Last Christmas, my daughter was only a few months old. She found the day baffling and exhausting, and this time round she still probably won’t understand. She’ll be pleased that there are people around to play with her, and she’ll probably do pretty well in terms of snacks, but the significance of this particular day won’t mean a lot – and neither will the idea of presents.
“Here you go!” we say, whenever we present her with anything. “That’s for you!”
“Well yes, everything is for me, for I am at the centre of the universe and the only being that truly exists. I am the one, the only, the everything, the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega,” she replies. (She uses fewer syllables, but that’s the gist).
Presents mean nothing when the world exists solely to please you. So while there are loads of beautiful, expensive gifts we could buy her, these are cash-strapped times, so why throw money away? The idea of a kid enjoying the box more than the present itself is well-worn one for a reason – so maybe we should look closer to home to find her something she’d really really love. Like …
A toilet roll. My toddler can’t get enough of pulling toilet paper off the roll and making a giant mess like a dog from an advert. She especially loves it if whichever parent is using the toilet is really, really stressed.
Unprotected sockets. Few things appeal more to my daughter than trying to jam her fingers into electrical sockets that don’t have plastic guards on them. If the ability to find the one exposed socket in an otherwise childproofed room was monetisable, we’d be sitting on a fortune.
Unfettered access to gravity. Nothing annoys my little girl like intervening when she’s trying to fall off something. She’s worked hard to put herself in as precarious a position as possible, and our insistence on repeatedly “saving” her from a really desirable plummet seems to annoy her massively.
Full nappies. Why spend loads of money on nice things for her when we could just let her smash her feet and legs into the contents every soiled nappy that we remove from her, as she seems to perpetually desire? Fill your boots, darling. Tread the hell out of your dirt. It’s Christmastime, after all.
The contents of the mug we’ve specifically placed out of reach. Danger schmanger, she thinks. If there wasn’t something incredibly fun in there we wouldn’t have gone to such efforts to stop her being able to access it. She longs for nothing more than a hot, freshly-poured coffee to fall on her head. Ideally the mug will break as well.
The dirtiest two-pence coin in the realm. She’s desperate to eat one of these. Forget the chocolate coins so many kids will be enjoying on Christmas Day – if Junior had her way she’d devour jarfuls of nasty green coppers until New Year.