Inspired by a friend’s experience the other day where all started much like an Enid Blyton picnic and descended into a rerun of Police Academy 65 by lunchtime.
Christmas means a lot of things to a lot of people. All at the same time for Rowdy and The Bobcat and probably many other under 10s. Really, there’s a proper amount of information to take in, isn’t there? Advent calendars; Christmas cards; carols; tombola; everything gets very shiny and sparkly; guy with beard and sock fetish careering through the night with magical flying wildlife.
The nativity (do they rehearse this from September?) is another seasonal adventure. Costumes; lights; action! Especially if your progeny has a speaking part. Or a shouting the songs part. Or a picking their nose centre-stage part. And then start a straw fight, steal a sheep and start a pop-up enterprise vending angel dust out of the manger. Primary teachers must live off Rennies by November 3rd.
Joyfully, at home Rowdy feels she can juggle both front and backstage roles. She is a born assistant stage manager. And, to be fair, as AmDram newbies we do need a lot of guidance particularly when the script is a moveable feast incorporating many varied sources and influences and the scriptwriter (also Rowdy), set designer (Rowdy) and Wardrobe (Rowdy) is on set.
We’re fast learning that this is becoming an annual family tradition.
Rowdy: “Daddy is a king, The Bobcat is Captain Hook, Mummy is The Beanstalk, Stan is The Baby Lowgeez* and I’m Elsa. We’re all having a lovely picnic. GO!”
The Bobcat: “Excuse me.”
Rowdy [festive rolling of eyes]: “Whaaaaat?”
The Bobcat: “I no have a hook.”
[Rowdy glares at him momentarily before rummaging in the ‘Kitchen and Dented Softplay Balls’ section of the room and thrusting a miniature spatula at him.]
*It took us two weeks to work out that The Baby Lowgeez was The Baby Lord Jesus.
Explaining Santa’s recycling policy took some doing when Rowdy expected a blazing inferno carrying her Christmas demands to the North Pole. Amazing motivation for increasing their vocabularly though.
Then follows the tradition of throwing to the north wind being good for its own reward and replacing it with being good as a way of ensuring they’d get the two LIVE reindeer in their stockings (“Where will we keep them? Hmmm?” “In your room, Daddy.”), the mountain of chocolate and candy canes AND lots of olives.
Remembrance is fairly tricky to comprehend if you’re under ten. Very tricky to understand if you’re under five.
It’s fairly tricky if you’re over ten, have responsibility for someone(s) under ten and they have trouble with timescales.
Which is why Daddy went to the local Remembrance ceremony and everyone else stayed at home.
Not everyone was wearing clothes at 1100hrs. Some may even have been wearing jam. (Not a reenactment of any bloodied battle scene, just breakfast.) However, the spirit of remembrance (we think) is in the joyfulness of generations now and in the future, and in the fight for peace. It’s certainly in Rowdy & The Bobcat at home playing and learning about how we share a planet and not bawling and bored to distraction in a ceremonial silence.
Which is why it’s OK to just be wearing strawberry jam.