The Nativity Play

Well, it’s a few more weeks until bambino #3 makes an appearance, and with my sudden surge of energy over the past few days, I’m taking the chance to write another blog before I’m totally swamped in milk, sick and pooh.

The first term of Mole’s new school and Hedgehog’s preschool is coming to an end sooner than I imagined, and I must admit I’ve loved diving into this new era of life with them. Mole has made lots of new friends, and so have I, just from doing the school run. We’ve been to about ten ‘soft play’ parties, as one by one each of her class mates turns five, there seems to be one happening every week. Mole doesn’t always like the particular child whose party it is, based on one time they pushed her over a year ago in preschool, that she still hasn’t forgotten. “Oh, are you sure you want to go to their party then?” I ask her quizzically. “Yes” she replies matter-a-factly, “I like parties”. Okay then, makes perfect sense.

We’ve had the Harvest Festival, the Christmas Nativity, followed by the Christmas Grotto and Christmas party coming up, and soon there will be a visit from the big red man himself. All the songs from the school shows are now embedded in my brain for the next month, along with Mole’s line as ‘Narrator 13’ which goes “Suddenly there was a bright light and angels appeared in the sky”. We were warned by the head teacher that some parents can get emotional during the nativity, but that our children are watching us, so to please keep a lid on it! I can’t say that I was one of those parents, but I was part of the ‘permanently holding my camera aloft to take a video’ brigade.

Now she wants to read the nativity story at home ALL the time. There are phrases in the children’s bible book we have (given to her when she had her blessing at four months old), that do irk me sometimes. The illustrations are beautiful, but now and then you get a line like: “And there, in the stable, God brought his son to Earth”. Ummm, I think that Mary had quite a lot to do with it actually. I usually start to mumble to myself about patriarchal bullsh*t, and then Mole looks at me searchingly, to which I smile brightly and carry on reading.

In addition to the usual school events, I’ve got involved with volunteering. I went along to a PTA meeting last month and came out with the job title of ‘Preschool Coordinator’. How did that happen?. I’ve manned the school swimming pool and been in the classroom with year two’s, which has involved doing reading with the kids, helping with maths and spellings, and doing a hell of a lot of cutting out things on the guillotine.

The school run is evolving too, along with our general method of getting around the village. The bike cart that I used to pull them about in is now redundant for the time being, as Mole has outgrown it, and I am too pregnant to pull it anymore. So it evolved to Mole walking, with Hedgehog in the buggy. Then Mole started riding her bike (with stabilisers), and I kept Hedgehog in the buggy as it was the only way to keep up with Mole.

Last month Mole learned to ride without stabilizers, which Mr M&H and I were impressed with and relieved by in equal measure, since it meant no more back breaking runs alongside the bike, balancing a five year old while being steered into a bramble bush. Mole had watched in silent awe as the older kids zoomed past her on their two wheelers. Since then I could practically see the steely determination taking hold in her mind, and she spent every night practicing on the driveway. It took her about a week, and she was so chuffed with herself. It is true that a few days later she cycled into a ditch, and turned up at school covered in mud, but there were no tears, which I feel is the important thing. So I left her cheerfully getting cleaned up by a TA in the classroom.

The latest development is that after years of wanting to be carried or go in the buggy, Hedgehog is finally showing a willingness to use her legs, and will walk to school and back holding onto my finger. It is a tortoise pace, so I’ve got her using the scooter, which she likes to stand on while I pull her along. The scooter is just tall enough that I don’t have to bend over to do this, so now we’ve reached quite a nice stage where both kids are on wheels, bringing the pace up to a swift adult walking speed, and I don’t have to do too much weight lifting, (apart from carrying the one inside of course).

And finally we have all the Christmas prep going on at home, which I’m getting done early before bambino arrives. This means that things have been radically simplified and scaled down. There is nothing like having a baby around Christmas time to make you reassess your priorities.

Cards and presents are sent, mostly kept to immediate family, and done online from the sofa. I’m refusing to go out shopping alone in the dark and the cold anymore. I believe this is a combination of the hibernation time of year and the new baby nesting instinct coming together in a double whammy.

The tree and decorations should be going up this weekend. I’ve had to re-buy a wreath and outdoor lights as the old ones fell apart. This time I’ve gone for solar outdoor lights to save me climbing in and out of the kitchen window with wires, and a modern wreath of glass baubles. Then it’s our usual foraging in the woods for holly and ivy, Scandi style, and spreading it around the house.

Mole and Hedgehog have actual requests for presents this year, which means we can’t fob them off with any old junk like we did last year. I blame the school and preschool for this, with their ‘santa wishlist’ activities. Their lists are not too ambitious thankfully. Hedgehog wants Disney doll princesses and Mole wants bunny rabbit slippers. So I’ve requested all of this from the grandparents, and found some great little fairytale finger puppets for Hedgehog at Hobbycraft (my new favourite shop), which I think she’ll be happy with, as she likes small things.

In terms of food it will be more of the same, with plenty of mulled wine, spice, cakes, truffles, gingerbread and mince pies, all of which I love making, so I don’t mind spending some cosy evenings in the kitchen doing this. Mr M&H can take care of the savoury stuff, and it just ourselves having a babymoon, so we don’t need to host for anyone. In fact, I’ve made a sign for the front door that says, ‘if you want to see the baby, bring food and make your own tea’.

On that note, I’ll sign off before bambino #3 makes an appearance. Now what to do next with my sudden surge of energy? oh I know, I’ll shampoo the carpet and paint the house.