I am Stop with the Bunny Claus Mum

When did Easter become such a big deal?

Now, before I come across as a Negative Nelly here, let me clarify that I LIKE Easter.

I like it for lots of reasons. Mainly the fact that it is accompanied by holidays, better weather and chocolate. It’s also a great excuse to enjoy Easter dinners, visit family and to meet up with friends.  And it is the time of year where it’s finally acceptable and not weird to wear yellow. What’s not to like?

As kids, Easter meant the end of the drudgery of lent. It meant a lot of services and masses, but it was all topped off by the family occasions and meals and wearing of the good clothes.  It meant cousins visiting and mostly, it meant CHOCOLATE.  The first taste of chocolate melting on your tongue after having had it banned for 40 days, was AMAZING!

Now, Easter is as big an event as Christmas for many.  Houses are decorated. Holidays are planned. New outfits are worn. People go all out. And if you do, good for you. But I have ONE tiny, ickle, niggly little issue that quite honestly is grinding my springtime gears.

The Easter Bunny.

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Why? Because my daughter asked me last week:

“When do we write our letters to The Easter Bunny?”

“Sorry…whodeewhatnow?”

“Why would you be writing a letter to the Easter Bunny?”

“So he can bring me toys?”

“The Easter Bunny doesn’t bring toys.”

“He does.  Japonica says that he is bringing her Shopkins and a scooter.”

What the actual?

Unless it is Japonica’s birthday on Easter Sunday, why the heck she would be getting big gifts like this is beyond me.

The Easter Bunny used to be a symbol.  A thing associated with Easter.  Like the Easter Egg. Now apparently, The Easter Bunny is like the Santa Claus of Springtime. The Easter Bunny, now leaves presents for some kids apparently…the little fecker.

Why?  Because somemum (or Dad), somewhere, decided to treat their little Darling to something nice, which is their prerogative, but in their wisdom, left it as a treat “from the Easter Bunny.”

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Now, if  parents decide to buy things for their kids, for their own reasons, with their own money, in their own home, is their OWN business. Give them what you want, but let them know that they are from YOU… Not a magic bunny.

When you start something that your little one is obviously going to share at school (because let’s face it, presents are CLASS regardless of who leaves or brings them!), you might be causing a problem for others.

You are adding pressure to parents who already have enough to be dealing with. There are parents who don’t think their kids need any more gifts or toys 3 months after Santa has been. There are parents who depend on the 3 for 2 sales to buy Easter Eggs for their kids.  There are parents who depend on family members to buy the eggs.  There are parents who are still paying off Christmas.

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Keep them apart please

Christmas is already difficult. It is already full of traditions that should you choose to follow, can be contentious and unfair.  We have already cultured our kids into expecting gifts on December 25th and we all know that the “How come Santa bought HIM a pony but only bought me a bike?” conversation will happen at some stage. But as a society, we have learned to deal with that. We are accustomed to it and we practice our excuses and explanations. And we have a full year to plan and save for it.

Why, oh WHY do we want to be doing it twice a year?

Stop it.

Make Easter whatever you want it to be. Go to mass.  Don’t.  Wear yellow. Don’t. Stay in your PJS. Don’t.  Go out for lunch. Don’t. Buy eggs. Don’t.  Paint eggs. Don’t.  Organize an egg hunt in your garden…or don’t.  Whatever you do, on your own home, good for you, but but for the love of St. Cadbury, don’t start some extortionate rumour mill among the kiddies that the fricken Easter Bunny will bring toys if they’re good. Leave that job to Santa Claus.  We don’t need a Vice-Santa.

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This is just plain creepy

Now, I probably should go buy some Easter eggs. And I might need a yellow dress. But will my little Bunny be writing a letter of request to the Easter Bunny?

Eh, no. No she won’t.

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I am Santa Experience at Rosnakill Mum

Before Christmas, we were invited to visit Santa at his magical wonderland at Rosnakill Community Centre in Donegal.  Having NO idea what to expect, we set off on an adventure one snowy, cold afternoon.

What we were going to, was possibly THE loveliest Santa Experience we’ve ever had.

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On arrival

The hall was decorated from the front hall. Trees and bunting and lights everywhere. Christmas music was playing and we were met at the door by lovely Elves.

 

We were led into Mrs Claus’s sitting room, where she called the roll.  I cannot tell you the SHOCK on Mini-Me’s face when their names were called out! Priceless.

Mrs Claus read them stories and then they were whisked off to ELF SCHOOL, where a cast of superbly talented young elfies reenacted some scenes from ELF, songs and all. Buddy even created his Candy Spaghetti…and ATE it! Yuck!  But the kids just LOVED it.  After “singing songs for all to hear” the kids were lead off through a magical tunnel to the next part of the journey.

 

I’ve never seen so many lights. Everything was covered and it truly was beautiful.

Off we went to the next room, where cookie decorating and colouring were set up.  Each family had their own personalise table, with more candy and sweeties than Buddy the Elf would have been able for.  The girls took to their tasks with gusto, and Mammy and Daddy helped too.

Then, the lovely Ladies went around with freshly cooked Pancakes! AND hot chocolate. The atmosphere in this room was electric as one by one, the elves called the different families in to meet Santa.

And then it was our turn.

Santa’s room was AMAZING! And Santa was soooooo lovely.  He took time to speak to the girls and laughed a bellylaugh when Mini-Me told him she was probably on BOTH lists because sometimes she forgot to be good.

We got more sweets, two gift bags and our photographs taken by an Elf. (I must give special mention to this little Elf.  Wise beyond her years and oh so eloquent and confident.  She was amazing!)

We returned to the room to collect our pictures and art. There were even calendars for them to colour in and take home, as well as little decorations.

The presents knocked me off my feet.  Personalised, handmade reindeer.  Each one with a little scarf that was hand-knit by a local Mammy.

ANd of course, Mammy got her photo taken with Santa too!

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Yes. I shall always end up on Santa’s knee 🙂

This is no ordinary village hall.  How could it be with the people who are running it?  The imagination, the attention to detail, the effort, the pride, the community spirit… The love that went into this project was infectious.    The group who ran it were working harder than any elves I’ve ever seen.  The atmosphere was incredible.

The visit lasted just under an hour, and we all left happy, fed and full of Christmas spirit. Then a few days afterwards, this photograph arrived in the post from Santa.

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Yes, she’s wearing wellies.

This experience books up quickly, and I see why.  We can’t wait to return next year.

Well done to all involved and thank you for having us.

The S-Mum

 

(Mammy and the family were invited guests of Santa, but all comments and reviews are honest and reflective of the experience we had.)

I am So Not a Halloween Mum

Today’s Thoroughly Modern Mammy for Donegal Woman
😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈

You know the BEST thing about Halloween?

Once, it’s over, it is FINALLY Christmas. I’m not a fan. For this little Mammy, Halloween is simply a pot hole which we have to drive through to get to Santa Season.🎅

The Him however, LOVES it.🎃🎃🎃🎃🎃

He loves it so much that he insists on making a huge fuss about it with the girls. It seems that both of the minions, especially the Older one, have inherited Daddy’s love of the season of orange and creepy crap. In fact, Himself and the two of them went AT the destruction/decorating of the house with such gusto yesterday evening, that I went outside to clean the windows.

Yes, you read right. I voluntarily left my cosy living room and went out into the cold to wash the windows. When I returned, it looked like Scooby Doo and Shaggy had puked the contents of the Mystery Machine all over the room.

I thought I was being clever last week getting the painters to come in. “No bluetack on the walls Daddy. It’s just been painted” I announced as I flounced out the door with my bucket and chamois, smug that my genius plan had reduced the possibility for decorations on every surface!🎃

How futile that was. He simply found somewhere else to hang everything and has completely destroyed my kitchen units…

There are witches and ghouls and spiderwebs and spiders (she forgets that last week she was afraid of them!) and there are little green and orange lights EVERYWHERE.

The (clean thank you) windows have jelly skeletons and witches on them and random lamps shout or cackle at me as I walk past. They may end up in the Swilly.

But most annoying and upsetting of all, is his need to make all of my pictures and photo frames uneven on the walls. It apparently adds to the effect.😥

All it REALLY adds to is my desire to scream and punch someone in the nose.

But Herself loves it. And they had great fun all evening putting everything up. I feel that the fact that she is doing something that Mammy dislikes and tuts at, is adding to her love for it. Until November 1st, it’s Mini-Me and Daddy 1, Mammy and Santa 0.

I refuse to admit that they’ve done a good job and that actually the place looks kind of cool. I’ll grumble about having to dress up. I’ll scold about the photographs hanging sideways on the walls. I’ll curse everytime I have to stretch up to lift the pumpkin lights so I can close the cupboard door.

But I’ll do all of this, not because I ACTUALLY hate the holiday, but because it adds to the enjoyment and mischief that The Him and Mini-Me get out of their mutual taunting of Silly Mammy.

Will I get into the spirit of it? Of course I will, (and gin is a spirit so technically, he can’t argue!)😂 I’ll dress up. I’ll dress the girls up. We’ll go to town and meet friends for Trick or Treating. We might even venture into the fireworks this year.

I’ll show her how to make a witch’s costume out of a bin bag and tinfoil, before letting her dress in the unoriginal and manufactured costume I bought her.

I’ll do the bobbing for apples with them, before wondering why the hell I thought this would be a good idea.

I’ll talk about baking an apple pie, before buying one for handiness.

I’ll paint her face every morning this weekend, before scolding that the facepaint must be made of concrete and complaining that it won’t come off.

I’ll pretend to be a witch and get so into character that I scare the bejaysus out of Princess.

And I’ll pretend to hate the whole season, because I know how special it is for Daddy and Mini-Me to have a love of something together that doesn’t include Mammy. Even better if it gives them an excuse to form an alliance and rebel against her eh?

Because these are the memories we are making in our home and every year, they become more and more natural and fun.

And then on Tuesday night, at midnight, POOF! Glitter and Christmas and Jingles EVERYWHERE! And The Him can buckle up, because he only THINKS he knows how to decorate a house!

He ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!😂😂🎅🎅😛😛

What are your favourite Halloween traditions?🎃🎃🎃

I am Suddenly Reminded Mum

Sometimes we need reminded that our Little Ones are indeed only little.

When Princess was born a few weeks ago, Mini Me seemed to grow up overnight.  She suddenly got taller and turned from a toddler into a little girl.  I’ve been watching her in awe since I returned home from hospital.  I’m not quite sure how it happened, but she is quite the little independent woman.

Having a newborn on my knee, I find myself wondering how it’s possible that the most advanced species on the planet can give birth to the most helpless offspring.

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A baby calf gets up to walk within moments of being born, but our little pink and squishy babies remain completely dependent on us for years.  It’s quite amazing.  And still, the nicest feeling in the world is knowing that your baby needs nothing but you to survive.  The frightening thing is that without you, she can’t.

We give our babies everything that they need.  We help them to grow.  We don’t get a handbook.  We make it up as we go along and shockingly, we generally do a good job.  As I look at Mini-me in all her “almost fourness”, I am proud of how she’s developing.  She’s stroppy and strong-willed, but sweet and sensitive. She’s clever and funny and ever so dramatic. (Not sure where she gets the drama!) I have a little girl, who has a little curl etc.  She’s so grown up, and then she isn’t.

Because she understands every word we say and because she’s able to articulate her thoughts well, we’ve made the mistake of assuming that she fully understands the world around her.

She doesn’t.

As tall and “grown up” as she suddenly seems, on Sunday past I was Suddenly Reminded that she is still only a baby.  She doesn’t understand the things that we assume her to.  She’s finding her way through a terrifying world (aren’t we all?) and she still needs Mammy and Daddy to guide her in every step.

And the dramatic and sudden reminder?

We went to see Santa Claus.

Mini-Me and her new sister were dressed in their pretty Christmas dresses and we were all suitably excited.  It’s the first year that she is really enjoying the build up to Christmas and she was excited to bring the new baby to meet the Big Man.  We stood in the queue.  We met Santa.  They got their picture taken and she got a present.

And then, we all went for coffee.

As we were relaxing, the Big brother took the little horse set out of the box for her to play with.  We were chattering among ourselves, when suddenly she began to cry.  Asking her what was possibly wrong, she announced through her sobs “Santa didn’t listen.  I asked for baby Annabelle!” and the quiet sobs turned to a wail.

Well, we didn’t know what to do.  We looked at each other with disbelief and the sudden realisation that our big grown-up girl was genuinely upset.  And as I looked at her devastated little face, the baby returned in front of my eyes.  She was suddenly three again.  Not the “Big Sister” or the “Big girl” that we’ve been calling her since Baby arrived.

Just my Mini-me Threenager…and she was heartbroken.

She thought that that was it;  that Santa had been and that Christmas was over.  She didn’t understand that this was simply a pre-Christmas, traditional treat.

Why?

Because we never thought to explain it to her.

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While we had been talking about going to see Santa, she thought that this was the Santa who comes in the night and leaves presents.  She thought that this was it.  And as we were obliviously sipping our coffees, she was experiencing a massive first… true disappointment.

Daddy swiftly lifted her onto his knee for a hug and wiped the big tears dripping down her chubby cheeks.  We all leapt into action, laughing and calmly explaining that Santa had simply brought her a treat today and that it isn’t Christmas yet.  We went back to basics, explaining the whole concept of Christmas: about Baby Jesus coming, about her aunties and uncles coming home, about hanging up the stockings and about waking up on Christmas morning; any possible benchmarks that will help her to recognise actual Christmas.

We threw all the cliched lines at her.  “If you’re good, Santa will…”  “It’s Christmas time, but it’s not Christmas Day yet.”  “9 more sleeps…” etc.  And happily, she calmed down and returned to playing with the horses.

Crisis averted, but lesson learned.

People had warned us that when the new baby arrived, she would suddenly seem so big and so grown-up.  And they were right.

But what we had to learn for ourselves is that big and all as she seems, she’s still only a little child.  We may have begun to expect too much from her.  Yes, the baby is vulnerable and totally dependent on us, but just because Mini-Me can dress herself, it doesn’t mean that she isn’t also vulnerable and dependent.

And so, with both Mammy and Daddy feeling suitably guilty and slightly foolish, we finished our coffee and directed our wee family back through the craziness of the Christmas shoppers towards the car.

Mini-me had learned something, but the biggest lesson was learned by her Grown-ups.

I am Suddenly Reminded Mum.

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