D's new Christmas trick
Having a toddler in your house at Christmas changes everything. There is so much more energy and excitement in the air that it makes you feel like you're experiencing the event afresh. At any rate, that's how I'm justifying my childish behaviour of eating chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner and asking to open Christmas presents days in advance.
No surprise, really, since wrapping paper and cardboard boxes are so fascinating to Diana that there doesn't even need to be an additional gift beneath all of the packaging...
Even though Diana doesn't quite know what Christmas is yet, she does seem to realise something special is happening. For starters, we're in a much nicer house (D's grandparents) and all of D's uncles and relatives are present or popping in over the course of the week. And every day, a new toy has been appearing as part of my attempt not to overwhelm her with too many gifts at once. It's still unclear if this has been effective or is a surefire way to transform D into a fully spoilt brat. (I'll get back to you next year).
D's been quite the character the past couple of days. We were treated to some carol singing the other evening. D was mesmerised, but when asked if she liked the music, adamantly insisted: "No!" (another new word of D's, to join her non-egotistical vocabulary of "mine" and "me") before lifting her shirt up and exposing her tummy to all present.
In fact, every time someone diverted their attention away from D, she would instantly recapture it by quickly flashing her torso. Slightly awkward and obviously something I need to curb immediately. Unfortunately, I'm being blamed for the streaking - apparently, according to my brothers-in-law, I've been too complimentary of D's tum, which is why she's desperate to expose it to the world. But check out that tum – can you really blame me?
In addition to flashing the locals, D has been engaging in rather busybody-ish toddler activities: helping me decorate the tree (aka trying to choke on tiny baubles whenever I turned my back), tearing through the house like a banshee, stacking and sorting her blocks, flinging herself headfirst onto the couch before climbing up, clucking like a hen (one of D's new tricks) and whacking an unsuspecting Bolshy (or whoever else happened to be in her line of fire) on the head with a toy for no apparent reason whatsoever.
We all went a little crazy with presents this year (I overcompensate because my own parents aren't around and I don't have any siblings, so I always feel I have to buy gifts as if they're coming from about five different people), and D walked away with some amazing spoils, from books to cuddly toys to a sleek hot pink convertible I'd want for myself and am deeply jealous of (and not just because Diana is driving before me).
She actually is really enthusiastic about all of her lovely new gifts, but already seems to realise the best part of Christmas is family (translation: the undivided attention you can get from family). Even Daddy is less exciting to D than her doting uncles, who sort of look like Dad minus the exhaustion of fatherhood, and are therefore still happy to repeat a trick for the 10,000th time.
This has its downsides for me, too - namely that D isn't sleeping because she doesn't want to miss any of the action (she woke up at 6am today and has been refusing to nap until at least the fifth time I try to put her down). So much for my brilliant schedule.
Despite my own perpetual exhaustion, this has been my favourite Christmas in a long time. The truth is - cheesy as this may sound - there's no better gift than turning around and seeing your 16-month-old (who hadn't even mastered the art of rolling over this time last year) running around the sitting room, playing and laughing. Until she lifts her top up and flashes a complete stranger, that is.