Luna shakes broken crumbs out of the hollow Christmas tree chocolate on to her plate. “I’m shaking the seeds out.” This is a two-and-a-half-year-old who has eaten a lot more fruit than chocolate. I briefly ponder the idea of planting a chocolate seed and waiting for the tree to grow and fruit. Just briefly though: there’s not much time for pondering with two toddlers loose near a Christmas tree.
Usually it’s just the baubles they go for, or the lights, but I did have to peel half a dozen pine needles off Luna’s tongue on Christmas Day evening; apparently hunger returns relatively quickly after a three-course roast dinner, and hunger coupled with tiredness led not for the first time to eating plants rather than asking for food.
Willow meanwhile, at eighteen months old, spent Christmas Day using his new catchphrase every time a wrapped present appeared: “what’s in there?!” If the wrapping happened to be relatively quick and easy to remove, he would stay the course, but more often than not by the time his question could be answered, he was engaged in using a remote control as a phone, pilfering someone’s keys or hunting for long-lost raisins under furniture.
I have to admit that ‘Jingle Bells’ has really brought on their singing – both can make it right through the chorus if you allow for a sort of mumbly skipping over the awkward line ‘one-horse open sleigh’ and it’s easily taken over ‘Ba Ba Black Sheep’ as the favourite. I have a feeling that by April they’ll have it mastered and we’ll never want to hear any Christmas song ever again.
For both us and the children I think the whole festive period has been a muddle of chaos, bewilderment, excitement and exhaustion. And earlier today I bemoaned the fact that it would likely be years before we could reasonably be part of some sort of adult celebration of New Year.
But lying here in bed at 9pm on New Year’s Eve writing this with a sleeping two-year-old snuggled up against me – a two-year-old who when asked what she wanted for Christmas, replied “mushroom” and whose only wish when she stirred the Christmas pudding was to “eat it”, I know that such innocence is a precious thing and that one day, there’ll be nothing I want more than another Christmas in Toddlerdom.