The lead up to Christmas was massively exciting this year with two preschoolers to whip each other into a frenzy over Father Christmas and all the attendant excitement that the holiday season brings.
We read Christmas stories by candlelight before bedtime. We made advent calendars. We coloured in one hundred and three Christmas colouring book pictures. We wrote to Father Christmas. Five times. Because we kept thinking of other things we wanted. (My hopes of a less material Christmas now that Eldest Son is no longer in school and influenced by his peers went completely out the window. Or up the chimney.)
We had my in-laws for Christmas. Hopes for a rowdy, drunken Christmas (most likely my father-in-law’s last) were dampened by our poorly dog needing peace and quiet to live out her last few days quietly in the corner and by my devastation at the thought that we would have to have her put down either on Christmas Day itself or Boxing Day. The children were wild with excitement over their Scalextric and Lightning McQueen toys, oblivious of course to the undercurrent of sadness about Matthew’s father or about Brin. But when Brin was given a reprieve by the vet on Boxing Day – when we were due to join my side of the family – I felt able to finally celebrate Christmas.
Since Christmas we have celebrated a fifth birthday, a first birthday and the purchase of a pair of walking shoes for my youngest son for he has decided that life is much more interesting, and unsteady, when upright and moving independently. I also considered buying a crash helmet along with the shoes but opted instead for walking the hallways over and over and over again as he finds his feet (sometimes literally when he gets confused as to how the whole walking thing happens). Oh, so much walking. But I multitask: while I can’t exactly implement my new ‘family and household stuff comes first’ policy while guiding him around the house, I can read one of the many, many books I received for my birthday and for Christmas. So I’m reading, losing weight and teaching the baby to walk. It’s hardly running a multi-national company, but you know, it’s something. I think.
But now I have the most important thing to include here: THE BABY IS SLEEPING THROUGH! And if I’m shouting that at you, that’s because I’m shouting it here, usually every hour as I celebrate the possibility of a whole night’s sleep (with Brin so sick I was up with her all though the nights when he started sleeping though and since then various toddlers and my grief-related insomnia have conspired to prevent me from an uninterrupted night’s sleep so far). Fourteen months of being up every two to three hours! I’m sure I will look back on these baby-days one day and laugh! But not any time soon I think. Next stop: get him out of my bed and in his own cot!
This sleeping through has a second, less self-centred, importance. It means Ben is getting enough nutrition in the day so that he is not hungry. And in fact, about a week after he started sleeping through, he started eating. Really eating. I could weep just thinking about it now. I haven’t had him weighed but I can’t believe he won’t be putting on weight now. He is still massively constipated so that will be one for the paediatric consultant to get to grips with at the next appointment, hopefully not literally, but the relief that he is finally eating is overwhelming.
And so now, I can start to wean him! Which means after nearly six years of near-constant pregnancy and/or breastfeeding I can have a glass of wine and get drunk! Because that is all it will take!
It also means I will have to stop eating in the vague hope that my increased calories would somehow pass through to my failing-to-thrive baby via the milk. Which means no more pastries and cakes. I will have to lose that last bit of pregnancy weight, I will have no more excuses.
Or else I will have to invent some other ones.