It’s less than a fortnight until Christmas, and in my house, preparations are in full swing. Miss 11 has been baking up a storm, now she’s passed Food Tech at school and apparently knows how to make chocolate-chip cookies and cupcakes. She’s got her own Pinterest board full of delicious-looking creations, and every day she comes to me with questions like, “Do we have rice malt syrup?” and “What’s matcha powder?” I keep trying to point her toward the recipes with ingredients like “flour” and “water” but she’s not interested. The more exotic and expensive the ingredient, the more she wants to try the recipe.
Master Six has spent hours rearranging the ornaments on the Christmas tree so his favourites are all in one spot, conveniently located on the side of the tree where he has informed me he wants Santa to leave his present pile. He’s at the age where unanswerable questions come thick, fast, and out of left field. “How does Santa get into our house without a chimney?” “How does Santa get around the whole world on Christmas night?” “Hey, this present says ‘From Santa’ but that’s Dad’s writing.”
Miss One is mostly oblivious, although very curious about the tree that’s sprung up in the lounge, which is usually her own personal playroom. She’s taken to playing on the tree skirt, beneath the artificial branches, like some kind of displaced forest fairy. The dog likes to sleep behind the tree, and I often find the two of them under there, hanging out companionably. It would be a heartwarming picture if not for their mutual tendency to chew the edges of the wrapped gifts. I’m always finding damp bits of wrapping paper littering the floor, and I’m not sure whom to blame.
With less than a fortnight to go until the big day, I’m just hoping to get through without breaking into the scorched almonds I bought for stocking stuffers. (Side note: Do people buy scorched almonds at any other time of the year?) I’m not sure how long I can last. The kids are just too clever, and I’m completely outnumbered. If you need me, I’ll be on the floor behind the Christmas tree, curled up next to the dog, waiting for Santa to come.