risk it, packing a large bottle of paracetemol syrup and a week’s supply of jelly, knowing that we’ll be a half hour drive from the nearest town down a bumpy dirt road?

Or maybe they could oblige and get it early next week, so they are starting to feel better by the time we go. Luckily we’ve already exposed said friends to mumps as our son had a sleepover with them just before he went down with it, so we don’t have to worry about sharing the germs!

The positive spin is that it is much better to get mumps before adolescence strikes, so really it’s in the nick of time for these eleven year olds, but our son didn’t find that very cheering while he was languishing on the sofa facing the bleak prospect of a Christmas Day spent unable to indulge in roast potatoes and a surfeit of pudding.

In the end he was able to eat the potatoes, his swollen glands having shrunk to a respectable hamster size, but after four days of not eating he could only manage four potatoes instead of his usual ten!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas is Coming, Ready Or Not

Silent Night is echoing around the house, as the girls learn all their favourite Christmas carols on the recorder.

Paint smears over T-shirts indicate that some serious pressie creation has been going on.

Middle Daughter now has two bagfuls of home-made presents all totally independently made.

Son spends time alternating between computer and book and is relying on a last minute batch of home-made lemon curd to solve all his present dilemmas.

Youngest is steadily amassing her pressies, but is way behind her sister, though keeping her nerve and persevering.

And me? I’ve done the bare minimum of shopping, just enough to provide a present each per child plus the odd stocking filler and am following my son’s example and relying on a last minute painting spree to create the rest of my pressies. Inspiration thrives on adrenalin, I hope.

The Christmas cakes are baked and awaiting their marzipan and icing.
The tree is still growing up at the top of the farm until we go to cut it on Sunday.
The girls have built a stable but we have no figures as yet for the nativity scene. I had the great idea of making our own wooden figures, which fell by the wayside several weeks ago.

And the reason my blog has been such a bare and windswept space…there has been plenty of writing material but a total lack of energy to shape it and put it into words, as the last two weeks have held:
A wind-pummelled two night camping trip with our son’s class, where duct tape was the main element keeping the tents up and poles shattered left right and centre.
Production of the school annual newsletter where each year we are sailing teeth-clenchingly closer to the deadline – this year it was printed at 9am before school’s close at 11am…
Family over here from Australia and consequent feasting.
Son’s class play, where he excelled as cut-throat robber at the first performance and Zeus at the second.
My mother arriving from England for Christmas.
Our belly dancing end of year performance at our house, for which clear floor space was required, a scarce commodity even in our spacious abode.
Much juggling of work with all the above, which made me realize how much more time efficient I could be every week if pushed.

So I am thankful that the girls are keeping themselves so busy with Christmas preparations, churning out cards for me to send to family overseas, keeping the spirit of Christmas alive in our house, so that I can coast along in their slipstream and let the momentum gather in their wake.