I was going to stay up tonight, chatting on MSN and bringing my wiblog up to date with reports of the Christmas season (which has been a very pleasant one, if slightly fraught with hurdles), until it was time to make the customary phone calls to members of my family and sneak into the boys’ room to give them the first kiss of the New Year as they sleep. But I have a headache already. Why? Well, when people say that you end up with a headache as the result of too much fun on New Year’s Eve, I don’t think this was what they had in mind…. a game of Pictionary with the Smudgelets.
It was a lovely evening, actually, as Auntie M had invited us round for tea. She always does a lovely tea, and it’s great to get chance to have a game together before we feast and before heading off to the little Norman church in the village for their half-hour Service of Light. I reckoned Taboo might be a bit of a challenge to my two, even though the little one could talk the hind leg off a donkey, but pictionary sounded a good bet. By the end of it, however, M and I were tearing our hair out. There was Tiddles at 12 years of age, claiming not to know that a person who sings is called a “singer”, Smudgelet spending the whole of his sixty seconds drawing the individual hairs on the head of the face which was meant to illustrate the word “smile”, neither of them quite able to comprehend why I had drawn a picture of a man wielding an axe and bringing it down to split a log in half when the word I was trying to illustrate was “chop”. Next time someone suggests party games with my Smudgelets, remind me to carry a packet of Anadin!
Today’s been rather busy, actually, as we decided to go into town this morning to get the photographs of the Chrsitmas and the Winchester Meet developed and for the boys to spend their Christmas money and put some in the bank. Great excitement in the bank, actually, as the cashpoint machine broke down and we had to be locked in the bank while the repairman opened it up and retrieved the crumpled ten pound note which was clogging up the works. Never seen inside a cashpoint before. Rather frustrating to stand there looking at all that money when I had just paid my credit card bill!
To speed up things and as part of my plan to encourage Tiddles to become more independent and confident, I sent him on an errand while we were in town, to purchase one medium sliced white loaf of a particular brand (while singing “Going Home”) and a box of our customary apple juice from the man who says “Yes”, for which purpose he was given two pound coins. The completion of this simple task cannot help but boost his self esteem, I’m sure. He arrives at the rendezvous point empty handed. “They cost too much, Mum. The juice was £1.20 and the loaf of bread was £2”. He had, of course, bought neither and, as bread was an essential, we had to try again. Half an hour down the drain. We return to the supermarket and, having given him a £5 and having checked for myself that the two items were a) on the shelves in large quantity and b) each less than £1 and having reiterated the instructions, I sent him forth on his mission once more. Now one of the fruits of the spirit is supposed to be patience, isn’t it? And if I want to boost his self esteem, then strangling him in the middle of Morrisons probably isn’t the best way to approach it, I suppose. And I am sure that the thick cheap bread and extremely expensive “six individual mixed fruit juice cartons for the wealthier family who don’t get very thirsty” would balance each other out in the long run…..
We are, however, pleased to announce a successful shopping expedition. Smudgelet now has sufficient batteries to keep all his new remote-control trains running until next Christmas (has he mentioned yet that Santa brought him two remote-control trains for his train set which make realistic noises and have lights that light up? If not, consider yourself fortunate indeed!); Tiddles has a long plank of wood and several nails and a hinge to embark on his first real woodworking project; and I have a new shower head and a handle for the front door.
More to the point, all three of us feel stilled and blessed after the Service of Light – a gentle liturgy by candlelight to herald the new year. What does the New Year have in store for us? Who knows, but in God’s hands we feel loved and secure and strengthened to face whatever challenges and blessings the future may bring. And all of us here at Smudgie Towers wish you a happy and peaceful 2005 (though don’t expect me to use quite the same words if you phone up at midnight to wish me the same!)
(P.S. Remind me to blog about Christmas – these Christmases with the Smudgelets are such a delight that I want to record them for posterity!)