Monday, 13 December 2010

Christmas Dilemmas

This could be called Christmas and birthday dilemmas really given that my spectacular planning means Jess will be celebrating both of them fairly close together, but before I get stuck in I need to apologise for the lack of recent blogging, Jess has apparently turned into a little power house that no longer requires that much sleep during the day but does require 100% of my attention to stop her eating cat food, playing with the litter tray, attempting to pull piles of Cd's down on her head, aggresively pruning the peace lily or generally doing something life threatening with anything she can get her hands on. Which turns out is a lot. Just last week she discovered she's tall enough to pull things off tables and dressers so there are very few places that are safe anymore.... I have to say with the generic mother's rose tinted spectacles they hand out in the labour ward that she's generally so cute when she's attempting to destroy the flat I can't really find it that annoying either. Although she is getting harder to take to the pub given that she keeps crawling off and trying to get behind the bar. I can't think who she takes after....

Anyway back to my dilemma. As I might have mentioned in the past I am quite a controlling person. Bizarrely now I've admitted to that I feel the need to announce it more and more as it seems to excuse me of anything! In the case of Jess' first birthday and Christmas my inner control freak reared it's ugly head around the subject of presents. I've been to a couple of children's birthdays and seen what small children get for Christmas and, my god, it's a helluva lot. I did actually get quite worked up and worried about it for a while and thought of ways to stem the flow as it were. And I realise how ungrateful that makes me sound so I will try to explain myself.

Firstly, as I'm sure many of you know, I try to keep things a bit simple if I can. I know my flat is full of stuff but I don't really want to add anymore to that if possible, and anything that Jess is going to get very little or no use out of falls into the category of stuff we don't need. I've had to get quite brutal and ignore my sentimental side since having Jess or I'd be swamped.

The other side of keeping things simple is that I don't want to be responsible for stuff being manufactured and disposed off needlessly. Especially if it's plastic. And that is for this reason. I would rather be involved as little as possible with disposing of plastic goods that wind up in our oceans killing our marine life. The fact that there is a flotilla of waste plastic in the pacific ocean which (after 5 minutes googling) is anywhere between the size of Texas or the size of north America which is doing nothing other than quickly getting bigger and breaking down into smaller more dangerous particles very slowly. The fate of albatrosses who eat this plastic and die is very visible and a tragedy but as the plastic gets smaller and into more of the marine Eco system the real tragedy will begin and it will be epic. Me saying "I don't want plastic for my child" does very little to stop this but it salves my guilty conscience for every plastic bottle I've ever brought.

The other issue I have is that I don't want Jess turned into a consumer so young. I have this idealistic view that she should be creative and use her imagination for play rather than just have a big pile of the latest toys. I want her to experience the true joy of getting a new toy as an occasional treat and along side that goes the disappointment of not having everything you want when you want it. It's a bitter pill to swallow for children, I remember regularly being upset that my mother wouldn't capitulate every time I said "I want that" but now I'm damned glad she stood by her principles as it makes getting new things so much more pleasurable!

This year I decided to set up a just giving account so anyone who wants to get Jess a present could donate to FSID in her name. I decided on the Foundation for the Study of Infant Death to remind myself how lucky I am to have a happy healthy child and that I should never take anything for granted.

I was all keyed up to ask people to donate but actually wording that this was what I wanted seemed incredibly difficult. I talked to a few people about it who agreed that it was lovely idea but it would be so hard to do it without offending people. What finally changed my mind was realising (and things like this are a huge learning curve for me) that however much I may joke that Jess is my mini me, she's not. She is an individual, albeit a tiny and dependent one and very likely completely unaware of all her mothers' hand wringing over this issue but I cannot really control how people what to interact with her and although she is my daughter her extended family and our friends have some ownership over her as well and who am I to deny if they want to demonstrate what they feel for her by choosing and buying her a present? I should be (and I am) incredibly grateful and touched that people care enough about Jess to want to treat her.

My next lesson to learn is to stop over thinking things! And to wish everyone a very happy Christmas and new year. My new years resolution will be to not neglect this page so much!

And I am delighted that I managed to write a blog post with only having to stop to clear up one very squidgy nappy (damned kiwis) and kiss one bumped head which appears to be rapidly turning into a black eye.....


  1. um, i've said it before and i'll say it least you have insight!

  2. From my observations, babies are as happy playing with the box and the paper that wrapped the present as the present itself.

  3. I'm too organised! Got her something ages ago I'm afraid. But don't worry - it isn't a barbie...

  4. All very noble sentiments, Lou. I waded through the presents E's niece and nephew got and it was obscene.

    I thought of you today - saw someone buying a 'Pretty in Pink Cleaning Set'. Hideous.