High hopes, high risk

Today started out a day promising the earth, so why I should be surprised it all deflated around my ears is anyone’s guess. But if I were to venture such a guess, I’d blame lack of sleep, PMT, too much chocolate but mostly my perennially unrealistic expectations. Possibly too long since wine, also.

On balance, I’d say everyone came out of today disappointed and disappointing. I hate ending the day fed up with other people but even more than that I hate having wasted a day in anger. Anger is such an unedifying, destabilising emotion. I always feel utterly grubby after I’ve struggled to get myself in check but then I realise, anger is so often far less about what has happened, and all about what has been triggered, more often than not out of balance with the event in question. Which is why after the comedown, one invariably feels awful. Why is it, once you’ve lost it, noone ever feels in the right after? (Unless of course you are related to me…) That said, I once worked with someone who lost his temper and threw his PC on the floor (and who promptly got sacked) and someone else I saw years later glowering up at me from a newspaper having appeared in court for an air rage incident, so maybe I should just cut myself some slack. However, I want my daughter to be in control of herself, not to be reduced by her responses, but children – like most of us- have to see a path demonstrated before they can walk it for themselves. Values have to match actions. I have still some way to go in this.

Fortunately, I came home to two of the most fantastic books I have seen in a while and a really great evening at home, which helped me to decompress. We read in-between twirling around the living room, MF and I dressed my attempt at a modernist/ minimalist Christmas tree (the ‘tree’ is laughable, but the out and out enjoyment on the face of MF as she discovered sparkles would melt even the most sprained of hearts) and she tried to nick the food from my plate rather than eat her own.

Even though my husband refused to give in to my entreaties for wine, the evening ended up soothing my soul, in no small part due to the disingenuous nature of toddlers and their guileless reactions to what’s occurring around them… how they interact with us and the things around them. Like books.

The first book was Dick Bruna’s The Christmas Book – to which the MF paid less than no attention other than to demand we extract the push-out paper nativity scenes forthwith.
“mummy, PUSH!” Dick Bruna’s illustrations are jaw-droppingly good. I wish wish wish they were available as Christmas cards, but the book (for me, a lifelong Miffy fan) was an instant hit.

The other book is a new twitter recommendation: Jon Klassen’s I Want My Hat Back. This provided all three of us with instant gratification and very real laughs. “Don’t worry bear, we’ll find your hat. S’oKAY.”

Three reads later, we were still amused. The book is that rare find: gorgeous illustrations, genuinely wry and dark humour for the adults and smart text. Everything about this book is on the money.
The book engaged her enough to provide an evening low on tantrums (from her at least) and high on new exclamations from her.
– On escaping daddy post pyjama tussle, she ran off proclaiming: “I’m frrrrreeeeeeeeee!”
– Whilst helping my dress the ‘tree’ told me gleefully “it’s lovely mummy” (it isn’t, so how gorgeous that she thinks it is.
– Faced with her chocolate from the Advent calendar for tonight and also from last night (we forgot last night) she kept pushing it to me and saying “here you go!”. A first foray into sharing

There were more, but sadly not committed to memory early enough before new exclamations overwrote those previously declared.

I’m now heading off to collapse after a night of broken sleep and a day of breakthroughs and set-backs.
Sleep tight

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