'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring... except for Bolshy the bulldog, whose snores could be heard throughout (I'm not kidding; I was sleeping a floor above him and was awakened in the middle of the night, not by a screaming baby but by a heavily snoring puppy. Progress?)
This is Bolshy's second Christmas with the family and he's now very much a member of the clan: last year, he was two months old, weighed five kilos and wasn't allowed out of the house so spent much of the week between Christmas and New Year's sitting on my lap (or weeing on the living room carpet, since he wasn't exactly house-trained yet).
Now he's bounding along in the snow, chasing after basketballs, tennis balls, my husband's brothers... when he's in the countryside (where we spend the holidays), he thinks of himself as Country Bulldog: frolicking around off lead, playing with tons of people every day, getting spoiled beyond belief... Every day in the country is Christmas for Bolshy.
Of course, this year, we're no longer just fussing over Bolshy now that baby Diana's in the picture. While she's still too young to appreciate presents, she's definitely enjoyed the holiday festivities so far: I took her to a couple of carol concerts in London and she loves all of the attention and games she's playing with various family members. And of course, the presents!
I heavily hinted to everyone that even though she may not remember this Christmas, gifts are definitely encouraged. I figured that everyone else buying Diana presents so I wouldn't have to could have been an effective plan, but I seem to be unable to control myself in that department... half of what ended up in her stocking was from me anyway. And that was before I hit the shops to go sales-shopping after Boxing Day.
While Baby D undoubtedly doesn't need the "My Little Christmas Pudding" emblazoned babygro I got her (or the reindeer-print velour one, for that matter) on sale from JoJo Maman Bébé, wearing food-print items is only cute for so long (a few years, max?) so I might as well take advantage while I can. I also bought on the big side, getting Diana size 6-12 months, so hopefully these outfits have months of use ahead and my child can be dressed like a Christmas pudding very inappropriately in the middle of July.
Since Diana's now definitely teething, toys are also on the agenda (yay, another excuse for more shopping!) She loves her teethers (and a new Sophie La Girafe - some insanely popular, beloved French rubber giraffe toy that every baby seems to have - teether has been added to her collection, as well as another set of keys courtesy of a brother-in-law), but I think the present that baby D's most enamoured of at the moment is a gift from her grandparents: a rainbow-coloured set of wooden toy stacking rings.
While Diana hasn't yet displayed any interest in actually building or stacking anything, grabbing the rings off the table and then throwing them on the floor provides seemingly endless enjoyment and entertainment for her (and for Bolshy, who hovers under the kitchen table, slightly terrified but deeply curious in case the wooden blocks dropping down are potential snacks).
Diana even managed to give out a couple of presents of her own this year: she (by way of her father) got me the Alan Sugar autobiography (she has spent hours watching The Apprentice, after all) and she (tactfully) procured "World's Best" Grandma and Grandpa mugs for her grandparents.
Because baby Diana already knows who the world's best potential babysitters are.