COLUMN: The perils of parenting at Christmas

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Toddlers...they’re delightful, they really are. But they have their moments, they really do.

I should know, I have a two-year-old and four-year-old, both boys. So as you can imagine, Christmas fever has full on hit in our house.

It’s been said before but I find myself thinking it more and more now, Christmas is all about the kids, and not just the presents but the magic and the build up of it all.

My two are the perfect ages this year and are more excited than ever — and me too.

The questions about Santa are great fun to answer and I enjoy almost being outwitted by a little person trying to fathom how a fat man fits down a non-existent chimne! (tip - the movie Arthur Christmas helps a lot with some of the queries).

And although I wonder where on earth I’m going to put what I know will be an influx of new toys and dread opening boxes that the Hatton Garden burglars would struggle to break into, I can’t wait to see their faces on Christmas morning.

The start of our festive season was signalled with what has now become an annual battle of getting two unwilling children into Nativity costumes!

Surprisingly the big kid was quite happy with his starring role of Santa so was all for donning the padded suit and fluffy beard after waking and asking if it was Santa o’clock yet.

Small kid, not so co-operative. In fairness it is quite an ask to get a child who insists on choosing his own outfit everyday (and then changing his mind at least twice) in striped red tights and an elf smock. Nothing bribery and a few choclate coins didn’t eventually resolve though.

Christmas tree selection was next on the to do list. We headed off to the tree farm, this year with daddy in tow. This inevitably brought forward the annual ‘that tree is too big’ argument which usually takes place while the top of the tree scrapes along the ceiling when I arrive home with it. After a tractor ride out to the field me and the boys selected a whopper measuring in at nine-and-a-half foot. After wrestling the beast home and into the stand the ‘elves’ visited that night to decorate it.

Yes that’s right, I didn’t let them help. I couldn’t face a Will Ferrell Elf-like moment which I’m 99% sure would have happened and I still can’t relax thinking it inevitably will.

Since the tree went up and despite the fact we open about six Advent calendars every morning, what has to be one of the most asked questions by toddlers the world over has been asked at least a million times a day in our house — “how many sleeps?”

And then there’s the letters to Santa. We sat down, pen and paper at the ready. I asked what they would like, littlest one, a toy dog, easy enough. After a long pensive pause biggest kid announced he would like a cow on wheels. I’d be naive in thinking he’ll change his mind because I know he won’t. But it’s ok because Santa can get anything, is what he he told me as I looked back at him not being able to disguise the baffled look on my face. So, I’m off to Google....... farm creatures with wheels!