Twelve Treats of Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! We are now in the playing with presents phase of the holiday. The girls are working together beautifully on a Doctor Who puzzle from Gramma, Andrew is trying his hand at some Chopin from Gramma, our bellies are all full of cinnamon rolls, and I am feeling reflective. Lest I start to forget our 2009 Christmas, I thought I might write down twelve treats of our family's holiday season. Part of me insists I won't forget, but that part of me didn't remember the presents hidden in the office until midnight last night. Silly that part of me. So, here they are: Our twelve treats of Christmas!

1. Katie focusing so carefully on her recorder playing at the Christmas concert and singing Santa Lucia in Swedish so very sweetly. My favourite of all was in the rehearsal in the weeks leading up to the concert in which Buffy would join Katie. I know the Swedish lyrics just strings of weird syllables to Buffy - as they are to me - but darn it if Katie didn't teach her every one of those syllables perfectly. Love it!

2. Buffy's nativity. She was a little angel and asked me with big eyes if I could make an angel costume for her. What sewing-mad mom could refuse? I modelled it off of the beautiful clothes of Eden's Bouquet and Sophie's wedding dress from Mamma Mia. Buffy wore it proudly on stage. She would have been happy in anything, though, once she got on stage. The girl adores an audience. As soon as her foot hit the stage, she spun around and grinned at the audience. Her audience. The angels were expected to stand during all of the songs and sit during the dialogue. One little angel didn't like sitting very much, so she stood far longer than any other angels. At some point someone must have said something to her, because she started instructing all of the other little angels when to sit and stand. She even pushed one angel on the head to get her to sit down. Then she stood back and grinned at her audience.

About halfway through, though, something changed. Our perky, proud little angel crumbled into a very sad little mess. She sniffled and cried through the rest of the show. We were worried what had happened. It turned out she had ripped her dress. Oops! Maybe we should have bought the cheap plastic Disney dress afterall.

3. C's Christmas party. Andrew was supposed to go, but Buffy got an earache, so Katie and I went on our own. It was wonderful. A grown-up centric party for once. Everyone looked glamourous and told witty stories. It was a proper evening, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

4. Ballet! Sweet Granny always gets a pair of tickets for Katie and Daddy to go to the ballet together. This was their third year watching The Nutcracker, which they always enjoy. I think Katie really benefits from hearing the same music from year to year. I know I did as a child, and I know the music from that ballet better than any other by far. It's lovely music. Katie came home dancing around, which I remember doing too. I take it as a sign that the ballet really touched her.

5. Les Miserables with Katie. In the past few months I have been slowly introducing Katie to the music of Les Mis. She asked if we could ever go see the show. Well, yes, it's easy enough to do in London, but I warned her it's not a happy story. Some people are mean, then some people die, then things get much worse, more people die, then it ends. She assured me she was okay with the sadness, afterall Harry Potter has sad parts and she loves that. Good point, I thought. I idly looked for tickets online, but my credit card wouldn't go through. I did notice that there were lots of available seats on the 23rd, so I hatched a plan. Katie and I would go to the TKTS book in Leicester Square and try to get half price tickets on the day. I wouldn't tell her very much about it, in case I couldn't deliver.

Fortunately, they had seats available, and amazing seats at that. We were bang in the middle of the front section of Dress Circle. Our view was perfect. The show was amazing with brilliant performances from all, notably Javert and Gavroche. Little Cosette was nervous and her voice cracked, but that only added to her charm. It was sweeping and wonderful, and my sweet Katie loved it. A fan is born.

6. Mince pies and mulled wine. It is tempting to have these out of season, because they're so delicious. I think that might detract from their specialness, though, which is not worth the risk.

More in another post.

Proof that there are more questions than answers, by Katie age 7

"Well, firstly you have the list of questions that have answers. Then you think of the list of questions that don't have answers. So obviously, there must be more questions than answers."

Our silly girls

The girls and I have had nits. I just found out last night that I've got them too. It really was only a matter of time in our cuddly/hairy household. I guess I'm surprised it took that long, and that I only found one. Still, ew. This all has led to some sweet moments, though. Last night the girls were entwined on the rocking chair, Buffy sprawled over Katie. Katie then idly started nit-picking through Buffy's hair. It was such a sweet moment. They didn't need me or Andrew. Just each other. I hope they always have that.


Last week we celebrated Diwali at the girls' school. It has become an annual event, and one we absolutely love. The Indian and Sikh families of the school donate clothes and months of their lives so our children can dress up and dance around. The Year 6 children even put on a show. Well, they try to anyway. Sometimes some nameless little girls get up on stage in their pretty borrowed sparkly clothes and spin and dance and have so much fun they won't get off. They won't get off even when three Year 6 girls talk to them. They won't get off even when a further three Year 6 girls try to physically remove them. It wasn't until the audience arrived at the general consensus that her mother really should do something that one little girl finally got off the stage. (Read: was physically removed, potato-sack style.)

Such little girls did not ruin the event, however, and a good time was had by all. We definitely plan* to go again!

*assuming Buffy hasn't been banned

Does Anybody Want a Peanut?

Last week I went to pick up the girls after school and ran into Buffy's Nursery teacher. Despite not being Buffy's teacher this year, she had a Buffy story for me. That afternoon Buffy's current teacher, Ms. S, had come into the staffroom laughing. She found Miss W to relate the Buffy story of the day. Oh yes, these are regular.

Ms. S's class were working on /i/. They read a story about Inky the mouse who had lots of /i/-related adventures. Then Ms. S opened it up to the class. Did they know any /i/ words? Buffy's hand shot up. Yes, Buffy? "INCONCEIVABLE!!"

I don't think Ms. S is as familiar with The Princess Bride as we are, but she found it hilarious. We found it hilarious, too, but for slightly different reasons. She can quote liberally from The Princess Bride. She's one of us!

She wants pink and sparkles

This year Katie's best friend is at a new school. They have both managed well and are making new friends. Part of their ease is due to their clever mummies' plan to get them together every week. Actually, credit all goes to the other girl's mummy, because it was her idea and she does all the work. I just go along with it.

The idea is to take all three girls (yep, she takes Buffy as well!) ice skating. Buffy doesn't go yet, but does enjoy quality time with one of her favourite people. Katie goes to a separate beginner's lesson while her friend, a very talented skater, has private lessons. Before these lessons Katie had only been ice skating twice and had progressed to the point I didn't panic when she put on her roller blades.

Following the last lesson, Katie came home showing off a sign-off book. It seems she'd completed all of the requirements for her Level 1 certificate. Cool!

Oh wait, she's also completed all of the requirements for Level 2.

And Level 3.

She is one signature away from her Level 4, too!

Whilst we are immensely proud of Katie, we are presented with a bit of a conundrum. See, when she started, she wanted a pretty skating outfit. I put her off, because I wasn't sure she'd stick with ice skating. I thought it might be a good incentive. Maybe in a year or two. Yes, that sounded good. She could have her pretty, impractical skating outfit once she had completed her...

wait for it...

Level 3!

I guess we're going shopping.

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