Posts Tagged ‘New Years’


As the clock struck midnight on this, the most promising of years, the world is filled with more exploration, less guilt, more naps, less procrastinating, more chocolate, less sugar… more and less have never meant more or less.

Yet, after all the fireworks, kisses, and laughter, I woke and had to fill the dishwasher.

My husband, the long time loyal reader of this column, would probably like me to add there is at least two loads of laundry waiting downstairs for him.

Happy New Year, from our family chores to yours.

We allowed, let, awe, heck it was a last minute science experiment to have the girls stay up and greet 2017. In the past, we’ve tried to wake them in time for the ball drop in New York, but they’re hard to rouse, and the reality is some years, we were so tired, the saying: let sleeping dogs lie was the one we honoured…what would happen if they didn’t go back to sleep after singing Auld Lang Syne?

This year, though, at 9, 7 and 5, the girls said they were ready… and we believed them.

So, throwing caution for what January 1st at 5pm might look like to the wind, the girls showered, found their spots in the living room, and patiently waited for me to find something suitable on TV.  Miss Q observed, “We need to get more late night kid friendly channels.”

Even with the trappings of blankets, and pillows, the girls’ eyes stayed open as they watched episodes of Little House on the Prairie. My husband purposefully fell asleep. Yes, we know how to party.

I broke out the tea and chocolate around 9:30. Miss Q continued dispensing her almost 10-year-old wisdom, “This is the best night ever because I’m wearing my new warm and cozy pajamas. I’m lying on a soft couch under a warm blanket, in a living room with the heat on.”

Mama Bear’s updated New Year’s resolution: more listening to how her cubs see their worlds.

My husband woke at 11 – in time to watch what he proclaims is my New Year’s tradition: the flipping back and forth between the channels as I try to soak in all the New Year’s happenings.

With the lights off, we watched Rick Mercer “live” from Ottawa ring in Canada’s 150th birthday year. Flashlights and the glow of the Christmas tree illuminated our living room as I swooped in on the loves of my life, to dole out midnight smooches.

At 12:01 Miss S revealed the answer to the age-old math question:

over tired + sugar + seven-year-old = ??

At one point she was standing on a footstool in the middle of our living room, dancing with her flashlight to Lionel Richie’s Dancing on the Ceiling; a moment punctuated by the fact she was wearing only a toque and monkey nightgown.

After generous offers of, “You can go to bed if you want,” Miss C was all too eager to hit the hay. New Years for her was anticlimactic, but she was glad to be present and accounted for.

We woke in Victoria, this first day of January 2017, to a dusting of snow. Most days, most every snow day, the first flakes are greeted with clanging and banging of pots and pans, kids shouting for joy, and the local radio announcer warning of icy road conditions.

This snowy day our house was silent. All was calm, and our futures so very bright.



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“Mummy, I’m into dolls more than I’m into Disneyland.”  Spoken like a true five-year-old who’s scared her doubting mum will veto dreams of finding a beautiful red-haired, green-eyed doll under the Christmas tree.  (See Jenna the Mapelea Doll.)

I’m not going to write a counter letter to Santa telling him that Miss Q’s steadfast declaration that she now loves dolls, is under review.  Nor do I have the heart to deconstruct her argument that the only reason she doesn’t play with dolls is that no one has ever given her one of her very own.

I’ve walked the walk, and talked the talk.  I can’t count how many gifts Santa never left me under the tree.  But then again, maybe a Lamborghini didn’t fit in the sleigh?

As a mum, this time of year tugs me in two different directions.  The first direction is obvious: excitement, excitement, excitement.  From the moment Remembrance Day weekend is over to the New Year’s bell ringing, it’s six(ish) weeks of fun – even though we’re not really a partying family.

Sure we have our traditions of a Santa Claus parade, breakfast with Santa, and seeing the Twelve Days of Christmas at Butchart Gardens, but aside from those moments, our family likes to do things internally: gingerbread houses, my husband’s baking blitz, and something charitable to teach the true spirit of the season.

One would think it was a happy parenting moment when Miss Q gave me her one and only Santa item, and then Miss S chimed with, “I want Santa to bring me a vacuum so I can clean.”

Don’t get me wrong, it was truly a wonderful moment as I realized my girlies had no clue about the amount of toys being marketed to them.  Their two-hour stint in front of the Sears Wish Book had been completely forgotten: all they could think about was a doll ($100) and vacuum ($45).

But then my practical, grinchy, mum side shone through: two more gifts that would be played with for thirty seconds and be added to the pile of plastic; two more toys that would be forgotten in a sea of grandparent gifts, stockings and uncles.  And, oh, yeah, they have a little sister, so make that another mini-mountain…

“I must find a way to stop Santa from coming, but how?” a voice deep inside me growled.

Clearly writing to Santa and asking him to leave lumps of coal was out of the question, as was quoting Wordsworth: The world is too much with us… in hopes he would read between the lines.

And, since I doubted bedsheets were on the hot-ticket toy list this year; and gifts of experience didn’t exactly fall in line with something the elves would whip up; it was check and mate.

So my husband and I did the unthinkable: individual trips to the toy store.  One for Miss Q and one for Miss S – separate, of course, didn’t want one to be influenced by the other.  (Thankfully, Miss C is content with whatever Santa brings her.)

Our goal for these unorthodox outings was to build their toy repertoire; and maybe, just maybe find that perfect gift, that hidden gem that would be played with and loved for all of eternity, or at least through the new year.

It may have backfired.  Armed with an iTouch for photo documentation (oh how odd this world has become) I snapped the newest desires.  Plastic upon plastic shone through my lens, and the more glossy plastic we found, the more all of our eyes glazed.

Time will tell if the new treasures we found will continue to dance in Miss Q and Miss S’s dreams, or if they will revert to their original wishes of a doll and vacuum.

As for me, when it comes to what Miss Q and Miss S ask Santa for, I promise to throw grinchy mum to the wind, and embrace whatever the elves create.  But come spring, you might just find practical mum giving classes in the fine art of toy sorting, and garage sales.

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