An epiphany

So, Christmas is over and Helen has gone back to work. More importantly, I haven’t.
It was a pretty good break all in all. I never used to enjoy Christmas. I loved the Christmas period and all the mince pies, glitter and Slade that it entailed, but Christmas Day itself was always a bit of a let down. A day spent with people who, if you liked, you would see during the rest of the year, receiving things that, if you wanted, you would have bought yourself, while a tree slowly died in the corner.
My outlook has brightened considerably since the arrival of the kids, but I now tend to enjoy the day vicariously through their joy. That said, this year did seem particularly good (maybe Ebenezer Cudby is finally allowing a bit of warmth to thaw his cold,cold heart). A stream of visitors and visits kept Christmas going for what seemed an interminable period, but, topped up consistently with an equally interminable supply of presents, the kids never stopped enjoying it and I never tired of seeing them enjoying it.
But that’s now all over. The wrapping paper is overflowing from the wheelie bin, the tree is slowly dying outside and we are down to our last 3lb of Stilton. Helen went back to work at the end of last week and suddenly I am left with two kids to entertain and only a large room full of newly acquired, battery-operated plastic to do it with.
Whenever I have had a two-week holiday from work I’ve always come back vaguely bewildered, as if a fortnight away is long enough to completely erase any awareness of how to do my job. It always takes a few hours to kick my brain back into work mode and resume that feeling of knowing vaguely what I am doing.
If that is true of a job I have been doing for almost 15 years now, imagine how lost I was when suddenly left alone to look after the kids all day for the first time in two and a bit weeks, having only accumulated two weeks of experience to forget before the break.
So far, I’ve coped. And so have the kids, but with the comedown from all those festivities and that ton of new stuff vying for their attention, it has been hectic.
Beyond just coping, my proudest achievement is to have managed to keep Minnie entertained without having to resort to playing with the My Little Pony hair care set her Uncle Danny thoughtfully gave her. I only have today to get through without being forced to showcase my lack of coiffuring skills on her tiny, equine friends before she goes back to nursery tomorrow and I only have Baxter to worry about, for the mornings at least.
If he naps, there may even be an hour or so with no children to occupy me. I may even get a window to eat, drink or wash then, possibly all three. A belated Christmas gift to myself.

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