I feel like I’ve crawled my way to the end of this month. It has gone in a blur and now we are staring down the barrel of Christmas Eve. I am going to give some brief highlights of the last week because I am short on time and am slightly panicking about the presents I’ve yet to wrap. I’m not even sure I know where they all are, since I’ve hidden them away like a squirrel hoarding nuts. Here goes:
A trip to the theatre: The English Husband and I treated ourselves to a very rare trip to the West End to watch a play called A Chorus of Disapproval. It stars Rob Brydon, an actor known for playing comedic roles. I like watching plays if they don’t drag into the three-hour range. This one stayed within two hours and was amusing, if not earth-shattering or life-changing. The biggest shock wasn’t provided by the actors or the plot, but the cost of two (large) glasses of wine and a bag of crisps: £21 (about $35). No wonder we never go to the theatre. It will send you into bankruptcy.
Parenting lows: head lice. I’ve heard other parents talk with horror about lice. I’ve read threads on the internet about dealing with the parasites, with a growing sense of horror. Yet I always hoped it would miraculously pass me by. A few nights ago the Chatterbox says to me: ‘My head is really itchy.’ I dragged her into the bathroom and steeled myself for the very worst. I tentatively inspect her head, parting strands of hair. First clue something is wrong: I think I see small, brown, sesame-like things attached to her head. And then something that makes me scream: there is no mistaking movement, and I could swear something was looking at me. I literally jumped, drew back and went into a slump of depression for the rest of the night. We think we have caught it early, but I have spent the rest of the week sporadically itching my head and wondering if I’ve caught it. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful early Christmas present? I have read that as a mother you have an 75-80% chance of catching it, as do siblings. Fathers only have a 20% chance. Do men ever draw the short straw?
A bit of celebrity gossip – Courteney Cox has even had head lice and she caught it from her daughter. Goes to show that nothing, not even wads of cash and the best schools, can keep you safe from human fleas.
The kids go to the theatre: We decide to treat the kids to a trip to a local theatre for a production of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, the classic children’s book that has been translated into I don’t know how many languages. For those without children, it’s about a family who go looking for a bear and encounter many obstacles along the way. It’s written by poet Michael Rosen (a Londoner), who has undoubtedly made a fortune from this simple story which I wish I had written.
Michael Rosen, it turns out, is performing his story with no additional props or sets. We file in to watch him talk through some of his material against a stark-black backdrop. It’s like a kiddie stand-up show. It’s entertaining for about five minutes and then the Raging Bull starts to squirm. I think she was expecting someone dressed as a bear and some live-action entertainment. Frankly, so was I. Just before the end of his routine, nearly one hour later, the Bull turns to me and says: ‘When is the show going to start?’ Says it all, really.
The six-year-old doubts Santa Claus: I truly didn’t know how long it would be before the children started doubting Santa Claus. Six years old does seem a bit young to start voicing doubts. I mean, I’m hardly bringing up a genius here. But the other day she asked the English Husband about the jolly-faced man, because someone at school had said he didn’t exist. Of course, this is usually when I curse inner-city schools and the streetwise kids. I have no proof it has to do with this, but I like flinging blame on my London life when I get the chance. What do I do to get her to believe? I’m thinking of muddy footprints. It’s totally plausible given how much rain we’ve had. Unfortunately, we don’t have a chimney so anything coal-related does seem out of the question. Any tips from wise parents are very welcome.
Merry Christmas, everyone: In England people still wish each other a merry/happy Christmas. They haven’t got into the ‘happy holidays’ thing. Unlike in the United States, you would be hard pressed to find a card without a ‘Merry Christmas’ greeting. I like it. Why are we so hung up on the message? It’s a greeting card, for goodness’ sake.